Nobody Will Request an “Appraisal Certificate”

Domain industry attorney Jason Schaeffer reported today that three of his clients received $60,000 offers to buy domain names, and the supposed prospective buyer requested an “appraisal certificate” in order to proceed with a deal.

I have never heard of a legitimate buyer needing any sort of domain name appraisal or third party valuation in order to continue with a deal. In addition, I can’t imagine someone who needs to understand the value of a domain name would make an offer without first having the valuation.

There are quite a few variations of this type of email. The email typically states that an appraisal certificate or some other form of valuation is needed to complete the deal. The registrant is enticed by a strong offer, which is generally not legitimate. When the domain registrant replies to ask about the certificate, the prospective buyer supplies a link for the registrant to pay for an appraisal. If the registrant agrees and pays, the prospective buyer is actually the beneficiary of the payment. Of course, the deal does not go through because the whole idea is to get a domain registrant to pay for an appraisal and the offer is typically just a ruse.

What I believe Jason is saying is that the offers his clients received were sent through the GoDaddy Whois contact form, and those emails may be more likely to be white listed. In addition, registrants may think they are more official since the email is sent via GoDaddy’s servers and come in an official looking email.

Unfortunately, because GoDaddy redacted Whois data, the contact form GoDaddy provides may be the only way for someone to contact a domain registrant to inquire about a domain name. If there is substantial abuse of the form, it may give GoDaddy a reason to remove this form. That would not be good. Hopefully GoDaddy can investigate and resolve this without removing this helpful tool.

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. A guy brought us an “appraisal” for 80K for a year before we sold it for $3.1 million. I can see asking for an appraisal to prove value to the IRS if a name is donated to charity or to evaluate property in a divorce, but they’re fairly worthless for buying/selling.

  2. It usually comes down to a handful of scammers/spammers using the Godaddy form for ill purposes. Their email addresses are often visible so Godaddy can and should be able to identify them and stop them. Whether Godaddy will act to reduce abuse through the contact form is another question. There is a Godaddy complaint form you can use to submit an abuse report:

  3. Scams more scams in this non transparency industry.
    It is all about money power greed and control.

    You want an official appraisal, I will give you a free BullS certificate.

  4. Well . . . that explains why no one from GoDaddy got back to me after I e-mail responded that I don’t open e-mails or click on links from folks I don’t know; and therefore to either call or e-mail me direct with the, “offer” on 49th State. Chuckles.


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