Why should a trade mark attorney be telling you about the Chinese Domain Name Scam?

Well, your domain name is a vital part of your company’s brand. It identifies and promotes your business through all digital mediums and is, therefore, one of your most valuable intellectual property assets.

How does the Chinese Domain Name Scam work?

It usually starts with an email from an individual allegedly working for a Chinese registrar service. The official-looking subject line lures you into opening and reading it. Although the text and approach can differ, in essence, they all follow the same premise: another company is trying to register multiple domain names that contain your company’s name or trade mark information.

While you’re trying to work out whether another company can do that, the urgency of the content makes you believe you’re in imminent danger of losing your domain name.

Losing your domain name would be a disaster.

Of course, the sender puts your mind at rest by telling you they can help with their ‘brand protection’ package. The only way to prevent losing your company’s digital identity is to register a hefty list of Asia-related domain names.

Just to put your mind at rest, and to show they are fighting your corner, they’ll claim to have blocked these competitive registration efforts. However, they can only do this temporarily, and the only way to stop the registration process is by responding to the email and registering the domains for several years, upfront (at a premium price – although they won’t tell you that bit).

Aren’t multiple domains good for my SEO?

That’s what the scammers want you to believe that, but it’s not true. In fact, according to the SEO (search engine optimisation) Gods at MOZ, a raft of low-quality country domain extensions can harm your SEO.

Simple steps to avoid falling for the Chinese Domain Name Scam

Reading through this article, you’re probably chuckling to yourself thinking who on earth would be daft enough to fall for such a scam?

However, consider this – you’re stressed and overworked. Among your daily flood of emails is an official looking one warning that you’re about to lose your domain name. What do you do? If you casually delete it, you could end up regretting it. However, it’s asking for money. It looks genuine. It sounds genuine…

Not such an easy decision when you’re under pressure. And that’s what the scammers rely on.

However, all is not lost.

You can’t stop these emails from coming through, but you can take some simple steps to make sure you don’t fall pray to the Chinese Domain Name Scam, namely:

  • Make a note of when your company’s domain names expire and the company with which they are registered
  • List three different employees under your ICANN WHOIS registration for Registrant Contact, Admin Contact and Tech Contract (all three will receive official reminders when your renewal date approaches)
  • Only renew your domain names through the company or representative from whom you originally purchased them
  • Use the domain locking feature from your registrar (this prevents your domain name being re-registered anywhere else without your express permission)

Of course, there is one final step to add to this list, and that is to make sure your leadership team makes all staff aware of the latest scams.

Knowledge is the best protection you can provide.

Ward Trade Marks advises that any clients that receive this Chinese Domain Scam should contact them immediately. Ward Trade Marks also stores domain name renewal details for their clients, offering an additional layer of protection from the scammers. If you have any concerns: