Do Not Pay for a Domain Appraisal Before Selling

I saw a thread on NamePros from someone asking about a potential scam. Apparently, the person received an offer to buy a domain name but the person said a (paid) domain appraisal would be necessary before doing a deal. This doesn’t seem legitimate to me.

From the NamePros thread:

“I just received an offer to buy my domain from a supposedly domain broker and the email seems to come from a large internet company in Japan.

However, the agent says that due to regulations in Japan, the buyer needs to have a proper certification to do a bank transfer due to the price being more than 10k.

The broker then sent me a link to get my domain certified for USD199. “

I can not think of a real reason why an appraisal would be necessary to complete a deal. I can not imagine a legitimate domain buyer or domain broker would require one. From my perspective, it seems like the prospective buyer is trying to induce the domain owner to pay nearly $200 (yes, $200!!!!) for a domain appraisal and will then disappear once the payment is made. I can’t think of anyone who has paid for a domain appraisal in order to justify or “certify” a domain name sale.

Domain names are a dynamic market. The prices and values can change quickly depending on a variety of factors. Domain appraisals are generally not all that helpful. In my opinion, paying almost $200 for a domain appraisal is ludacris.

If someone ever wants a domain appraisal to justify a purchase, they can pay for it themselves. I can’t understand why they would need one, but if they do, that is on them. I would never pay for anything to close a domain deal, with the exception of my lawyer(s) and an escrow service.

I can’t say for sure whether this person’s inquiry is a scam, but it certainly doesn’t seem legitimate, and I would never, ever, ever pay for a domain appraisal in order to complete a sale. If a buyer has some sort of hoops that need to be jumped through, they can pay or they can have their broker pay. End of story.

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 received virtually the same thing. The email I received was an obvious scam. It was clear that it was just a way for the scammer to get you to pay for an appraisal.

  2. How could anyone doubt this is just the appraisal scam everyone has come to know and love, whatever the flavor and dress up

    I still haven’t tried this come back yet:

    “Before I can proceed with any appraisal I will need a $100 negotiation fee from you first…”

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