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Domain Name Trademark Certification

How the scam works:

We received this tip from a reader who almost fell for the Domain Name Trademark Certification scam when somebody offered to purchase his website and domain name. How does it work?

Let's say put a domain name up for sale, on speciality websites such as Sedo. A couple of days after, you are contacted by somebody claiming to be a domain broker from the US looking to buy the domain name on behalf of an investor that wants it for a project.

He offers you more than your asking price but justifies this as being because he gets a commission, so is not interested in a low price. However, he requires that you have the domain certified, to verify that you are the current owner, that there is no trademark issues, and to get an independent market valuation.

"While it is possible to get domain certification from places like GoDaddy, the agent told me that the only one that offers trademark verification is Domain Tools Digital Certification, at http://services.digital-certificates.net/default.htm. The website is bogus; it claims to have great partners of three companies. Amongst them, BBB and Escrow.com. Of course, once you pay the 99 dollars for the trademark verification, their investor withdraws the offer!", says the reader who sent us the tip.

Here is the content of the initial proposal email, received with "the instructions":

"My client offers a sum in $10,000-$30,000 range. The exact figure will depend on the appraisal results (see below). Before we go any further we need only one thing from you:

My client is a professional investor and he buys certified domains only. If your domain has been certified, please email me the certificate and we will proceed with the sale. If you don't have a certificate it's not a problem. I may send you a link where you can obtain it. Please don't worry. It takes 1-2 minutes to order it. The results will be sent to you within 24 hours. Then you send me the certificate via email and we'll proceed with the sale.


The certification includes the following:
1. Independent valuation of the market place. It will show your domain name is not overpriced. On the other hand if the valuation comes higher we will increase the price accordingly.
2. Trademark infringement verification. It proves your domain has no trademark problems.
3. Verification of the owner. It proves you are a legitimate owner and your domain has no any obligations and restrictions. I'm sure that you are legitimate owner so it will be only a formality.

As a broker I'm very interested in a good valuation part of this certificate because my client pays me a commission (10-15% of the sale price) on every domain purchase. So I am not interested in a low price too. You can read about the certificate agency:

http://answers.google-answers.net/archive/threadview192710.htm

The process is very easy:
1. Go to the certificate agency site and order a certificate. Just submit your domains and let them know you have a buyer with $xx,xxxx offer and need a valuation near this number. After several hours you will get the results. If the price in your certificate comes higher we will increase our offer accordingly.
2. Then send these results via email and we'll proceed with the deal.

If you are new to the certification process I can help you with the step by step instructions."

There are a couple of things that don't look right in this message. One is the tone used in the second paragraph; the phrase "The results will be sent to you in 24 hours" sounds like a promise, as it would be coming from the owner. The second one is the fact that the Google Answers link provided has a ".net" domain name ending, not ".com", like all the other legitimate postings.

How to avoid the Domain Name Trademark Certification scam:

Be aware of the Domain Name Trademark Certification approach if you are in the domain name industry. Trust only legitimate companies. Research, read forums, look for genuine online feedback. Many companies claim to be the only ones to service you in one particular area. In the case above, one of the partners that the website specified by our reader claims to partner with, Escrow.com, confirms that Domain Tools Digital Certification is NOT their partner.

 

How to report the Domain Name Trademark Certification scam:

Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:

Report To The FTC Here

 

How to protect yourself more:

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