This post is reporting scams that I have heard about. Martin Avis recently wrote in his Kickstart newsletter about a scam that affects domain owners. I thought I should pass on the warning and add my own experience.
What happens is that just before your domain is due for renewal, you receive a letter in the mail asking you to send anything up to $100 to renew it. Remember, anybody can get hold of your address from Whois, unless you have private registration which usually costs extra.
I assume that these people then instruct you how to change from your current registrar to theirs, and you are locked in for renewals forever, unless you manage to extract your domain for another transfer.
There’s plenty of fine print to make it legal, and many people with just one website are probably taken in by this.
And this is not the only legal business scam …
I had a similar thing after registering a trademark for one of my sites. (Maybe I’m paranoid, but I wanted to make sure that nobody could set up with the same business name, and then come along and demand my domains on the grounds that they held the trademark.)
Anyway, as soon as my registration application went public, I received a very official-looking letter asking for something like $500 (‘reduced rate’ of course) to ‘record’ my new trademark in another country. The company name was similar to the name of the government trademark office – but not quite the same. And in the fine print, they explained that I would be paying for my trademark to appear in a published directory. In other words, it was not for official trademark registration at all.
$500 to appear in a directory that nobody is going to read …
I don’t think so!
Savvy internet marketers will not be taken in by these scams but they could catch a lot of people setting up their first business. And I’m sure there are many other tricks like this that threaten innocent website and small business owners.
Always read the fine print …
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This is an extremely lucrative niche … see all the details here:
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Filed under: Internet Marketing Scam