Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Be Alert for Domain Scams

domain scam alertTwo of our clients have come to us within the past few days to ask about bills they got in the mail that looked like invoices for domain name registration renewals. They came from Domain Listing Service, and close inspection shows they are for “Annual Website Search Engine Listing” at a cost of $75.

If you get one of these, don’t pay it!

[Update: As of 2021, 14 years after I wrote this article, this is still a thing. I personally got one of these scam emails just this month.]

They promise quarterly submissions to 25 major search engines … which won’t help your rankings in the least. But if any of our clients want that done, Rank Magic will do it for free. (Partly because that’s all it’s worth to you.)

The next questionable approach is a fax that looks very legalese and quotes an extensive excerpt from the United States Legal Code, Title 15. The scary headline says FINAL NOTICE OF DOMAIN EXTENSION and the fax will show your domain name prominently, but with a different extension. I’ve received several, including one listing RANKMAGIC.US for instance.

What they’re offering is to allow you to reserve another version of your domain to prevent some other company taking that domain and causing confusion among your customers. If you think that might be a problem, go ahead and register other domains — with .net, .org, .us, .biz, .tv or whatever other top level domain extensions you want. Typical cost is $25/year apiece, but  if you call the toll free number on this fax, they’ll try to sell it to you for a 10-year term or a 5-year term. If you ask for the 1-year rate, they quote $35.

I plan to toss all of these right into the circular file.

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