As an active member of DNForum I communicate with dozens of people each week. Our company uses this forum right now to find talented developers to create some of our mini-site flips.
One thing I’ve learned over time is that trusting people in the digital world should be taken with far more caution than many might think. In your everyday life you encounter people, at work, at school, at a bar, and get the chance to talk with them. While you are bound to run-into dishonest people, looking at someone’s facial expressions, seeing what they are wearing, how they present themselves, can tell you a lot about whether or not they are trustworthy.
Online the game is very different and I am seeing more and more scam-artists enter the domaining arena. As domaining becomes increasingly popular over the next few years it will become more and more important to make sure you work with people you can trust. As a business owner this is one of the most difficult task for me – finding good employees, consultants, etc. that I can trust.
To give you a great example let’s look at DNForum. I have posted quite freqently looking for developers. Some have been great and reliable, others have seemed to be until something fishy comes-up. One member I communicated with told me they could develop websites for us but needed access to the control panel at my hosting company. As a previous web developer myself and previous owner of web development company (as well as having a Masters in Engineering) I know for a fact that this is information you don’t want to give to anyone. Access to a registrar Control Panel can allow people to unlock and transfer your domains, change your passwords, etc.
While it was easy for me to say, "Thanks, but no thanks," I’m not sure how many new domainers will use the same caution. To some reading my blog this may be obvious, to others this might be the little push you need to be just a little bit more cautious.
What I will say to everyone is this: When conducting business on any Forum try to put as many safety precautions in place. This will not only protect your assets but also separate the honest from the scammers. If you tell someone you only accept payment for your domains through Escrow.com and you will pay the fee, but they insist on PayPal…something is fishy. By putting-up an initial shield against fraud you’ll notice that less and less scam artists will want to do business with you.
Also – beware companies operating in foreign countries. It is next to impossible to bring a foreign company to court and there are many scam artists operating overseas because they know they can get-away with it. I’m not saying don’t trust anyone from a different country from you – instead I’m saying be cautious and make sure they are trustworthy. Put extra procedures in place to protect your valuable assets.