Hotel Industry Blog

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Caution - Asia domain names scam

Here's one that's been doing the rounds for a long time but that we've noticed surfacing again recently among our client hotels. So beware.

The email goes like this.
Its subject line is something formal like:
[yourcompanyname]. -Confirm (TO the Principal)

and appears to be a very helpful email from a concerned domain name registrar in Asia, or more specifically China usually, telling you that someone is trying to buy a whole list of Asia domains that really should be yours, for example
[yourcompanyname].cn    China
[yourcompanyname].tw    Taiwan
[yourcompanyname].hk    Hong Kong etc

and may also be trying to use the trademark [yourcompanyname] locally. The email is helpfully asking you to confirm that these people really have the rights to do that. It seems to be a very helpful warning just in the nick of time.

So suddenly you get worried about someone grabbing your name.

Now maybe this is someone who's being genuinely helpful but what's usually going on here is that this is a scam whereby if you express concern by responding, the supposed registrar could offer to get those domain names back for you from the so-called disreputable buyers, but of course at a settlement cost. So by responding, you have ended up in a situation where you might pay far more than is necessary for domain names that you never really wanted anyway.

Best to just ignore the email.
By not responding, they won't bother to buy the domains anyway since they can't make money out of them.

Here are other stories about the scam on the web:
http://blog.mindvalleylabs.com/
http://www.bloptimization.com/

If you really really want to be sure about your brand and domain name control in other countries or continents you can just go to a domain name registrar on the web (for example instra.com or networksolutions.com) and buy all the domains you want for yourself, cheaply. You'll find that those listed in the email are likely still available - but it's probably not worth your effort.

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