BBB Warns About Domain Name “Scam”

BBB LogoThe Better Business Bureau published a “Scam Alert” warning related to domain names. Specifically, the BBB warns businesses that there are companies looking to get business owners to unnecessarily register expensive ccTLD domain names with their brand name or keyword. The emails are typically sent from domain registrars or others under the guise of a trademark or brand warning.

Emails like this have been making the rounds for quite some time, and they probably have a decent success rate because they can appear to be legitimate warnings. I don’t know if it really qualifies as a “scam” per se, but it’s definitely annoying to receive these emails, and businesses should know to be on the lookout for them and avoid the hefty cost of registering a bunch of unnecessary and sometimes expensive ccTLD domain names.

According to the BBB, here’s how the scam works:

“You receive an email addressed to the owner of your company. It appears to be from an Asian domain registration service. The email says that a third party company has requested to register your business’s brand name as a website domain in China or elsewhere in Asia.  

According to the email, the “domain registrar” realized your company owns that brand name. And they decided to do you a favor and offer to register the domain for you instead of this other company.  

The catch? There is no competing business, and the price to purchase the domain is much higher than you would pay elsewhere. Often, the email sender isn’t even an actual domain registration business. He/she simply purchases the domain elsewhere for a few dollars and immediately sells it back to the victim for an inflated price. “

If you own domain names, you’ve probably received an email from what appears to be an overseas registrar giving you a warning about someone trying to register your keyword in various ccTLDs. I wrote about this spam / scam tactic a few years ago with a sample email, and it does not appear to have abated since then.

I would not be surprised to see similar emails from companies attempting to sell the new gTLD domain names.  In fact, I have heard about registrars sending emails to clients imploring them to protect their brands by buying their keyword or trademark in a new gTLD. Personally, I think that tactic is far more spammy than scammy.

The BBB Scam Alert offers some good tips to business owners, and domain advisors would be wise to heed their advice as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to read about the BBB offering advice regarding the new domain names.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. They need content to show their doing something to protect businesses, that’s what it reads to me

    The BBB has to be the most over rated REFERRAL service in existence today, ask most people who the BBB is and they’ll likely tell you it’s a Government agency, and the BBB has themselves to credit for that, misleading the public into thinking their a higher authority and playing on it as a means of raising revenue from small and new businesses.

    What are they charging now?, $500 a year to keep your record clean of complaints? Must be where Yelp got their business model.

  2. Hi Elliott,

    I have compiled a list of Chinese scammers since April 2013 at Would be great if you could refer to it.

    It works so well, so we even got a threat this week from a scammer who has seen his turnover go down due to the list. Here it is:


    Currently,we found your company has sent lots of bad information to our company which has already brought bad effects for our reputation.Hence,we hope your company can stop this action to us,and kindly delete the bad information.

    If not,we will do below actions :

    1. We will register a series of extensions domains of europeandomaincentre,and built these domains as websites to publish the news to everybody,then let all people knows your company is a bad company.
    2. We will contact our law office to against your company.
    3. We will contact EMBASSY OF THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA IN THE KINGDOM OF DENMARK to research your company.
    4. We will complain your company by your upon administration.

    Once your company can stop and delete bad information in your database,we will consider to recommend our customers which only want to register domains withEurope registrars to you in future.

    If your company ignore my email,we will take action next week,then your company undertakes all consequences.

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