Written by: Craig Edmonds | October 5, 2009
The other day I wrote a post about privacy whois on domain name records and mentioned one of the upsides of privacy whois, and that is that you benefit from the protection of scammers not being able to find out your details to contact you directly.
Well here is an example of one of the many scams . Its called the “domain appraisal scam”.
Below is a screenshot of my inbox this morning showing 3 emails from the same company, a company calling themselves “Domain Sale LLC”.
The body of their obviously automated email is as follows:
we are interested to purchase your domain name CHELSEAPROPERTIES.NET and offer between 50% and 65% of the appraised value.
We accept appraisals from companies such as
Should you already have a valuation please send it to us.
Please let us know whether you are interested. Upon review of your valuation and in case of an agreement we send payments via PayPal for amounts less than $2,000 and via Escrow.com for amounts above $2,000, as well as further instructions on how to complete the transfer of the domain name.
Domain Sale LLC”
As you can see they want to buy the domain names as long as you send them an appraisal from one of the above sites they have chosen for you.
You are probbaly now saying to yourself “well that seems pretty logical, they simply want to make sure the domain is worth it” but I can tell you its not as simple as that and the scammers are very cunning, modern day snakeoil salesmen disguising themselves as potential buyers.
I say “cunning” because saying it was “smart” or “clever” would be an insult to all those people who have been drawn in by the scam.
What they don’t tell you is that they own 2 out of three of the domain appraisal web sites (pddomains.com and max-apprais.com) listed in the email and to give the “offer” some additional level of credibility they mention sedo.com, which is in fact a credible domain broker who do provide an expert appraisal service.
They also pepper the email with mentions of escrow.com and paypal, two solid reputable companies.
The scammers hope is that by preying on peoples need to make money or rather the want of making a quick buck, such an offer for a domain name, a domain you may just have sitting there doing nothing may seem quite attractive and by placing trust words in the sales pitch suchs as escrow.com, paypal.com and sedo.com you will purchase a domain appraisal report from one of the three mentioned appraisal companies and send in the appraisal to Domain Sales LLC.
As they already own two out of the three appraisal companies, then Domain Sales LLC have a 66.6% chance of you choosing one of their domain appraisal services.
So you see, all is not what it seems. What appears to be a legitimate offer to purchase your domain is in fact a cunning ploy to part you with a few dollars for one of their worthless and unexpert appraisals.