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Is it possible to get cheated in sale?

Is this a con?



3:52 am on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have a domain that I was not using, so I listed it for sale on sedo and namepros.

A day or two later I got an email (the whois info is public) inquiring about the domain. I quoted a price, and the correspondent responded that I should raise the price by a factor of 30. Which sounds suspicious. Correspondent says he represents a rich buyer and makes a percentage of the deal, so he wants to pay a lot.

Seems strange to me. But we have escrow service for sales, right? That should protect me. Is there something I am missing? Could this all be a scam?


9:43 pm on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

Could this all be a scam?

That was a rhetorical question, right?

Non-scam: Someone you know and trust takes you aside and says Psst! You could ask a lot more for that domain.

Scam: All other scenarios leading to the same utterance.

Now, if you were feeling unkind, you could change all contact info on the domain,* and then send a reply e-mail saying "Thanks for the tip! I've just sold it to someone else for 40x my original price" ... and wait for incoming e-mail at the new address. But don't hold your breath.

* Replace this clause with whatever is needed to make it work in real life.


4:08 am on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Escrow does a pretty good job but my guess is that someone is having fun at your expense, i.e., unhappy about you "getting there first" or about your price your "buyer" is now intent on setting you up for a letdown.

Of course it might all be on the up-and-up . . 'cept for the part about an agent/broker breaching a fiduciary duty to one's principal . . . :-/

Let us know if you close the deal . . or get sued for collusive dealing . .


9:13 pm on Oct 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


It turned out to be a scam! Can you believe it?

The first domain they contacted us about I could not sell for six weeks because I had just changed the registrant info and was unable to move the domain off GoDaddy (and I wanted to use Moniker's escrow).

But the same people (different individual, similar email address and approach) contacted me a few days later about another domain I had listed at Sedo. I quoted him a price more than 6 times what I had it listed at Sedo. He counter-offered about 10% below my offer, and I said "sure, let's do it". I was still trying to figure out what his angle was. I said we had to use Moniker's escrow because that reduced my risk. He said his buyer (another rich person in Dubai) needed a written appraisal before we went ahead and he pointed me to an appraisal service in Europe (Germany, I think. I am in the US.)

I thought: is this is the scam, just making people pay for appraisals? The appraisal cost was only 49 Euros, which was trivial compared to the domain sales price. I figured this guy wouldn't be doing all this work just to get me to use an appraisal service. So I took a chance and paid for the appraisal. A couple days later I had the appraisal in hand, more than our agreed-to price, more than 7 times what I had listed the domain for at sedo.com, and many times what I thought the domain was really worth.

I sent it to him and he said great! One hiccup, he said. His buyer needed to wait 30 to 40 days. He might be able to get the buyer to put up a deposit immediately. I didn't ask for more details and I said I would not transfer the domain until the entire sum was in escrow. He was polite and said fine and recommended I use his German appraisal service for domain listing and escrow, rather than Sedo and Escrow.com, as they would be cheaper.

So I got mad and figured it had all been a scam just to get me to buy the appraisal. An internet search found others complaining about the appraisal company being part of a scam service. I contacted my credit card company (it was only a couple days since I paid) and said I wanted to disallow the transaction. The credit card company said the charge had not yet been posted. I then contacted the German company that handled the transaction (similar to Paypal), and filed a complaint. I said I was a victim and sent them URLs of places where people complained about this appraisal company. A few days later they sent me an email saying the transaction had been canceled.

So I lost no money, just some time. I am surprised the bad guys put in so much work for not much money.


1:20 pm on Oct 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

A classic: the appraisal scam. Glad you sorted it out and put a stop to it.


10:05 pm on Oct 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

A classic: the appraisal scam.

That's what I was thinking :) Didn't people use to do this all the time with antiques? There's a variation where you sell a group of things as a lot and tell the buyer that you're not 100% sure about one of the group so they might want to get it appraised...


4:03 am on Dec 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

The same story happen to me today.

Yes, I am new in domain sale and domain appraisal. Is it a real scam or real business? What should I do?

Thanks for your advice.

This is the third email I receive:
Ok. Before we proceed my investor needs only one thing from you:

As you may know all major domain brokers does not allow listing above $1000 or higher if you don't have an official appraisal. Since the sale price is not low in our case, my client needs an official certificate of price (appraisal). He also needs to know you have no trademark problems. It won't be a problem since I know an official appraiser that offers this option (trademark infringement verification) for free as a part of the appraisal service.

I'm also interested in a good valuation and a high sale price because my client pays me a commission (10-15% of the sale price) on every domain purchase. So I'm not interested in low sales too.

Of course, you should not use a free automated service like Estibot or similar services. My client won't accept them. I was working for Estibot and knew they were using automated scripts for free appraisals. In our case we need a real manual valuation.

To avoid mistakes and wasting money on useless automated services I asked in the forum about reliable manual valuation/TM verification services.
The process is very easy:

1. Go to the appraisal site and order the valuation with the TM verification. Submit your domains to them and let them know you have a buyer with $X,XXX offer so you need the appraisal near this value. After several hours you will get the results.

2. Then send these results via email and we'll proceed with the deal.

If you are new to the appraisal process I can help you with a step by step instructions.

[edited by: Webwork at 5:31 am (utc) on Dec 21, 2013]


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