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Ethics and domain selling tactics?

had a nasty experience anyone comment?



6:49 am on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I had a nasty experience a few weeks ago when a client called me and asked if I was trying to buy a domain name which was the same (minus the limited) as their company name on their behalf. No I say I was not.

Client has a website which is on a domain which is an abbreviation of their comapany name.

Client says a domain name company called him to say that someone was trying to buy domain names which are the same as their business name.

I called the domain sellers, they would not give me any details of the person they say was trying to buy the domains just that they would hold them for another 15 minutes and that after that they would sell them to this person.

Domain seller then quoted a fairly ridiculous price for the two domains and asked me/us if we wanted to get the domains for ourselves rather than let this unknown other party take them.

Domain company tells me I cannot buy them from another seller (at a decent price) because they have already reserved them.

So we have been blackmailed .. we cannot tell if there is an actual buyer .. the domain seller quotes the data protection act at me .. we do not have time to get legal advice .. we cannot be sure what the intentions of the unnamed buyer are ..

We buy the domains and feel ripped off and pressurised by the tactics of the domain seller.

The reason I was not comfortable is that assuming the domain company has
access to

1. A UK registered company list and

2. A list of registered domains

Item one being available in a number of places online and item 2 being available online for free, then they have a way of correlating

1. Companies whose business name are not registered as domain names

2. Possibly companies who have websites on domain names which are not their company name and who do not own their company name as a domain name.

Either of these queries could give them a potential sales target list.

In each case a companies decision to buy now or not could be significantly
influenced by the potential presence of a buyer whose motives are suspicious
and unknown and where time is limited.

Comments welcomed, I did not like this, my client did not like this, anyone know what we could do legally about this?


7:08 am on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Pressure like that is usually a scam.

I think that is horrible. I would call your credit card company and refute the charges. They should be able to do a charge back.

I would also publish what they have done to you on the Internet so other people can find their company name in your statement about what the company did to you. Make sure to warn other people. Contact the better business bureau.

If you have the money, try and sue them. Do something. I am assuming this is a .UK domain. If you are dealing in .COM or gTLD let me know. I will look into this company. I got some powers with gTLDs.

One someone does this type of thing to me I fight back.


7:42 am on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I would call your credit card company and refute the charges. They should be able to do a charge back.

i disagree, no matter how unsavoury the tactics used they are still legal, you agreed to the purchase and therefore have no cause to ask for a chargeback, they will sue you and win.

i sympathise with Lisa's views, and i bet you are angry too, but be VERY careful of posting defamatory comments on the internet, take note of the policy pursued by brett and the mods on this board.

i think the truth is that you've been scammed, everyone even the wisest in business get scammed once in a while - just live with it, and learn from it,
if websites are designed and linked properly a search on a company name should always bring "the company" out top, additionally if the name is not a natural type in, then so what if someone else has the name, check out the list of tld's is it worth buying your company name with every ending available - unless you are someone like google i don't think so.

... i'm not a lawyer thats just my personal opinion


3:10 pm on Apr 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I understand your frustration and feeling of "entrapment" as well as Lisa's anger. I wholeheartedly agree with topr8 regarding the reality of the situation. Good advice.


3:58 pm on Apr 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I think the good advice is already covered.

Most of the time the domain name gold diggers don't do anything with the domain, apart from park it - if they even register it in the first place.

I would add, it's a timely reminder to start reviewing all the domains that might be of interest to your existing clients.


4:21 pm on Apr 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Two comments: first, credit card companies tend to favor the cardholder in disputes, and if they vendor is engaged in unethical business practices they are sure to cut their losses and move on to new marks.

Second, this sounds like a fax scheme that was going on a year or two ago in the US (and may still be). Someone checks the WHOIS database for a domain registered as a .com but not a .net. They then send a scary-looking fax to the domain owner (e.g., Acme Manufacturing) saying that someone is trying to register "acmemanufacturing.net", and to contact them immediately to register the domain before it's too late. Needless to say, the whole process is automated and the only time someone will try to register the .net is if the fax recipient actually responds. The whole thing is realistic enough looking that I've had clients contact me in a panic saying "someone is stealing my name!".


7:23 pm on Apr 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

In related news, the FTC just announced a $375,000 fine for a Canadian company running one of these scams:


The frightening part of the article? That fine was calculated as "amount the scam collected + $25,000". The scammers cleared a third of a million dollars with a fax scam. With money like that involved, these scams aren't going to go away any time soon.


9:03 am on Apr 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

if you're in the uk, you could report the scammers to trading standards and the office of fair trading - if others do the same, action might be taken.

you could also post the details of the scam to some anti-scam sites on the net. they'll carry the details and may have some more advice for you.


6:48 pm on Apr 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Nominet have posted an advisory notice regarding this well known scam and it can be viewed at [nominet.org.uk...]

As I domain registrar myself, I want to make it clear that there is no way that any registrar can "reserve" a domain name. You either register it there and then or you don't. With all the gtld domain registries registration is instant. You have the domain a split second later. Although Nominet is an asynchronous registry; sometimes it can take a few minutes to be sure of having registered a domain, there is no facility to put a desired new domain on hold.

And the main point here is 99.9% of domains are registered online real time with a credit card. When clients register domains with us we only find out after the domain has been registered. We certainly do not have any time to make moral judgements on whether the client has the right to the domain and there are not enough hours in the day to hunt down all the potential intellectual property rights holders of each domain registered!

The gentleman who was duped has a clear case for a chargeback and I personally would go to the Police. This is fraud, plain and simple, obtaining money by deception.


3:00 pm on May 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks CHC and mbauser2 for the interesting articles.

I have decided to take action after all.

My client funded the purchase so it is them that have been ripped off but as I don't expect anyhow to use the urls which are long ones it was money wasted or stolen.

It was the possibility someone would scam the site with them that caused us to buy.

Crazy_Fool your advice is good.

I should not let these people get away with it, no more than the pratt that has been (just caught) spamming people using an old formmail script on one of my servers with any luck his various accounts are being closed right now.

Agressive fight back begins now! :-)

So what is there to fight about ....

1. Spammers abusing web scripts.

2. Spam into in box from .kr addresses mainly on yahoo.

3. dodgy domain selling tactics.

Anyone have any other suggestions?


6:49 am on May 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

By the way, in case any readers are wondering which company we are talking about; I can reveal that it is a small UK con outfit called ANET. (www.anet.co.uk)

The following news article is just one of numerous articles about this rogue sales outfit. Go back to selling Double Glazing ANET, you're not welcome in the IT business!



7:05 am on May 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

CHC check your sticky mail, that was not the company that scammed me.


BTW I am developing a blocked senders list with all the email adresses that spam me.

Would it be worth people sharing spammers emails lists so we can delete their incomings.

Anyone have any ideas.

I know many change their email addresses each time but my research indicates that they send plenty first.

Trouble is they often fake someones address, someone is doing this to me at the moment.


9:15 am on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I just arrived here so i am some what off topic with this, but i just had a similar experience.

The spam scammers emailed me telling me that one of my domain names was available, in another ext it wasn't available before, and that they had reserved it.

With them not knowing or perhaps not caring that i am in this business, i immediately checked it out and sure enough the name was available.

So of course i registered the name for $10 less actually, in this case they did me a big favor, i will never complain about them again as the name is quite valuable.

But just goes to show you that nobody can reserve a domain name i owned it in a matter of a few minutes.

Maybe this was not worth a posting but it shows that there can be a flip side.


9:45 am on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Great_Names yes there is often a flip side I agree.

I had said I would go for this company to get some redress but actually I can't be bothered, both I and my client feel we have been had but we would rather get on with our lives and our work together (a little wiser from the experience) rather than going in "an eye for an eye" etc because that would just waste more of our time.

They will not do it to me again - just like you only spam me once.

I will however publicise it a little to try to stop others falling foul of this deeply dodgy sales tactic...


10:38 am on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Great_Names - Maybe this was not worth a posting but it shows that there can be a flip side.
>> Definitely worth a post, to make everyone aware of these tactics.

I just received a similar email yesterday.

I have recently acquired the rights to the above domain name on behalf of a client. My client has since decided not to proceed with his venture. I am therefore, writing to any person and/or company who may have an
interest in this domain name.

They were willing to hand over the name for only US$850. Problem is they hadn't even bought it.


11:19 am on May 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>we would rather get on with our lives and our work together <

Nice one Mark_A
The way to go.
I would still consider getting the charge back from the buggers and tell the card company what happened. Let them sort it if they want. I feel they have some kind of moral obligation since their system of payment benefits them also. They should police it as best they can. IMHO

Oh, and gold medals to wmw members for your replies/advice. What a great bunch, makes me proud to be here :)
Tbear (note the capital T, ;) )


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