Sunday September 17 2006

On the prowl for easy prey

Filed under: General — Josh @ 9:44 pm

On the prowl for easy prey,,20391879-5001081,00.html

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September 12, 2006 12:00
Article from: The Daily Telegraph

WHAT’S in a name? Quite a lot actually if you have an internet domain name and don’t pay close attention to who should be sending you the bill to keep it.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has received a number of complaints from domain name owners who have paid for domain names similar to, but not identical to the ones they already have a license to use.

A number of unsolicited mass mail-outs not just here but in New Zealand and elsewhere abroad have been catching out unwary owners.

Often, these letters capitalise on a lack of understanding of the intricacies of the domain name system, or simply rely on busy owners paying the invoice without thoroughly checking it.

Many of these owners find themselves paying for domains they don’t want or need.

For instance, someone whose registered website goes under the domain name of, might receive a letter asking them to pay for or

While seemingly similar, these are in fact completely unrelated domain names and customers are unwittingly paying to sign up for a second name.

Where this type of activity has involved deliberately misleading invoices, the ACCC has already taken action. However, despite the publicity surrounding the cases businesses are still being caught out.

The good news is there are some simple steps that domain name owners can take to protect themselves from being caught out or ripped off.

When signing up for a domain name, owners can expect to receive both a tax invoice and a registry key or password.

Keep these in a safe place as they are important for future use of that name when setting up a website.

The invoice should also be used to cross-check any offers that come in.

Look to ensure the name of the company is the same as the one you originally signed up with.

Also note the renewal date for your original domain name.

Most importantly, check that the actual name of the domain matches exactly to the one you took out originally and the one that is used for your website, and is not a slight variation possibly designed to confuse you.

There are a number of useful resources available to domain name owners wanting to check the validity of an invoice.

The ACCC has a fact sheet on domain name registrations on its website — follow the business link.

For .au domain names carries consumer warnings about domain name scams.

This website also contains a registry and look-up service of .au domain names.

The Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts also published a free booklet Staking your Claim on the Web which is available online at

Those who feel they may have been misled can contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

Graeme Samuel is chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
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Thursday November 10 2005

Small businesses plagued by unsolicited offers – Internet Domain Names

Filed under: General — Josh @ 6:10 pm


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Issue Date: – Thursday, 27 October 2005

Small businesses plagued by unsolicited offers – Internet Domain Names

Small business operators are being warned not to fall victim to scammers trying to charge for registering unwanted website addresses.

Consumer Protection Commissioner Patrick Walker said small businesses were being plagued by unsolicited approaches to register or “renew” web addresses, known as domain names.

“The right domain name is very important to any business that wants to attract customers to its website,” said Mr Walker.

“But scammers attempt to dupe businesses into registering or “renewing” a similar website address to their existing domain name.”

For example, the letter may offer to renew the domain name which is similar to the existing website .

“Though the difference is very subtle, the two domain names cannot be interchanged,” Mr Walker said.

“Scammers are banking on busy office staff missing the subtle difference and believing the “renewal” must have come from the original company which registered the name.

“Often the business does not realise that they have been scammed until the renewal notice from the original registrar arrives.”

Barry Sue, owner of Jack Sue WA Skindivers, is one such trader who was duped into paying $187.00 for the “renewal” of a domain name which was similar to his existing website address.

Mr Walker said in the past few years, consumer protection agencies across Australia have taken action to close down these unscrupulous operators.

“But operators are becoming smarter and couch their offers in terms that make it very difficult to prosecute. At the end of the day, they are offering a service, it’s just not the service businesses want.

“Small business operators need to be vigilant and not fooled by official looking letters.”

Mr Walker advised small businesses to:

  • Read any renewal notices carefully;
  • Know the name of your real domain name registrar;
  • Find out the renewal date for your domain name;

The Australian Domain Name Authority (auDa) has a list of accredited domain name registrars on its website as well as warnings about scam operators.

For more information ring 1300 30 40 54 or email

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Monday October 17 2005

ACCC: Domain name renewal/registrations – don’t get caught

Filed under: General — Josh @ 7:27 am

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has produced a prepared a fact sheet on how to protect yourself against domain name scams.

Domain name renewal/registrations—don’t get caught

Topics covered include:

  • Unsolicited letters offering domain names
  • How to avoid problems
  • What’s in a domain name?
  • The business domain name
  • Same core name, but different domain names
  • The main players in the domain name arena
    • Australian .au domain name—key groups
    • Non .au domain names
  • Renewal dates for domain names
  • For more information on the domain name industry
  • Where to go if there are problems
  • How to protect yourself against domain name scams

Watchdog warns on domain name scams

Monday March 7 2005

auDA Consumer Alert: Federal Bureau of Domain Names

Filed under: General — Josh @ 7:27 pm

auDA warns Australian businesses to be wary of American domain name organisation

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.au Domain Administration (auDA), the administrator of .au domain names, today issued a warning to all Australian businesses with domain names, and those likely to register domain names in the future, to be wary of an organisation trading as Federal Bureau of Domain Names (FBODN),

auDA has been informed that FBODN has contacted several Australian businesses – including an internationally renowned Australian icon – falsely positioning itself as the global domain name administrator.

auDA understands that FBODN has told these Australian businesses that someone has applied to register their name in .biz but that FBODN has blocked the registration and is now able to offer the name in .biz to the Australian business.

Chris Disspain CEO of auDA said, “As far as auDA can ascertain, FBODN is not an official, or US Government-endorsed, administrator of .biz or any other domain name extension. As such, Australian businesses should be wary of any contact with FBODN.”

“Australian businesses should also be aware that anyone can register a .biz domain name. Additionally, those who own the comparable .com domain name extension are not able to veto the registration of the .biz extension by someone else.” Mr Disspain continued.

Despite FBODN’s website being heavily branded with American icons, imagery and references to the US Federal Government, www. is registered to Michael Goodall – a resident of London, England.

“At this stage auDA and its international domain name administrator counterparts are still investigating FBODN. However, I stress again that all Australian businesses who are contacted by FBODN should act cautiously” Mr Disspain concluded.
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Aust domain administrator warns against .biz scam (ZDNet),2000061744,39183737,00.htm

auDA warning on domain registration firm (The Age)

Friday March 8 2002

Court stamps out Australian Net registration scam

Filed under: General — Josh @ 10:12 pm

Court stamps out Australian Net registration scam,2000024981,20263926,00.htm

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A company that misled small businesses into believing it dealt with Internet domain name registrations will be forced to cough up customer refunds, retract false information and contribute to legal fees, following action in Federal Court, Brisbane.

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Federal Court Orders Following ACCC Action Assists Small Businesses Regarding Internet Registration

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