Here is a new twist on the domain appraisal scam that I haven't seen before.
Usually the way it goes is you get an email from someone who wants to buy your domain for a large sum, but first they want an 'official' appraisal on the domain. They suggest where they want the appraisal done, and after you pay for the appraisal and send it to them you never hear back. Ofcourse the person contacting you is tied to the appraisal company and is just trying to scam you to pay for an appraisal.
But instead of just an appraisal, this new scheme is asking for something else. I think they are doing this to cut down on the number of places for you to get what they are asking for, to make sure you buy it from the appraisal company they are scheming for.
The contact info they use is:
I've cut and paste the initial email and follow up I received below (typos and all, btw the second email is so long I almost fell asleep getting through it!).
---------- Initial email ----------
I represent an investor who wants to
buy ----------.net for a his new online
Is it still for sale? Please respond
and we we'll discuss the details.
Net Firms CA
Intellectual Property Specialist
Personal Domain Broker
6832 Derry Rd Building
---------- follow up email ----------
What is your appraised value? He will pay
you this sum.
Based on my experience your intellectual
property is in $ 10 000 - $ 20 000 range.
Do you have a certificate of the appraised
If you don't have it's not a problem. You
can order it online.
He needs it from a source he knows and
I’m also interested in a good estimate of
the market price because he pays me % on
The process is very easy:
1. Go to the certificate agency site (see
instructions below) and submit your domain
for the certification. Please let them know
you have a buyer with $XX,XXX offer. It will
help you to get a better valuation. In the
comment field please ask them to guarantee
that the appraised value will be higher than
the appraisal service fee. In this case you
will not risk to pay and get a low
appraisal. I suggest you this company
because they protect you as the seller from
getting a low appraised value. They will
send you the payment instruction only if
your domain is worth $1000 or higher.
Otherwise your request will be declined and
you will not pay them anything. Other
companies does not offer this option.
2. If your request will be approved, please
pay them the fee and wait for 24 hours. Then
send me the results via email and we will
start the sale process. As soon as he
receives your certificate, he will buy your
domain via an escrow service. Any escrow
service will be able to pay you via Paypal,
Wire, Western Union or any other method you
He wants to ensure the safe delivery of the
funds to you. Furthermore, since this is our
first time conducting any business, I
believe that using a third-party escrow
service can provide a safe, well defined
The certificate must include only 2 things
to be accepted by my buyer:
1. Independent valuation of the market
price. Only manual valuation is accepted. No
valuations generated by scripts.
2. Trademark infringement verification. It
proves your domain has no trademark
problems. He would like this verification to
be included in the appraisal report. It's
not a problem because some companies include
the TM verification for free.
You can read about the recommended
certification agency at Google Answers: http://answersgoogle.org/answers/threadview/id/93061745.htm
(“Domain Broker” is my nickname there).
If you are new to certifications, I can send
you step by step instructions.
If you get one of these emails, best thing to do is just ignore it!