Excited because you received an interest in one of your domain names? Don’t be if it looks like the one below, it’s a scam.
Here is how I suspect it works:
The low life looking to make money from unsuspecting people contacts the three companies below, we’ll call him Affiliate Dog.
Affiliate Dog contacts these domain appraisal companies and works out a deal where he can increase the number of appraisals they receive. They would then negotiate a percentage of each referral. Here is a list of prices charged for this service:
- Sedo.com charges anywhere from $29 to $49 per domain appraisal.
- Pedma.com is now shut down (see more about this below), but it was charging $22.95
- Accuratedomains.com charges anywhere from $27 to $87 for each appraisal.
With the deal in hand, they then obtain a massive list of domain names and associated owner information (easy to do) and tell the domain appraisal companies that anyone obtaining an appraisal for any of the follow domains (from their massive list) is a referral. The appraisal companies agree and the scam starts.
Affiliate Dog then sends out an email to the owner of each website on the list, here is a copy of the email I received:
I came across your domain name [snip] and I would be interested in buying it from you.
Here is my offer, you have to send me a professional appraisal from one of the following companies. and I will pay you 85% of the appraised price.
For payments under $2000 I prefer to use paypal. And for larger amounts of money I prefer if we used escrow.com
I accept appraisals from any of these companies:
If you already have an appraisal from one of those companies please forward it to me, and we will do business.
The excited website owners then go to one of these domain appraisal services and get their website appraised. They then forward that to the Affiliate Dog and he chalks up another referral. Now that I think of it, he may use your appraisal as proof that he referred you.
Of course, you’ll never hear back after you submit your information.
I took a look at each of the websites and sedo.com is the only site I have heard of before. When I visited Pedma.com, I received the standard parked page meaning the site was taken down. Here is what the site claimed (from cache):
Welcome to Pedma Domain Appraisals,
Your number one stop to get the most accurate domain appraisals on the web!
We are so confident in our service, that we are able to offer you the industry leading guarantee.
“If you aren’t able to sell your domain for the appraised price within 6 months we will either refund you your money, or buy the domain ourselves! It’s your choice!”
How are we able to offer such a great guarantee?
Because we have over 70% of our customers sell their domain name in less than 6 months. So we know our research and analytics are working.
Why should you get a professional domain name appraisal?
* So you don’t end up losing potentially $1000’s of dollars underselling your domain below the market value.
* So you don’t try to oversell your domain and waist time and money on auctions and advertising.
* So you have a professional domain appraisal when you try to sell your domain. Having a trusted domain appraisal makes selling your domain that much easier!
After you make your first purchase we will email you your Pedma Account log in information. Once you are logged in you will find all your domain appraisals neatly organized (including appraisal reports, and appraisal banners). We make it easy to keep track of all your appraisals!
Research shows that pedma.com is owned by McDOW, Billy firstname.lastname@example.org
366 Kingswood Dr, Bedford, Nova Scotia B4B 1T8, Canada 9024950112
Another idea on the scam could be that Affiliate Dog didn’t contact all the domain appraisal companies in the email, but instead created pedma.com, made the price for appraisals lower than the rest and was simply sending people to his own domain.
I’ve read that pedma.com was shut down by hostgator.com and leads me to suspect the worst – that being, appraisals purchased at pedma.com were never delivered or were inaccurate and automated.
Whatever the take is on the domain appraisals, it is not good. What I’ve mentioned above is my view and may not reflect what is really happening – but it’s my best guess, so be careful!