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06|18|2008 12:02 am EDT

Court Halts Domain Name Scam

by Chad Kettner in Categories: Legal Issues

A US District Court ordered an end to the illegal practices of Data Business Solutions, a Canadian company that was caught by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for deceptively posing as a domain name registrar and sending bills to thousands of US small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The scammers sent the notices claiming they were owed money for the annual “Website Address Listing,” however in most cases they provided no services whatsoever.

The FTC said Data Business Solutions – also doing business as Internet Listing Service, ILS, ILSCorp.net, Domain Listing Service, DLS, and DLSCorp.net and its principals, Ari Balabanian, Isaac Benlolo and Kirk Mulveney – conned businesses into believing they would lose their domain names if they didn’t pay the bill. Many businesses paid the bill even though they didn’t receive the domain registration or SEO services the defendants claimed to provide.

According to the FTC, Data Business Solutions and its sister companies have been sending fake invoices to small businesses since 2004, frauding small businesses and nonprofits out of millions of dollars.

These type of “domain slamming” scams have been on the rise of late. DomainNameNews.com pointed out that a similar company Domain Registry Services has been sued by Nominet in the past and is still calling consumers to transfer domain names to the company by renewing the name with them.  Other companies like Domain Support Service send out faxes like this one (PDF) which list domain names that are similar to the domain name that the consumer owns, typically .US domains. The fax conveys a sense of urgency that there may be a legal dispute with the domain names.  This likely gets many uneducated consumers to call in to make sure they are not infringing on trademarks further leading to the company sales pitch selling the .US domain.

[via Network World]

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1 Comment

Raffaele Della Peruta

June 18, 2008 @ 12:53 am EDT

This brings back a memory, around 7 years ago, about an incident where I watched a mail man pushing hundreds of letters through my door’s mail slot.

When I opened up the door the whole corridor was covered with letters from the same company. I don’t remember the name of the company but I do recall it was a Canadian registrar attempting to have me renew with them.

Since I had the same expiry date for all of my domain names I experienced this over a three day period.

I still feel sorry for the mail man that had to haul these letters as well as the poor tree that had to be chopped down to support this madness.

Raffaele Della Peruta

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