Domain Registry of Canada – A Scam or Advertisement?

Domain Registry of Canada Online ScamThe 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.

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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13 Responses to Domain Registry of Canada – A Scam or Advertisement?

  1. Rickie Chit says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Thank you for sharing this article. I too one of those stuip lure into filling out the information on DNRC website and pay 160 for 5 years. I usually pay the yearly registration through my web service and received this DNRC letter for several years and finally pay them for the registry. What bugs me is after the registration I have received no less than three email from other sites asking me to authorized the transfer of registration to them. I don’t even know then and never heard of them. Not sure if you have similar email from these guy too? Do you have any idea how to due with these guys. I only wish I had read your page before this.

    Thanks

  2. Lee says:

    Thanks for the article. After recieving a letter/Invoice from DRoC I decided to look into it. My own domain provider is offering a $15 renewal – less than half of DRoC’s. It took me 2 readings of the letter to find the “advertisement” disclaimer… I appreciate your diligence for finding and sharing information about this behaviour.

  3. Adam Snider says:

    Another aspect of DRC’s deception is that they clearly mean to make people think that it is a national body of some sort, perhaps even run by the federal government.

    My mother fell for this scam about a year ago. I told her it was a scam and helped her write an email to their complaints department. Much to my surprise, they cancelled the registration, refunded her money, and transfered her domain back to the previous registrar.

    I suspect that their quick reaction to the complaint (and, I assume, others like it) is one of the ways that they make sure that their company is operating just inside the law (or at least in a very grey area that makes it hard to prosecute them for fraud or deceptive marketing practices).

    I hope that one day they will be shut down as a result of their scamming ways.

  4. They are still breaking the law as of today. They are breaching Section 3.3.6.3 of the ICANN Whois Marketing Restriction Policy.

    I hate these guys and so does CIRA. The US Federal Trade Commission convicted them years back but they just dont seem to learn.

    http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2003/12/domainreg.shtm

  5. Larry says:

    I received a similar letter from DRC generously to renew my domain for only $40 for 1 year. As I currently pay $10 from 1 & 1 internet I think I will pass. I wholly agree with Adam’s comment re how DRC presents themselves. I’m sure they do well in spite of sites like this. I suspect their corporate motto is “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    • I still get them even though I have asked to be removed from their list. I’ve also complained directly those who regulate registrars, but to no avail they are still slamming my domains.

  6. John says:

    I received another one of these less than 6 months after requesting that they no longer contact me. It seems that they are breaking a lot of rules regarding marketing their services.

    • They adjusted this somewhat now. Another company is jumping into this market and sending emails usng this approach. Domain slamming seems to be profitable for these people.

  7. James Wilson says:

    All of them are trying to scam you… There should be high penalties for those kind of mails/emails.

    I wish some of our low IQ government officials would read this…

  8. Chris says:

    For anyone that has fallen for this SCAM I would suggest you do these four things
    - Contact you Credit Card company and have the charges reversed
    - Place a complaint with the BBB there is not much the BBB can do but a least there will be a complaint on record
    - For the future know who holds your domains I personally own over a thousand Domain’s I use Godaddy that isn’t to say there aren’t other good providers and have all your domain in one account.
    - Lastly contact the Domain Registry of Canada 1(866) 434-0212 and have yourself taken off their mailing list. You may also want to call them DAILY to tell them how unethical & misleading their advertising practices are ( Remember they have to pay for each call coming to their 866 number so the more people calling the better off the next sucker is.

  9. Joanna says:

    So, I got duped and signed up for five years. So when the five years are up, how do I switch to a company that is offering a more competitive price and essentially unscam myself in the future?

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