Entries Tagged 'Scams' ↓

Domain appraisal scam

Apparently, people noticed my attempt to sell myadportfolio.com at Sedo. The wrong people.

email from space-investments.info.


I’m an official broker of an investor from Southhampton (UK). He is going to buy your myadportfolio.com.

My client has $469,000 budget for 25-30 domains. Please specify your asking price in the subject of your message.

Our company is in hosting business. We also provide brokerage services for investors.

I’m working with many domain investors. If you have other domains for sale please email me the list. I may offer your domains to my clients.

How can we send money to you? I think an escrow service is the most secure way for both parties.

If it’s your first time sale I can help you with the escrow/transfer process.

Best regards,

Alex Mortman

Investments Department

Director Investor Relations

Cloud Computing & Web Hosting

Bernstrasse 39
Phone: 32 993 12 46

A nice touch was that when I typed in his site address, it went to an apparently totally legitimate Swiss hosting company. But its domain was not called space-investment.info, of course.

Yet there are many red flags here. But my optimism ignores them!

Why would a domain broker have a crummy hyphenated dot info address?? And hey, doesn’t the UK have any good domain brokers — ya gotta go to Switzerland? I have a price already on Sedo; there’s no need to ask for the price. Finally, why would he tell his investor’s total budget for many sites??

Answer to that. He wants me to do the math and ask $15,000.

Second email. Sent well after Swiss business hours on a Friday.


$XXXX – 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 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.

Several years ago, to avoid mistakes and wasting money on useless automated services I asked in Google answers about reliable manual valuation/TM verification services. Please read this: http://www.archive-google.com/threads/threadview85379264.htm (Domain Broker 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 $XXXX offer so you need the appraisal near this value. In this case you won’t get a low value. If the appraisal comes higher you can increase the price accordingly. It will be fair.

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[sic] step by step instructions.


I wasn’t expecting an appraisal request. I was expecting negotiation, haggling if you will.

Tell the appraisal service the appraisal value you want??? Say what? The charge for the “appraisal” is 79 Euros.

“If you are new to the appraisal process” is a spin on the classic vanity-press ad line “if you are a new author.” Love it! (Of course, you’re a new author, no established author would fall for this.)

Now I did some detective work. His site was registered this month. And another site flagged as phony asia-web-hosting.biz was registered last year to the same person in Switzerland who gives a hotmail contact address.

See more on this now getting-pretty-darn-classic scam:



*This forum site is real interesting. My browser objected that it was a phishing site. And on the board, our hero, Domain Broker, asks for the name of a good appraisal site and gets it from another poster who provides a helpful trap, uh link. They congratulate each other on a $39,000 domain deal they’ve just concluded too! Oh, brother.

Wait, that was a $39K deal transacted without a good appraisal? That’s way more than $1,000, but somehow no problem.