I’ve had quite a few offers for my domain names over time. There is one kind of offer that I have received numerous times which I would like to warn my readers about. It is a domain name appraisal scam covered up as a domain name enquiry.
Basically what happens is a domain name appraisal company acts as a party interested in the purchase of your domain name. They put together an approach letter like the following email that I received for a domain name of mine:
We are interested in xxxx.xxxx
It was listed in auction (your address was found via WHO IS).
Please submit your price for consideration.
Our company is involved in software development/support business. Now domain investing/reselling is just an additional direction of our investment strategy.
Looking forward to do business with you.
After I received this letter, I replied with something like this “Thanx for the offer. I am planning to develop the domain name in question into a profitable website. However, I value the domain name at $2500, and I will sell it if an offer of that amount is made”.
The next email they sent went right for the juggular:
However, before we buy the domain, we have to make sure that it is worth the amount that you claim.
It is nothing personal, we just want to be sure our investment is valuable. We have seen this post at a forum we frequent which shows a link to a reputable appraiser which you can use to appraise the domain.
Please follow that link to get the name appraised and once you appraise it, send us the appraisal certificate.
Once the appraisal is made, we will talk about making a deal.
Do you use escrow? We prefer it.
Nice touch, they did not actually include the appraisal link in the email, but rather pointed me to a forum where they had previously posted their appraisal link. Also, notice the mention of escrow… of course they are concerned about the security of the transaction, there is nothing else on their mind :). This domain name appraisal scam is very well planned and very well executed. They want to come across as geniune, and I bet a lot of people have falled for it. After all, a great offer for some of your domain names does not come along that often.
I replied that I value the domain name at $2500 and that I do not need a domain name appraisal company to appraise the domain name for me. They hounded me with another 3 or 4 emails begging me to do an appraisal before they gave up.
The moral of the story? Be careful about approaches for your domain name. Think about this – if you are interested in a domain name and you decide to write to the domain name owner to inquire about purchasing that domain name, are you really going to ask that domain name owner to pay for appraisal for their own domain name? I would think you will do your homework, find out how much that domain name is worth, after all, you are purchasing it because in your eyes that domain name is valuable, and only then will you make an offer. People who ask you to pay for appraisal for a domain name you own are one thing and one thing only – DOMAIN NAME APPRAISAL SCAMMERS – so be aware.
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