Domain Spam Making the Rounds

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I received two emails like this in the past couple of days for geodomain names, and a friend also forwarded me the same email for a completely different domain name. Because the emails were nearly identical, and because the domain names in question were very different, I believe this is a domain spam email making the rounds.

While I don’t think it’s any type of scam, I have heard that people will send out thousands of automated emails based on certain domain attributes, and when someone responds, the emailer will then decide whether he is interested in replying or not based on the domain name.

Here’s the email in the event you receive the exact same one.

Hello there,

I am contacting you to offer you some cold, hard cash. Unfortunately in this case you have not won the lottery, nor do I need you to help me wire a ridiculous amount of money.

I am contacting you in relation to the domain name XXXXXXX.com which I am aware that you own.

I was just curious as to whether you would be prepared to sell the rights of ownership to this name to me? If so, I how much would you want?

Payment would happily be rendered through any medium you feel safe utilizing.

I would greatly appreciate a response in a timely manner.

Yours

James Watson

17 COMMENTS

  1. I tend to use the same template or format for most inquiries.

    I remember a post about e-mailing a bunch of attorneys about a city + attorney.com domain where you provided a template or sample inquire.

    If you send 5 or 1000 per day, I believe it creates a “grey” area regardless of whether the e-mail was sent manually or automated.

  2. Mine were sent by hand and personalized. These were not personalized aside from the domain name – they were also caught by my spam filter, which has other automated criteria to distinguish spam emails.

    Additionally, 99% of my domain inquiries contain a reasonable offer.

  3. You should be aware that there’s at least one known scam based on emailed offers to buy a domain. The scam is described at http://www.thatdanny.com/2009/03/08/domain-valuation-scam-targets-sedo-users/ . Briefly, the scammer offers to buy a domain, but insists on the use of a valuation service to fix a fair price. And not just any valuation service, of course, but one chosen by the scammer. Needless to say, this valuation service charges a fee for setting a value on a domain. Anyone want to guess where that fee goes?

    It’s not certain that the message you received is a scam of this kind … but any offer that is sent as spam is very likely to be a scam of some kind, and should be viewed with suspicion.

  4. Thanks, Elliot! There seems to be a common thread weaved through the fabric of these scam emails, and that is poor writing skills. Even the emails lacking obvious grammatical errors tend to be crafted very poorly. One might suppose that’s a testament to the difficulty of making a scam sound legitimate in writing. And, @AM, I checked “thatdanny.com” (primarily because my ego compelled my curiosity), and that exact same package of emails came my way about a year ago. I wasn’t selling.

  5. @Yamanote: Don’t feel bad. After some quick research, I did too. I get a lot of emails without offers and always try to respond. Mainly because not every enduser knows that domainers expect some sort of bid in the initial contact. Otherwise they figure it’s just going to be a lowball and ignore it.

    In this case, either it’s an elaborate joejob toward the guy in the reply address or someone’s going to get a nasty lesson on spamming.

    In the email I received, the “accent” used in the email matched the recipient (some basic googling will reveal a Namepros ID who is a web designer). Maybe yours is different.

    From my experience, appraisal scams get right to the point and this one didn’t have any links or mention of an appraisal. So I didn’t bother doing any MX researching and just replied.

    Can’t figure out the angle unless it’s somebody just fishing for cheap domains. Or the appraisal followup is coming to suckers like us who responded;) Who knows.

  6. I received the email as well for a one word domain that I own. Fooled me as I replied to it and was waiting the cash to come through the door.

  7. I got this exact email today for my domain. No-one in the their right mind other than me would want my domain (trust me). The person emailed from a free mail service account with the name Jamie Watson.

    Seems very fishy…

  8. It’s close to 6 PM here in Scottsdale, and I’m feeling a little wacky….too much work this week already! And its a short week! (I hope to sell http://www.msn.com tomorrow!) On a serious note, when there is “suspect” grammar issues in an email, it usually gets my attention and it usually means spam…I get possibly 1-2 emails each month on Scottsdale.com…but I usually get the same email for Tempe.com or FountainHills.com the same day…those I don’t even answer. However when I get an inquiry that may be legitimate…I do make sure I answer promptly…

  9. Thanks Elliot for posting things like this, it helped me out, I got an email from a James Watson the other day. Whenever I get an email from someone looking for a domain, I always run their email address and its really helpful when people post their experiences, it helps fill in some of the puzzle pieces.

    It also helps to go through the email header, I found that this one was sent out using mass email software, not a very personal approach for someone interested in buying a domain name. Plus, his domain was only reg’d in early Dec, another flag…among others. After I called him out, I havent heard back, what a surprise 🙂

    ——————–

    Howdy,

    My name is James Watson and my company would be interested in acquiring .

    We can close cash transactions via Escrow.com within 1 week of negotiation.

    Happy Holidays! Thanks for your time and I look forward to an email back! James Watson

    ———————

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