Dishonest Domain Buyers Pretending To Be Non-Profit Organization - Seller Beware!

Nov 19, 2005 • 2:46 pm | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Miscellaneous
 

While this topic is not necessary search related, I still thought it interesting to bring up as domains these days are very profitable and useful for SEO's and webmasters alike. Domains are instrumental in the work I do as an SEO, and they are the basis and starting point for most projects. My friend Jim Boykin is addicted to buying domain names as much as I am. Truth be told I am the owner for several one-word .org domains. Some that are quite nice, and do from time to time attract the attention of potential buyers. Most often 99% of all inquires I get to buy a domain I own are phishing attempt to collect information. It's bargain buyers looking for a cheap domain to flip to another buyer or a broker collecting for massive domain investment firms where domains are absorbed in the black hole of a large corporation portfolio never to see light again for many many years. Then there is the occasional person that is geniune and really would like to buy the domain for legit purposes. If I was to sell it would be to one of these people.

The problem these days is that buying and selling a domain can be a complex process sometimes. Other times money talks and a transaction and occur very quickly. Most of the time it's important to know who your are buying a domain or selling a domain too. Pedigrees are of little importance in domain transactions and valuation. But knowing who you are dealing with can often tell you a lot about the potential risks and benefits about a domain. People have been known to buy domains that were blacklisted in Google for spamming, effectively making them a useless in terms of SEO potential. One of the biggest problems I have run into lately is buyers that are pretending to be Non-Profit Organizations or other agencies in order to acquire a domain name for cheap. They believe that the element of compassion for a good cause might persuade the seller to lower their buy it now price in order to give the domain to a good cause. If you are an very experienced domain connoisseur then this will not work on you, but the argument is so convicing that its really hard to tell. Its tricked me the first time.

I came to the conclusion that these people might be lieing because I received 4 emails to buy one particular domain in a period of 2 months all pretending to be non-profit organizations.

Here are two of there emails:

Hello,

Is your domain still for sale? I see you purchased it a few months ago. Please let me know. I am opening a non-profit and this is the name I hope for it to have.

Thanks very much, Signed Interested Person

Hi,

I see you've registered the domain DOMAIN.ORG and are using it for returning related search results. I am starting a non-profit and that URL is the best fit. Would you consider releasing it? Or sell it for a modest amount? Best Regards, Another interested domain buyer

I got another email this morning from a dude in Germany claiming to start a non-profit and needed this domain as it was the best fit. Forgot it. Everytime I get one of these emails I raise my asking price.

If someone has a better explanation, I would love to hear it, but after getting many of these for several domains I am starting to suspect some dishonest practices here. Seller beware!

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Comments:

Jim

11/20/2005 02:34 am

wrong link in article...should go here: http://www.jimboykin.com/screw-the-sandbox-buy-and-old-site/

Thomas M. Schmitz

11/21/2005 04:43 am

As a nonprofit development officer I find it particularly offensive when confidence artists pretend to represent nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. However, it is important to note that it is possible for domain owners to receive a request from a legitimate organization. In fact, Seattle Audubon recently requested the donation of a domain for one of our upcoming projects. It is easy to tell the difference. Legitimate organization will be very up front and give you their contact information. If they are an existing organization, they will be able to provide a copy of their IRS determination letter plus their Annual Report or IRS Form 990. They should also have readily available literature about what they are doing. If an organization is in the formation process and seeking donations, then they have to be sponsored by an existing nonprofit for any gifts to be legally charitable. You should be able to easily contact someone at the sponsoring organization who will know about the group and can provide written confirmation. Thomas M. Schmitz Director of Communications and Development Seattle Audubon

Ben Pfeiffer

11/21/2005 05:53 pm

Thomas, Thanks for your comments. They were extremely helpful in explaining the non-profit angle a bit better. I will be sure to check into the things you mentioned next time I get one of the fraudsters.

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