16 Nov ALERT! Beware of Phony Domain Renewal Notices!
Back in the 80’s and 90’s there was a fraudulent scam called “Telephone Slamming.” Wikipedia describes this as “an illegal telecommunications practice of changing subscribers’ telephone service without their consent. Slamming became a more visible issue after the deregulation of the telecommunications industry in the mid-1980s, especially after several brutal price wars between the major telecommunications companies.”
In the 2000’s, something I like to call “Domain Slamming” started popping up. This was the deceptive practice of sending you a piece of postal mail or fax or email that had the appearance of being a domain renewal notice, but was in fact a solicitation to buy something from their company.
Here’s the scenario: Either and email, postal mail or fax comes in to your company or to your spouse who calls you and says : “We just got a bill for your domain name. Should I just pay it?” Being busy and wanting this off your plate, often the response is “Just pay it.” Then, in effect, an actual contract is sent back to the fraudulent company authorizing them to charge you for their services. And once the authorization has been sent to them and their services rendered, it is very difficult to undo. I’ve heard this story over and over again.
There are 3 kinds of Domain Slamming:
1. Changing Domain Registrar:
What looks like a bill for your domain is really an order form for you to switch companies, and usually for more money!
2. Buying Domain Name with Different TLD Suffix Extension:
Your domain is yourdomain.COM but you’re getting an invoice for yourdomain.CC, yourdomain.US, yourdomain.BIZ or any infinite number of other Top Level Domain extensions. You probably don’t want these domains, but if you did, you should buy them through your regular domain registrar company.
3. Buying Search Engine Registration or Optimization services:
This invoice has your domain on it, but it is some ancillary service related to services for your website. Chances are that this company is not your best option for these services. If you like what they are offering, go online and find a reputable company offering the same thing and not a company that is trying to fool you into paying them.
Most of us now know that a domain name should only cost around $14-15 (or $10 like at http://www.HoopJumperDomains.com) but the fees these companies charge for their domains usually much higher, like in the $35 per year price range. This should be an immediate flashing red light. (And if you right now paying $35 per year for YOUR domain, you should really switch companies.)
Another red light is if you receive this notice by postal mail or fax. You should only be receiving this renewal notice via email and only from the company you are doing business with. KNOW WHO YOUR DOMAIN COMPANY IS AND READ THEIR EMAILS!
Let me repeat… it is VERY IMPORTANT that you always read your Domain Company’s emails to confirm they are not alerting you to the fact that your credit card on file is expired and that you could lose your domain name. For more on this subject please read: Don’t Lose Your Domain Name!