Domain name scams

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Domain name scams are types of Intellectual property scams or confidence scams in which unscrupulous domain name registrars attempt to generate revenue by tricking businesses into buying, listing or converting a domain name. The Office of Fair Trading in the United Kingdom has outlined two types of domain name scams which are "Domain name registration scams" and "Domain name renewal scams".[1][2]

Domain slamming[edit]

Example of Domain Slamming phishing email by Network Solutions.png

Domain slamming (also known as unauthorized transfers or domain name registration scams) is a scam in which the offending domain name registrar attempts to trick domain owners into switching from their existing registrar to theirs, under the pretense that the customer is simply renewing their subscription to their current register. The image on the right shows the initial domain slamming phishing email sent by Network Solutions to OpenSRS customers. The term derives from telephone slamming.


In 2004, ICANN, the domain name governing body, made changes to its policy for transferring domains between registrars. They introduced a single protective measure that can help prevent unauthorized transfers: domain locking. Critics, although advising owners to apply the new feature, said that this was an "unnecessary and customer-unfriendly change".[3][4]

Fake trademark protection[edit]

Although less common than domain slamming, another domain name scam primarily coming from registrars based in China involves sending domain owners an e-mail claiming that another company has just attempted to register a number of domains with them which contain the targeted domain owner's trademark or has many keyword similarities to their existing domain name. Often, these domains will be the same as the one(s) owned by the targeted individual but with different TLDs (top-level domains). The scammer will claim to have halted the bulk registration in order to protect the targeted individual's intellectual property, and if the email recipient doesn't recognize the entity attempting to register these domain names, that they should respond immediately to protect their trademark. If the scam target does respond by email or by phone, the scammer will then try to get them to register these domain names for several years upfront with the registrar running this scam.[5]

Other variations of this type of scam include registrars that target their own existing customers with similar made-up threats of another entity trying to register the same domain as theirs under different TLDs. As well, some domainers are known to search for available TLDs for already registered domains, then emailing the owner of the registered domain and offering to sell the unregistered variations to him/her for a marked up amount. If the target agrees to the deal, the domainer will then purchase the domains on the spot for the regular $7~20 registration fee and immediately sell it back to the victim for a few hundred dollars.


This section outlines reported domain scams as a timeline of events, showing how they have evolved, the companies involved and the outcome of complaints.

See also[edit]


1.a b c d e f g h i Entities and resellers associated with Brandon Gray include, Domain Registry of America, Domain Renewal Group, Domain Registry of Australia, Domain Registry of Canada, Domain Registry of Europe, Internet Registry of Canada, Liberty Names of America, Registration Services Inc, Yellow and Internet Corporation Listing Service.[41]


  1. ^ "Domain name scams". Types of business scams. Office of Fair Trading. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Richardson, Tim (12 July 2002). "Three domain name scams". The Register. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Rohde, Laura (November 12, 2004). "ICANN domain transfer policy takes effect". InfoWorld. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Lake, Matt (November 22, 2004). "Why it's easier than ever to lose your domain". CNET. Retrieved 22 July 2011. 
  5. ^ Lev, Amir (2009-12-09). "Beware Domain Registration Scams". PCWorld Communications, Inc. Retrieved 2012-05-04. 
  6. ^ MARRON, KEVIN (Nov 6, 2002). "'Domain slamming' surfaces on the Web". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Charles, Bergeron. "Competition Bureau Issues Warning to Canadians about Misleading Mailings for Internet Domain Name Registrations". Competition Bureau. 
  8. ^ VeriSign hit with slamming lawsuit
  9. ^ Federal Trade Commission: Court Shuts Down Website Selling Bogus Domain Names ".USA," ".BRIT," Deceptively Marketed as Useable
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b Richardson, Tim (17 July 2002). "Domain Registry of Europe defends tactics, sues Tucows". The Register. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  12. ^ Michener, Lang. "1446513 Ontario Limited v. Tucows Inc. et al.". TuCows. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  13. ^ COOPERMAN, MICHAEL. "Legal Proceedings". QUARTERLY REPORT. Tucows Inc. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  14. ^ says rival duped customers. By Lisa M. Bowman; Staff Writer, CNET News September 18, 2002 12:37 PM PDT
  15. ^ Richardson, Tim (17 July 2002). "ASA slams ‘intimidating’ Domain Registry of Europe mailshots". The Register. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  16. ^ Richardson, Tim (16 August 2002). "Ad watchdog critical of Domain Registry of Europe". The Register. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  17. ^ Libbenga, Jan (6 August 2003). "Legal action threatened against domain slammer". The Register. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  18. ^ VeriSign slammed for domain renewal scam
  19. ^ Federal Trade Commission v. Domain Registry of America, Inc.
  20. ^ Federal Trade Commission: Court Bars Canadian Company from Misleading Consumers in Marketing of Internet Domain Name Services
  21. ^ The Register: Court bars Canadian domain slammer
  22. ^ Stephen Lawson (31 December 2002). "Judge Halts Domain Deception". PC World. Retrieved 24 May 2008. 
  23. ^ King, Julie (July 2, 2004). "Toronto man sentenced in Bogus Invoice Scam". CanadaOne. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ SAARINEN, JUHA (August 7, 2006). "Rafferty brother continues domain slamming scam". Fairfax Media Business Group, Fairfax New Zealand Limited. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  27. ^ Seltzer, Larry (2007-07-16). "Beware Fake Domain Renewal Notices". eWeek. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ Mitchell, Robert (November 7, 2007). "The not-quite-domain-name-slamming school of marketing". Computerworld Inc. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  30. ^
  31. ^ ICANN: ALAC Statement to the Board of ICANN on Amendments to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement Sun 14 Sep 2008
  32. ^ "ASA Adjudication on Domain Registry of America". ASA. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  33. ^ Most of the renewal of a domain name Posted May 26, 2010 by Marina Legrand
  34. ^ Schmugar, Craig (30 March 2010). "Persistent Domain-Renewal Scam Alive and Kicking". McAfee Labs Blog. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  35. ^ Jackson, Brian (9/22/2010 5:57:00 AM). "Alleged 'domain slammers' lose dot-ca licence, sue CIRA $10 million". ITworldcanada. Retrieved 12 July 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  36. ^ Shea, Dave. "Domain Registry Scam". mezzoblue. Dave Shea/mezzoblue. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  37. ^ Jackson, Brian (2010-09-22). "Alleged 'domain slammers' lose dot-ca licence, sue CIRA $10 million". ITworldcanada. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ Neylon, Michele (19 July 2014). "Domain Registry Of America Suspended By ICANN". Domain Industry & Internet News. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  41. ^ Chirgwin, Richard (20 July 2014). "Brandon Gray aka Namejuice suspended by ICANN". The Register. Retrieved 4 August 2014.