Has this happened to you? You get a letter in the mail letting you know that your domain name is up for renewal. The notice came delivered in an official looking envelope (usually with a logo in the return address that has a patriotic theme). Has it really been a year?”, you probably thought. It most likely has not been a year and it is probably a SCAM! If you carefully read the entire renewal notice, you’ll probably find (among all of the legalese looking text) some small comment that says something like “This is not a bill”. Although these companies appear to be billing you for the renewal of your domain name, you’re really signing up with some bogus Search Engine submission service. They won’t even tell you what the service entails.
Wait—It gets worse! Some of these letters are not just designed to trick you into buying a bogus service—some of these letters are actually tricks to get you to switch your domain name over to a completely other domain name company.
How to Protect Yourself:
• Read the fine print on any letters that you get regarding your domain name via the U.S. Postal Service. It is very uncommon that your domain name registrar will send you a renewal notification in snail mail (U.S. Mail).
• Remember that these letters usually have a logo, in the return address area, that is patriotic themed (red, white & blue) and usually have an icon that is also patriotic. Keep in mind, that this may not always be the case so again—Always read the fine print.
• If you buy/bought your own domain name, get whois privacy protection. This is an extra annual service that you buy with your registrar (like Godaddy.com) that makes your contact information private. This will not only protect you from getting letters like I mentioned, it’ll also prevent a lot of SPAM that you might get via U.S. Mail and, of course, your email.
If you’re a JH Studios customer and you had us purchase a domain name on your behalf, you have nothing to worry about. Our information is put in place of yours (and protected as stated in your web design contract), so you won’t have to deal with issues like this. If you came to JH Studios with your own domain name or chose to purchase your own domain name after becoming a JH Studios customer, you can still help to protect yourself by subscribing the domain name privacy program that your registrar (should) offer.
One more SCAM out there that I’d like to make you aware of is an email that may come to you letting you know that a possible trademark problem may be occurring in . To protect your brand/trademark/copyright of your existing domain name, you need to contact this (overseas) company immediately to prevent another (fictitious) company from getting your domain name (in let’s use China as an example) with the extension .com.cn instead of just .com. For one thing… This is, of course, a scam, but secondly… Why would you care if someone on the other side of the world is using your name? Is there anything that you can do about it? Are you going to buy your domain name for each of the 195 someod countries in the world? No. Probably not…
Be careful. The internet is full of scam artists. Always read the fine print and if you’re still not sure if it’s a scam—always feel free to ask your JH Studios rep. We are here to help our clients succeed online and be safe in the process.