Imagine this. You have a successful business or organization website. It generates a good amount of traffic and develops leads for you. You have a carefully chosen domain name registered. It’s natural, then, that you would want to protect your website and keep it running smoothly.
You then receive a notification in the mail warning you that your domain name is about to expire and that you should renew immediately. You don’t think you’ve dealt previously with the company who’s sending you this notice, but you certainly don’t want to risk losing an integral part of your business. So you send payment to them to take care of it. And you may add a few more domain names that they suggest as well.
Because these mail solicitations appear official and resemble invoices, some people are quick to respond and send money. What people don’t realize is that these solicitations are just that: solicitations.
This situation is all too common with websites today. It’s unfortunate because responding to these solicitations places your domain name in the hands of a new and unknown company. This new company may make it difficult to make changes to a domain down the road, as well as charge a lot more for a domain renewal than your current domain registrar. Worse yet, these companies have been known to register your domain in their names, not yours, effectively handing your ownership over to them.
It’s very similar to the “slamming” of several years ago, which is the process of changing someone’s long distance carrier without their full understanding. In effect, these domain companies are doing the same thing: taking someone’s domain without their full understanding. While these tactics are unethical, they’re not illegal.
It’s simple to protect yourself and your domain. Never respond to a “renewal” for your domain, particularly those that come in the mail, without checking it out first. You should keep records of who your current domain registrar is. That way, you’ll know if the renewal is truly a renewal…or just a solicitation. Always check with the company or firm where you registered your domain name before renewing your domain anywhere.