Tread Carefully. If you own a website and your own domain name, watch out for this particular scam.
You’ll get an email from a company saying someone is trying to register the domain names for example “www.tinytapir.cn , http://www.tinytapir.hk ” etc etc. The email we got was like this :
We are WEST Holdings Company Ltd. We are a professional domain name registration organization in Hong Kong, which is mainly responsible for domain name registration and dispute. We have some points need to confirm with your company on your company’s intellectual property right on Internet.
On Mar., 31 ,2009, we have received an application form on domain name registration from a so called “Enflame Holdings Limited” . They put forward to register the following domain names:
Wireless Brand Keyword
During our preliminary investigation, we found that these domain names’ keyword is identical with your trademark. So we intend to confirm with you if your company consigned them to register through us. If you do not have any idea about this company and has no affiliation with them, we doubt they have other motivation. Now we have postponed this issue and have not proceeded their registration. In order to deal with this issue better, please make sure to let your relevant director deliver the confirmation with written version to us as soon as possible.
PS:If you are not in charge of this matter,please transfer this email to appropriate dept..
At first I thought it was legit so I just wrote back :
This company is not consigned by us or known to us or affiliated to us .
Appreciate you letting us know.
They quickly sent this back to me :
Dear li chan,
I am glad you contact me in time. If you have no relationship with them. According to our working experience, there are 2 possibilities:
1. Enflame Holdings Limited is a domain name investment company, they want to register these names before you and sell back to you to gain profits.
2. It may be a commercial method, Enflame Holdings Limited is consigned by your competitor to register, make your clients confused.
Because domain name takes open registration,Who register the domain name first, who will be the owner.this is international domain name registration principle.
As a domain name registration organization,we just have the obligation to inform you about the case,we have no right to refuse their application.
But because you are the trademark owner, so you will get the priority to register these domain names and keywords.
If you think their registration will confuse your clients and harm your profits, we can send a disputed application form to you and help you register these domains within dispute period,
this is the way to prevent domain name from grabbing.
Of course,if you don’t think their application will affect you, you can give up,we will finish the registration for Enflame Holdings Limited according to the rules.
Hope get your decision ASAP, so that we can handle the next step.
I got to thinking “there are literally at least a hundred variations of domain names nowadays – what with .org , .tv , .com.my etc etc. If I tried to register them all I’d go broke just maintaining the domain names! Besides, I thought it might be a scam, after all, I’ve only got their word that someone is going to register those domain names. And how in demand would “TinyTapir” be in China / HK anyway? 99% of the population there wouldn’t have a clue what a Tapir even is.
So I did not reply.
A few days later, this email arrived :
Please note,The dispute term is limited.I want to know what is your status of consideration? Your decision is much important to us.
If you haven’t made the decision, we will wait you for 2 days. But if you have already made a decision, please let me know it. And reply me at the first time seeing this letter.
This actually made me even more suspicious, so I actually googled “Enflame Holdings Limited” to see if it was for real – no search results, leading me to think it was probably not real (usually “real” companies will at least have 1 or 2 listings in a directory).
Looks like what these companies do is contact you, make you anxious about retaining your domain name, and get you to sign up with them to register all the domain name variations – at an inflated price.
If you really are worried about keeping your domain, your best bet is actually to go to a site like http://www.godaddy.com where registration and renewal is fairly cheap (well, when I researched it last year it was the cheapest and most reliable company for domain name registration and renewal).
But I think it’s not worth worry about. After all, the most important domain name ends with “.com” and it’s what people remember and look for, so registering too many domain name variations is really just a waste of money.