The Importance of Verifying Domain Ownership
Scams involving the supposed selling of domain names – particularly those in bulk – have been on the increase recently and unfortunately, many people simply do not follow the proper protocols and procedures when engaging in the transaction. There are a plethora of tools available to verify and inspect the authenticity and actual ownership of each domain name in question and anyone in the business of buying and selling domain names should always use these tools and methods to verify each transaction and to always proceed with caution. The following paragraphs contain simple yet helpful tips to keep you on your toes when doing business with a first-time vendor or an existing business relationship.
Insist on Paperwork
Being serious about business, any real entrepreneur will understand conditions that attempt to verify and initiate contracts between other entrepreneurs. Always send invoices and insist on written agreements that clearly outline the transaction in question. In the event a dispute occurs and legal action is needed, you want to make sure to have access to all invoices, transactions and agreements with the individual. Insisting on measures like these with first-time sellers is a must as it will repel the vast majority of anyone who is attempting to scam or defraud you by selling domains of which they do not have ownership.
Don’t Let Your Guard Down
Believe it or not, there are many thieves that deal in domain registration that only attack when you least expect it: after they’ve earned your trust. There are individuals who will operate in a legitimate capacity with domain name buyers for long periods of time and strike once there is an opportunity. A domain seller may make $1,000 off of a $10,000 transaction and do that ten times with a buyer before ripping you off after requesting advance payment and will earn just as much in that one theft as they did during the first ten transactions. Always do things by the book and always keep your records in order in the event they need to be accessed.
Use Available Tools
It is vital that you always make sure that the individual in question has ownership of the domain and there are online tools to help you out. Pingler’s Multiple IP Address Checker is perfect for checking multiple domain names at once to see the IP of each. If all domains have the same IP, then that is a solid indicator that the domains are owned by one individual – the seller. If you are ever in doubt or see domains spread across a range of IPs, ask the seller to transfer them all to one server for verification. Other valuable tools include WHOIS information lookup, which will give you more details about who owns the domain name in question.
In the end, it is up to you to use your best judgement to navigate any situation. Always document the transaction, never hand over money up-front without using an escrow or payment system with chargeback capability and always verify the ownership of the domain through the available tools mentioned.