China Domain Scams

I have to say that it’s very amusing when you get emails like this. I had to do a little bit of digging to get the dirt on it, but fortunately when you’re not the first of these types of scams, the Internet can be a great resource. Basically, the idea is no different than the domain snail mail letters that people send in the mail that look like a bill in the US. This takes a different approach, since it makes you scared that your brand is in jeopardy and you didn’t buy up some of the other domains.

The below was a verbatim email that I got from the scammers. I had started a dialogue in my usual manners, but was fascinated when they basically said that they were doing due diligence, but then they could not deny the application by the other corporation even though they were doing due diligence.

Hmm, makes you wonder. What’s the point of doing due diligence then?

If you ask about it, then they’ll send you a cost sheet, and it’s like $60-$120 per brand and domain. Amusingly, these same domains cost somewhere around $10 to $30USD depending on what they were, and a lot of them, you have to show registration of a legitimate business within that domain. For example, in Hong Kong and Taiwan, you have to have a registered business within those regions to actually even apply for the .com.tw and .com.hk. I don’t know about China, but in all honesty, it’s not something that I would care to register as a business owner. In the end, the .com is king and anyone in the web world knows that.

This happened to come from a site called “drc-asia.org” which claims to be a domain registrar in China. Interestingly enough if you look up the domain itself, it’s owned by “shanghaifengwangwangluokejiyouxiangongsi”. Which is fine in itself, except for the fact that they have a .live.cn (Hotmail China) email registration. Crazy thing here, but legitimate businesses never have domains registered under any personal email places. No hotmail, gmail, or anything else. Much less when a domain registrar doesn’t know how to set up a CNAMEs so that drc-asia.org doesn’t point anywhere, but www.drc-asia.org actually does go to a host? Come on.

In any case, if you find yourself worried that you might be on the verge of getting taken in, fear not. Usually it’s a permutation of the email below.


(If you are not the person who is in charge of this, please forward to the right person/ department, as this is urgent, thank you!)

Dear CEO,

We are the department of registration service in China. we have something need to confirm with you. We formally received an application on Aug 16, 2010, One company which self-styled " dre&y trading ltd" are applying to register "merchantsmirror" as brand name and domain names as below :
merchantsmirror.asia
merchantsmirror.cn
merchantsmirror.com.cn
merchantsmirror.com.hk
merchantsmirror.com.tw
merchantsmirror.hk
merchantsmirror.tw
After our initial checking, we found the brand name and these domain names being applied are as same as your company's, so we need to get the confirmation from your company. If the aforesaid company is your business partner or your subsidiary company, please don't reply us, we will approve the application automatically.

If you have no any relationship with this company, please contact us within 7 workdays. If out of the deadline, we will approve the application submitted by "dre&y trading ltd" unconditionally.

Best regards,
Robert Yang

  • Anna

    Thank you very much. It was very useful to me, as I have just received this scam e-mail today and I said to myself I would better google it and check what people say.

  • No problem. Actually, I have to say that they sound very professional. Will even add that the fax lines, and phone lines do actually work. Mainly because these are legitimate businesses. They just take you for a ride for how much it costs by making it sound urgent. In all honesty, it shouldn’t be an issue.

    Since they use the same template emails, it’s quite easy to follow since many others have had similar experiences.

  • Waterlily

    I got the same email a few days ago! Thank you so much for the information!

  • Martyn

    Thanks for the info – same e-mail received today – can seem convincing as they are using my business name. I was suspicious and Googled – Cheers

  • Flavia Zraick

    Thanks for posting the info and balancing the pros and cons of our internet world. Some use it for spam and harassing and others to help us defend ourselves.

    • Omobendel

      Got this today (Sept 26, 2010). Thanks for posting your info, great community service.

  • Samantha

    Got the same email word for word, and I’ve been getting a lot of solicitation for domain services lately. I’m just going to make my domain private when its up for renewal so no more spammers. Thanks for posting this though. Confirmed my thoughts that it was a scam.

  • Stevesutton

    Yep, me too! Very helpful piece.

  • Tisoczki

    Thanks for posting. You saved me time and money.

  • Yosef_ffc

    Thanks for enlightening me. A very convincing SCAM. I was already
    writing out a cheque. I was suspicious but believed that this was the
    real thing. Not too outrageous prices . Better than all the winning
    mails of a million dollars. – Yosef

  • Liz

    Thanks for doing the digging on this one!

  • vainwriter

    Thanks for this post! I got the email too, and was a bit scared at first… but I know better than this so I searched and found you. I’m getting the word out on this. Regards!

  • Fxhawyx

    actually,this is domain name scam.don’t reply it,it won’t influence you or your company

  • Jeff

    This does seem very convincing. I’m glad I googled it before taking any action.

  • I got a similar email today. I immediatley marked is as spam. Becasue I dont trust anything that comes from china!! And then googled it out of cruiousity to see whats going on.