You own your domain name and it’s an important part of branding your business. Some businesses are even named after their domain name–think Google, Yahoo, and yes, even cgwebhelp. So it’s important that you have control of your domain. You should know where it’s registered, when it will be due for renewal and how the process of renewal works. And you should watch out for domain transfer scams. Here’s a couple of scams that I see regularly.
Domain Registry of America
This company may be a legitimate domain registry service, but their methods for obtaining customers is so unethical, I certainly wouldn’t want to do business with them. Their technique for obtaining new customers? They send an invoice. Well it’s not really an invoice–it’s a solicitation to transfer the domain. If you look very closely at the fine print, you will read that by sending payment you are authorizing them to transfer your domain to their registry service. So the unsuspecting person sends them the $35 (which is likely more than their current registry charges to renew a domain) and unwittingly starts the process of transferring the domain.
This one arrives by email and suggests that your trademark is about to be infringed upon unless you swiftly purchase your domain with the .cn extension, as in yourdomain.cn. This might be of benefit if you have a market in China or you anticipate developing a market in China, but most of the folks I’ve known who have received this solicitation have no intention of marketing to China. For more information on this scam see http://professionalwebservices.blogspot.com/2007/10/chinese-domain-name-scams-from-china.html.
Know Where Your Domain is Registered
If your domain is important to your branding, and it most likely is, you should always know the following:
- Where is it located? GoDaddy, Register, Network Solutions, Enom, OpenSRS, or one of the many other registry services available.
- Know how to access the information and keep it updated with current contact information.
- Know when it is due to expire and the process for payment. If it’s set for auto- renewal, make sure you keep a current credit card and contact information on file with the registry service. If they can’t charge your card because it’s expired, and the e-mail address on file is outdated, you’ll likely lose the domain name.