The Domain Registry of Canada (DROC) just sent me a notice telling me that one of the domains that I own is about to expire. The offered to “transfer and renew” my domain name for $40 per year, or $160 for 5 years. What’s even more alarming is that I had received similar renewal offers from the Domain Registry of Canada several years back and had asked to be permanently removed from their database. I promptly called again, and after a heated 10 minute discussion with a customer service representative, I am hoping that I am once again removed from the Domain Registry of Canada’s mailing list.
Why does something like this piss me off so much?
It’s simple. Every domain name is associated with a domain registrar. People generally select a domain registrar based on service or price, and may have had their domain with that registrar for several years. In my case, this particular domain has been registered and with my current domain registrar for approximately 5 years. I pay approximately $15 CDN to register the domain name on an annual basis.
The notice that the Domain Registry of Canada sends out makes it look like an official request to renew an expiring domain name. It is well disguised and designed to take advantage of those in the industry who are not “tech savvy” and have them inadvertently fill out the form, provide the necessary information and transfer their domain away from their current registrar to the Domain Registry of Canada. This is what is known as Domain Slamming.
The Domain Registry of Canada practices domain slamming.
Domain slamming is a form of scam in which an domain registrar (in this case, the Domain Registry of Canada) contacts customers in an attempt to trick them into switching their registrar under the pretense that it is simply a domain renewal. The notice that I was sent to renew my domain name was in my opinion, an attempt at domain slamming. Verisign was sued over practices that bordered domain slamming and another company, the Domain Registry of America was instructed by the Federal Trade Commission to give up the practice of domain slamming.
The first time I was contacted by the Domain Registry of Canada several years back, I filed a complaint with CIRA, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority and the RCMP regarding this practice. This time however, during my heated discussion with the Domain Registry of Canada’s customer service representative, it was promptly pointed out that this was an “advertisement” and that it clearly stated on the notice that “This is not a bill.” He quickly stated that the Domain Registry of Canada hand thousands of domains that it has registered which means that the Domain Registry of Canada has deceived thousands of people.
Regardless, the domain registry process to those people who are not in the business of registering and dealing with domains is often foreign. The notice sent from the Domain Registry of Canada looks official and with the ominous sentence in the first paragraph that reads “Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity” the Domain Registry of Canada is bestowing fear in those people who don’t know any better. Their online identity is often their livelihood and losing their domain name would be disastrous.
Is this an advertisement as the Domain Registry of Canada’s customer service representative stated? I don’t think it is. It is obvious that this is a clear attempt to scare the unsuspecting person into switching domain registrars through deceptive practices. The intent of the notice is clear – the Domain Registry of Canada wants you to think that your domain will expire and be lost if you don’t complete the form and transfer to their service.
Avoid the Domain Registry of Canada at all costs. If you get one of the notices from the Domain Registry of Canada, tear it up, toss it in the garbage and move on! While in the eyes of the Domain Registry of Canada this is an advertisement, to me it is clearly a scam.
If you want to see what a Domain of Canada Registry renewal notice looks like I’ve found these great posts about the exact same practice that I’ve just written about. You will see that there are more out there who think that the Domain Registry of Canada is running a scam.
Advertisement or scam? Regardless of your opinion, the Domain Registry of Canada should never be trusted with your domain name. Plus, if you hunt around and are thinking of switching domain name registrars, there are more out there that offers better value than $40 per domain name. The Domain Registry of Canada should be avoided.