We received numerous queries from our clients regarding their domain names allegedly in risk of possible trademark dispute. This is a SCAM. Please ignore it.
The Modus Operandi
The aim of these scammers is to get their victims to register domain names with them at ridiculously expensive price. Their modus operandi is very simple. They randomly search for a domain name’s owner contact via WHOIS query. If that particular domain’s WHOIS is protected, then they will try their luck at the domain’s website hoping to find a contact form or email address. Once they get the victim’s contact, they will send the victim an email message introducing themselves as a reputable domain name company (most of them are from China or Hong Kong). They will claim that some company has submitted a request to register few domain names bearing the keyword of the victim’s domain name. In order to protect the victim’s trademark, they will offer the victim a chance to “win” back the requested domain names within the stipulated time frame before they approve the registration from the said company. To make the message looks genuine, it often ended with the person’s name, designation, company name, contact numbers, website address and email address in their signature.
Sample Email Messages
We are a Network Solutions Centre in Asia,mainly dealing with domain name registration and internet intellectual property rights protection. On [DATE] we received a formal application from a company who is applying to register several domains, using “[KEYWORD]” as the keyword. After investigation,we find that you are the original user of the keyword. Such similar domain cases may involve your trademark and company name,and may cause website confusion and conflicts. For a responsible attitude, we inform you here and ask for your opinion. If you don’t mind,we will finish registration for the third company.
Look forward to your reply.
Tel: +852-31757931 ext.8014
Are you the owner of “[KEYWORD]”, please?
We have something important to confirm with your company. On the [DATE], we received an application formally from one company named “During Investment LTD” who applied for the Network Trademark”[KEYWORD]” and some domain names relevant to this trademark from our organization.
After our initial examination, we found that the Network Trademark and domain names applied for registration are as same as your company’s name and trademark.
These days we are dealing with it,so we hope to get assistant from your company.
Considering this issue will relate to your intellectual property, now we have not finished the registration of During Investment LTD yet,in order to deal with this issue better, Please forward this email to the person who can be in charge and contact us by telephone or email as soon as possible. Thank you!
We are the department of Asian Domain registration service in china. we have something need to confirm with you. we formally received an application on [DATE]. one company which called “SDY investment company” are applying to register “intproperties” as Brand Name and the following Domain Names:
[LIST OF DOMAIN NAMES]
After our initial examination, we found that the Domain Names applied for registration are as same as your company’s name and trademark. these days we are dealing with it, hope to get the affirmation from your company. if your company has not authorized the aforesaid company to register these, please contact us as soon as possible.
In addition, we hereby affirm that our time limit is 7 workdays. if your company files no reply within the time limit, we will unconditionally approve the application submitted by “SDY investment company”.
We are the domain name registration organization in Asia,which mainly deal with the domain name registration and dispute internationally. Now we have something important need to confirm with your company.
On the [DATE], we received an application formally. One company named “Pubstar Inc” wanted to register following Domain names:
[LIST OF DOMAIN NAMES]
and wireless keyword: [KEYWORD] through our body.
After our initial examination, we found that the keywords and domain names applied for registration are as same as your company’s name and trademark.We don’t know whether you have any relation with them. These days we are dealing with it. Now we have not finished the registration of “Pubstar Inc” yet, in order to deal with this issue better, Please contact us by email or telephone as soon as possible.
International Registration(Auditing) Dept.
Hong Kong Head Office:
Even though it may sounds like a good idea to reserve every Internet Top Level Domains (TLD) for your trademark, however in reality it is impractical. Other than the 20 General TLDs (eg. .com, .net, .org, asia) there are 247 Country Code TLDs (eg. .my, .sg, .cn, .hk, .tw) and numerous Second Level Domains (eg. .com.my, .net.my, .com.sg, .net.sg) for you to consider. If you really concern on the disputed domain names, then there is no reason why you should not give the same concern to other TLDs mentioned above.
One obvious sign that this is a scam is none of the domain names in question were registered until today even though it has past the deadline more than one year ago.
Only an unscrupulous company would use such a dishonest method to get new sales. Please avoid these companies at all cost. You will never know what other traps you might get yourself into.
Preventions and Solutions
This is nothing more than another form of spam. Like any other spams, you can’t really escape it. However, you can reduce the number of spams or make it harder for the spammers to get your email address. Here are some suggestions.
- Activate WHOIS privacy protection for your domain name (if applicable). WHOIS privacy protection is provided free for every domain name registered by Surf7.net.
- Don’t publicize your email address on your website or anywhere else online. Use an online contact form that hide away your email.
- Prevent automatic online form submission by using image CAPTCHA.
Even though, the simplest solution is to ignore it, reporting it to relevant authorities may help others from becoming victims.