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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Asian-pacific domains -- scam or genuine?

Today I received a rather interesting email from a Chinese domain name registration company. The company wrote to me and claimed that "(company x)" had applied to register the Asian-pacific versions of the domain names to which I own the .com domain.

Specifically, I own shockwave-sound.com and the claim was that (company x) had applied to register the domains shockwave-sound.cn, .com.cn, .asia., .hk.cn and .tw.cn. Additionally, they said, (company x) had also applied to register the "internet brand name" shockwave-sound.

The email went on to say that, as the owner of shockwave-sound.com, I had the right to "dispute" the attempted registrations by quickly registering these Asian-pacific domains myself. I could do this through this company, and that would effectively put a stop to (company x) being able to register these domains.

I answered back that I was obviously interested in protecting the Asian-pacific versions of my domain name and also this "internet brand name" which, I have to admit, I've never heard of before.

The Chinese domain registration company then sent me a registration form in which they are inviting me to register shockwave-sound.cn, .com.cn, .asia, .hk.cn, .tw.cn for $30 for 1 year, and also to register my "internet brand name" shockwave-sound, for $100 per 1 year. They are saying that I can fill in the form and register the domain names with them within 5 days, to ensure that (company x) does not take these domains and take the "internet brand name" shockwave-sound.

The way I see it, there are two possibilities: (1) This is a genuinely helpul company who want to help international domain owners make sure that their brands/domains are not registered to some dubious/competitive company who wants to "take" their domain names and their "internet brand name", OR, (2) this is a very sneaky ploy by a Domain Registration company to sell me .cn, .hk etc. domains, perhaps at a overblown price, that they they would not normally be able to sell to me because, well I just wouldn't normally be interested.

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions?

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9 Comments:

Blogger Litrik De Roy said...

I received a similar email a couple of days ago. It's a scam. Just read all the comments here.

October 30, 2008  
Anonymous TM said...

If you do a Google search for "asia domain scam", you'll get plenty of blog posts about this.

October 30, 2008  
OpenID Haakon said...

This sounds extremely fishy to me. There is no such thing as an "internet brand name", which is why you have never heard of it. The threats of someone else registering the Asian-pacific domains are more than likely empty, and even if it happened, it wouldn't harm you in any way (try to google for "shockwave sound", which is all that counts). There are hundreds of top-level domains; you cannot register all of them anyway.

If you ask me, just ignore these emails. Don't pay this company anything.

October 30, 2008  
Blogger Warfreak2 said...

There's no such thing as an "internet brand name", it's pretty clearly a scam. Someone is trying to sell you something intangible you have never heard of, for $100. The five day deadline is another big giveaway, intended to make you act before thinking.

Besides, if some other company wanted to register shockwave-sound.cn (and the rest) they wouldn't need to check with you first. You could sue them if they did, anyway.

See also:
http://www.searchengineforums.com/apps/searchengine.forums/action::thread/forum::seo-general/thread::1154540945/

November 02, 2008  
Anonymous StuC said...

scam - we got about 4 of these all addressed to sales@****. If they were genuine they would address them to the registered email address of the domains.

November 03, 2008  
Anonymous Lee Pritchard, Media Music Now said...

Hi Bjorn

I had this happen to me also a few months ago, however, they wanted about £1000+ for the domains. In my case I believed it to be a scam. It was with different domain extensions, and with a EU company, however, they lied to me, they said they had secured the domains and that I could buy them off them. They also said that they had a client who was going to create a music site on the new domains and use our brand id, logo style colour schemes etc. if I did not purchase them. I told them to advise their client that I would take the strongest possible legal action against them if they tried to pass themselves off as Media Music Now.

I immediately did an online domains search and found the domains for a few dollars.

As far as the internet brand name is concerned, I don’t think anyone else could register your brand name and get away with it as you have been trading with that brand for years.

I think this kind of thing could go on forever as there are always new domains coming out and lots of companies trying to sell them. It sounds like the company that contacted you were not too greedy with their pricing though.

Hope that helps.

Lee Pritchard

November 08, 2008  
Anonymous Pete J.B said...

According to my research, all of those domain names are still available to buy at 23.50 dollars per year as of 11/11/2008. It seems that this is just a scam to get you to buy the domains. If someone really wanted to buy the domains and had a copyright issue to consider, they would not do it through a third-party, they would contact you directly about the issue. More so, there probably is no copyright issue in the first place - If you want those domains, buy them. I'm sure you can use Google to find a good deal. End of the day, it's not really important to have those domain names, is it? And I'm pretty sure that it's out of your hands anyway. I remember receiving an offer a while back to register my domain name in several other tags (.net, .org) etc.

November 11, 2008  
Anonymous Tony said...

Unsolicited and asking for money - looks like a scam to me.

I would try to find out more about both 'company.x' and the registration company before handing over any money.

Take care.

November 11, 2008  
Anonymous Counterpoint said...

This sounds like a bit of a scam to me... It's possible they are trying to be helpful, but at those prices it doesn't really sound like much of a deal.

My suggestion is that if you really want to have Asian-pacific domains, just register them yourself and have them redirect to shockwave-sound.com for now.

- Matt

November 13, 2008  

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