Articles

Domain Registry of Canada/America Scam

Have you ever received a "Domain Name Expiration Notice" from either the Domain Registry of Canada or the Domain Registry of America such as the one shown to the left? If you do get one, just shred it!

The letter will be addressed to you, and opens with “As a courtesy to domain holders we are sending you this notification of the domain name registration that is due to expire in the next few months“.

It also advises that "You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web" and "Failure to renew yur domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web".

Pay attention to those sections that read "transfer and renew your name from your current Registrar" and "THIS IS A SOLICITATION FOR THE ORDER OF SERVICES AND NOT A BILL", or you may get tricked into transfering and renewing your domain for 1, 2 or 5 years at exorbitant prices — $160.00 CAD for five years. Don’t get fooled!!

Please always remember that all of our website clientele receive a FREE domain name each year with their web hosting service. If you receive a bill and are unsure at to whether it is a ligitimate invoice or not, contact us directly and we will be happy to help!


Search Engine Scams

Submit your site to 1000 search engines! Build traffic to your site fast and easy- just $29.95 a month! Get millions of visitors a day!

If you've read these claims before and ever wondered what you might be missing by not submitting to thousands of engines daily, I'm here to tell you exactly what you are not missing: your money and lots of e-mail spam.

These services are completely worthless. And yet they are pushed and pushed hard by huge domain registrars, web hosts, web designers and many other credible web professionals, not to mention the spam mails you get for these services daily. Let's walk through the concept behind submitting so you can understand what I mean when I say they are a waste of time, money, and bandwidth.

  • 1) There are not thousands of search engines. Who do you use to search? That's what most other people use as well. There are at most maybe 7 search engines with reasonably large indexes, and only 3 that anyone actually uses for searching in significant numbers.
  • 2) Google, Yahoo, and MSN will find your site by crawling links from other sites. If you don't have at least 1 link from one other page already in the index, you won't rank well for anything, even if the submission does alert the engines that the page exists.
  • 3) Submitting does not get your page in the index or updated any faster. If it makes you feel better to submit, then do it- it won't hurt anything. But automatically submitting monthly, weekly, or daily doesn't help.
  • 4) Your e-mail spam will quadruple. I have tested this with unique emails and submission services- many "submission services" are merely fronts for email list marketers. You are actually paying them to sell your email address.
  • 5) The "1000's of search engines" are often FFA pages on spam sites. (Free-for-All pages). You really don't want your site listed on these sites- it's highly doubtful it will drive useful traffic (if any) or improve your link popularity. They are often feeding grounds for email harvesting bots.
  • 6) If your site is already in the major indexes, submitting it again doesn't help anything. Once your page is indexed, it really doesn't need to be indexed again unless you significantly change the content. Good internal linking should be enough to make sure new and updated pages are found and updated.

Submitting Services Prey on the Unknown

Too many business owners with new sites, the claims of submission services sound like a reasonable answer to their web marketing needs. For much less than full SEO services, they get the "comfort" of knowing they are actively promoting their site. Many fall into the too-good-to-be-true trap, simply because they don't have time to do much research.

Often, they will gain some other links during this period that DO actually get them listed in the search engines and they start to see some traffic. Unwittingly, they attribute this "success" to their submitting service and happily continue to pay their $29 a month, while telling all their friends how well it's working for them. Thus the cycle continues and the submitting services continue to not only thrive, but replicate through the industry!

SUBMITTING YOUR SITE TO CRAWLING SEARCH ENGINES DOES NOT DO ANYTHING.

So stop spending money on that bogus submission service and instead invest in some high-quality directory links or other industry advertising. The effect will be long-term and actually bring in more traffic and sales, not just more offers for low cost drugs, logo designs, and incredible mortgage rates!


Business Directory Scams

Have you ever received an invoice for a business directory listing that you never ordered? Perhaps you had experienced the following scenario.

You received a phone call from a telemarketing company claiming that someone from your office had previously authorized the purchase of business listing in a business directory, and they would like to verify your business information, such as company name, address, telephone and fax number. This so called verification would lead you to believe that your business has already been listed in their business directory.

Shortly, you received an invoice, typically between $399 and $798, in the mail or fax for your "order". A few days or one week later, someone from the Account Receivables department called to collect the payment for your company listing. If you refused to pay the invoice, the caller would harrass you and even threatened to initiate a legal action against you, and also forwarded your invoice to a debt-collection agency that could damage your credit rating.

Well, if this scenario happened to you, please be on your guard. You could be a victim of a business directory scam.

Here are what you should do if you received a phone call from a collector:
1. Do NOT under any circumstances send these scammers money.
2. Tell him/her that you are not going to pay for the invoice, and let this scammer know that you are going to take the actions outlined in the step 3 and 4.
3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by visiting the the FTC website (http://www.ftc.gov) or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
4. Report the scam to your local Better Business Bureau and your state Attorney General.

Remember folks, you are NOT obliged to pay for services that you never requested or ordered. Last, your credit rating will NEVER be damaged/ruined just because of not paying this business directory scam.

To help you recognize this scam, here is a list of companies known to scam small businesses:

  • ABI Publications
  • B2B IPages – Chicago, IL
  • Business Data Center – Plattsburgh, NY
  • Canadian BizOnline
  • Canadian Media Pages
  • ClearView Corporate Communication, Inc. – Chicago, IL
  • Canora Pages – Montreal, QC
  • Commutel Marketing – Montreal, QC and Victoria, BC
  • Empire Direct Group – Plattsburgh, NY
  • DataSource411 – Montreal, QC and Rochester, NY
  • Global NA
  • Horizon Data Inc. – Champlain, NY
  • Info US411 – Middletown, DE
  • Infotel Publications – Montreal, QC
  • National Business Information Exchange (NBIE) Inc. – Montreal, QC and Chesapeake Beach, MD
  • Reed Publishing aka Reed Directories
  • Target Publications – Ansonia, CT and Champlain, NY
  • Tradeshow Data Center – Plattsburg, NJ
  • YourCompanyListing.com (a spin off of NBIE Inc.) – Montreal, QC and Chesapeake Beach, MD
  • YourYellowURL – Ottawa, ON and Watertown, MA

The list will go on and on… so please share with us if you know any of similiar companies.


Did your Web Designer Steal your Domain Name?

There is nothing more scary than finding out you have put hundreds of dollars into paying someone to design a website for you and then find out that you don't own it. This is one of the worst web design scams on the internet because most new site owners don't know that the domain should be in their own name.

Who Owns Your Domain?
You can check to see who is the registered owner (registrant) of your domain by checking the Whois of your domain. Scroll down the page to see if you are the registrant of the domain. Unless your name is listed as the registrant, or your company name, you are not the owner of the domain. Being listed as technical support does not give you access to move the domain or change the owners data. If your web designer's name, or business, or your host is listed as the registrant, keep reading.

Think back to when you signed up for your hosting plan. If you signed a contract and it says you agree they are to put the domain in their name (supposedly so they can manage it "for you"), there may be nothing you can do about it.

I consider this a dishonest practice, as it is taking advantage of those who don't know any better. Domains are very inexpensive (from a few dollars to about $15), so this practice is nothing more than hijacking a domain name.

Problems of Not Owning Your Own Domain

  • If you ever want to change designers or website hosting, the designer can hold your domain hostage or force you to pay an exorbitant fee to put it in your name (something that should have been yours to begin with).
  • Even if the registrant's name is changed into your name, you may not be able to move it to another registrar for 60 days (this is GoDaddy's policy), so now you not only have a web designer holding the domain hostage, but the registrar is doing it also. Talk about a headache!

Steps to get the domain changed into your own name:

  • Copy off your website Unless you can do it yourself, I would advise you to hire another web designer to copy off your website, including images and related documents, because you don't know how the original designer will react when you request they put the domain in your name. They may remove your website out of spite.
  • Put the domain in your own name Politely ask the original designer to put the domain in your own name, not mentioning what you really think of them or what you might be doing in the future with the website. If they agree to put the domain into your name, you will have to set up an account on the same registrar (if Godaddy) and request the transfer. The original designer will have to approve the transfer. It should take about 24 hours or less for this to show up in your new account. You can also check the Whois site listed above. If the original designer/host balks at the idea and it was "supposedly" a free domain then offer to pay for it. If they require an exorbitant fee or don't reply in a reasonable amount of time, then send the same request in a registered letter so you have proof you tried to contact them.
  • Set up new hosting Once the domain is changed into your name, have your new designer set up hosting on another host (usually takes about 24 hours) and have them load your website on the new host (be aware that some items on your old domain may not work on the new host and some of the graphics or content may have been property of the old designer/host).
  • Transfer DNS Once your site is ready, have the new designer go to the domain registrar and point the DNS of your domain to the new host. This should take about 24 hours. Once you can get to your website on your new host by typing in your domain, you will know everything is working properly. You'll be contacted by the company your domain is currently registered through and will have to approve the transfer of the domain to the new registrar. Follow the instructions in the email they send you. This should only take a few days to transfer the domain. You can try to access the website and you can also check the same Whois site mentioned above to see when this is accomplished. After it has been transferred, you will need your new designer to change the DNS so it's pointed to your new host.
  • File a report with ICANN If the original designer or host refuses to put the domain into your name, or they demand an exorbitant price (ransom) for the domain that you can't pay, you may be able to file a complaint with the Icann Whois Data Problem Report. You will have to prove you paid the designer for the domain (contract, cancelled check, credit card record, emails discussing the issue, etc.). This will be easier if the domain name is your official business name. It can take a couple weeks or more to resolve. Legal advice might be needed if none of the above works. Here is a legal site that has information on Domain Disputes.


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