Don't Try to Sell Deceptive Domain Names |
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Don’t Try to Sell Deceptive Domain Names


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,  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.

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.

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Comments (18)


    When i first started i n this business and began developing websites, I fell for this myself in a dropped list… was a very humbling moment.. I thought it was it was … The font as deceiving and i failed to do my due diligence in researching all aspects properly…ugghhh lesson learned

    December 15th, 2012 at 4:01 pm


    It is not bad idea to register such domain names (if available) when you own real one, to protect your brand.

    December 15th, 2012 at 4:08 pm


    Did your tone of voice over the phone sounds deceptive?

    kudos to him for knowing what domain is!!!

    Words and phone calls mean nothing compare to face-face relationship.

    December 15th, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Space Walker

    Recently was sold for 4,999

    December 15th, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Bought and paid? What venue?

      December 15th, 2012 at 4:46 pm



      December 15th, 2012 at 9:12 pm


    This sort of thing is simply a consequence of “domaining” having attracted every retard and get-rick-quick moron on earth. It went from being a legitimate thing (when it was more closed-circuit and niche) to now, it’s a nightmarish cesspool of idiots who have completely dragged down the reputation of everyone.

    The thing is, there’s a very good chance that whatever mouth-breather who was selling sincerely believed it was a ‘good domain’. Taken a look at the general level of the dialog on any given “domain forum” lately?

    The good news is, the past couple years really pounded out a lot of these idiots and sent them back to their day jobs. The bad news is, theres an infinite number of people every year who ‘discover domaining’, totally oblivious to just what space in time they occupy relative to how domaining has developed over the past decade, who are willing to keep the fire burning, keep those spam emails flowing and keep those potential end users annoyed to shit.

    December 15th, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Yep… in one sense it’s great that the domain business has low barriers to entry, but it does tend to attract people looking to make a quick buck and that’s not usually a good thing.

      December 15th, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Space Walker sale was reported on DN Journal:

    Looks like domain was sold on Afternic.

    No info who was seller & who was the buyer….

    December 15th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Business Show

    The law of averages says there will always be all parts of the spectrum when it come to domainers. Still always an interesting and exciting thing to be part of.

    December 15th, 2012 at 6:57 pm


    Could be one of those auto generated dropping spam emails, who seem to just shovel anything that drops to a similar sounding registered name. Being a non sophisticated domainer he probably assumed the pitch was real, and not automated.

    There are about 2-3 people who are responsible for this, it is a shame, we haven’t been able to get them to stop as of yet.

    December 15th, 2012 at 7:02 pm


    1337 (“elite”) speak such as n3tw0rk or k3wl is one thing; trying to pass a letter for something that isn’t, is another. As long as you know what you are buying. Most venues offer upper/lower casing of listings, so that “” would come up as “LRAQ.COM” when upper-cased.

    December 15th, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Yo Mona

    Actually is an excellent domain. I would pay good money for it. It’s been a banner month (December 2012) for domain buying. My most productive and there’s still 16 more days to go!

    Oh well, the bank account is flushed with cash so spend spend spend!

    December 16th, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Talk like this

    Here is an intresting story I had come across on the net awhile ago the guy who wrote this must be brave..bit of humor 🙂

    One Email – One Shot
    In 2001, I was trying to figure out how to land a job at Ogilvy New York. Inspired by Eminem song, Lose Yourself, where he mentions that you only get “one shot”, I decided to go for “one email” to reach my goal.

    Below is how I got my resume appear on the president’s desk with one email while acting on the VP that was hiring. I bought the domain name “” with a “zero” instead of the letter “O” and created a false email address. And this is how it went down:

    From “Carla.Hendra”
    Subject: Resume ? Bastien Beauchamp
    Date: July 5, 2001 PM


    There’s a guy from Montreal at Cannes Festival : Bastien Beauchamp ? really different from other creatives.
    He said that Audrey Fleisher gave you his resume in January. If you still have a printed copy, could you please bring it at my office.


    From: Aurelio Saiz
    To: “Carla.Hendra”
    Subject: Re: Resume – Bastien Beauchamp
    Date: July 5, 2001 PM


    I don’t have it, but am trying to track it down through Audrey.

    Is he interested in NY? Thx. –Aurelio

    From “Carla.Hendra”
    Subject: Re:Re: Resume – Bastien Beauchamp
    Date: July 6, 2001 AM

    NY is his 1st choice.

    From: Aurelio Saiz
    To: “Carla.Hendra”
    Subject: Re:Re:Re: Resume – Bastien Beauchamp
    Date: July 6, 2001 PM

    Dropped off a copy of Bastien’s c.v. for you this morning.
    Hope you’re enjoying your vacation.

    From : “Bastien Beauchamp”
    Subject: CV – Award Winning Creative
    Date: 07/09/2001 09:37:23 AM
    Attachment: CV (01 June 1st).doc

    Dear Mr Saiz,

    The following email is to express how keen I am to become part of Ogilvy interactive team in NY as a creative.

    Here’s my profil:
    – Founder of the 1st interactive advertising agency in Canada (2B interactive, 1996).
    – Winner of creative awards in Europe and Canada (65% of all interactive advertising awards available in local market over the last two years).
    – Founder of the 1st course about Internet advertising at the University of Montreal (still teaching).
    – Writes for different Web sites and magazines.

    My expertise in Internet Advertising is virtually unparalled in Canada. And after selling my own interactive agency, I’m looking for a new challenge.

    These are hard days for hirering but it should be the time to find key people in the industry. 🙂

    Please find my resume attached (the “red line” is for the stapple).

    If there’s any interest, I will be in NYC in July, available for interviews.

    Kind regards,

    Bastien Beauchamp
    1 514 575 3556

    From :
    Subject: Re: CV – Award Winning Creative
    Date: July 9, 2001 10:29 AM


    I would like very much to meet you during your visit to NY. Please call Benjamin Sutor 212.237.4432 to arrange a convenient meeting time.

    Meanwhile, do you have a site or CD on which we can view your work prior to you visit? Looking forward to meeting you.

    Cheers, Aurelio

    From : “Bastien Beauchamp”
    Subject: Re:Re: CV – Award Winning Creative
    Date: 07/09/2001 04:58:22 PM
    Attachment: CV (01 June 1st).doc

    I must confest.

    The address of my personnal Web site is (just change the “o” by “zero” – the two keys are next to each other on the keyboard).

    Be assured Mr Saiz that I show all my respect to your creative team, also, that my motivation to join Ogilvy interactive NYC – more than any other agency around the world – is high. I follow the evolution of Ogilvy & Matters since College. I was really impressed by the launch of Ogilvy interactive and its rapid success. The work you’ve done for IBM is impressive and meeting Audrey Fleisher was passionating.

    Please note that Carla Hendra never wrote you. I did with a fake email: (“zero” instead of the letter “o”. Be assured that I didn’t mean any disrecpect. But to find a job in NYC these days is really hard, so you must be creative if you want to get noticed!

    I hope Mr. Saiz that you’ll forgive me.

    You’re invited to visit the site with Explorer (except the ad of Volkwagen that needs Netscape instead). Please consider that some of my work online is old (Internet has changed since then. Me too.)

    If you are still interested, I would greatly appreciate to have the opportunity to meet with you. I will be waiting for your email before calling Benjamin.

    Respectfully yours,

    Bastien Beauchamp

    P.S. My intentions with the domain name “0gilvy .com” are honests. I will be glad to rapidly transfer the rights to Ogilvy&Matters at no costs. It should belong to your team.

    P.S.S. Also, since I registered this domain name, I receive emails from all around the world. Some people do the typing mistake “0” vs “o”. All these emails are soon going to be forwarded to you. Some of them are stated confidential

    From :
    Cc :
    Subject: Re:Re:Re: CV – Award Winning Creative
    Date: July 9, 2001 5:30 PM

    Hello, Bastien.

    I appreciate formaility but now that we’ve corresponded please call me Aurelio.

    Also, please know that I take no offense whatsoever. On the contrary, I applaud your determination (it never hurts to quote and cite David Ogilvy), and I remain most interested in meeting you and learning more about your views.

    Until the next,


    P.S. Please wait before sending the many emails you reference in your P.P.S.– I’d like to make sure they go to the correct mail server.

    December 16th, 2012 at 6:25 am


    deceptive not only comes in names, i bought a .co domain name and i was with a stats of 40k+ exact on local colombia search at adwords, but i ain’t got even 1 traffic on it. I am not agaisnt on a .co honestly i got some real good .co like,,, which i get least traffic on them, but this .co honestly it got nothing. I want to sell the domain name showcasing its stats but my conscience couldn’t handle it. If you have the same experience i would love to hear from you. thank you

    December 16th, 2012 at 6:43 am


    It is up to the buyer to know the difference. If we flip the deal, the buyer is also trying to use the best sales strategy to save money.

    Buyers try to play down the value of domains using Matt Cutts, Panda, social media, and thus every excuse under the sun.

    It’s easy to verify a domain name. No need to put much thought into it.

    December 16th, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Yo Mona

    PORN is still king. No matter how things evolve in domaining, if you get some good porn domains, you’re set!

    December 16th, 2012 at 5:20 pm

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