Thursday, February 20, 2014

Protect yourself from domain name scams


Many of you have domain names for your own website or just for your own email address. There are those who will try to take advantage of your lack of knowledge about domain names. Here are just a few to be careful about.

The most common is those that send you an email or a letter through the US Mail telling you that your domain name is about to expire and you should renew it with them. What’s not so obvious without a careful reading of the letter, if then, is what’s really happening is that by authorizing them, they will try to move your domain name away from your current domain name servicer (which we hope is DomainNameSanity.com) to them and they will add one year to the domain expiration date in that process. What happens very frequently is that they cannot get this “transfer” done and they just keep the money without providing you the renewal. The solution for you is to only renew the domain name through the website where you purchased it; never through the US Mail.


A relatively new tactic is for you to get an email that someone is attempting to register your domain name with a different suffix which will damage your domain name and “brand”. However, they have temporarily stopped it to give you some time to contact them to protect your domain name. For example, we’ve received an email that someone was going to register DomainNameSanity.cn but we could get it first. For those that don’t know, “cn” is the country code for China. We want you to understand two things. First, no one was actually going to register DomainNameSanity.cn. Second, you don’t need to be afraid of that because people who are told to go to DomainNameSanity.cn frequently go to DomainNameSanity.com but no one told to go to DomainNameSanity.com decides to go to DomainNameSanity.cn instead.

The other questionable practices you’ll see involves offers to provide you with various services. You need to look at these services very carefully as it is very rare that you need it. Here are just a few:

1.  Trademark protection offered in various parts of the world. If you do decide that you need a trademark in the United States, we suggest that you start at http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics/index.jsp

2.  Listing services are being offered to get your website listed at search engines and directories. While some people may want a service like this, search engines like Google will almost certainly find you on their own. In an upcoming blog, we’re going to write about “sitemaps” which tells search engines all the pages at your website

3.  Search Engine Optimization (or “SEO”) is and can be a valuable service. However, we’ve found that about 95% of the time people who purchase it are disappointed. The main problem is that either the results are very temporary or you get a high search engine listing for keywords that are rarely searched. We will be covering SEO basics in upcoming blogs. Our comment here isn’t to not do it but just be very careful about who you hire and set realistic expectations.

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