Make Sure the I is Not an l

Depending on the font in an email or a website, a lowercase “L” can look an awful lot like an uppercase I. Someone could try and fool a buyer into thinking that they are selling a valuable domain name that begins with the letter “I,” but in reality, it is really a lowercase “l.” They may look the same in some formats, but obviously one would be a word and the other would not spell anything.

It seems like most domain name marketplaces and auction platforms make an effort to ensure there is little confusion when it comes to the letters in a particular domain name. Listing the domain name in all lowercase letters is helpful, and having the option to view the uppercase version is helpful as well. I think most of the major platforms and marketplaces don’t allow sellers to interchange upper and lower case letters. This isn’t foolproof because some people may not think the l is a L even though the letters are lowercase.

When it comes to email negotiations though, it is possible these two letters could be interchanged by someone attempting to deceive. Someone could also try and change a capital O with the number 0. Whatever the case, a person may believe they are being offered an exceptional domain name for sale, but in actuality, the domain name is not the one the prospective buyer thinks it is.

One way to check to be sure there is no deception is to copy the keyword of the domain name in the email and enter it into a Google search. If it is a popular word but Google makes a search suggestion indicating a typo, it could be an attempt to deceive. If you copy and paste the full domain name, the owner of said domain name may forward that domain name to the correct version, and it could look like it is the correct version.

Performing due diligence is critical when buying any domain name, and using a purchase agreement is also an important component of a deal. Transacting via escrow service that has good KYC practices could also be helpful. A prospective buyer would almost certainly uncover this type of deception in doing due diligence, but it’s something people need to be mindful of when they receive inbound purchase opportunities.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
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 closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I bought for reg. fees when it dropped in 2000, found out the name was and let it drop. Funny thing was it got a ton of hits even though it was misspelled. Wish I kept it.

  2. FLIPPA used to be notorious for the lower case “L” for an “I” scam domains.
    FLIPPA now upper case those worthless domains.

  3. I usually get myself tricked by this I and L at auctions. So i make sure I copy the domain name and click paste and go, to see what site it is actually redirecting to. In fact I have put many such domains in my cart but hopefully saved just before the checkout due to my double checking habits.

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