The other day when pitching a domain name to a potential buyer, he asked me to verify that the domain name I was selling was the actual keyword .com domain name. I was a bit taken aback by the question and confirmed that it was in fact the actual keyword domain name.
He later followed up his strange question to let me know that someone had tried to sell him what looked like a great domain name, but a number was in place of the letter, rendering it just about worthless (for example but not the one that was discussed, L0SERS.com). I don’t think the seller tried to pass it off as the real deal, but it was certainly not explained to this potential buyer until he copied and pasted it in his browser and he was able to see that it wasn’t the real keyword domain name.
This type of business is bad. First off, it’s deceptive if the potential buyer doesn’t realize what the seller is pitching. Secondly, when the number is added to a word, especially in the middle, Google and Bing will see it’s a number and make it much more difficult to rank for the keyword. It’s just about the same as a totally unrelated word since that’s essentially what it is.
Whether a seller is trying to be deceptive or not, selling a domain name that looks like one thing but is really something else is not the right thing to do. I personally wouldn’t touch a domain name like that, let alone try to get someone else to buy it. That is just asking for trouble.