If you own or manage a domain name, chances are good that you’ve received a letter from a company called The Domain Registry of Canada (also known as The Domain Registry of America) – a notorious company operating out of Markham, Ontario. The letters typically arrive in envelopes very similar to those used by the Canadian Government – but despite their official-sounding name, the Domain Registry of Canada is not a government organization of any kind.
The letters sent out by the Domain Registry of Canada appear to be renewal invoices for a domain name. But when you read the fine print, they are actually sales solicitations and not legitimate invoices. If you fill out the payment form (which is actually a transfer authorization form) and send payment to the Domain Registry of Canada, that gives them permission to transfer your domain name.
This practice is known as “domain slamming” and unfortunately it has become quite common. It’s profitable for companies like the Domain Registry of Canada largely because they charge rates that are often 50% higher (or more) than most reputable registrars. According to their website, their standard rate for 1 year of domain registration is $40 CAD – by comparison, EasyDNS (another Canadian registrar who we have used for years) charges $19.95/year for .CA domains and $20.95/year for .COM/.NET/.ORG domains. And that’s not even mentioning the ultra-cheap, “bargain bin” registrars like GoDaddy.
But the most ridiculous part of the situation is that The Domain Registry of Canada is still allowed to operate to this day – something that should be a huge embarrassment to both ICANN and the relevant Canadian regulatory bodies. And this is despite the fact that they were previously fined (twice) under Canada’s Competition Act and were the subject of a warning issued by the Canadian Competition Bureau (in the company’s previous incarnation, the Internet Registry of Canada).
EasyDNS Warning page on Domain Slamming
Sample of the letters sent by The Domain Registry of Canada
Many of the people we find being tricked into paying what appear to be domain name renewal invoices from The Domain Registry of Canada think this is an official government body and that it’s an invoice, not a solicitation. And many of them are volunteer run or driven non-profit community organizations.
Even small businesses are generally savvy enough to read the fine print and realize this is a scam, but non-profits tend to be more trusting and less sophisticated when it comes to activities such as this.
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