Have you received a letter from the Domain Renewal Group?
It will look like a regular invoice a busy business might pay without thinking about it and, if you read further, there is a lot of scary text saying that if you don’t pay, you might lose the precious domain name that your business depends on (e.g. darkblue.uk for us – it’s your website address and email address, mainly.)
But don’t pay it, it’s a scam.
We had loads of these over the years from the group’s previous incarnations as ‘Domain Registry of America’ and ‘Domain Registry of Europe’, then we set the whois information on our domains to private and they went away. Every domain has a public record of who owns it, in a similar way to all limited companies have a public record of who the directors are. Of course, in this case you can lie blatantly or just block it and you don’t get in serious trouble with men in pin-striped suits with no sense of humour.
However, one of our clients recently got one of these and very sensibly called us to find out what it is all about. So we are repeating the warning: DON’T PAY IT, IT’S A SCAM. We think that this company got the address details years ago, before we started marking all domains we host as private, and are starting to use them again.
Your real domain registrar (especially us) will not let your domain lapse, it’s their business and they don’t want to lose it. As domain sellers we get a reminder well in advance of the renewal date.
It’s very sad that a company can only get business by taking advantage of most people’s confusion over all things computer based, dressing up notices as invoices and scaring people into paying them.
An example of the letter can be found at http://www.redline.co.uk/blog/2010/04/30/domain-renewal-group-scam/