An important word of caution – White Dog Green Frog will never send you a mailed letter about your domain renewal. Our customers have been getting a fair amount of these letters lately from other organizations such as Domain Renewal Group or one received just the other day from Domain Name Group…
Domain Renewal Group (DRG) is an outright scam. I say again – Domain Renewal Group is an outright S-C-A-M! DRG (should be renamed to Dodgy Renewal Group) also trades as Domain Registry of America (DROA) which is an organization that has had its own fair share of scamming issues. How DRG/DROA are still in “business” perplexes me, though if you change your name often enough, you are able to be a bit elusive! They trick you into thinking that your domain is up for renewal when 1) they don’t even manage the domain and 2) attempt to get you to pay them money for nothing essentially. If you receive a letter from them, toss it in the bin ASAP!
Because I find it all very amusing, I decided to read through their Terms and Conditions. Here’s a doozy that caused my colleague and I to get a good laugh and 10 minute rant:
Any domain names transferred over to Domain Renewal Group during their registration period must have no more than 2 years left until expiry in order to qualify. (example: if today is January 2007 your domain name cannot expiry any later than January 2009). Any domain names that have over 2 years left on their registration period may be subject to a $15.00 per year additional fee at Domain Renewal Group’s discretion. (example: if today is January 2007 and your domain name expires in 2010, Domain Renewal Group may charge an additional $15.00 on top of your renewal fee).
What does that mean you ask? Basically if any of you decide (or get tricked) to transfer your domain to them, if it has more than 2 years, then DRG/DROA will charge you $15/year. WHAT?!?! The reason why they would do this is they won’t make any money on your domain until it’s up for renewal so they’re charging a $15 “just because” fee. Hilarious really. It’s like ‘if you have a dot (.) in your domain, then you will pay us money’. Unreal.
But wait, there’s more. Under their privacy statement:
Yes, we do share information but only as described below…..
Advertisers: We will share aggregated demographic information with our partners and advertisers…
Partners: We partner with other parties to provide specific services. When the user signs up for these services, we will share names, or other contact information that is necessary for the third party to provide these services.
AND! If you decide to host with them:
License of Your website content Domain Renewal Group grants to You, and You accept from Domain Renewal Group, a non-exclusive, worldwide and royalty free license to copy, display, use and transmit on and via the Internet Your website content in connection with Domain Renewal Group’s performance or enforcement of this Agreement.
In short, this means they own your website but will let you use it (they grant you license to the content). Dodgy doesn’t even begin to describe them. Consider yourself warned!
Enough of DRG/DROA, they might think that we’re picking on them. While some of these letters use scare tactics to get you to essentially switch registrars others, such as Domain Name Group, use the lure of a free iPod to get your money. Not a scam, smart really. I mean, who wouldn’t want a free iPod? But alas, let’s do a bit of light analysis:
- iPod (~$80 for a 2GB iPod)
- 2 year domain registration
- Free email and web forwarding (note: this is not hosting, but rather pointing your newly purchased domain to another hosting/email company).
They charge $245 to register, transfer, or renew. It also doesn’t matter what type of domain, it’s $245!
So to register a .com.au – $245; To register a .com, you guessed it! $245.
To give you an idea of the fee disparity, WDGF charges $40 (2yrs) for a .com and $49.95 (2yrs) for a .com.au. Domain Name Group are not technically scamming (as it does say that it’s an “invitation to register”) so much as they are guilty of charging an obscene amount of money but, hey, at least you get a free iPod!
The moral of this blog post is for you to make you aware of the type of scams that are out there and for you to thoroughly read through the letters that you are sent. The bad guys don’t care about ethics, and they’re out there ready to prey on your naivety. The onus is on you to arm yourself with knowledge and a spoonful of common sense doesn’t hurt either.