Top seven pitfalls and scams to avoid when dealing with your business domain name.


Most small businesses do not realize that their domain name is as valuable as their financial accounts. Treat it as you would your business bank account by  using strong passwords, avoiding phishing scams and working with reputable hosting and registry services. Doing so will help you business avoid some of these pitfalls.


Number 7 – Domain Appraisal Scam

We’ve recently received [toggle title=”This email” hidden=”true”]


I’m interested in purchasing
I’ve found it at *****. Please email me your price.

I’m in hosting business and invest in domains and web projects.

If you have a portfolio of names for sale feel free to email me.

Best Regards,


**** Hosting Plans Inc.


After series of probing emails, this was the final request from the hosting  company.

[toggle title=” Follow up email” hidden=”true”]

I’m thinking about 14,000 – 15,000 USD for your domain. What do you think about this price range? I have 400,000 budget for 30-40 names.

Ok. To complete the transaction I need the following:

1. I need a valuation certificate.

It should be from a reliable site I trust. It will minimize our risks.

2. It’s important for us to know that you domain has no problems with trademarks. Some evaluators include this option in the appraisal service. I need the evaluation service with the TM verification.

It’s not a problem to obtain a valuation. It’s a problem to find a valuation service with the trademark verification. I’ve found only one such service with the TM verification via web forum. Please read suggestion of other domain buyers and sellers to find out the right valuation company:

If the valuation comes higher you can change your asking price. After you send me the professional valuation with the trademark verification via email (usually it takes one day to obtain it) we’ll continue.

How do you want to be paid: PayPal, wire or CC?



The domain appraisal company is run by the same business and after you’ve spent the money on the appraisal service, the purchase offer then disappears.


Number 6 – Domain Accounts Scam

You receive an email stating that your domain name is being registered in another country such as in china e.g., etc. The email asks you to confirm your legal ownership and copyright of your domain name in an attempt to then pressure you into protecting your trademark online. Sometimes services are offered to purchase back the “registered” names for a fee. At best, if you respond, your email are then sold to other phishers, spammers and scammers email lists.


Number 5 – Hacked Email / Domain Accounts

Using many freely available tools on the internet, the hacker either hacks you hotmail, yahoo or gmail account or access your domain name service such as Go-Daddy directly (if you have an insecure password). Your domain name is transferred out of your control and held to ransom. you can either purchase the name back for thousands of dollars or spend ten time the amount you should be paying to renew annually. This is one bloggers account of what happened and how he managed to get his domain name back.


Number 4 – Fake Renewal Scam (A.K.A. Domain Slamming)

This one is simple but very effective.

You receive an official looking letter that looks like an invoice for the renewal of your domain name a three months before it expires. The information in letter are very similar to the actual domain name, email addresses and company name you used to register with. You pay for the registration but no actual renewal takes place.


Number 3 – Fake Renewal Scam

Similar to Domain Slamming, unscrupulous domain name registrars data-mine  whois databases for soon to expire domain names and sends out invoice emails in the hope that you would miss the details and accidentally pay the bogus invoice.


Number 2 – Back-Order Pitfall

You receive an email that a domain name you’ve searched for is now available with a link to purchase it. The domains name(s) you want are not actually available but that you are paying for a domain back-order service with no guarantee you will receive your domain name. For instance, if the business or person that currently owns the domain name decided to renew, you will be out of luck. There are many lawsuits with large domain name companies that are offering this service. While this is not quite a scam, you should be aware that it is a bit of a gamble whether you can get your domain name using this method. If the name is something no one else would want, you may get it. If the name is popular, you are buying a lottery ticket and a place in line.


Number 1 – Domain Name Front-Running

You search for the availability of your great new business name you came up with online with a service such as Networksolutions or Go-Daddy. After a few moments after the domain name check, the name is somehow registered by them and parked with a message to purchase it at a much higher price. You can no longer go to another company to register your name.

These companies also own many other “domain search” websites, for instance Go-Daddy also owns:


While it’s not clear whether this is being practiced, there are many, many people with similar complaints online. Perhaps not a scam, but if it is being practiced, certainly not ethical.