Domain Slamming: What it is, How to Protect Yourself - Eye-Opening Information
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Believe it or not, some of the largest registrars have been accused of domain slamming. VeriSign settled a lawsuit in August of 2002, filed by BulkRegister, which accused it of domain slamming. BulkRegister claimed that VeriSign sent out letters to domain owners, telling them they needed to renew their registration with VeriSign before the domain expired. But in many cases, the domain wasnít really close to expiring, and the recipients of the letters were not customers of VeriSign.
Lest you think that domain slamming was a problem four years ago but no longer happens today, consider two brothers from New Zealand: Blair and Chesley Rafferty. The Australian Federal Court slapped Chesley with a million-dollar judgment for domain slamming, which caused him to go bankrupt. This happened in July of this year. Blair has apparently chosen to follow in his brotherís footsteps; in August he started sending out notices that look suspiciously like invoices or domain renewals, right down to payment slips at the bottom.
Okay, you may be wondering how these companies and con artists managed to get their hands on your information in the first place. Itís very simple: if you have a domain registered in your name, your information is probably in a WHOIS database Ė and that information is open to the public. It includes your name, contact address (both postal and email), and the date your domain name will expire.
By the way, if youíre thinking about putting down false information the next time you renew to keep the scam artists away Ė donít. This information is also used by the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and others to contact you in case there are any problems with your domain name (for example, if you are found to be violating another companyís trademark or copyright). Even if ICANN canít get through to you, the case can and will proceed to arbitration without your being present, and yes, you could still be ordered to hand over your domain name. Admittedly, this is an extreme case, but itís an example of what could happen.
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