Unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers out there, and many try to impact your website or influence how you advertise online. We received a lot of emails, calls, and texts about domain solicitation/scareware/slamming letters recently so we thought it would be helpful to let you know what to watch out for.
What is Domain Slamming?
Domain Slamming is when a company that has no connection to the domain owner (registrant):
- Sends a misleading Domain Name Expiration Notice encouraging the domain owner to transfer the domain
- The notice tries to scare domain owners that their websites will expire if the domains are not renewed
- Does not highlight the reality that the fake bill involves a domain transfer to another company
Typically, your domain name registrar (BlueHost, HostGator, GoDaddy, NameCheap, Network Solutions, etc.,) will only contact you by email to renew your domain name or hosting subscription. Domain Registry snail mails out Domain Name Expiration Notices. The window envelope has, in red text, OPEN IMMEDIATELY – if it looks like a bill, is it? In this case, it is not.
Domain Registry states it is sending the notice as a courtesy letting domain name holders know their domain name registration is due to expire in the next few months and that you can switch to Domain Registry.
Red Flag – They try to create a sense of urgency with text like:
- Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity…
- Act today!
Cost is Another Red Flag
Domain name renewals typically run from $15 to $35/year. Domain Registry charges $50/year.
This is a copy of a recent Domain Registry’s Domain Name Expiration Notice with the domain name replaced with a sample domain name and other highlighted information. At the end of the third paragraph (highlighted above in yellow), it states:
You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated below unless you accept this offer. This is not a bill, it is rather an easy means of payment should you decide to switch your domain name registration to Domain Registry. [emphsis added]
At the bottom of the page, there is an offer to buy additional domains (yourwebsite.net and yourwebsite.org) also at $50 each per year.
What Should You Do?
- Know the name of your domain name registrar. We can help you find this information if you’re unsure.
- Put your domain name and hosting renewals on your billing calendar so you’ll know when to expect the renewals.
- Confirm with your domain name registrar and hosting company that they have your correct contact and billing information.
- Throw out or shred the paper Domain Name Expiration Notices from Domain Registry
- If you’re concerned about someone potentially stealing your domain information you can purchase privacy protection for your domain to avoid these scams.