New Domain Appraisal Scam Using A Fake HostGator Email Address

There is a new domain name appraisal scam out and it is better than the last one I saw. It is a combined domain valuation and a “trademark infringement varification ” scam.

The scammer first emails the domain name owner asking if the domain is available for sale impersonating someone working at HostGator. They use a fake HostGator email address “” from a domain they just registered 2 months ago: The subject says “Offer to purchase ***********.com” but of course there is no offer in the email.

You can easily tell that this is not a HostGator domain name as the domain name is behind whois privacy (when in fact is not) and the .com domain ( is free to register (scammer chose to register a cheap .info domain). If it was HostGator they would have used to contact you. The domain redirects to that does not resolve. is probably registered by the same scammer and has no nameservers, thus inactive.

The scammer has registered the domain name at GoDaddy and is using GoDaddy hosting from what I see from the nameservers and the IP address of the email message. is a GoDaddy IP. I expect GoDaddy to suspend the hosting services ASAP.

This is the first email I got from the scammer:

I represent an investor from Canada who wants to buy ********.com for a brand new web project.
The buyer is a professional investor from Toronto.
Investing in web names is a new direction for him.
I located your contact information in a domain name whois lookup and understand that you own the domain name.
Are you still interested in selling?
I work for a hosting company based in UK.
I help our clients to buy and sell intellectual properties.
If you have more names I can help you to sell them.
Best Regards,
Best Regards,
Izabela Henc
Vice President

I then asked what the offer is only to receive this email soon after:

Our commission is 5% only. You will pay it after receiving the funds from the buyer. In order to earn a better commission I will do my best to sell your domain at the highest price possible.
My buyer invests money in online projects. He buys 10-12 domains for each project to get the maximum traffic possible.
The buyer will pay you the appraised value. He needs an independent expertise because you and me are interested in a high sale price and my buyer does not want to overpay. He also needs it for accounting and tax purposes.
Based on my experience, I think your name is in $15,000 – $20,000 range.
Do you have a certificate of the appraised value from an independent authority (not your broker or auction site)?
If you don’t have it’s not a problem. You can order it online. I will suggest the best source when we can get a good valuation.
The certificate will increase the value of your domain. It’s a must do if you wish to sell your domain to a professional investor with a good budget.
The certificate must include only 2 things to be accepted by my buyer:
1. Independent valuation of the market price. Only manual valuation is accepted. No valuations generated by scripts.
2. Trademark infringement verification. It proves your domain has no trademark problems. He would like this verification to be included in the appraisal report. It’s not a problem because some companies include the TM verification for free.
You can read about the recommended certification agency at Google Answers: (?Domain Broker? is my nickname there).
The process is very easy and will take only two minutes of your time:
1. Go to the certificate agency site and submit your domain for the certification. Please let them know you have a buyer with $XX,XXX offer. It will help you to get a better valuation. In the comment field please ask them to guarantee that the appraised value will be higher than the appraisal service fee. In this case you will not risk to pay and get a low appraisal. I suggest you this company because they protect you as the seller from getting a low appraised value. They will send you the payment instruction only if your domain is worth $1,000 or higher. Otherwise your request will be declined and you will not pay them anything. Other companies does not offer this option.
2. If your request will be approved, please pay them the fee and wait for 24 hours. Then send me the results via email and we will start the sale process. As soon as he receives your certificate, he will buy your domain via an escrow service. Any escrow service will be able to pay you via Paypal, Wire, Western Union or any other method you prefer.
He wants to ensure the safe delivery of the funds to you. Furthermore, since this is our first time conducting any business, I believe that using a third-party escrow service can provide a safe, well defined sale process.
If you are new to certifications or domain sales, I can send you step by step instructions. I will also help you during the whole sale process. You will be able to contact me at any time.

In short the scammer promises to sell your domain name for a 5% commission and in the $15,000 – $20,000 IF you obtain a certificate.  He says that the buyer needs it so he will not overpay and for accounting and tax purposes. (nice twist)

Then the scammer redirects you to a Google Answers question that he has created using several aliases. He then promotes his own “certification” website at Certification for a single domain is worth $189. Website claims that their partners are and that is course once again a lie.

The scammer will never buy your domain name. They are just looking to sell you a worthless certificate.


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the blog in 2012.


  1. This is not new, I reported it to host gator support 2 months ago via live chat, they obviously did nothing about it

  2. Thanks for the putting this experience out there. I also received this email for my own domain and suspected this exact thing was going on. Honestly, the biggest red flag was offering $20k for a crappy domain. lol it’s worth like….well I’m letting it expire that’s how crappy it is.

  3. I got pretty much the same mail form and in “Investor from Canada”! Thought about trying to get more infos to see who is selling the “certificate”, but didn´t want to waste any time.

    “Crap crap crap…

    Best Regards,

    Fred Goldberg

    Vice President

    Intellectual Property Specialist


  4. I got this too, beware

  5. I had also get the same to same messages for my domain from 123 REG UK HOSTING.
    And the Other Point is, After opening their website, I had constantly seen the Advertisement of their website in Google Ads – Youtube, etc. So At one moment of time, I thought It may Genuine!

  6. Thanks for the warning! I believed the email at first read-through (maybe I was too proud of my domain) but my red flag went up when I googled the “broker’s” name and found nothing. Then I noticed the .info email address and the .online google link and it all fell apart.

  7. i also got same mail for buying but now i’ll not respond his mail. thanks

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