One part of having a web site for your organization is obtaining a domain name that you will give to people in order for them to find your site. The domain name is your “address” on the internet. For example, the domain name of this web site is crosslinc.com – easy, right?
There are literally thousands, of companies out there that are “approved registrars” and that you can pay to register your domain name for you. Reputable domain name registrations range from $5/yr up to $35/yr depending on where you go.
Here’s where it gets tricky; Domain name registrations are annual. You may pay for more than one year, but they are on an annual schedule.
And here’s where it gets downright deceptive; Because there are so many approved registrars and because domain names are on an annual cycle, there are companies out there that will send your organization invoice-looking ads that tell you your domain name is about to expire. For a “nominal fee”, they’ll renew the registration for you.
Most often, though, they ARE NOT the company you registered with initially, and your domain name doesn’t really expire for months, or even years! And these companies send multiple ‘renewals’ per year hoping they will arrive into the hands of unknowing staff, etc. and simply get paid because people are afraid they’ll lose their web site.
We receive several of these SCAMS per year. I hear more and more about these companies through the workshops I do for various organizations. And I’m writing this article now because the other day I was at a client and he just happened to be paying his bills that day while I was working on a project with him. He was leafing through the sealed envelopes that were ready to go to the post office and I saw “Domain Registry of America” on one of them and asked him about it. His Accounts Payable person received the “Invoice”, simply cut a check and put it into the outgoing mail.
THEIR DOMAIN DOESN’T EXPIRE FOR 8 MONTHS! On top of that, I register names for about $10/year for my clients. This invoice was for $45! And they had written out the check and were ready to pay it because the Accounts Payable department didn’t know the difference!
HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO KEEP THIS FROM HAPPENING TO YOU:
1) Know your registrar. Remember your account information at the registrar you used when you first set up your domain name. (If you didn’t do it, or don’t remember, contact me and and I’ll give you some tips on how to find out who your registrar is.)
2) Know when your domain name(s) expire. Put a reminder on your calendar for 30 days before it’s due, how much and who you pay. Again, if you don’t know, contact me and I’ll help you find out.
3) Tell all of your staff members that NOTHING gets paid for technology-related services without it going through your mailbox, including anything related to web sites, etc.
4) Throw away all paper mailings for domain name renewals. No reputable registrar stays in business by sending out paper renewals. The vast majority do it via email. So watch your Inbox and make sure your registrar has a current email address for you!
A couple of companies to look out for:
DOMAIN REGISTRY OF AMERICA
INTERNET YELLOW PAGES
ILS LISTING CORP.
Any questions or think you’ve been scammed? Know of other companies running this SCAM? Comment below and let us know.