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Domain Renewal Notices in Your Snail Mail - What's the Story?


Title: Domain Renewal Notices in Your Snail Mail - What's the Story?
Author: James M. Eastman, MS
Date Published: 10/22/2020

 

Because we provide web hosting and management to hundreds of websites for customers around the country, we are often sent questions about domain name renewal notifications that arrive in people's snail mail. They often look like the one in the image below.

The most common solicitation is from a company called "Domain Registry". In our research we found that this company is based in Bergen, New Jersey. The notices have the look of an invoice, but are in fact a solicitation to transfer your domain name to a new registrar. My response to each of these customers is:

"This is phishing to transfer your domain name: Ignore and throw away."

Domain name registration refers to reserving a name on the Internet for a certain period of time, usually one to five years. Registrars that may be familiar include GoDaddy.com, NetworkSolutions.com and Register.com. There are dozens of other providers and then thousands of smaller providers that resell these services.

Colophon New Media provides "Managed Domain Name Registration" where we register a name on behalf of a customer and look after the domain name - handling renewal notifications and all support related to the name including DNS settings. We do this using a master account with GoDaddy.com who we find to have excellent services and support for domain names.

In 20 years of working with domain names, we have never received snail mail notifications from GoDaddy or any other registrar where our names are actually registered. However, because we have over 40 names of our own registered to Colophon New Media and our business address, we get plenty of snail mail from  about "switching to Domain Registry to take advantage of great savings!"

Not suprisingly the price of the Domain Registry service is amongst highest we have ever seen - advertising $50/year. GoDaddy.com by comparision charges an average of $20/year. Perhaps Domain Registry is trying to make up the cost of all of that snail mail they send!

In the notice below you can see that the notification is seeking a transfer of our domain name "colophondomains.com". So how do these guys find us, how do they find you? Domain name information is publicly available online.

A simple search using a tool like whois.com will reveal the name of the registrar (the company where it is registered) and the registrant (the person who bought it) and other information about expiry date and servers. This public information can be hidden by buying and additional service called "Privacy".

Most often we do not use the privacy service as it is an additional cost that can add up over dozens of names each year. But in some cases customers like to keep their information related to a domain name completed hidden. 

If you receive snail mail about your domain name, have quick look and see if it is indeed from your registrar or a solicitation to transfer. If still in doubt, do a look up to find your publicly available information at whois.com. Then toss the notice in your recylcing bin.

 

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