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