These days, inquiries that seek to profit from the good name of a previously existing company’s domain are on the rise.
Here’s how it works.
Speculators, with an apparent need for anonymity and trust, find and register domains that once belonged to large, real life corporations.
For example, companies that were formed in the 90’s then went under during the bubble burst of the 2000’s, often let their domains drop.
These domains might have changed hands several times in recent years.
These “wise guys” register the domain, set up an MX record forwarder for emails, and use the established “good name” of the previous owner to place inquiries or offers for domain names, assuming they are anonymous. They don’t even have to set up a web site for this purpose.
Using DomainTools and its Screenshots.com sister site, one can see exactly what type of content was in place over the years. If the domain dropped and was re-registered under privacy, with no resolving web site, that’s a good enough sign that the inquiry arrives from a proxy buyer.
Not every such inquiry indicates that big money is behind the attempt to get the domain at a lesser price, and legitimate brokers do it differently.
If the domain they are interested in is already listed at a domain selling venue, such as the Uniregistry Market, Sedo or Afternic, then such direct inquiries via the WHOIS have a good reason to circumvent the system.
Always treat incoming inquiries of valuable domain assets as potential discount opportunities for the buyer, and an increased risk for a ROI loss for you.