Don’t you just hate it when you run across some person/company/government entity that thinks the rules just don’t apply to them?!?

Yesterday, I received a “Domain Name Expiration Notice” from the “Domain Renewal Group”.  It indicated that “As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification…” and asking me to renew one of my domains with them.  Thing is, THEY ARE NOT MY DOMAIN REGISTAR!  They never were (and they never will be!).  Here is a copy of the entire (sanitized) letter.

This skillfully crafted letter is written to lure domain owners away from their current registrar to renew their domain registration(s) with “Domain Renewal Group”.  With comments like “You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web” and vague threats like “Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration date may result in the loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web”, it gives the recipient a false sense of urgency that prompts them to just send the letter-that-looks-like-a-bill to their Accounts Payable department.  While the statements are factual, they are just words intended to coerce the domain owner to act in haste.

For the record, Domain Renewal Group is part of  the notorious “Domain Registry of America” (a.k.a. DROA).  Check out these search results to learn more about their antics over the years.  DROA has been using these deceptive letters for years, although they have been more careful to include a few lines stating that this is an offer to switch your domain registrar and this is not a bill.  And the back of the notice has so much fine print, it would give any lawyer a boner just seeing it!

Still, when an unsuspecting domain owner (person or small or large business) gets one of these notices, they don’t read every word – it looks like a bill, so they pay it.  This happened to my sister some years ago, and DROA was forced to transfer the domain registration back to our own registrar and refund her money!

I wonder why ICANN doesn’t seem to do anything about a domain registrar that has been using these deceptive practices for years?  I recognized the letter as a DROA scam the moment I saw it!

To top things off, DROA is using the WHOIS database as their own personal marketing list.  Here is (a sanitized copy of) my mailing address for the domain record:

Domain owner's address

Domain owner's address

Not only does DROA ignore that fact that my address includes the words “NO UNSOLICITED MAIL”, but ICANN has specific regulations that are supposed to prevent the use of WHOIS database records for marketing purposes!  It is so much more than obvious that DROA could not have gotten this domain’s ownership information anywhere else but the WHOIS database.


P.S.  Did I mention how RIDICULOUS DROA’s PRICES ARE?!?  They want at least twice as much as any reputable domain registrar to simply register/renew domains.