There are thousands of scams on the Internet. This juicy market is packed with uninitiated people and therefore easy to manipulate. A godsend for some malicious individuals!
The domain name market is not making any exception to this trend. Fist of all, being a particularly specific sector it only takes a few technical words to lose the internet user. He then becomes an easy prey for the scammers. On the other hand, domain’s commercial practices are not known from a large audience. Therefore, users are not worrying when being contacted by a third party different from their regular Registrar.
The French Association for Internet Naming (Afnic) defines slamming as “an illicit practice aimed at deceiving customers in order to sell them unsolicited services.”. There are many different type of scams designed to take money from businesses.
In this type of scams, fraudulent companies pretend to be a Registrar and send emails to professionals or individuals. These emails contain an expiration dates notice and invite the recipient to renew his domain name as soon as possible.
A coupon with a renewal notice is attached. Therefore, the recipient can pay his due directly by returning the renewal notice.
A hard copy version also exists, using the official letters’ protocol.
The problem is that it is not a renewal but a transfer. A domain name renewal only happens with the same Registrar you first registered your domain with. A transfer is taking place when transferring a domain from your previous registrar to a new one. Therefore, the costs are much higher.
At best, it is a transfer to this new Registrar. But in the worst case, the recipient will have “just” lost money. Thus, he will still have to pay the renewal fee with his current Registrar in order to maintain his domain name in force.
These “slammers” bet everything on an almost perfect resemblance with an actual renewal notice email. They often hold personal and accurate information about the recipient they are trying to scam. Many factors that put an uninformed person in confidence.
There is an even more cost-effective scam for slammer: offer to register your domain name in a directory supposed to miraculously increase your SEO and significantly increase traffic on your site. Of course, this “service” is not free and is often close to $500.
Indeed, if you take the bet, you will have a hard time seeing if this has been done and the eventual ROI; on its side the slammer will have nothing to do (except to collect your royalty), or will register your domain in a directory that exists, but will have no impact on your SEO or future generations of business leads.
Domain name sales proposals
This is a subtle and particularly effective slamming practice. The goal here is to make the person being scammed believe that someone else is about to buy, or already owns, a domain name similar to their own. The slammer, acting as a Good Samaritan, then indicates that he stopped the registration process of these domain names to give you the opportunity to register them first at an exorbitant price.
But do you really think that it’s realistic? Obviously not and the best thing to do in this case of slamming is not to reply and possibly register the announced domain names with your usual registrar (assuming you find an interest in these domain names).
Many companies are sensitive to this type of approach since they want to prevent any attempt of cyber-squatting. This approach of “cybersquatting” consists in wanting to use the traffic of website by diverting it to a URL resembling at all points from the one which user are diverted.
A few recommendations
In order to protect you against any attempt at slamming, here are some tips:
- Remember that your domain name is managed by one and only Registrar. If you have registered your domain via Netim, no one else can ask you to renew it.
- Try to understand how the domain name industry works, including the business chain. That way, you’ll know where to place yourself and where to ask for information.
- Having a doubt on an email you just received? Contact your domain provider for more information. In any case, do not make decisions in a hurry.
We have not talked about the “phishing” issues in this article in order to simplify its content. Read our article about phishing!