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advice Very strange request from a buyer? Changing name servers before the sale.

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Yesterday I got a really strange request from a buyer, asking me to change my name servers to his server "Before" the sale. He wanted to test if the domain is still indexable in Google for new posts. He said he would buy it if he could run a test, just for a couple hours. I gave him many supporting proof to show the site is indexed (via site:domain.com, semrush history, archive.org, etc.). He still insists that it's a deal breaker to test it first. He seemed legit, has a solid website, not an obvious spammer.

Has anyone had this happen to them?

Have you heard of any malicious things happening related to changing name servers? What's the risk? What's the worse that can happen?

Any other strange requests you received from a buyer?

Any other thoughts on this?


Although it is possible to test that in a couple hours, it's not likely. From changing DNS records to actually indexing in Google. Any site that has been inactive takes some time to get crawled again (days, weeks, but not hours).

I'm thinking, at worse case, maybe someone can launch email spam, phishing scheme or put a virus on the page? Reminds me of those email hoaxes of giving you money for free from a foreign investor, lol.

In any case, it sounds too fishy, not worth the stress.


Thanks!
Richard
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
Well, you won't lose a domain, obviously, since you'll still control it, but from his side he might do something fishy, he's kinda inviting you in 'triangle' scam scheme, so I would avoid such requests.
 
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He might use your domain for porn, spam emails, or some kind of launched ad campaign for those few hours.

Though unlikely and meaningless -- it's possible
 
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Will he give access to his bank account, just for a few minutes?
 
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It's not really a "strange" request, it seems that they're trying to do a background check on the domain.

But it seems like they are not very experienced in doing domain name background checks, so they are asking the wrong thing.

I wouldn't let them change the name servers--that's pretty ridiculous. However, there are other things that you can do to give them more information about the domain: offer to add them as a user in Google Search Console (not an owner but a user) and they can verify that the domain doesn't have any active manual actions (penalties). If the domain does not have a penalty, then there's no problem getting pages crawled and indexed.

Another alternative would be to tell them that they should have a 'domain name background check' done by a third party that's independent of the transaction.
 
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When you rent a domain, there will be Name Server change to customer NS too. But it is dangerous to give someone you don't know permission to control your domain even only for hours. If they do criminal activity, you are the owner. The police will find you, when it is not easy to find location of the criminal.

At least the buyer has to submit a statement they want to buy with their address, name and ID, you can let them use your domain. If not, let it go. If they are a serious buyer, they need the domain, so they'll try to help the seller too. How if the seller change mind and upgrade the price? Serious buyer will afraid that too, but still try to negotiate. Spammer don't have money, and only asking from you.

You can feel the sense if they are serious buyer or only spammer by asking them selling agreement first with their ID.
 
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@bharter, you're right on that, gsc access is a great point! I've seen that done on Flippa a lot.

@surya, good point also. And you're right renting is risky. I have it on Dan and I was thinking about renting it too, but I didn't want to ruin the domain history if he's a spammer. The domain I'm selling has a high SEO DA score and clean history. The agreement is a good idea!

I used archive.org on domains I buy, but now I use it to see the buyer's background. He has a professional website, but looking at the domain history it wasn't that great (a different blog site a couple years ago). So pretty fishy background.

Thanks All!
 
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Quick question: Are any of the domain's contacts (registrant, admin, billing) using the domain as their email address? E.g. example.com & [email protected].
 
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Any other thoughts on this?
ScamPros.jpg
 
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It does not feel right to me. I don't understand how a few hour test would really be meaningful if you granted it, and I worry about possible harms that might not be foreseen, as OP and others have noted.

Renting carries some of same risks, but there is a rental agreement in place that clearly outlines what is not allowed.

-Bob
 
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Any other thoughts on this?
Yes!

Hi everyone!

Hi, I'd like to emphasize that what I'm about to share is not meant as advice or my personal opinion. It's simply a thought that crossed my mind after reading your post. Feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken.

So,

If they're genuinely interested in the domain, they should be willing to work with you on terms that you are comfortable with.

He still insists that it's a deal breaker to test it first.

I believe the buyer's wish can still be fulfilled in a polite manner!

If I were you, I would have responded to buyer politely as.............

-------->>>[ If you're genuinely interested in the domain, I'd like to find a solution that works for both of us. While I understand your request, changing the DNS of my domain to yours poses some security concerns that I must prioritize.

Mr. Buyer, your request to change the DNS of my domain to yours is not possible for me. Please try to understand that due to security considerations, your request cannot be fulfilled. Please don't misunderstand me; it's not about trust, but rather about safeguarding my valuable assets and work policies. I cannot afford to take any risks when it comes to my domain's hard-earned reputation. As you are aware, people can exploit access, even if it's only for a few hours, for spamming purposes.

I have already provided all the necessary evidence regarding the domain name that captured your interest. As far as your 'intention to purchase the domain if you are satisfied with the indexing of your posts on the new domain' is concerned, and if that is the only thing holding you from purchasing this quality domain name, then, I think that can be done on any name servers. Please provide me your quality content, or I myself will create and post it on my webserver for you. I will also grant you access to Google Search Console, where you can easily verify that the content can be indexed without requiring any changes to the nameservers of my domain. This approach allows me to maintain control over my domain and its reputation. I believe this is the most effective way to test the domain's indexing potential.

At this stage, I have already shared all the data I can provide. I regret to say that, considering the importance of my valuable assets, I cannot offer further assistance. If you are still interested in purchasing this domain name, please inform me for testing. I hope you understand my concerns. Thank you for your time! ]]]]]]<<<<--------

Hi, Any Update?

If you don't mind, could you please share the final output? This will help us gain a better understanding and learn from such situations."

Thank you for sharing!
 
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I ended up declining the offer. They still insisted on changing name servers, but the whole scenario was very fishy. Even if I did change the name servers, you can't possibly test site indexing in just a couple hours, but you can do some possible harm in that time.

Renting it would be a good alternative option though, but for my domain it has a high SEO score and clean history, so someone could damage that in a month. However, for other situations, renting would be a good option.

Their site looked very professional, the email and communication looked professional (unlike a normal spammer), but after looking at their website in archive.org I did notice their company has only been around for a short time. This normally is not a big deal, but they claimed to be in business for many years, but the domain history didn't match up.

Also they offer website & seo services, so in my mind a good professional can review a domain without changing the name servers. Also professionals can clean and rank the right domains. Because they were professionals, this also made it more fishy why they needed the name servers for a couple hours and could not research it other ways.

It wasn't worth the risk, and the domain I was selling is a short 2 word domain, so I can wait for the next offer. Not worth the risk at this time.

And to confirm, I've never seen this type of request before, and no one here changed name servers for a buyer. So for learnings, please don't do this if you get requested. There is no need for it if they insist on it. Safer alternatives is giving view access to Google Search Console, as well as testing your domain by using the search operator Site:YourDomain.com in Google, to show it is indexed. I also do this when I'm buying.

So a bit of warning, that spam-like offers can look very professional these days. Be careful of odd requests. And if it's a company, do a little background check on the buyer's domain as well.

Thanks everyone for your input and feedback!
 
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I was going to reply based off pure feeling;
I hate it; i hate it, i hate it, something does not feel right.

I’m glad you opted to go with your gut. Never saw this unusual request before, happy you shared it. Cheers!
 
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Yesterday I got a really strange request from a buyer, asking me to change my name servers to his server "Before" the sale. He wanted to test if the domain is still indexable in Google for new posts. He said he would buy it if he could run a test, just for a couple hours. I gave him many supporting proof to show the site is indexed (via site:domain.com, semrush history, archive.org, etc.). He still insists that it's a deal breaker to test it first. He seemed legit, has a solid website, not an obvious spammer.

Has anyone had this happen to them?

Have you heard of any malicious things happening related to changing name servers? What's the risk? What's the worse that can happen?

Any other strange requests you received from a buyer?

Any other thoughts on this?


Although it is possible to test that in a couple hours, it's not likely. From changing DNS records to actually indexing in Google. Any site that has been inactive takes some time to get crawled again (days, weeks, but not hours).

I'm thinking, at worse case, maybe someone can launch email spam, phishing scheme or put a virus on the page? Reminds me of those email hoaxes of giving you money for free from a foreign investor, lol.

In any case, it sounds too fishy, not worth the stress.


Thanks!
Richard

Not common and a very strange request, from a tech standpoint that's all you need to run a phishing campaign with your domain!
 
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My guess is that they want to read server logs to verify bot activity and human visitors. That's the only way how you can verify seo power of a domain.

They don't want to risk the money. Probably the amount is serious for them. But they risk losing the domain. They may be good seo professionals. But obviously they are not good at making financial decisions. This is very common for technical persons and engineers.
 
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True, makes sense from a technical point of view!
 
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Worst case scenario, after taking control of your servers, one could potentially use bot scripts to send millions of spam emails, & increase your domain's spam score, rendering the domain useless.
 
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