Domain Registry of America – Domain Name Hijacking

November 24, 2011 by  Filed under: Domain 

I keep getting these letters in the mail at least once every other week notifying me that the domain name that I registered is about to expire. This letter looks very official and it is emblazoned with a graphic logo that depicts the American flag at the very top of the letter. Also at the top reads the words “Domain Name Expiration Notice”

This letter is strategically made to look like an invoice, complete with line items that spell out how long I have until my domain name expires and how much it will cost me to register my domain name for another year. It even gives me the chance to register my domain name for up to five years at a discounted price.

To most this letter would seem like an awesome reminder and even a better way to make sure I don’t miss out on keeping this domain name secure for my current and future use. Unfortunately that is not the case.

I currently have 3 of my clients who were so inclined to take this company up on its offer to renew their domain names. Here is the best part, two of the three really thought this company was officially in charge of registering their soon to expire domain name so they proceeded to pay for three years in advance.

What my unsuspecting client didn’t realize is that they were tricked into paying more than three times the price for registering their domain name to a company that had no control whatsoever in whether or not it expired. Instead of paying less than $30.00 for three years of registration they paid $30.00 per year to register just one domain name.

Once they paid this money, they automatically gave this company the right to become their new registrar of their domain name. We then had to go through and act of congress to get the domain names back but the money they spent would not be returned.

Why didn’t they get their money back you may ask? Well the letter that they recieved was again made to look like an invoice but it clearly said in bold letters “This notice is not a bill” It also had some fine print on the back of the letter that spelled out what was going to happen if you paid for this domain name to be registered with their service.

Here are the steps involved in not getting your domain name Hijacked.

1. When registering a domain name make sure you remember the name of the registrar. Whether it’s Godaddy.com, Networksolution.com or Proemailaddress.com make a note of the date you register the domain name and put in on your calendar.

2. If you cannot remember who your domain name registrar is or you own the domain name but your webmaster registered it for you, do a whois search of your domain. Going to http://www.whois.net/ will allow you to put your domain name in their search box and find out when the domain name is set to expire.

3. If someone else registers your domain name, say your webmaster/web developer make sure they put your email address as the one that will be notified when the domain name is set to expire.

Most domain name registrars send you multiple reminder emails months in advance notifing you that your domain name is set to expire.

4. This may be something you may not want to do but I highly recommend doing it if you are given the option when registering your domain name. Register it for more than one year. Some registrars like proemailaddress.com will allow 10 year registrations of domain names.

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