Deceitful Domain Renewals aka Domain Slamming

Domain Owners Beware

Ugh, we can’t stand deceitful domain renewal offers and other domain related services. We just got another email and a snail mail on two domains we own that spurred this blog post.

If you are on a “who is” listing for a domain, chances are you get emails and snail mail concerning domain renewals or other internet related offers like SEO.

Offers that trick you into switching domain registrars are known as Domain Slamming and defined as a domain name scam by Wikipedia.

We shy away from calling these offers “scams” because technically a scam involves fraud. Although deceitful, these schemes (better word) do deliver something for the money you dish out. You are often just paying for something you don’t need to do or already have.

Take this so called “notice” we got from iDNS (Internet Domain Name Services).

Do I Need To Pay?

We’ve gotten quite a few of these over the years, and so have many of our clients who call us asking the same question. “Do I need to pay this?”

That question comes up because at first glance this looks like an invoice. It is very well put together to deceive the layman.

If read thoroughly, it is basically a notice that the domain is expiring soon (info they get from who is) and they offer to renew you AND switch you. Someone unfamiliar with how domain registration works could easily mistake this as an invoice since it is crafted in such a way to be misleading.

They use language that is confusing and instills fear:

  • “Domain Registration Expiration Notice”
  • “You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web”
  • “Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web.”

What is frustrating for us is that there is nothing really illegal with this mailing. They spell out exactly who they are, what they do and what you are getting. The way they do it though preys on those who don’t know how domain registration works.

Know Thy Registrar

Every domain on the web should be registered with an ICANN accredited registrar (ICANN also warns of phishing scams).

You can avoid being taken advantage of by knowing who your registrar is and alerting all those who handle your invoicing and billing as to who that is.

We provide several free tools including a who is link where you can easily find out who the registrar is. This info will also let you know who at your company is listed as the contacts. It is very important that you review and update these accordingly.

We can’t stress enough that keeping this information up to date and in a trusted name is key to retaining ownership of your domain name(s).

Other Schemes and Scams

Besides Domain Slamming, there are many other schemes and scams surrounding domains and related services. The common theme is the same as above; language that is misleading, fearful and takes advantage of those who do not know any better.

Earlier we mentioned we also got an email recently. It was a “Reminder: Domain SEO notice”.

As with the domain registration, this so called “Domain SEO Service Registration” confuses and instills fear and urgency in the reader:

  • “Reminder” and “seo registration pending” as if this was something we were doing or had started but didn’t finish.
  • “Time to send in your search engine registration”
  • “Failure to do…may result in cancellation…”
  • “making it difficult for your customers to locate you, using search engines on the web”

Unlike the one above, this is a true scam in every sense of the word as they state they don’t register or renew domains but sell traffic generator software. Huh? Traffic Generator Software? No such thing.

So we dug into this email a bit further looking at where the PAY buttons led.

Not surprised, we found that the domain had been set up only days earlier by someone in China.

Search Engine Registration

Don’t be fooled by these scams! Seek professional guidance, such as your registrar, host or hit us up here in chat.

Search engine registration is free with Google and Bing, the two you should concern yourself with. Others generally work off of them. You can get to Google here and Bing here.

Now you may want to seek some help to make sure your submission to the search engines are done properly. We’d be glad to assist or search the web for advice.

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