Steve Grunwell

Open-source contributor, speaker, and coffee snob

A wall filled with cans of spam.

Spam Warning: New Domain Registrations

Recently I registered a domain name on behalf of a non-profit organization my Grandmother has been involved with over the last decade. I used the organization for all of the registrant contact information except for the email address (which I didn’t have), so I set it to a specific account on my own domain.

Within an hour of registering the domain name, that inbox started receiving a steady stream of emails congratulating me on registering and offering web design, development, and SEO services.

At first I assumed this was just someone desperate for business who thought to watch public registries for new domains; annoying, but not dangerous. As more and more emails came in, I realized this isn’t just spam but a good phishing (e.g. pretend to be a legitimate company in order to steal your money) scheme as well.

The messages all vary slightly, but a pretty common one looks like this:

Subject: Domain Name

(Your name),

You recently purchased (your domain). I’m (their name) with (their company), a web design and online marketing company and I was curious if you were looking to have a site built for the domain? I just wanted to let you know we help people who aren’t comfortable building sites themselves or want to take things to the next level. And after a site’s live, we can do things like SEO and AdWords campaigns, and also offer phenomenal support if you ever need a hand.

Please don’t hesitate to get back to me if you’re interested. You can also check out our portfolio to see what we’re capable of (their domain)

Thanks!

-(their name)

Oh, and this is just a one time email, so don’t worry about me flooding your inbox – if you’re not interested or you’re good, I won’t bother you again!

These emails are designed to prey on people who don’t know any better and might not have a web professional advising them against it. Hi, I’m a web professional, and I advise you against falling for this scam.

If you’re registering a domain name and start receiving emails like this, do not respond to them or give them any information about yourself! Mark the message as spam and go about your day. Even if this was a legitimate offer, no reputable company would ever run this kind of marketing campaign, as a) it reeks of desperation and b) shows a complete lack of sales experience or tact. At their worse these emails are attempting to steal from you, but even at their best these are companies who don’t understand marketing yet want to help you guide your own; take it from me, neither result is worth your time.

The More You Know

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