Don't Fall for This Domain Listings Scam
I have a large number of domain names registered, and I receive an email like this one almost every day.
It's very official looking and the subject line is domainname.com Final Notice (where domainname.com is one of my actual domain names, of course). But it's a domain listings scam.
Here's what the start of it looks like.
You'd be forgiven for thinking this was a bill for the renewal of your domain name, wouldn't you? And for $86 (choke, gasp).
It's not, but they bury what they are really saying in so much "officialese" that many people don't pick it up and pay the $86, thinking that they are renewing their domain name.
Here's a much better deal. Use the coupon NEWCOM to get your first year for $5.88 and lifetime Whois protection.
I am an affiliate for Namecheap as well as an enthusiastic user. This means that if you purchase through my link, I get a small commission. This makes no difference to the cost to you, but helps me to maintain this website.
The bottom half of the email goes on to say:
Secure Online Payment
to complete your payment.
Failure to complete your seo domain name registration domainname.com search engine optimization service process may make it difficult for customers to find you on the web.
Process Payment for
This domain seo registration for domainname.com search engine service optimization notification will expire 02/17/2019.
Instructions and Unlike Instructions from this Newsletter:
(I've substituted domainname.com for the actual domain name.)
Understanding This Domain Listings Scam
Let's pick out what all these words are actually saying.
"expiration notice of your domain registration for domainname.com search engine optimization submission"
They are talking about the expiration of their offer, not of your domain name!
"We do not register or renew domain names"
That's pretty clear (but buried).
"If you fail to complete your domain name registration domainname.com search engine optimization service by the expiration date, (it) may (result in) the dismissal of this search engine optimization domain name notification notice."
In other words, if you don't pay the $86, they'll cancel the offer. That's all it means!
"Failure to complete your seo domain name registration domainname.com search engine optimization service process may make it difficult for customers to find you on the web."
This is just a scare tactic. There is no clear statement of what they are actually offering, so it's reasonable to assume that it's just search engine submission. Totally unnecessary, as the search engines will index your site anyway and if you want it to happen faster, there are free tools for that, such as Google Search Console.
The rest of it consists of statements that they are completely legal and comply with the Can-Spam Act of 2003. Basically, they are pointing out that if you misinterpreted their email, it's your fault.
So strictly speaking, it avoids the definition of a domains listing scam but there's no doubt the intention is to be misleading.
How Can You Avoid This Domain Listings Scam?
It's largely a matter of awareness.
Register your domains with a reputable service such as Namecheap and understand that your renewal notice, when it comes, will be from them.
Namecheap normally sell .com domain names for $8.88 per year, but are having a promotion until midnight Feb 18, 2019 where you get the first year for $5.88 and Whois protection for life.
Whois protection hides your personal information and ensures that you don't get these sorts of spammy emails.
(Use the promo code NEWCOM)
Another Version of This Domains Listing Scam
Here's another one, received by a friend of mine recently. She also has a few domain names.
This one has a different layout and is perhaps a little more convincing. But the same $86 price.
It's clearly headed "Final Reminder: Domain Service Cancellation Notice" and, as you can see by the amount of stuff I've blurred out, it's very, very personalized.
You'd be forgiven for thinking your domain name and the services associated with it were about to be canceled, wouldn't you?
Yet, as before, the only thing about to be canceled is their offer to submit your domain name to the search engines (which they mistakenly identify as search websites) for $86.
They send out so many of these that people must fall for them. Please don't be one of those people who fall for any of these domain listing scams.