I have received a number of emails from readers asking about offer emails they receive that seem fishy. Many times, these offers are domain name appraisal scams. These scams come in a variety of formats, but each has the same objective – getting the domain owner to pay for a domain appraisal when he thinks a potential buyer is interested in purchasing a domain name.
Typically the email offer will be for a domain name, and the scammer will suggest getting an appraisal for the domain name. Usually the scammer will tell the domain owner he is willing to pay either the amount of the appraisal or a percentage of the appraisal, depending on the email.
The email will list a few domain appraisal websites, one of which may be either owned by the scammer or a commission is earned for appraisals. The scammer generally has a 33% chance the domain owner will choose his appraisal service (probably much more considering the price comparison of the appraisals). After the domain owner pays for the appraisal, hoping to close a deal, the scammer is never heard from again.
While these scams probably aren’t illegal, I call them scams because the emailer probably didn’t intend to buy the domain name – just to get the domain owner to buy a domain appraisal.
More info with examples can be seen on these sites: