Domain Appraisal Scam and How it Works
Copyright © 2013 Kejanny. All rights reserved.
While genuinely honest people are “working” to earn income on the internet, there are lazy faceless scammers lurking in the dark space out there to rob the unsuspecting of their hard-earned money.
The domaining industry in one industry where these scammers target and one specific area is domain name appraisal. The scammers know that more and more people are establishing their presence on the internet, for business or personal, and they go to a domain name registrar and buy domain names. Domain valuation is where the scammers set up their scheme to rob you after you buy domain names.
What is a domain appraisal scam, how does it work and how can I avoid it in 2013? If you are asking these questions, you are wise and you’ve come to the right place. Here, I share my experience on domain appraisal scam and how a domain valuation scammer almost made me a victim of his scam.
A domain name appraisal scam is a scam where you are contacted by an individual expressing interest in buying your domain name. The person will then ask you to have your domain name appraised and will recommend to you a certain domain appraisal company or to have the domain name appraised manually before he will buy it. The appraiser may be themselves or another company they work together to scam. After you pay for the service, you will not hear from them again.
Examples of E-mails You Will Receive in a Domain Appraisal Scam
A few days after I auctioned some domain names, I received this e-mail in my inbox:
I noticed that you currently sell this domain. I want to buy your domain name.
Please send me your desired price in USD or euros for the domain name in the subject line.
If you have other names for sale please email me your domains with prices.
I'm looking forward to doing business with you.
Independent Domain Owner & Investor
NOTICE - This communication may contain confidential and privileged
information that is for the sole use of the intended recipient. Any
viewing, copying or distribution of, or reliance on this message by
unintended recipients is strictly prohibited. If you have received this
message in error, please notify us immediately by replying to the message
and deleting it from your computer.
The email address of the sender is:firstname.lastname@example.org.
I responded indicating and this is the reply I got:
Have you had your domain names evaluated in the past? I mean domain appraisals. Without valuation we cannot be sure in the sale price. It's very important for me in terms of reselling too.
But we must engage a valuation company with REAL manual service. So I will only accept valuations from independent sources I and my partners trust.
To avoid mistakes I asked domain experts about reputable appraisal companies. Please check this blog with suggestions from other sellers and buyers:
Do you sell domain with a web site or just the name?
Domain without content is ok with me. Web site is not necessary.
If, for example, the valuation comes higher you can adjust your asking price accordingly. It will be fair. I also hope you can give me 12% - 15% discount.
After you send me the valuation via email (usually it takes 1-2 days to obtain it) we'll continue our negotiations.
What is your preferred payment method: Escrow.com, International wire transfer, PayPal.com or something else?
Hope we can come to an agreement fast.
Looking forward to your reply.
The link led to a questionable forum and a thread where Bloomfield and two another people talked about how the two other people were selling domain names and Bloomfield assisted them to get a manual domain name appraisal done and he paid the domain names from the two sellers. The thread was most likely posted by the scammer(s) themselves to fool domainers.
I responded in as follows:
If you really want to buy the domain name, I'm sure you'd already done the appraisal yourself and know the price. If you really want to buy this domain name, go to SEDO or GoDaddy and buy it from there.
Do not scam me. Please, be a gentleman and remove my contact details off your list.
If you are buying and selling domain names, beware of the domain appraisal scam. The letters they send out are very structured and similar like the ones above. They will also tell you they are willing to buy your domain name for some high price that they will quote. Do not get get excited if you get such an e-mail. All they are trying to do is get you to appraisal your domain using a non-existent domain appraisal service they will recommend. After you pay for the service, they will disappear with your money. You will never hear from them again.
You can appraise domain names 100% free through established online domain valuers. Avoid being a victim of domain appraisal scam.
If you'd like to know how much is your domain name worth, you can appraise domain name free using domain valuation tools offered by genuine companies online. The appraisals are done instantly for free.
Forums are the best place to get more information and up-to-date news on any topic. DNForum.com is the domaining industry's number one forum. For up-to-date news on domaining, Domaining.com is the best. In both of these site, you can appraise your domain names free, too.