Domain Name Expiry & Scams

Beware the official-sounding emails, letters and phone calls you get regarding your domain name(s), which tell you it is about to expire and you should renew now.

As an example, there is one company which has the very official sounding name “Domain Registry of Canada”. They often send notices out to domain name holders advising they are “sending you a domain expiration notice as a courtesy to you as a domain name holder.”

Just as a sidenote, there is no “one” domain name registrar for Canada (or the US). Just like there is no “one” plumber for Canada, even if the company name is The Canadian Plumbing Company.

As a frequent recipient of these types of letters, I know to chuck them in the garbage. I just renew my domain name with the company I purchased it from, as I will get a notice directly from them when it’s time to renew. Or, if I wanted to, I could renew my domain name through another domain registrar if I preferred.

The prose in their communications is designed to create a sense of urgency about the need to renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the web, and has some dire warnings about the potential ramifications for you if you do not renew it immediately.

Although they do include sentences that advise this is a solicitation “offer” and not an official bill/invoice etc., the overall impression and tone of the letter is really established by 2 key tactics:

  1. Use of the business name “Domain Registry of Canada”
  2. The proactive approach to sending out the letter to the domain holder prior to the domain name expiring

What do you think – is this just a really clever marketing tactic, or is it an unscrupulous business practice?  Have you heard of any other domain name “scams” you’d like to share? Please do!