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12 Sept 2008

AsiaDomainNameRegistrar scam

An email allegedly from an Asian domain name registrar based in China caught my eye in the spam box today.  The email basically says an investment company intends to register NoticeBored.ASIA and NoticeBored.CN, and that we'd better act fast to stop it.

Dear Manager,

We received a formal application on intending to register "noticebored" as their domain name and Internet brand in China and also in Asia from an investment company pn Sept.7th,2008. During our audit period, we find that this Investment company has no trade mark, brand or patent. As a professional institution of domain name registration, we have reasons to suspect this investment company to be a domain name grabber. Therefore, we need your confirmation on two points as follows.
First of all, whether this investment company is your business partner or distributor in China?
Secondly, whether you are interested in registering these domain names?
(According to the rules of domain name registration, the investment company will be entitled to obtain a domain name but not need the permission from the original trademark owner.) If you are not in charge of this issue, please transfer this email to the right department.
This is a letter for confirmation. If the mentioned third party is your business partner or distributor in China or in Asia, please DO NOT reply. We will automatically think that this application was from your business partner after our audit period.


Asia Domain Name Registrar
TEL : 86-21-312 609 71
FAX : 86-21-312 609 72
Email: hebe@asiadomainnameregistrar.com

It's a scam of course, but one of the better ones having a certain ring of authenticity and credibility to it.

A quick Google search soon found a blog entry about it from where links led me to another.  Blog commenters note that the registrar is blatantly overcharging for domain registrations and, in any case, there are official ICANN procedures in place to deal with 'domain name squatting' and trademark abuse.  Needless to say, I shan't be responding to their email but our lawyers and I will be fascinated to see whether those domains are ever actually registered ...

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