WooHoo! I got an offer on my Domain Name!! (careful)

34 replies

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: xxxxx@xxxxxx.net 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!

#buy #domain #offer #received
  • Profile picture of the author glynlafferty
    Thanks for the heads up Gene

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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    Originally Posted by precious007 View Post

    Never happened to me in well over 3 years in internet marketing full time.

    There are tons of ways to reduce/eliminate the possibility of a fraud (using an escrow service) so there's nothing much to worry about.


    An escrow service never comes into play with this scam, as there is never a domain purchase involved. They just get you to purchase an appraisal (which they profit from) and you never hear from them again.

    There's a lot to be worried about. People are being taken advantage of by the thousands. I get emails almost every day from people wanting to know how they should answer this email to get the "best price" for their domain. They are unaware of the appraisal scam, and the point of this thread is to make more people aware so they don't get ripped off.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Got one two days ago. I replied back ....

    Great. $5,000, Escrow only. You pay Escrow and don't even think about sending me your bogus link to your appraisal site.

    Oddly, I never heard back.
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    • thanks for heads up Gene

      I got email from one major company interested in my domain

      will keep you guys updated if this turns out to be an appraisal scam

      peak short video - Im ready...are you?

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      • Profile picture of the author ozduc
        I got one a couple of weeks ago so I played along like you did Gene. It was fun seeing the responses which were identical to yours except a different name. I explained that he made the initial offer of $35,000 and being that he was in the business of buying and selling domains, then what better form of appraisal can you get than that.
        He shot back that he needed the manual appraisal blah blah blah. So I told him I would be happy to let him take the cost out of the purchase price.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lilach
    Thanks for the heads up. I feel very sad that no one has written to me to offer to buy my domain name lol!

    Want to get more traffic to your website? Download my FREE ebook and start watching your traffic multiply
    If you want excellent results, more business and better visibility check out my blog and steal my free killer tips
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  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    I think this is good advice. Some would not be suckered but probably somebody would. A nice warning.

    Anyway, what's the best escrow service online? Any opinions? Sorry if it's a bit off-topic, but if I sell a domain name for a few thousand or more, I'll want to use escrow, for sure. And is it fool proof?
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    I've used escrow.com for years, and have never once had a complication. They're quick, efficient and very responsive.

    That being said, there is no such thing as "foolproof". But this is your safest bet, other than meeting face to face and taking cash.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris W. Sutton
    Hi Gene,

    That happened to me around three years ago. They were from Germany or Romania or somewhere like that.

    I went back and forth with them and they didn't speak English very good. When I told them I was going to send this to the Attorney General of my state, I believe their English got better because they disappeared! Go figure!

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  • Profile picture of the author CianMcCarthy
    Thanks for this, there are some real maggots out there
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  • Profile picture of the author Jon Tees
    I received the following e-mail regarding a domain that I actually have listed for sale. I’m a bit suspicious, as I have the domain parked and ready to be sold all the person has to do is visit the domain and either make an offer or pay full price.


    How much do you ask for this domain for sale?

    Our company invests in domains and developed web sites. If you have other
    domains for sale feel free to send your list.

    Looking forward to do business with you.


    Persons name (removed)
    Job title (removed)
    company name (removed)
    My response

    To Whom It May Concern,

    My asking price is currently set at $1,500 but I will consider offers above $1,000 for the domain. This may seem steep, but I feel it’s well worth it and am factoring in how much I have earned via ownership of the domain and the potential for future earnings. To make a bid simply visit the domain itself and click on the “buy domain.” tab (it’s in numerous places) make an offer or pay full price.


    Jonathan Tees
    They replied back
    Can you accept 1,200 USD?
    I have a 35,000 USD budget for 5-8 domain names. Have you had your domain names evaluated in the past? Without a valuation certificate we cannot be sure in the sale price. Moreover, my accountant and tax services always ask for valuation certificates :-). On the other side, it's very important for me in terms of reselling too. Of course, we must engage a valuation company with a REAL manual service. So I will only accept valuations from independent sources I and my accountant trust.

    To avoid mistakes I asked domain experts about reputable appraisal companies. Please check this blog with suggestions from other sellers and buyers:

    (Basic looking biased domain appraisal blog removed)

    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. Do you sell domain with a web site or just the name? Domain without content is ok with me. Web site is not necessary.

    What is your preferred payment method: Escrow.com, International wire transfer, PayPal.com or something else?

    Hope we can come to an agreement fast.

    Looking forward to your reply.

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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    Jon, that's one of the many similar emails going around. Glad you caught it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jon Tees
    I ran a search on him and found that he’s sent this exact same line up of e-mails to several other people. Insisting that they get appraisals from the companies he recommends or else he won’t purchase their domains. I’m not even going to waste time in writing him back, as I have no intention of getting the domains appraised. If someone wants them they’ll either pay full price or make a reasonable bid. I’m charging what I feel they are worth in terms of past income and future earning potential, and a few other people agree with me, that’s good enough as far as I'm concerned.I mean its not like I’m selling brick and mortar real estate here.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jon Tees
      After not responding for several days he sent me this out of the blue.

      As a seller you should provide me with an appraisal first. This is a reasonable practice.

      I've found not all the appraisals are accurate. So I accept real manual appraisals from trusted sources only.

      I don't trust $14-$20 services. Nobody will do a research for $14. We need a real manual service.

      I researched several companies and here are the results:

      In the beginning I wanted to engage Accurate Domains as appraiser but looks like this company has very bad reputation.

      I also considered Afternic but now it's clear their service is not reliable enough.
      Just read this:
      (Site removed)
      "Capsule Review: After lots of complaints, Afternic is no longer a recommended service. We will re-review the service in the near future."

      Another complaint
      (Blog url removed)

      I was told about manual research service from DomainMart It costs - $200/hour.

      Many experienced sellers suggested us Best Domain Experts as a trustworth manual service. They charge per name not per hour. We've read only positive comments about them. And I have my own positive experience with this company and their support.

      I sent him the following in response

      Name removed,

      I will definitely take$ 1,200 as that seems fair.
      I am charging a price that I feel is fair and have taken into consideration the income generated from the domain in the past, as well as future earning potential. I have also asked for the input of numerous people who do domain trading for a living and they agree that my asking price for this particular domain is indeed fair. I don’t trust domain appraisals as they aren’t accurate. If someone were to have a site appraised three times they’d get three different figures. The only way to really determine a site’s value is by what it’s worth to the person buying it as well as the person selling it. However, if you insist on an appraisal feel free to pay for one at your expense, provide proof of this and I’ll deduct the cost of the appraisal from the cost of the domain.

      I am selling the domain through Sedo you may visit the offer page at
      (Site removed)

      Make a bid or pay full price. I’ll consider all offers $1,000 and above but am willing to negotiate.

      Jonathan Tees.
      If he thinks I’m paying $200 an hour to get an appraisal to make him feel better or that I’m somehow obligated to do so, he’s got another thing coming. I feel my request for him to pay for the appraisal if he is in fact legit and then I’ll deduct it from cost
      Is more than reasonable.
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      • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
        You DO understand that he has absolutely no interest in buying your domain name, right? His ONLY intention is to sell you the appraisal. Your domain could be hb7dko3dm.com and this conversation would still be the same. There's no point in trying to convince him what is "reasonable".
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        • Profile picture of the author Jon Tees
          Originally Posted by Gene Pimentel View Post

          You DO understand that he has absolutely no interest in buying your domain name, right? His ONLY intention is to sell you the appraisal. Your domain could be hb7dko3dm.com and this conversation would still be the same. There's no point in trying to convince him what is "reasonable".

          He’s a con man and not a very good one. I sort of assumed that after receiving the first e-mail oddly shortly after reading this thread. I’ve had people try and scam me in the past, and some of them are so stupid its actually quite comical. Their traps are painfully obvious and yet they expect everyone to just fall into them. However, if there is a possible way that I can convert him into a legit buyer, I’ll gladly sell him the domain, but this is doubtful. I just certainly won’t be falling for his scam.
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  • Profile picture of the author jrafique
    About year back I did also received a scammer offer for one of my website (ukmagz) But I could sniff the scam and then made a search on google. A lot of people received that kind of email. There ultimate goal is to get you on there site.
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  • Profile picture of the author dainia
    Thanks for the heads up
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  • Profile picture of the author invreon
    Thanks for the heads-up! I probably would have fallen for this scam...
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  • Profile picture of the author BBBB
    We got offer on some of our domains and all it went like was... unlock the domain name, send us the key... and we will send you the money. Yeah, right
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Originally Posted by BBBB View Post

      We got offer on some of our domains and all it went like was... unlock the domain name, send us the key... and we will send you the money. Yeah, right
      lol ... how devious. Pretty bad when you're even a failure at being a thief.
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  • Profile picture of the author gmack

    I stumbled upon this post when I was looking for an appraisal thread 'after' I listed my domain at sedo. It was about 5 days after I listed it. No matter how scammy the email I got 'looked', I was still thrilled to get an 'offer'.... for about 30 seconds... Very similar to above examples:

    "Our company (no company name given) has received a great offer for your domain xxxxxxxxxx.com. Let us know your asking price. Then, my accountant and tax adviser need a manual evaluation from an independent site such as xxxxxxxxxx.com or xxxxxxxxxxx.com....Take a look at our blog on domain appraisals for things to watch out for......"

    Looked up those sites and the whois to find out they were registered within the last few weeks or months, had 'obviously' fake blogs with comments from 'domainers' trashing the reputable sites and recommending these 'new' sites....yada yada...

    Did a few 'back and forth' emails with him for a little bit to show I was 'interested' saying "I'll get my appraisal from sedo - since this is the place that sells the most domains on the net.

    Their reply: "We cannot accept an appraisal from that site as that is 'NOT' an independent site and you have your domains listed with them....yada yada..."

    End of story. Scam.

    Good timing on me finding this thread.

    THANK YOU for the heads up.

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  • Profile picture of the author ElectricChili
    Thanks for the heads up Gene!!

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  • Profile picture of the author dika
    Originally Posted by Gene Pimentel View Post

    It just doesn't happen. If it did, I'd tell them to get the appraisal and I'll deduct the cost from purchase.
    Fair and smart way to stay polite with the potential buyer/scammer.

    Thanks for the heads up
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    • Profile picture of the author mrmanpower
      I purchased your product, and I'm starting domaining. I'd probably not fall for this scam but i'll definitely waste part of my life on it, answering, looking into what's an appraisal. etc. good thing I don't have to anymore haha.

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    • Profile picture of the author Karen Blundell
      thanks a lot for posting about this, Gene.
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  • Profile picture of the author awmi
    I just listed some domains at SEDO and this thread is very timely. Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author simplenfun
    Although no one interested on my sites yet, but this is a great heads up. Thanks Gene.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jon Tees
    This is an obvious scam as the person wants you to purchase and pay for an appraisal on an “independent site.” as stated this is obviously a site that the person has a stake in they either own it or get a cut from the cost of the “appraisal”. Any legit buyer would just go to the domains that you have parked on SEDO or another service and pay your asking price, make a reasonable offer or move along. If they really wanted an appraisal they’d pay for it themselves and arrange for you to deduct the cost from the cost of the domain. Appraisals aren’t fool proof anyway, several different people may arrive at different conclusions about how much one should charge for a particular domain. Its all a matter of subjective opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author jodamy
    Thanks Gene,
    I just got an email from thomas-steinmeyer AT name-business.com, and I read your post and searched Google. Turns out that he is already well known for this Scam.
    Funny thing is, I've got 27 domains through GoDaddy, and their certified appraisals are $29, and he was trying to push me into an $81 at certifieddomainvalue
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  • Profile picture of the author Andrea Wilson
    Gene, just in time. They must be having a good time on this, such heartless scammers. One thing to always remember; Dont quickly trust anybody.

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  • Profile picture of the author SageSound
    There's a similar kind of thing I found when replying to a job ad I found on Craigslist.

    The job ad looks legitimate. I got a reply back that read as if the job ad was something totally different. In it they said something like they'll be issuing you a company credit card so you can make purchases, and in order to show them you're not likely to rip them off (?), they want you to get a credit report from company XYZ and send them a copy.

    I don't know if this is just another phishing scam, or more likely they're just using it to generate CPA commissions from some credit reporting agency.

    Anyway, the point is that you should be very wary of any requests that you spend money for something to "qualify" you to proceed with them.

    Companies that require credit checks for jobs DO NOT -- and NEVER WOULD! -- ask YOU to get a credit report then send them a COPY. Cripes, why not just doctor one up yourself and send it to them? That's the point -- nobody seriously interested in your credit data will TRUST YOU to report it truthfully.

    Getting an appraisal for your domain name goes to YOU. So why in the world would these morons trust an appraisal YOU got and sent to them? It says it's worth $35, and you add a few zeros. And they're going to believe that? Yeah, right.

    It's the BUYING ACTION these scammers want you to take; they aren't usually interested in the results.

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