Registering a domain name can be exciting. Scammers feel it too. They feed off it.
True scammers align themselves with fake or real domain name registration bodies.
Even when they are being very legit, real domain name registration bodies apply the logic of Keens mustard, ie more is taken onto plates than used. They are businesses relying on selling what most of the time buyers will never use or benefit from.
Their business is good because buyer excitement remains high. The fact that some individuals and businesses have struck gold by registering a domain name creates the impression for a horde of buyers that "There's gold in dem der hills" all around.
Those in these online gold rushes perhaps have not heard the old truism, that you can make more money selling spades in gold rushes than staking a claim and digging. The spade sellers in the domain name registration gold rush, are domain name registration bodies as well as pure scammers.
So what a nice business innovation it would be, provided you are prepared to act unethically and unlawfully, to link together a legit and scammer spade selling business. This channels learning from the Mafia.
Here's an illustration of this scam in operation which has been running since at least 2007. Yesterday a client received the email below from an apparently purely legitimate domain name registration company in China. As you read the email, where you see "[deleted]" that's where my client's brand name appeared in the original email. Bolded comments inside square brackets are my annotations.
From: "Jim Bing" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Regarding " [deleted] " Cn domain name and Internet Keyword
Date: 15 December 2013 [ deleted ]
(If you are not the person who is in charge of this, please forward this to your CEO,Thanks)
This email is from China domain name registration center [sounds official doen't it], which mainly deal with the domain name registration and dispute internationally in China.
We received an application from Huatong Ltd on December 12, 2013 [so why don't you tell us more about that company?]. They want to register " [deleted] " as their Internet Keyword [oh golly gosh, really?] and " [deleted] .cn "、" [deleted] .com.cn " 、" [deleted] .net.cn "、" [deleted] .org.cn " domain names etc.. [hungry bunch 'aint they], they are in China domain names. But after checking it [ie looking up your name and thinking, now here are some innocents we can rip off], we find "[deleted]" conflicts with your company [oh, you are too kind]. In order to deal with this matter better, so we send you email and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China or not? [you certainly will never be!]
Shanghai Office (Head Office)
3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road,
Xuhui District, Shanghai 200070, China
Tel: +86 216191 8696
Mobile: +86 1870199 4951
Fax: +86 216191 8697
Here's my instant, one sentence advice to my client yesterday: "Do nothing, it is just a standard, sophisticated scam."
Go to the yg-registry.con site in the signature block above and you'll see that it leads to what seems to be a legit domain name registration body. It may well be. But I strongly doubt the above email was honest or true. I do like the choice of name of the sender, "Jim Bing".
The key to this scam is to live off the fear of those with one or more registered domains that others will take nearby gold.
The most active in this type of scam from my experience are ventures which are apparently situated in China.
I first wrote about almost idential emails when I got one in 2007 - see Domain name scam - made in China? I then wrote about it again when the problem grew for others - see Domain names & IP protection. Many of the above signature block details are the same as those of the 2007 scam email.
I am certainly not a China basher as regards intellectual property law. I have some non-usual views on where intellectual property has headed or is heading in China - see Designer Chinese and IP in China are not contradictions. My purpose is to raise awareness to avoid scams in the domain name gold rush.