CapeLinks owns hundreds of domain names and operates several different websites, so my contact information is all over the internet. Every day I receive hundreds of spam and scam emails for all sorts of offers.
Many times these scams target me through the websites and domain names that I own. They get my contact info from the domain name WHOIS database or fill out the contact forms on one of my websites. My email spam filter is pretty good, so many of these get thrown in the spam folder and I never see them, but a few get through to my inbox.
Here’s one “domain registration expiration” scam that I came across recently:
This email came in from the email name “Registration Expiration” so I was curious to see what this was about.
Attn Lastname, Firstname
This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your search engine registration for DOMAIN.COM.
Failure to complete your search engine registration by Jan 8, 2011 may result in the cancellation of this offer (making it difficult for your customers to locate you using search engines on the web).
Your registration includes search engine submission for DOMAIN.COM for 1 year. You are under no obligation to pay the amount stated above unless you accept this offer by Jan 8, 2011. This notice is not an invoice. It is a courtesy reminder to register DOMAIN.COM for search engine listing so that your customers can locate you on the web.
Order Now! Secure Online Payment
Notice the language. Basically they were looking to get $75 out of me for a one year search engine submission, but trying to trick me into thinking it was for a domain registration that is expiring. I have received letters in the postal mail that read similar to this email as well. Total garbage.
One thing of importance to note is that:
I did not click on any of the links in the email and I do not click on links in any of the other sketchy emails that I get.
I did mouseover the links to see the link URL which looked similar to this:
The string of random numbers and letters at the end of the URL is a tracking code that identifies your email address as an active target (or sucker). If you click on the links in any of these emails you will get hit harder with scam offers and other junk.
Don’t click on the links in any emails that you are unsure of.
With my experience I knew it was some sort of scam before I even opened and read the email, but if you are a business owner or hobby webmaster that only owns a domain or two, you might get sucked in to an offer like this “search engine registration” not knowing that it is a scam. Even worse you could get duped into a phishing scam where crooks are trying to steal your personal or financial information.
Every now and then I get an email or a call from a client or friend asking me about similar emails for many different scams relating to a domain name or website that they own. Many of these emails are “we can get your website higher up in the search engines” types of offers/scams.
While there are legitimate search engine optimization companies, local lead generation and other internet marketing services that will help your business succeed, all of these types of mass solicited marketing offers are total garbage.
Anyone that is soliciting you blindly through email offering these sorts of marketing services is probably trying to scam you or get you to buy something you don’t need.
The sad thing is, so many people have been burned by unscrupulous outfits offering marketing scams like this one, that they are gun shy. This makes it much harder for legitimate internet marketing companies that can actually help your business and not just rip you off.
With emails like this, the safest thing to do is to hit Delete.
If you are unsure whether an email similar to this one is a scam, or whether it is something you need to be concerned with, forward the email to your “web guy” or contact an experienced webmaster who can help you out.