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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Great Domain Registration Scam

We regularly receive "notifications" from scammers purporting to want to save our brand on our behalf against another company or person who is trying to register domain names such as creativeintersection.cn and creativeintersection.hk (among others).

Like all good scams, they contain just enough information to seem legitimate - and they always include a short time during which you should take immediate action to save your brand.

The emails usually read a little like this:
"We are a department of business domain registration who have been requested by a client to register a domain name for Creative Intersection. We know that you own that brand and have decided to save your from the other company registering that brand before you do ... by allowing you to register those domains first."

Now, as you can imagine we have been around the block long enough to know that this is a scam. It just "smells" wrong.

Frighteningly though, we receive at least a couple of phone calls every few months from panicked clients who have received such a notification and ask us to register the domains instead of the company that contacted them. We generally convince them not to bother.

One such client - a rather large online business - actually purchased a slew of regional domain names "just in case" and only later admitted that they were taken for a ride.

Folks - here's the deal:
  1. There is NO "other business" trying to take over your brand.
  2. For the most part, the scammers will actually sell you the domain(s) in question, at massively inflated prices.
  3. If you have fallen for this scam in the past, don't feel too bad ... The Internet can be a confusing place to do business, and there are lots of people trying to take advantage of your naivety.

Below is a look at how the scam email often looks (yes - this is a real email from a real scammer):

A typical Domain Registration scam email