The Domain Registry of America’s Bad Business Practices | July 11th, 2011

You just never know what you’re going to find on Monday Morning Kick Start. This week it’s less of a “kick” and more of a public service message.

If you own a domain name, I’m willing to bet you’ve gotten a letter from the Domain Registry of America. It amazes me this company has not been shut down, but they seem to operate in such a way that their activities are not deemed illegal. However, the way they conduct business is not ethical by a long shot.

Certain aspects of your domain’s registration is available to the public, including the expiration date. The Domain Registry of America will send out a letter when your domain is nearing it’s renewal date in the hopes that you’ll assume they are the registrar of record. If you pay the $35 fee they will then initiate a transfer to move your domain away from your current registrar to theirs. They cannot complete the transfer without further action from you, but at this point they already have your money.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the Domain Registry of America:

The Domain Registry of America is an Internet domain registrar and Web hosting service created in 2000. Originally based in the Canadian province of Ontario and now reportedly based in Buffalo, New York, London, England, and Melbourne, Australia. It is best known for sending mail solicitations to businesses as their domain names near their expiration date.

Some recipients of these mailings have claimed they have been caught off guard or were either naively unaware or else too hurried to notice that Domain Registry of America is not their original registrar. The company re-iterates that Domain Names cannot be transferred between Registrars without the owner’s knowledge as ICANN introduced an Authorization Code System in 2005 to prevent such unauthorized transfers. In 2003, the Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with the company for practices such as transferring domain registrations to their service under the guise of domain renewal, a practice known as domain slamming, and having hidden fees. Since this action, the company revised its solicitations to satisfy the FTC and until today continues to sends mass direct mail to consumers with “domain name expiration notice” in bold print. Recipients for the company’s mass mailings are known to be in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. The company reports that their mail solicitations conform and comply with all U.S., Canadian, and European mail standards as issued by the FTC, Canadian Competition Bureau and ASA.

The best defense against solicitations of this type is to simply be aware of who your domain registrar is. If you are unsure who your domain registrar is, and you are a customer of Tebo Design Studio, please feel free to email us and we will provide you with that information.

2 comments

  1. Dan says:

    These guys have been on my hate-and-discontent list for awhile. Their notices look very authentic. Most registrars have mechanisms for keeping your domain registration (name & address) confidential, which helps prevent receiving the mailings, and often will require a code to authorize the transfer. But, I’d love to see a class-action lawsuit seal the deal.

  2. admin says:

    I agree, Dan!

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