A bit of a new spin on the old appraisal scam, a reader sent us an email he received, for a law related domain, three word.com that makes sense, has value.
I represent a big investor from UK. He needs personal*******.com for his new business project to be launched in September, 2015. Your domain name is at the top of his shortlist of names, and he would be prepared to pay up to US$10,000 to secure this domain name.
Time is of the essence as he needs to secure the domain name as soon as possible, so his Corporate Communications department can prepare the relevant logos and letterheads. I am available to discuss this transaction at your earliest convenience.I look forward to your reply.
If you have more domain names for sale, please email me the list. I may help you to find buyers for them.
After our reader replied and recommended using Escrow.com, the reply was this:
My client offers $10000. How can he send the money to you? My client usually uses an escrow service.
Before my client buys he will need two things from you:
1. Screenshot of your domain account. It will prove you are a legitimate owner.
2. Domain certification from Domain Tools. (Link removed – a website that sells digital certificates, not DomainTools.com)
This certificate includes two essential things: an appraisal of the market price and a trademark infringement verification.
My client is an experienced investor and he buys certified domains only to avoid potential risks with trademarks and overpriced/stolen domains. So simple certificates from GoDaddy or Sedo do not suit the needs of my client. Before he send the money he needs a complete certification with a valuation and a trademark infringement verification.
Please send the screenshot and the certificate to my email.
So now our reader replies:
The domain tools certificate costs $79 Euros. Your client should pay the upfront cost of this certificate as a good faith gesture – then I will discount the sale price of the domain by the same amount. I cannot be expected to pay this cost upfront with no legal guarantee of sale.
If you client has already offered and I agreed to a sale price, how will any speculative appraised value of the Domain Tools influence the process? As I am sure you know, the domain market has many different valuation sources and they routinely produce different appraised values. If this appraised value is important to your client, then that is another reason for you to purchase the certification on personal*******.com before proposing a sale price – it is ‘bad form’ to insist that a seller pay for an appraisal and then use the appraisal information to negotiate a lower price.
The Escrow service I and most people use is Escrow.com, they will obviously ensure that you receive the domain before transferring the money to me. This alleviates most concerns about legitimate ownership too. However, you must have found my contact information through a whois search which also reflects ownership. Screenshots can be manufactured/altered and are not reliable evidence of ownership.
I look forward to your reply,
The last reply which was expected from the prospect:
My client never sends any money upfront for non-certified names. Sorry.
Yes it is 2015 and this still goes on with different wrinkles, we know that most experienced investors see right through these. Unfortunately new people come into the business everyday and some don’t read domain blogs/forums everyday and get fooled. They see $10,000 in bright neon lights and look at the $79 as just an obstacle to get the big money.
If someone wants to buy your domain name, you sell it where you are protected and you never spend any money on any silly request. There is no validation or verification ever needed.