Domain Registry of America still slamming, still scamming

Kevin Murphy, October 6, 2011, 12:56:44 (UTC), Domain Registrars

Domain name slamming is alive and well in the ICANN-accredited registrar community.

I’ve just received a letter in the mail offering me the chance to transfer and renew domainincite.com for the knock-down price of £25 ($38) a year.

It’s Domain Registry of America again, still slamming almost a decade after it was first sued for the completely unethical practice of conning people into transferring their domain names.

Domain Renewal GroupThe letter looks like a renewal notice. Besides ostensibly coming from “Domain Renewal Group”, it also contains the prominent text “Domain Name Renewal Service”.

Domain Renewal Group and Domain Registry of America are one and the same – fronts for the ICANN-accredited registrar Brandon Gray Internet Services Inc, dba NameJuice.com.

The letter, as you can see from the scan, is a little less bogus than the ones DROA started sending out back in 2001. The text states now much more clearly that “this is not a bill”.

But domain slamming has always relied upon people not reading the letter properly and/or not understanding the intricacies of domain transfers, and this is no different.

DROA’s business depends upon its letters finding their way into the hands of gullible individual registrants or accounting departments that will blindly pay official-looking notices.

At the prices the company charges – pretty much the most expensive in the industry – very few people will have transferred their domains because they thought they were getting a good deal.

There have been numerous complaints and lawsuits against DROA over the last decade.

In November 2009, the UK Advertising Standards Agency found DROA in breach of truthfulness and honesty guidelines for a substantially similar mailshot and ruled:

The mailing must not appear again in its current form.

And last year, the .ca registry CIRA terminated Domain Registry of Canada, another Brandon Gray front, for slamming .ca registrants using the same methods.

So isn’t it about time ICANN shut these muppets down too?

Unfortunately, ICANN can only use contracts to enforce compliance, and I’m not sure there are any sticks in the 2001 Registrar Accreditation Agreement that it can use to beat them.

DROA has plainly breached Go Daddy’s Whois access policy by slamming me (the letter was sent to my Whois billing address, not my actual residence), but I don’t think there’s much Go Daddy can do about that short of suing.

As far as I can tell, Brandon Gray, which has about 130,000 domains under management, got its ICANN accreditation in about 2003. It was previously an eNom reseller.

So its accreditation is probably going to be up for renewal within the next couple of years.

Fortunately, ICANN has just this week introduced stricter new accreditation application rules that are specifically designed to weed out the scumbags.

Any company or individual with a track record of dishonesty is no longer welcome at ICANN.

So if there’s nothing that can be done before then, at the very least when Brandon Gray’s accreditation expires ICANN should not renew it.

What’s more, other registrars should lean on ICANN to make sure Brandon Gray is shown the door. It’s been bringing their industry into disrepute for the best part of a decade and it’s time for it to stop.

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Comments (17)

  1. Bob Fontaine says:

    These pukes have been sending me these “renewal” “nvoice” looking mailings for a decade as well. Received a few last week.

    I have had countless clients call me up all in a panic because they think theire company name is at risk – AND THAT I ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN. Not.

    They should be shut down, sued, arrested, then tarred and feathered!

  2. Gnanes says:

    I got an unopened letter from Domain Registry Of Canada. They also use similar format in the letter and have been doing it for more than a decade and ICANN / CIRA doesn’t give a crap.

  3. I too have received these scam letters since I first started registering domains in the late 1990s. Fortunately I could tell it was a scam from the beginning.

    I used to get loads of letters from them 10 years ago but now I only get them occasionally.

    I’ve also had fake email renewal notifications a few times, which looked like part of the same scam, although I’ve not kept any of them so can’t say for certain it was the same.

    Here’s another scammer who has been running for over 10 years, under many different websites/identities. http://www.certifieddomainvalue.com/

  4. dani says:

    My clients are still getting these as well and many have already been duped into paying. It is actually surprisingly common how many businesses don’t now who their domain is registered with, and they often get these and just hand them over to accounting to pay.

    I was surprised to see that the FTC took action in 2003, warning them and the company agreed to have its actions monitored, but it doesn’t look like anything has changed. It is incredibly deceitful and its obvious what they are doing, what I don’t understand is why the FTC has not shut them down!! I have seen less sleezy things get shut down a lot faster.

    I called and filed another complaint and also prompted my clients and business group members to all do the same. We need to continue to post about this issue and file complaints until something is done. I believe a class action law suit should be filed by the people who have paid tricked into paying these jack asses.

  5. Can we know WHO owns the Company behind the “ICANN-accredited registrar Brandon Gray Internet Services Inc, dba NameJuice.com. ” ??

    Physical Business Address ??

    Expose’ Upcoming ??

    ~Patricia Kaehler – Ohio USA – DomanBELL

  6. Fred The Kat says:

    When I have received their letters in the past, I tear the account number off one of my checks, fill it out for one zillion dollars and mail it back to them.

  7. Sergey Rusak says:

    I just called their customer support & sales department 1-866-434-0212 and made them listen… 3.2.1… Never Gonna Give You Up, Never Gonna Put You Down, Never Gonna Run Around!!! Everyone should do the same! RickRoll them for their crimes!

  8. Lisa says:

    I just got a notice from Domain Registry of America for a site I not only do not own, but one that was taken down for selling counterfeit Ugg Boots. The domain was transferred to the Owner of Ugg some time ago, and, as I said, I do not now, nor have I ever had a pair of Ugg Boots, much less a website devoted to selling knockoffs. I know not to send them money, but am concerned that this counterfeiter’s website is somehow connected to my name and address.

  9. Scott says:

    Lisa,

    I also received a letter today (April 24, 2012) saying that my domain was about to expire. Not only have I never registered a domain name, but this site is entirely in another language (Japanese?) and looks like it sells money for some online game. I believe this is another nasty scam from them to get people to log in and send money to them.

    I would love to know how they got my information and whether someone really did use my information to pay for the domain name.

  10. David Taylor says:

    Well highlighted Kevin. A complete scam preying on the unwary. The sort of registrar whose activities tarnish the registrar community. I love Fred the Kat’s comment BTW.

  11. JDM says:

    I received one today from Domain Registry of Canada. He may not be allowed to handle .ca domains anymore but he still does business as DROC. This was for a .org. This is the first I have gotten from them in a couple of years and while the notice that it isn’t a bill is in larger darker type, it’s still enough to fool a lot of folks (usually the same ones that fall for fake lotteries) which is what DROC reminds me of.

    According to the fine print on the back, the seem to be affiialted with eNOM, WIld West Domains Inc, Brandond Gray Internet Serice Inc (dba Namejuice.com) and DROC.

    CIRA has given him the boot – time for ICANN to do the same. Just my humble opinion of course.

  12. JDM says:

    Oh, and I guess they got tire of getting empty prepaid envelopes mailed back to them (what someone in cyberspace recommended last time they did this) as the latest mailing had no prepaid return envelope.

  13. Robyn says:

    I guess DROA is starting 2013 out right on track as we received an “invoice” from them in today’s mail. Thankfully our executive secretary mentioned it in passing to me, prior to getting our accountant to send them a check. The letter looks the same as those I’ve seen online, as in above – just the cost has changed – $35 US for one year on our letter. What a rip-off!

    Time to renew the warnings about these scum!

    • Fred The Kat says:

      Here’s what I do when I get their faux invoices: I get a check and tear off the routing and account number and then write “Fuck You, You Fucking Scumbag” across the Pay To and $1,000,000 in the amount. I then put it in the envelope and mail it back to them. So far, I have sent them many millions of dollars. Funny, though, the checks never seem to clear. Hmmm…

  14. Fred The Kat says:

    Here’s what I do when I get their faux invoices: I get a check and tear off the routing and account number and then write “Fuck You, You Fucking Scumbag” across the Pay To and $1,000,000 in the amount. I then put it in the envelope and mail it back to them. So far, I have sent them many millions of dollars. Funny, though, the checks never seem to clear. Hmmm…

    • Robyn says:

      G’day Fred The Kat

      I just may do that – I doubt I can get our company accountant to do it, but I might do it myself. I doubt that my check will clear either LOL

      Thanks for the suggestion!

      Happy 2013

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