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Beware of “Invoice Scams”

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I regularly use my email to discuss domain names with a variety of third parties. For over fifteen years, I must have exchanged emails with tens of thousands of different people at various entities. This morning, I received a personally addressed "invoice scam" email, and it is something people need to be mindful about.

Most spam emails I get seem to be hastily created. There may be spelling errors or the email may not really be addressed to me. This particular email was addressed to me and appeared to be from an authentic email account. The tip off for me was that the "from" address was different than the "reply to" address on the email. It was clear that the sender wanted me to think he was someone I communicated with via email at some point in time.

I did a quick search for the "from" email, and I see that I had once communicated with this entity several years ago regarding a domain name. My assumption is that this entity's email address was hacked, and the hacker harvested (more…) → Read More


Personal Info May Be Used When Selling a Domain Name

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When I am negotiating the purchase of a domain name as an investment, I might do some cursory research to learn more about the seller. If I am trying to buy a one word .com from a guy who owns a $15 million townhouse in San Francisco, I can probably forget about gradually increasing my offers by $5k every few months.

My presumption is that most buyers of domain names will also do research to discover potentially helpful information about the owner of the domain names. In fact, I would imagine the research done by buyers and their brokers may be much more than cursory information. This information can be used to determine the owner's financial position and may also be used to establish some rapport with the domain owner.

It is probably pretty easy for someone to find out a domain owner's personal details - like a home address. This may give a buyer a general idea about the person's affluence. I would imagine if the domain name is owned by a company, this information may be more difficult to obtain. In general, I would imagine → Read More


Search Google Before Buying a Domain Name

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Most people do some sort of due diligence before buying a domain name. They want to make sure the domain name was not stolen and that it is being sold by its rightful owner before agreeing to buy it. There are several other things I look at when buying a domain name, and there are a variety of tools that I use to do this due diligence.

One of the easiest ways to do cursory due diligence is by using Google. I simply visit Google.com and type in the domain name. Obviously a Google search is free, and it pulls important information from a vast number of sources, many of which I may not even have considered looking at.

Some of the things I consider before buying a domain name, besides the provenance and ownership history of the domain name include: (more…) → Read More


Your Used, Expired Domain Name Will be Bought

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I would encourage every business owner, non-profit organization, individual, or any other domain name owner to renew the domain names they use indefinitely. Whether a domain name was used for a commercial website, private information sharing website, or even if it was simply used as a placeholder, it will almost certainly be bought by someone after it expires.

Every day, I scan the list of domain names coming up for auction as pre-release and pending delete. There are a ton of domain names that get auctioned that seem to have no generic meaning. NameJet, GoDaddy Auctions, DropCatch.com, and other expired domain name auction venues seem to sell hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of domain names each day that had been used in the past. Some domain names are bought because the buyer wants to build a business, others are bought for investments, and others are bought to either monetize with advertising or monetize by using for SEO value. I would imagine that nearly every domain name that has been used will be bought by someone else → Read More


Know When to Listen to Domain Name Advice and When to Ignore It

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One of the best developments in the last 10 or so years in the domain industry is the openness in which people share information. People have been more willing than ever to share their advice and experiences on domain forums, domain blogs, and on social media. This is a relatively new thing for the domain space, which was once much more hush hush.

Domain name investing is great because there are so many ways to find success. I may earn money doing one thing and someone else may earn money doing the opposite thing. Some people buy keyword .com domain names and spurn "brandables." Others buy and sell brandables exclusively. Some buy domain names for parking revenue and others buy domain names that don't earn any PPC revenue. Some people strictly buy .com domain names and others focus on ccTLDs or new gTLDs.

Put simply, domain investing is not a zero-sum game. Everyone can make money doing different things.

In addition to this, people have different (more…) → Read More


A Few Thoughts About Domain Name Ethics

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I want to flesh out some thoughts about ethical domain name acquisitions after an article I wrote generated some comments and a couple of emails asking about it. In the article I wrote last week, I wrote the following about ethics:

"I would never intentionally buy or register a brand name with the idea of selling the domain name to a specific company. That is legally and possibly ethically wrong, and it is also financially risky."

When I buy domain names, I never want to be embarrassed about owning them when someone inquires to buy. I try to buy domain names with large appeal rather than specific domain names only one company or one person would ever want to buy. I feel like it is likely unethical to buy a domain name that only one other person or business would ever want to own (with that being the sole reason for buying it). This might change if I was going to use a particular domain name for a website - like a gripe site I suppose, but I don't see that happening.

I will share some examples to make what I am saying a → Read More


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