Time to revisit this topic once again since I’ve had about a dozen emails forwarded to me this month from clients asking whether or not they need to pay an invoice with this warning included:
“Failure to complete your SEO domain name registration search engine optimization service process may make it difficult for customers to find you on the web.”
While this is not a new scam, it’s one of the most sleaziest I’ve seen — primarily due to the false sense of urgency which has caused more than one person to hit the panic button and pay up!
A few of my clients received the “domain name search engine registration” email today (Feb. 2, 2015). I thought this particular scam had died a quiet death a couple of years ago, but apparently it’s been regurgitated and making the email circuit yet again.
About Domain Name Registration
Domain name registration is a real service. Domain name registration is a record of you as the owner of your website. It’s your domain name that lets people know where on the Internet your website can be found. The cost of purchasing said necessary domain name typically runs around $10.00/year and is separate from your Web Hosting fees.
Domain names are purchased from reputable registrars. A registrar is a company or entity that manages the reservation of Internet domain names. A domain name registrar must be accredited by a generic top-level domain (gTLD) registry and/or a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registry.
Domain name SEARCH ENGINE REGISTRATION is bogus, aside from being pointless. It just sounds like something that would benefit your website rankings.
You don’t have to “register your domain name with search engines” in order for the likes of Google, Bing, and Yahoo to find your site. They’re quite capable of finding your domain name without your help and will automatically do so. They’ll even find content on your site that you may not want them to find. If you want to provide search engines with an extra road map to your website you can always post on social media sites and include a link to your website. Or post on any blog and include a link to your website. And, of course, create a sitemap.
These type of scam emails, while they may look official, have nothing to do with your actual domain registration, domain renewal, your website visibility in search engines, or website ranking. ALL they are doing is trying to get your money and your credit card information.
Rest assured knowing that when it comes time to renew your domain name (depending on the billing cycle that you personally selected when you purchased your domain name), you will receive an actual invoice from the registrar — which will not contain a one-day-urgency notice, threats of search engines not being able to find your site, or a “Lifetime plan.”
I’m removing and/or changing actual names from this email and bolding the main points I want to draw your attention to the obvious clues that this is a scam. My comments are in red font:
From: Domain Services <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Domain Notification: (YOUR NAME IS INSERTED HERE) This is your Final Notice of Domain Listing – YOURDOMAIN.COM
Attention: Important Notice , DOMAIN SERVICE NOTICE
Domain Name: YOURDOMAIN.COM
Complete and return by fax to:
ATT: YOUR NAME
How did they get your information: All of your contact information is easily obtained if you do not have Private Registration (something I always strongly suggest).
Please ensure that your contact information is correct or make the necessary changes above
Requested Reply Before
FEBRUARY 03, 2015
The false sense of urgency: You’re given 1 day to reply.
PART I: REVIEW SOLICITATION
Attn: YOUR NAME
As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration. This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your registration and save.
Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.
Insert that false sense of urgency, yet again. Also add in a non-sensical statement regarding search results; just for the fear factor.
Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine subscription includes domain name search engine submission. You are under no obligation to pay the amounts stated below unless you accept this offer. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.
Rinse and repeat scary stuff about customers not being able to locate you on the web.
This Notice for: WWW.YOUR DOMAIN.COM will expire on FEBRUARY 03,2015 Act today!
[ ] 1 year 02/03/2015 – 02/03/2016 $75.00
[ ] 2 year 02/03/2015 – 02/03/2017 $119.00
[ ] 5 year 02/03/2015 – 02/03/2020 $199.05
[ ] 10 year -Most Recommended- 02/03/2015 – 02/03/2025 $295.00
[ ] Lifetime (NEW!) Limited time offer – Best value! Lifetime $499.00
Today’s Date: _____________________ Signature: _____________________
Payment by Credit Card
Select the term above, then return by fax: 1-716-242-0420
FAX my credit card info? Seriously?
If you ever receive an email that appears as if it has something to do with your web hosting and/or domain name, contact your web hosting company directly and verify it with them, or send me an email and I’ll check it out for you.
I would put a curse on people who send scam emails trying to trick people into giving them bank account information, or tricking them into buying non-existent services, but I’d rather not deal with that type of karma.
ARTICLE UPDATED – April 2016