Alright everybody – as you know running an online startup with no dot-com domain is like meeting your mother-in-law for the first time with no flowers at hand – you’ll run into trouble sooner or later.
On the web www.tado.com was showing korean writing which ment something like “this domain is not reachable”. You know how it is with the “whois” database. It’s as up-to-date as yesterday’s newspaper. So good luck finding the owner! All names, addresses, emails and phone numbers we found were not in use anymore. Following a huge amount of unsuccessful emails, calls and further research we decided to outsource this task to a world wide domain trader who also resigned from the job two weeks later.
When you work in a startup perseverance is required daily so giving up wasn’t an option. Instead Johannes wanted to hop on a plane to find the owner himself. Luckily we could hold him back when out of nowhere the Korean chamber of commerce send an email with the correct address of the domain owner: The CEO of Tado Co. Ltd., a trading company for agricultural, forestry and landscape machinery. After dozens of trials to reach him one day there was a call back which woke Christian at 4am – a feeling of relief.
Explaining our request turned out to be a challenge. Eight hours time difference, language hurdles and technical difficulties got in our way. However many calls and emails later we came to a solution but it was still unclear how we could manage a transaction on the other side of the planet. A friend of a friend of a friend – whose name is Gwon – lives in Korea and agreed to help us out. We decided to trust him and said that we’d have to move quickly with only two workdays left to close the deal. Quickly we created contracts, arranged a meeting in Seoul and managed to transfer dollar bills to Seoul within a couple of hours.
Shortly after Gwon met the owner in person and everything seemed to work out smoothly until we realized that the transfer of a dotcom domain takes forever. Since we advised Gwon to only hand out the money after a successful transfer and the owner had several follow up meetings outside of Seoul Gwon hopped into his car and joined him for the rest of the day. What followed was a hilarious trip from the trading offices in the Seoul harbor to car part storage depots outside the city with Gwon sitting in every meeting – right next to the owner of tado.com. The tado° team was part of the action monitoring everything on the phone until we finally got the OK message.
In the end it was worth it since everything worked out perfectly. What a great day of success! The former owners of tado.com are so excited about the tado° product that they will help us expand our business in Korea and Japan. Too bad we couldn’t join the closing dinner in Seoul with our newly won friends and Gwon. All of you – Thank you very much and please come visit us in Germany!