PLEASE don't get suckered into buying an appraisal.
One of the most predominant scams that has been floating around for several years is the "I'm interested in buying your domain" scam. Every once in a while this scam floods the domain marketplace and right now seems to be one of those times.
There's nothing like the wonderful feeling you get when you receive an email from what appears to be a solid company, telling you they would like to buy your domain name. Unfortunately, this is the very emotion some scammers are taking advantage of to separate you from your money.
The scam goes something like this (there are MANY variations):
Dear (your name),
It has come to our attention that you are the rightful owner of yourdomain.com
On behalf of a privately held domain invest firm i would like to hear if you are interested in selling this domain name?
Our company has more than 10 years experience in the domain brokering industry and see a potential value in your name. We value a fast and easy communication, if you are interested in selling yourdomain.com, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line "Interested in selling yourdomain.com" including your asking price and prefered payment method for further considerations.
Thank you in advance
You get excited, reply with a price, and get even more excited when they promptly accept the price! But in order to "protect themselves", they ask you to get a professional appraisal. If the domain appraises to at least your price, they promise to pay that price.
They are kind enough to provide a link to an appraisal site and a forum where people are raving about the appraisal service. All fake of course.
Once you order the appraisal, you'll never hear from them again. They've got your money and are on to the next victim.
Listen... NO LEGITIMATE BUYER will ask you to get an appraisal first. If they're interested in your domain, THEY will seek appraisal on their own. I've been a full time domainer for many years, have sold thousands of domains, and never once has a buyer asked me to get an appraisal before they buy. It just doesn't happen. If it did, I'd tell them to get the appraisal and I'll deduct the cost from purchase.
That being said, there ARE many legitimate buyers who will approach you out of the blue, asking to buy your domain name. It happens all the time. But before you get excited, search their email address in Google, search their name, their company, their URL, phone or whatever information you have. More often than not, if they are a scammer, you'll find evidence of this.
Whether they are found to be scammers or not, NEVER purchase an appraisal in hopes of selling your domain. A legitimate buyer will know what they are willing to pay you, regardless of an appraisal.
I had a little fun with one of these scammers last October... here's the thread:
Be careful out there!