Have you received a letter in the mail from a company called iDNA – Internet Domain Services? Most likely if you’re a website owner or reading this post than you have. Let me start by saying iDNA is scam, do not give them any of your hard earned money, ever.
Tricking small business owners with websites should be the new iDNS tag line
iDNS USPS Scam
The scam starts out innocent enough with a letter sent in the mail that’s addressed to (you) the site owner followed by your company’s name. Most business owners would and should open letters like this.
However, once you open the letter up things start getting fishy, sketchy and unethical quickly. Border line illegal practices happening here. The letter starts by saying:
As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification of the domain that is due to expire in the next few months.
So whats this mean exactly?
Well your domain IS actually coming up for renewal however you didn’t register it with iDNS, most likely you used a company like GoDaddy or your website hosting company.
Lets use this as an example.
What if someone called you and said your rent was due, but it wasn’t your landlord? Most likely you would hang up or call your landlord. Don’t let internet marketing change your bullshit factor.
iDNS Wants to Steal your Money
Why would you give your money to another company instead of the one you originally setup your site with? Maybe you got tricked which is EXACTLY what iDNS uses as a business model. Especially when the verbiage in the letter goes on to state:
You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web, and now is the time to transfer and renew your name from your current Registar to Internet Domain Name Services. Failure to renew your 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.
There is lots of heavy verbiage in the blurb above, lets look closer at what is says.
The first sentence states “You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web”, – this part is actually true however its being sent as a cold call, as your original registar will happily tell you this too when its actually time to renew, “and now is the time to transfer and renew your name from your current Registar to Internet Domain Name Services.” – This is the fine print, aka the word TRANSFER.
There is nothing per say illegal about the wording above, ethically its a nightmare designed to target small business owners.
It goes on to state “Failure to renew your 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.” – loss of you online identity? Oh come on, this is harsh it’s not like you will disappear from the internet if you fail to renew on time. The friends part is cute as is the loss of customers.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from this is to lock the registar to your domain, essentially making the information about who registered your website private and hidden from the public.
Lets use iDNS as an example. If you go to lookup a sites WHOIS info you will see the following information:
Note how much information is being shared, just about everything and anything a scammer or marketing company would ever need to get a hold of you.
Do you get lots of cold calls for your business and wondering where they got your contact information? If so see above.
I actually setup a business phone and updated all our WHOIS records to remove my personal cell number. The amount of cold calls stopped literally overnight, however I never thought about the spammers contacting me through the postal service. So I will personally be giving GoDaddy $7.99 a year to keep my information secure.
My whois now looks like so for the Mountain Weekly News:
best part is it took me writing this story to realize I was a potential target for spammers, not no more. For more info on this story please visit: http://kimballrexford.com/idns-internet-domain-name-services/