The View from Landmark

Trends and issues in personal computing from Bud Stolker, a long-time PC consultant. The View from Landmark features tips and techniques to make time spent with your computer more productive and rewarding, commentary on new personal computer policies and trends, plain-English explanations of new hardware, software, and network designs and their relevance to you, and answers to common questions. There may be personal material interspersed if Bud believes it is of general interest.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Domain notification renewal: A scam?

Hi, Bud.

This document looks like a scam to me. Do you know anything about them? I had renewed my domain registration through something like 2011. If it is a scam, is there some fraudbusting outfit I can forward this to, to alert them?

The general impression I get from Googling for comments about this outfit is that it's a scam, but they haven't broken any law. It's just a carefully worded sales pitch. They want you to buy a new domain name.

Notice that they're not referring to (yourdomain).com, but to (yourdomain).us -- a different domain entirely. I cannot find any registration for (yourdomain).us, which means you could -- and probably should -- register the name.

In a way they're doing you a favor by bringing this to your attention. It underscores the need to nail down domain names similar to yours before somebody else grabs them. Your domain name is (yourdomain).com. But in a lot of minds, .com, .net, and .org names are pretty much interchangeable.

Although (yourdomain).org and (yourdomain).net are already taken, there are new extensions available: dot-us, dot-info, dot-name, dot-biz, etc. None has the recognition factor that dot-com has, but it may be worth grabbing the top 3 or 4 new extensions to hedge bets against confusion with another company, or against someone who intentionally wants to siphon off traffic from you.

I regret not having grabbed my domain name sooner. Six months earlier (in 1995), was available. But mid-'95 when I got to the Internet the name was taken, so I took Now all the landmark extensions are taken -- dot-net, dot-biz, dot-us, dot-tv -- all of them. So I added LandmarkComputer as a domain name and use only as a backup. Go to any popular variation on my domain name --, .org, .net, .biz, .us -- and you'll find that it belongs to me. That to me is the right way to ensure the continuing value of an Internet domain name.

So no, don't respond to this scam. You could report them to the BBB or the FTC; I doubt that would do any good. But do consider grabbing (yourdomain).us before somebody else does!