Punk Rock bands like the Ramones inspired Slam Dancing in the 70s. This decade’s trend: Domain Slamming.
What is Domain Slamming?
According to Wikipedia, Domain Slamming is “a scam in which the offending domain name registrar attempts to trick domain owners into switching from their existing registrar to theirs, under the pretense that the customer is simply renewing their subscription to their current register.”
Translation: Swindlers trying to get you to switch to their domain name services at twice the price.
What’s a domain name? Your www.you.com address. This is different than a website host – a host is where your website “lives”. When you first purchase your www, the company you buy it from is a Domain Name Registrar. You pay them a yearly fee to continue to be able to use that www for your site.
One of the leaders in Domain Slamming is a company called Domain Registry of America. Also known as Domain Registry of Europe, Domain Renewal Group, NameJuice.com, and Brandon Gray Internet Services. Like the way Slam Dancing is now known as Moshing, I’m sure they’ll be making up some more d/b/a names in the future so people don’t catch on to their antics.
How they work is they mail an official looking notice to you, mentioning that your domain name is close to expiring and reminding you to send in payment for renewal. An American Flag is in the upper left hand corner to give you warm fuzzies. The bottom of the form looks like the standard invoice/renewal form you get for your credit cards, Rolling Stone Magazines, Columbia House, etc.
They draw people in because some of the information presented is accurate – your domain name, date it expires, and some legal sounding text. They use tools like WhoIs.com to look up your domain name, when it expires, your name, mailing address, phone number, email address, and what music you’re listening to on Pandora right now (okay, so not the Pandora part).
How can you protect yourself from Domain Slamming?
It’s easy to remember – follow the RAMONES.
- Renew: Renew your domain name with the same company you purchased it from.
- Aware of costs: A standard yearly fee for a domain name is $10-15. If your registration company is charging more than that, find out why. Perhaps your contract includes add-ons that you don’t need, or the company is ripping you off.
- Mail: Be wary of receiving things that look like invoices via snail mail. Domain registration is a web-based service, and therefore those companies communicate via email. If you do receive snail mail, is your customer name or username – information they can’t look up on WhoIs.com – already typed in there?
- ONES: Find a trustworthy company to be the “ones” to register your domain with. GoDaddy, Gandi, DreamHost, Media Template are popular, reputable choices. We offer domain registration services through our own TheeRegister.com.