Beware of fake domain appraisal requests

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Beware of fake domain appraisal requests

Last week, I encountered a strange email, and also a very exciting one. I was looking forward to selling couple of domain names. It was during this period I received a letter, showing interest to purchase one of my domain names. I will like my readers to go through this mail. 

domain appraisal

 Copyright: nasirkhan / 123RF Stock Photo


I'm a broker of an investor from Vancouver (Canada). He wants to buy x domain.

My client has $372,000 budget for 20-25 domains. Please specify your asking price in the subject of your message.

Our company is in hosting and web development business. We also help our clients to sell and buy domain names. If you have other domains for sale, please email me a list. I may offer your domains to my clients.

How can we transfer money to you (escrow, wire, Paypal or Western Union)?

I can also help you with the transfer process.

Best Regards,

Werner Goldstein

Vice President Investor Relations | Web Information Solutions

Centralbahnstrasse 48
Phone: 061 209 34 491

The email got my attention, and since, I wanted to sell my domain name and make fast money, I decided to get in touch with this person. I sent my mail as he had mentioned, with an asking price of $15,000 for my domain in the subject of the mail. The response was very quick. I was amazed. This person showed genuine interest in buying my domain name, but he puts down one condition, and that was – appraisal. 

Here is his second mail – 

15000 - Ok. Great! 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 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. Please read this- The link to the appraisal site:
("Domainer" is my nickname).

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.

But, I am not too impressed with his mail. I gave back reply stating that I am not too keen to appraise a domain name. Instead, he should pay for an appraisal. However, since, the offer was too good, I agreed to his request after few days. I sent a mail to the appraisal site asking for payment instructions. 

The appraisal site sent me the payment details, which was a wire transfer, and to my surprise, it was the only payment option. I don't want to list the full bank wire details here as a respect to both the appraisal site, and also to the bank. I have omitted beneficiary name and address. The beneficiary name only had few capital letters, which doesn't sound like a name.

Bank Name:
Bank of Valletta
Bank address:
58 Zachary Street, Valletta, Malta VLT1113
Correspondent Bank:
ING Bank
Correspondent Bank:

Payment Details:
ATTN: A434170

There was no PayPal, or credit card payment facility. Each appraisal amounts to more than 100 Euros. I doubt this appraisal site belongs to the same person who sent me a mail. I can easily sense it. Just when I made up my mind to send the payment, I saw a post on the site -

And that helped me to avoid making the payment. I want readers to be careful, and avoid such mails, which can be very lucrative, and not easy to avoid.

 By Rajiv Sighamony
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