Domain Name Certificate Scam

For many years, there have been domain name purchase emails that mention some sort of domain name certificate that is necessary to purchase a domain name. These emails often are often purportedly from a domain broker, registrar, hosting company, or other third party representing a buyer. The emails contain a substantial offer for a domain name, and after an email exchange, the buyer or the buyer’s representative requests some sort of certificate from the domain owner to close a deal and buy a domain name.

In all of my years of buying and selling domain name assets, I have never had to provide a buyer with any type of certificate or certification in order to proceed with a sale. I would never, ever pay for any type of “certificate” or appraisal as a requirement to close a domain name sale.

Domain name forums like NamePros are full of threads with people asking about potential scams involving domain name certificates. In my opinion, if a prospective buyer or domain broker requires a domain name owner to pay for a certificate to sell a domain name, it is likely a scam.

What I have seen happen is the third party requests a certificate to close a sale. The certificate is either supposedly to provide an appraisal of the domain name or validate a domain name valuation. Of course, a domain owner does not have any sort of certificate or doesn’t have the required certificate, and the third party broker recommends a website to buy this certificate. I would imagine that third party benefits from the certificate purchase, and after the domain registrant pays for the certificate, the deal fails.

I do not think anyone should pay for a certificate, appraisal, or any other service in order to sell a domain name. The seller may pay a sales commission once a deal is completed, but asking a seller to pay for a certificate or certification seems to be a scam.