On occasion when bored, I will decide to get involved with various scam emails or “support centre” calls for a bit of fun. More often than not, it’s not nearly as amusing as I’d hoped because the people on the other end really have no idea about anything, and don’t deviate much from the script they have been given.
This time it was an email from a Chinese domain registrar kindly informing me that another company wanted to register several domains and the “internet keyword” of my company.
Note: Thank you to all the people who have responded to this post and shared the emails they have received. I’m happy to discuss anything if anyone has any questions, but to reduce the size of the comments section I’ll just approve emails if they are significantly different to the ones we already know about. Thanks.
This isn’t a new one, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it – http://squelchdesign.com/web_design_newbury/chinese-domain-name-registration-scams/
(Please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. Thanks)
We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China. On Oct 17, 2013, we received an application from Huajing Ltd requested “abc” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China?
Kind regards Peter Cheng
Peter ChengGeneral Manager YIGUAN (Headquarters)3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai 200070, China Tel: +86-21-6191-8696 Mobile: +86-182-2195-1605 Fax: +86-21-6191-8697 Web: www_yiguannetwork_cn
As I don’t have much business activity going on in the greater asian region, I figured this might be an opportunity to form a new partnership with someone else already established in the region. So my reply:
Yes, Huajing Ltd is a new partner that we have started to deal with as our local Chinese office. They can use the “abc” internet keyword if they wish.
I was really hoping the response I got back would be tailored to respond to my message, but unfortunately they have stuck to the script. The next message was from the “company” that wants to *steal* my internet keyword!
We are Huajing company based in China. We will register the “abc” as internet keyword and China domain names .cn, .com.cn, .net.cn, .org.cn. We have submitted our application and are waiting for Mr. Peter Cheng’s approval. We think these CN domains and internet keyword are very important for our business. Even though Mr. Peter Cheng advises us to change another name, we will persist in this name.
Best regards Gareth Liao
So despite giving my blessing, it’s pretty obvious that Peter is trying to rip off poor old Gareths company by telling them they can’t have it. Peter is probably trying to scam more money out of them or something 🙂
As a good netizen, I figured it was my civic duty to inform him to watch out for Peter and to let him know that we’ll just work out some financial arrangement for licensing my name later on.
I have already given Peter permission to let you register the keyword and domain if you want it. When I expand my services into Asia I’m sure we can come to an agreement for you to pay me a license fee to continue using them. If he is telling you that you need to change it, then I think you should be very careful that he isn’t trying to trick you into paying him more money for them. There are some really dodgy internet registrars out there and Peter sounds like he might be corrupt.
Now Gareth obviously hasn’t told Peter about my warning, because Peter seems to think I still withholding permission.
Based on your company having no affiliation with them, we have suggested they should choose another name to avoid this conflict but they insist on this name as China domain names (.cn/.com.cn/.net.cn/.org.cn) and internet keyword. In our opinion, maybe they do the similar business as your company and register it to promote his company.
According to the domain name registration principle: The domain name and internet keyword which applied based on the international principle are opened to companies as well as individuals. Any companies or individuals have rights to register any domain name and internet keyword which are unregistered. Because your company haven’t registered this name as China domains and internet keyword on the internet, anyone can obtain them by registration. However, in order to avoid this conflict, the trademark or original name owner has priority to register China domain name and internet keyword in our audit period. If your company is the original owner of this name and want to register these China domain names (.cn/.com.cn/.net.cn/.org.cn) and internet keyword to prevent anybody from using them, please inform us. We can send you an application form with price list and help your company register them.
I decided to do a quick check, and it looks like the .cn etc domains using my company name already exist and are in use, so it seems a bit rude of Peter to keep Gareth thinking they are available for him to register.
Gareth contacted me recently to say he still wanted to proceed with the registration. I tried calling him but the phone didn’t answer at all. I have had my lawyers draft up a fee-free licensing agreement that grants Gareth the use of my company name and I’m sure he will be happy to agree. On that basis he may proceed with registering the domains and internet keywords if he wants.
I am concerned though that you are offering to register these domains. I just did a quick check and it appears they are already in use. I am quite dissapointed that somebody has already been permitted to register them without me being contacted before. I am glad you have bought this to my attention as I was not aware I should be notified of this.
— So now we wait to see if he replies again, or just comes back with the next step of the script.
6/2/2013 – Never heard back from them, so I guess they figured I was on to them.