If you are a business owner chances are some part of your business is online. In recent years, companies in Asia have tried to take advantage of business owners claiming risks to their online presence. Usually they claim that there is some risk to your domain being registered by a third party Asian company. For example, if your business’ domain is under pceasycare.ca, these “domain scams” will claim that PC Easy Care is trying to be registered in China or some other Asian country under pceasycare.cn. Then you will most likely get an e-mail from the third party threatening you that they will move ahead with registering your domain name. This scare tactic follows a good cop – bad cop model. The initial company serves as a good cop, warning you of this threat, while the third party company is the bad cop, threatening you that they will essentially steal your domain.
As you further communication, they will implement some sort of middle ground to ‘help’ you keep your domain name in an Asian country. Usually this involves some sort of yearly pay. Squelchdesign’s founder Matt Lowe, was subjected to one of these domain scams in 2012. The company was contacted by an individual claiming to be the General Manager from a Shanghai Office. The e-mail suggested a third-party company named BaoYuan was trying to register Squelchdesign’s domain name. After a series of back and forth e-mails, Squelchdesign received an e-mail from the General Manager to fill out a form and pay $38 a year to keep the Squelchdesign domain name. Lowe explains,
“So back in his first email he suggested BaoYuan wanted to register squelchdesign.asia, squelchdesign.cn, squelchdesign.com.cn, squelchdesign.net.cn, squelchdesign.org.cn, and the internet keyword “squelchdesign”. That’s one .asia, four .cn domains, and one Internet keyword. That comes to a total of $339.80 USD or approximately £214.” (Lowe, Squelchdesign.com)
Beware of these frivolous claims. You will be most likely be contacted through e-mail. It is always wise to check with your domain registrar. They will guide you in the right direction and may even confirm whether or not you are being taken advantage of. It is also important to note that most Canadian registrars would not be able to register Chinese domain names. A simple google search of the third-party company can also be helpful in identifying these scammers.
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Lowe, Matt. Chinese Domain Name Registration Scams. 21 Jan. 2013. Web. <http://squelchdesign.com/featured/chinese-domain-name-registration-scams/>.