Saturday, January 28, 2012

Domain Scams: is a SCAM!!!

This is my fourth post on this domain scam but from the emails am getting, it seems there are more victims. The scammer probably targets (greedy)newbies in the domaining business with an offer to buy their domains at very attractive prices. It starts with an email like this:

What do you think about 4,000 USD for your domain name?

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:, International wire transfer, or something else?

Hope we can come to an agreement fast.

Looking forward to your reply.

The catch is in the appraisal. He asks the domain owner to pay for a $50 "appraisal" using the service , a website also owned by the scammer who is using WHOIS Privacy. The moment you pay for the appraisal, this scum will be done with you and they will move over to to next victim.

The scammer then directs you to a fake forum where he is literally talking to himself trying to dupe you into believing that is the best domain appraisal service. He begins with this question;
Hi folks, I am going to invest money in several good names. I don't want to overpay so third party valuation is a must. Investing in good names is a new business for me. Can someone recommend me good appraisers?

Then he answers himself:
Many Internet users are not smart enough and popular domain brokers are using this fact to make money. They offer them cheap appraisal services. But if their customers would have something in their heads they'd understand experts could not make a professional research for $15-$20. These appraisals are made by machines. Easy money for such appraisers as and several other major brokers that offer cheap auto-generated appraisals. So don't use! In my eyes, all services under $50-$55 are not manual and the results are generated by special scripts. I don't trust auto-generated appraisals. I may recommend you They provide very fast support and good service. Their appraisals are reasonable and are based on quality of your name and current market prices. They have good reviews too. Manual service is always better. I sent you several of my names for sale.  Have you received them?

He goes on to provide 4 or 5 answers to his question , all answers, unsurprisingly, recommending the goose that lay the golden eggs 

I don't rely much on domain appraisals services but if you are new to the industry, the services offered by Estibot and are trusted services(at least they don't scam people). As they say in the industry, a Domain is always worth what the owner is willing to pay for it. If someone needs a domain name so desperately, trust me, they will go as high as they can, Estibot or no Estibot.

Besides, if the buyer is interested in a domain name, the onus is on them to come up with a valuation of the domain as a bargaining chip and you shouldn't have to pay for it.I have never heard a seller paying the valuation cost for the buyer when they are not even sure the domain is going to be sold anyway.

I don't have  a better way to put this, but it's stupid(or maybe careless) to fall for a scam like this.

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