New .com domain? Beware of spam!

When you register a .com domain, you may get spam emailsWeb design spam

Last week, I registered a new .com domain for a client. The domain was registered in her name, but with Nepeta as the contact. Within a few days, we started to receive the spam emails. Not a deluge, just a steady trickle. Most of these were from web design and digital marketing companies. You know the sort of thing:

 

Hello,

My name is … and I am a representative of …. Our company has been in the business of web development for over a decade and we believe that our services are unparalleled which is why we have remained at the forefront of the industry.

We specialize in designing professional looking websites at a very cost-effective price tag of $150. Apart from Static web design, other services that we offer include Dynamic Websites, e-commerce solutions, and Search Engine Optimization.

These are annoying but easy to spot and ignore. I suspect that most of them are also genuine, if misguided.

SEO registration spam

More concerning are the official looking ones such as:

Domain Notification for xxx.COM : This is your Final Notice of Domain ListingAttention: Important Notice , DOMAIN SERVICE NOTICE
Domain Name: xxx.COM

ATT: nnn
REGISTRANT CONTACT: +44.7825987113
xxx.COM

Response Requested By
13 – April – 2016

PART I: REVIEW NOTICE

Attn: xxx
As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration. This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your registration.

Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.

Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine registration includes domain name search engine submission. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.

This Notice for: xxx.COM will expire at 11:59PM EST, 13 – April – 2016 Act now!

This one arrived at 4:15pm on 13th. If it was received by someone unsure of the domain registration process, it may well have incited panic – and possibly an unwise purchase. This is just what the sender wants.

Do not panic and react

You do not need to pay to register your website with search engines. The best way of getting your website high in the rankings is to make it well written, informative and useful. You may want to pay a third party to help you achieve this, but that is your choice and should be made in your time frame. In the meantime, just junk the email and do not worry.

Can I stop the spam?

The reason you get the spam is that registration details for all domains are published and can be interrogated (look for “Whois”). For .com domains, some registrars offer privacy options, either as automatic or paid add-ons.  These replace your contact details (and maybe name) with those for the registrar.

Note that .uk domains are slightly different and email addresses are not normally available.