Domain names are big business, well if you hold a lot of them or the right ones they can be. We charge £2.99/year (plus VAT) for a co.uk domain name. I have seen people or companies that charge over £50/year for these same domain names. Unscrupulous or just business? I would say that it is just business. A company can charge what they like for a domain name, there is no real limit on it and the customer is free to choose where they purchase them from. We love domain names but we do not charge the Earth for them. People are able to choose whether or not they want to pay prices as high as that or pay our prices. I have not really looked in to many of these companies that charge a high premium beyond the information on their website and it appears to me that they do not really want more customers, they are happy with what they have and that’s that.
There of course, have been some domain name companies that try to scam people either out of their domain name or just to win the business. Whichever it is I do not agree with underhand tactics to get business. People come to us because we are honest and open and we do an excellent job, not because we conned them in to moving to us.
The one that most people have probably seen the most is a company, that I will not name but they have been conning people for years now and more recently have been trying to clean up their act to appear more professional. They send out postal letter and emails to the registrant (owner of the domain name) and in the beginning they said that if they did not pay this extortionate rate their domain name would be lost forever. Anyone dumb enough to fall for it could have fallen in to many problems, as they were effectively transferring their domain name to another company and their website, emails and everything else could easily have stopped working and been lost. On top of the fact that they have paid a lot more for the domain name renewal than was necessary.
Always know who you have registered your domain name with and check with them first before renewing anything with a third party. This particular company have been forced by trading standards, I believe, to clean up their act. They still send out ridiculous emails and letters to try to steal customers from other companies, in my opinion, by deception. Their latest one stating that if you do not take their offer of SEO and domain name then no-one will be able to find your website. I will not go in to the technically details of this but to anyone with any technical ability they know this is not true, but it must be fooling some unwitting domain name holders or they would stop.
Another long running scam is the Asia domain name company that tells you that someone is trying to register a domain name that is similar to yours and they are going to give you first refusal of the domain name. A scam as well that has forced thousands of people to buy domain names that they do not need or want.
The latest email to go to domain name owners is one that is intended to scare you though showing you a whole lot of technical information about your domain name. All of it is probably true but means nothing in the context. From what I can see their whole point of sending you a large font email telling you that your whois information has been updated (which is a lie) is to get you to purchase other domains from them. I have not been any further and I have only just seen this one going round so I am sure that we will see what devastation it causes in the coming weeks and months.
If you own a domain name make sure you know the basic information of who it is registered with and when it is due for renewal. Even if you have technical people to look after things like that for you, make sure you have basic information (read: http://www.cc-computers.biz/Blog/?p=228 to make sure you don’t lose your domain name)
Be vigilant with emails and letters that come in the post telling you that you need to do something, check with the right people first.
CritchCorp Computers Ltd.
Prices correct at date of publish.