Renew your domain name now for the low price of $30

by RanD
31 replies
So, I received a letter yesterday from "The Domain Registry of America" who, as a "courtesy to domain name holders", wanted to let me know that my domain name registration is about to expire. It then said:

"You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the web, and now is the time to transfer and renew you name from your current Registrar to the Domain Registry of America. Failure to renew your domain by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web". "Act today!"

Ooh! Scary stuff. :p

Now, that domain doesn't actually expire for another 4 months, but they want me to act by March 29the to "take advantage of their best savings". And what are their "best savings"? Yep, $30/yr or 2 years for $50. They also offered me the .net and .info version of that domain name for $50 for 2 years (no one year option). There is no hosting or anything involved, just the name renewal.

I honestly don't know what they are trying to accomplish with this. It looks kind of official, and kind of looks like a bill, but who is going to fall for it? It's a renewal. People have already paid for their domains and know how much they cost. Who would ever got through the hassle of changing registrars for a 300% cost increase? It's an actual paper notice mailed out too. That has to cost them a bit. I can't imagine that they can make a profit that way.

Maybe there are people out there that have no clue what their domains cost. <shrugs> If you are one of them..let this be a warning to you.

Have a good day.
#$30 #domain #low #price #renew
  • Profile picture of the author jpf
    Yep, I've gotten a few of these...and I'm in Ireland!!

    I'm sure someone must be giving these guys money or they wouldn't stay doing it!!
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  • Profile picture of the author permaguru
    It's a well known scam. I get them in Canada all the time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    They prey on inexperienced webmasters and mom and pop shops that hire out their web work. It might be obvious to you that they're trying to trick people into changing registrars, but believe me, as a writer about web design I field questions about this company on a regular basis.

    They do have a disclaimer, in very small print the last time I saw one of their mailings, that informs you it isn't a bill but a solicitation to change registrars. They're barely legal, in my opinion, but they've been doing this for years so they must be making money at it - scum that they are.
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    • Profile picture of the author RanD
      Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

      They prey on inexperienced webmasters and mom and pop shops that hire out their web work. It might be obvious to you that they're trying to trick people into changing registrars, but believe me, as a writer about web design I field questions about this company on a regular basis.

      They do have a disclaimer, in very small print the last time I saw one of their mailings, that informs you it isn't a bill but a solicitation to change registrars. They're barely legal, in my opinion, but they've been doing this for years so they must be making money at it - scum that they are.
      Yes, it does say that it's not a bill, but they try to make it look like one. It's a shame that they try to take advantage of people like that, even worse that it seems to be profitable enough that they can afford to send out actual letters instead of email spam.

      I wonder if it's random or if they target domain names that look like they don't belong to bigger businesses. I have 2 domains expiring before that one and they didn't mention those.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kirk Ward
      Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

      They prey on inexperienced webmasters and mom and pop shops that hire out their web work. It might be obvious to you that they're trying to trick people into changing registrars, but believe me, as a writer about web design I field questions about this company on a regular basis.

      They do have a disclaimer, in very small print the last time I saw one of their mailings, that informs you it isn't a bill but a solicitation to change registrars. They're barely legal, in my opinion, but they've been doing this for years so they must be making money at it - scum that they are.
      Yes they do. I got several of them when I first got started registering names and almost fell for them. They do everything they can to make it look like something from "The Government" because most folks don't know who does what where in the process and want to be "safe."
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  • Profile picture of the author DogScout
    Send a bill to the US Government and you are likely as not to get it paid. Then it usually takes them 3-4 years to figure it out and put you in jail.
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  • Profile picture of the author digidoodles
    My hubby and I just had this conversation yesterday about a notice I received-- same company, same letter.

    They obviously trick enough people who have no clue-- I mean, postage on a zillion letters isn't cheap!

    Warmly,

    Brandi
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  • Profile picture of the author brettkbrett
    I get them all the time.
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  • Profile picture of the author brettkbrett
    I get them all the time. Just ignore it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Sarge
      Yeah, just lazy people looking to take advantage of someone who doesn't know any better.
      At least we know everyone in here knows better.....



      Sarge
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      Lurking again...

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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        These parasites have been around since at least 1997 - that's when I started getting those letters. They must be doing some business, because the basic pitch hasn't changed at all, only the legalese keeping them out of jail.

        I'm guessing it's effective in part because it sandwiches a half truth between two facts:

        "You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the web, and now is the time to transfer and renewyour name from your current Registrar to the Domain Registry of America. Failure to renew your domain by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web"

        Remove the bits in red, and you have a perfectly legitimate statement.

        And Sarge? They're not being lazy at all. They just have the moral compass of a rabid weasel in a hen house...
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        • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
          Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

          These parasites have been around since at least 1997 - that's when I started getting those letters. They must be doing some business, because the basic pitch hasn't changed at all, only the legalese keeping them out of jail.
          Lol I agree John.

          I received literally hundreds of these letters over the years and nothing has changed with them. That tells us something - they must be doing good with what they have in place.

          I wonder how many people get caught by these letters and end up paying over double of what they would normally pay.
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    • Profile picture of the author jpf
      Originally Posted by brettkbrett View Post

      I get them all the time. Just ignore it.

      Even better, burn it! It'll give you a small bit of pleasure!
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      All the best!
      John.

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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I get that scam snail mail all the time too. What a bargain ... they will renew for me at triple the price of renewals ....
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  • Profile picture of the author money2k
    I like to send stuff like that right back to the sender. Do it a few times and some of them stop spamming you
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    I wonder what would happen if millions of people wrote "Return to Sender" on those envelopes and gave it back to the postal carrier to return to them? *evil grin*
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    • Profile picture of the author TedMarlett
      I've had several of them and have actually checked with my registrar to see when the domain name is supposed to be renewed. I always throw the letter away.

      I think they scrape "whois" for the names and addresses to send their letters to.
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    • Profile picture of the author xlfutur1
      Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

      I wonder what would happen if millions of people wrote "Return to Sender" on those envelopes and gave it back to the postal carrier to return to them? *evil grin*
      I've been getting those letters for at least 5 years, so they must be making money from unsuspecting people or they would have gone broke a long time ago.

      This is a good idea, I'll do it next time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Well, there are no SPAM SNAIL MAIL laws to break because the
    USPS is broke already so this company has little to worry about.

    Just got one yesterday myself. They must be doing good business
    on the unsuspecting. While you are fighting to make an honest buck
    it's unsettling to think how these types of businesses survive legally.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author Goatboy
    $30! They wanted $65 from me! Why those lousy spammers are trying to scam me out of $35!

    Seriously, do what I do and recycle the letters into smoke. The world needs more smoke.
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    • Profile picture of the author FredJones
      See, they never said that you can not get it for cheaper. All that they are saying is that "we shall do it for you, and you pay us $xxxx and rest in peace, the renewal process icluding your product (the domain) and our service charges all are packed within".

      It is legitimate enough. If someone is trying to take an informed decision, they would get better offers (obviously) but the information would come at the expense of their time and effort to do the (obvious and easy) research. If they want that to happen hands-off, I personally don't see a problem with this.

      So why would someone want to call this a scam?
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      • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
        Originally Posted by FredJones View Post


        So why would someone want to call this a scam?
        Maybe because they send documents that look like bills to people who are not their customers in order to trick them into changing registrars and charging three times the normal fees.

        Not all scams are illegal.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aj Wilson
    A MASSIVE scam like this was uncovered in New Zealand by a (Now caught) Hacker...

    Taking existing bills, changing them, then sending them out to the domain owners via their "who is" address... domain owners would take them up on their offer, pay into a fake account, and have their details ripped off too (ID Fraud) coz they've just confirmed their details.

    Which is why getting Private Registration is so important these days.

    Protect your privacy guys, Free Domain Guard with NameCheap.com registration,
    or a couple of bucks per year with GoDaddy...

    now back to make mud cake...
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by RanD View Post

    I honestly don't know what they are trying to accomplish with this.
    They're targeting small business owners. They get your information from sources that give them business addresses, then send these renewal notices out in the hope that you're small enough to have an assistant that's been instructed to just pay the bills when they show up.

    This is how many small businesses operate: they hire a neighbour or friend to get the mail, find the bills, and write out the checks. When the owner comes in for the day, he just has a stack of checks to sign and a total so he knows how much money went out. He signs them, the assistant sticks them in with the right bills and mails them.

    And hey presto, you're locked in at $30 a year until you figure it out. Many small businesses don't figure it out for years, and because it's such a small amount so infrequently, most of them won't even bother to track it down.
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    • Profile picture of the author cindybidar
      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      They're targeting small business owners. They get your information from sources that give them business addresses, then send these renewal notices out in the hope that you're small enough to have an assistant that's been instructed to just pay the bills when they show up.

      This is how many small businesses operate: they hire a neighbour or friend to get the mail, find the bills, and write out the checks. When the owner comes in for the day, he just has a stack of checks to sign and a total so he knows how much money went out. He signs them, the assistant sticks them in with the right bills and mails them.

      And hey presto, you're locked in at $30 a year until you figure it out. Many small businesses don't figure it out for years, and because it's such a small amount so infrequently, most of them won't even bother to track it down.
      At my day job, one of my responsibilities is to approve invoices. This kind of junk crosses my desk every single day. Domain registration, yellow page directory listings, directories of manufacturers, memberships to elite (and expensive) networking groups, etc. And let's not even talk about the "free" magazine subscriptions.

      I'm sure these kinds of companies make a small fortune just from the people who don't know it's not a legitimate bill. It sure looks legitimate. Overworked and understaffed accounting departments everywhere are keeping these guys in business.
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      • Profile picture of the author Martin Percival
        It's funny how life throws up these coincidences. I just got one (in London) for one of my .coms. It's the first I have seen

        Normally if I get unsolicited email in the UK with a freepost envelope, I just send it back empty. That way, they get to pay for the postage with nothing to show for it.....if only it worked for international post too!

        Martin
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by FredJones View Post

    So why would someone want to call this a scam?
    Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

    Maybe because they send documents that look like bills to people who are not their customers in order to trick them into changing registrars and charging three times the normal fees.

    Not all scams are illegal.
    I don't even have a quibble with the fees. If someone wants to blindly pay the named price, that's up to them.

    I drop offers like this into the "scam" bucket when they include deliberately misleading information. They never say 'if you want us to handle the details for you, as a convenience, we can do that'. They send an semi-official document that looks like an invoice, with a cover letter that sounds like transferring the registration to them is required, as in not an option. Add in a deliberately official sounding company name, one designed to sound like a quasi-governmental agency rather than a simple domain registrar, and the intent to deceive is pretty clear.

    As a friend of mine likes to say, "It may be legal as hell, but it ain't right..."
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  • Profile picture of the author uclaboyz
    They are just trying to get you to transfer registrar to them.
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