Back to Aardvark Daily
Aussie Domain Name Scammers At It Again
Copyright © 2002 to Aardvark Net News

Aardvark actively encourages other sites to link to its pages.

Dateline: 11:15am, 24 April, 2002, updated at 12:35pm
Having attracted the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and now facing legal action over its allegedly misleading marketing practices, the Internet Name Group (ING) appears to have once again turned its attentions across the Tasman.

Despite having tried its scams in New Zealand before and, as a consequence, losing its status as a registrar for the .nz namespace, ING have returned for a second try.

A mass (snail) mailing which is delivered under the name Internet Name Protection Pty Ltd, advises unwitting domain name holders that "failure to protect and register your domain name/s will likely require more money and resources to recover your domain name/s from a domain name hijacking or cyber-squatting case."

Although more carefully worded than the company's first attempt in August of 2001, the latest direct mailing clearly attempts to scare domain name owners into registering other variants of their name to avoid having their email stolen, having their website traffic stolen, facing cybersquatters, and preventing trademark infringement.

Not only is ING using their usual scare-tactics to try and sell companies domain names they may neither need nor want, they're also charging up to four times as much as other registrars to do so.

Analysing a sample of the letters forwarded to Aardvark appears to indicate that ING has once again used a copy of the Domainz database and has performed some data-matching with data extracted from other top-level domain databases.

This has enabled them to identify which holders of .nz domains have not registered the corresponding .com or .net domains. Their pitch tries to scare prospective customers into purchasing those names at an inflated price through ING's service.

It would appear that, having been lost its registrar status for both .nz and .au names, the company is now using a third-party to handle its registrations for these top-level domains.

Aardvark is aware of several recipients who are considering laying complaints with the NZ Commerce Commission, the Kiwi equivalent of the ACCC, over ING's latest mail-out.

UPDATE 12:05pm
Since this bulletin was first published, ING have returned my call but the person I spoke to was reluctant to make any "on the record" statement and has instead, undertaken to pass my questions on to Mark Specktor.

UPDATE 12:35pm
Spokesperson for the NZ Domain name registry, Derek Locke, told Aardvark that he was "appalled, dismayed and annoyed at ING's actions" and that the company was exploring all possible legal avenues.

"We've fielded around 300 calls resulting from this so far today" Locke said, adding that recipients of the letter should simply ignore it.

Back to Aardvark Daily...