Although the IPv4 market is much more mature and stable than it was in the early days, there are still opportunities for the unscrupulous to take advantage of the unwary. As veterans of those days, we would like to share some of what we see as indicators of potential problems when purchasing IPv4. For many buyers it’s the first transaction of this type and often the last.  Bargains are rare, and desperate sellers have often rented the addresses to spammers to extract as much money as possible before selling them.

To be sure that you’re getting safe, reliable sellers, there are a few things you can look for. We’ve outlined some of the most common red flags we see when it comes to buying IPv4, and what buyers should look out for to ensure a safe transaction.  

These are likely to be international transactions and will involve the buyer wiring large sums in advance of any change of address registration. Who wouldn’t be concerned?

Red Flags to Look for When Buying IPv4

  • Watch for extra fees and charges

With auction and other listing sites, check for any hidden fees or extra service charges. Carefully review the website or listing contract to ensure you understand all fees that you will incur as the buyer, including registry fees. If you still aren’t sure, you can reach out to them via a contact form or phone number on their site to get more information.

  • They won’t give you the IP address range

If you’ve come across an IPv4 seller who won’t give you the range of IP addresses, you should be cautious. Having the IP address range allows you to do your due diligence and help you understand a little bit more about your potential purchase and the seller.  It’s also an indication that the seller’s broker is not the exclusive agent of the block owner and is afraid that you will make an offer directly to the seller after looking them up.

  • Make sure you are buying from the actual owner

We have seen cases where blocks are sold by non-registrants.  The way it works is the fake seller hijacks an old registration by registering a new company name similar to the old registered company who has long been defunct. Then they register a domain that matches one of the old contact emails on the old registration and are able to gain access to the ARIN account.  It seems like you are buying from the registered owner, and they may offer you the email domain and login credentials for the ARIN account. And a bargain price!  But of course if the real original registrant or their successor shows up, you will lose the block you paid for.

  • Be wary of unusual payment schemes

There is no reason why any buyer should ever pay the seller directly. In all IPv4 transactions a trusted third party escrow agent should be used. Both buyer and seller should agree upon this escrow provider, and should understand what the escrow fees and documentary requirements are, and who is paying the fees. Do not use the seller’s lawyer as escrow agent. You should certainly feel comfortable wiring the payment to the escrow agent, secure in the understanding that you will be receiving the desired transfer or a return of your money. Other payment schemes that do not involve the use of escrow should be avoided as potentially problematic.

  • No contracts

Depending on the nature of the escrow provider’s agreements with the buyer and seller it is not always necessary to have a direct contract between the buyer and seller. However we find that any honest seller will not mind signing an contract directly with the buyer in addition to escrow agreements.  So we advise buyers to ask about a direct contract with the seller, and if there is no objection then this is usually a good sign and buyers can look further into the escrow agreements and decide if they want a seller contract in place.

Safely Buying IPv4 with IPTrading

If you are looking to avoid things all together, the best route would be to work with a trusted IP broker like IPTrading. We’ve been around since 1986 and have over 20 years of experience in the IP address market, and can help guide your purchase process to a safe conclusion. If you want your buying experience to be a positive one, contact us to learn more about our services. We also have safe, reliable IP addresses for sale in our IPTrading Post you can review. Whatever you decide, IPTrading is here to help.