As mentioned in our last post, we have been running this blog for about two years now. It wasn't too long after we started the blog that we registered our own domain name. The contract was for two years, so it I knew that the time to renew was coming up. Still I was surprised to get a letter that appeared to be from some government agency asking me to send in my money for my renewal. Then I read the fine print.
When I got this letter, I did some research. If you Google "Domain Registry of America," by the 5th hit you will see sites talking about this scam. Basically, their letter is worded such that, if you don't read carefully, it is easy to think you are required to pay them to keep your domain. In reality, by sending the form back to them with money, you are transferring your domain to them. There are two problems with this. First off, it is a sneaky way to steal another company's customers. Second, if I were to switch, I would end of paying 4 times more every year.
Scams really bother me. I think is is why I have written up so many of them over the last two years. Still, the thing that got me about this one was the way they presented themselves. The letter I got in the mail looked like government document. The font, boxy layout, and American flag under the logo all add to this effect. The back side of the letter is filled with the smallest text I have ever had sent to me. It is so small as to be on the edge of readable and makes my eyes hurt after a short time. If you read close, the letter does say on the front "Domain name holders are not obligated to renew their domain name withe their current Registrar or with the Domain Registry of America. Review our prices and decide for yourself." I am glad they put this on the letter. Still, I only caught this on my second read through of the letter. It is certainly not the letter's theme.
The Domain Registry of America uses underhanded tactics to try and steal customers from other companies. The Better Business Bereau has given them an F because of a large number of complaints filed against the company and their failure to resolve them. The Internet has a lot to offer and I am glad to we have our own domain. So, if you are looking to get a domain or renew one your already have, take your time, do your research, and read carefully before you hand over any money.