Avoid Fradulant and Misleading Registrars

Many people and companies try to take advantage of others through domain name scams.  Don't be a victim of one of these schemes.

Case #1 solicitation to register similar domains

An unsolicited attempt to sell you domain names similar to your own should usually be ignored.  For example, assume your domain name is yourdomain.com.  A domain company may send an email to you offering to register similar domains on your behalf.  I.e. yourdomain.net, yourdomain.org, yourdomain.us, yourdomain.ca, yourdomain.cn, yourdomain.de, your-domain.com etc...  In fact, there are currently 280 TLDs (Top Level Domains, such as .com or .net).  Not to mention the your-domain.com , your-domain.net, and so on.  It is just not practical or affordable to register every available variation of your domain.  You may, however, decide you do want one or two additional domains to park on op of your main domain, or to host a side project, or just to protect your name from someone else buying a similar one.

Ok, so lets assume you do decide that you want to buy one of these similar domains.  There is still no reason you have to register it with the company soliciting you.  Until purchased, domains are freely available from any registrar.  And usually the companies making these offers have signifigantly higher than average costs.  You should also consider that you already have a domain name registered with somebody.  It makes life much easier when all your domains are with the same company.  That way you have one place to go to control them and one company billing you to keep track of.  If you don't like your current registrar, consider shopping around and changeing.  We recommend registering your domains through the company that does your web hosting.  This provides convenient management of all your internet related services.

Another good reason not to register any domains with a company that practices these types of marketing tactics is that these companies are unscrupulous and untrustworthy. They have already sent you spam (an unsolicited email).  They are violating ICANN bylaws by using whois information to create a marketing list.  They often try to scare you or threaten that if you don't buy these domains it will hurt your business.  Below is an example of an email a client of ours received.  Note how they claim that someone else is interested in these domain names and they, out of the kindness in their hearts, are giving the mark an opportunity to buy it first.

____________________________________

Dear Sir/Madam                             

We are a internet service (software development, website design and development, wifi network works to promote the protection of brands, search engine optimization, etc.) company in China,

Several days ago we received a formal application submited by Robert  Jiang who wanted to use the keyword  "
yourobscuredomain" to  register the Internet Brand and with

suffix  .cn / .com.cn / .net.cn/ .hk/ .asia/ .info/ .tw/ .us/ .jp/ .fr/ .de/ ...domain names.

After our initial checking through Internet , we found that the keyword "
yourobscuredomain" to be applied for registration  is  same as your  keyword.Accordingly,before we finish his registration,we would like to get  your final decision about  this,whether you mind his registration,if you believe his registration would affect your bussiness and produce conflict,then we could give your priority to register them,as the keyword is first used by your company.However,if you do not think so,please advise of that and then we will finish his registration.

For  proceeding the next step, Please contact us by Fax ,Telephone or Email as soon as possible.   Under the circumstance of no your reply during the next 5 working days ,we will consider you to give it up and finish his registration.

Yours sincerely
Cherry
Checking Department
Tel:  86 513 85330968
Fax:  86 513 80260081
Email:Cherry@wifinantong.com
Website: www.wifinantong.com

____________________________________

The domain name was changed to protect the innocent, but every other word is as sent.  I know, it is hard not to trust "Cherry" from the "Checking" department.  But I think " Robert  Jiang" is not probably not interested in this obsure domain at all.  Maybe I am just synical, so I will keep checking to see if those domains ever get registered by anyone.  If they do, I will formally apologise to Cherry.  But here is a link to another example of the same message.  http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies-archive.cfm/1279391.html  Either Robert  Jiang is some kind of internet mogul trying to buy up every obscure domain name available, or this is a confirmation that this is a scam.  Im not saying that they are not a real company who could regester these domains, but that they are contacting peoplle under false pretense and illegally in some jurisdictions.

Case #2 solicitations that look like invoices

This practice became popularized by Domain Registry of America. This wikipedia article outlines this scam...

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The Domain Registry of America is an Internet domain registrar based in the Canadian province of Ontario best known for sending solicitations for business that resemble legitimate invoices.
In 2003, the Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with the company for practices such as transferring domain registrations to their service under the guise of domain renewal, a practice known as domain slamming, and having hidden fees. Despite this action, the company still sends mass direct mail to consumers resembling invoices with "domain name expiration notice" in bold print. Targets for the company's mass mailings are known to be in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States with information obtained in violation of their ICANN registrar agreement.
They have also now (Aug 2009) started emailing potential customers with an email scam, purporting to indicate that the transfer of a domain is 'not complete at this time', and requesting the domain owner follows a series of steps to complete the transfer to DRoA. These are highly misleading emails

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The best case scenario for falling for this scam is that youll be paying 3 times the average price for your domain.  We have also heard reports of clients losing thier domain altogether.

Bottom Line

Do not use an disreputable company to register your domain names. A domain name today can be more important than an 800 number in terms of allowing your clients to reach you.  It is your home on the internet and is usually connected to all of the emails in your company.  To lose a domain name can be devistating to a small business.  That is why we recommend not using a company you are unfamiliar with or one that has shady business practices.

If you have any questions regarding your domain name or registering a new name, call us.

 



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