Over the past few weeks, a couple of our clients have reached out to us with a common problem. Website domain owners occasionally will receive a letter in the mail disguised as an invoice to renew their domain name. Getting this “bill” can be startling. Immediately you’ll think to yourself, “Did I really forget to pay for that? What even does this letter even mean? What should I do now?”.
If you receive a letter like this, you shouldn’t worry too much about it. There is nothing illegal about sending solicitations in the mail as long as the letter clearly states that it is not a bill and that you are under no obligation to pay the amount unless you accept the offer. Unfortunately, there is a good chance that most mail-based domain name listing services are a scam. Before you opt in to service, here’s what you need to know.
How Do Website Listing Scams Work?
Domain name listing services are individuals, agencies, and businesses that scan websites and download public information for the sole purpose of soliciting sales. When you purchase a domain name, you enter contact information to register the URL. Companies can access your domain registration contact information online at any time. Your email address, phone number, and mailing address, is given out to anyone who requests it through the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Why Do Scammers Use My Information?
Why would anyone want to grab your public information? What’s so important about your address and phone number? Businesses can use your information to make themselves money. Like we said before, this isn’t really illegal and calling these businesses a scam isn’t exactly true. Solicitation letters are more so a loophole that can help Domain Name Listing Services turn a profit. While this strategy isn’t exactly ethical, companies use the public data of thousands of unaware domain name owners to receive a 1-time payment or long-term contract for minimal and poorly executed services.
Common Website Listing Service Letter Senders
Some of the most common companies our clients report receiving letters from include the following:
- National Domains, LLC
- Domain Listings, LLC
What Can Listing Services Do for my Business?
According to National Domains, LLC’s website when you purchase an Annual Domain Name Listing, your business or organization’s website will be listed in their online directory with some of the top domain names in America. In other words, you pay $224 to have your domain listed on their website for one year.
While it’s beneficial to create outbound links to your website through listing services for SEO, there are far better options to link-build with. Our Brand Hookup package lists and maintains your business on over 70 popular and widely used websites, like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Trustpilot. National Domains, LLC., lists you on only one site that probably isn’t getting that much traffic in your area. Honestly, when was the last time you used National Domains, LLC., to research a business or service in your area? You probably haven’t and neither have your potential customers.
For all our numbers people out there, here are some stats for you. National Domains has 7,346 listings currently live on their site. Meanwhile in 2018 alone, Yelp had 5 million business listings and more than 178 million page views a month. Not to mention, Yelp listings can be claimed and maintained for free. You can be the judge of if National Domains is the best option with the most bang for your buck. Here’s a hint. It’s definitely not.Learn More About Brand Hookup
What Should I Do if I Get A Solicitation Bill?
If you received a domain name listing solicitation letter and aren’t interested in taking a risk on their services, you might be wondering what you should do next. The answer is simple, shred the paperwork and throw it away.
You can prevent receiving solicitation junk mail by signing up for Private Registration when purchasing or renewing your domain name inside your domain register. There are free or paid options for these service masks. Using this software prevents your private data from being distributed through the ICANN database.
Whenever you get a strange letter (or email) from an unknown entity, don’t make any decisions without doing your own research. You don’t want to fall victim to a mailing scam and waste hundreds of dollars on services that don’t have your best interests in mind. If you have more questions about anything internet related, drop us a line!