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Register Domains for Charity

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Below are a few unregistered domain names I believe have good potential. Although I am not charging anything for researching these names, I am requesting that the person who registers each makes a donation to a non-profit organization.

CookingInstructor.com
CookingInstructors.com
CookingDictionaries.com
ScienceInstructors.com
RealEstateDictionaries.com
InvestingTeachers.com
InvestingDictionaries.com
TaxDictionaries.com
HomelessHousingShelter.com
HomelessHousingShelters.com

You don’t need to tell me how much was donated, but I would love to know which charity was helped, so please drop me a line after!

A few non-profits I recommend (with the link to make a donation):

Dana Farber Cancer Institute
ALS Association
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure for Breast Cancer
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Meir Panim
American Cancer Society
Turning Point (Domestic Violence Organization)

Charities Previously Helped By Generous Readers of My Blog:
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Dana Farber Cancer Institute
ALS Association
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Good Commercial, Poor Domain Choice

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I just saw a television commercial sponsored by the United States Postal Service, and although I am not surprised by the lack of forward thinking, I am shaking my head that the USPS just doesn’t get it.    

The advertisement (during primetime MLB playoffs) begins with a disheveled looking man walking onto a bus and choosing a seat next to a woman.    He begins by informing her that she just won a random lottery sponsored by a clearly fictitious organization.    To claim the multi-million dollar prize, all she needs to do is write the man a check to cover some random fees.    Essentially, the man is playing the part of an in-person Nigerian scammer commonly seen online.

It is a clever advertisement (and ongoing campaign) playing on the fact that these scams are much more obvious in person than online, and people need to beware when they receive suspicious emails.    I dig the message.    I think it is very important for non-web savvy people to know about these scams, know how to spot them, and know what to do when they come across one.

HOWEVER, the commercial ends with a large graphic directing people to visit FakeChecks.org for more information.    GUESS WHAT!    FakeChecks.COM is owned by someone else.    How many people do you think will accidentally directly navigate to the .com in error – especially considering some web browsers automatically enter the .com extension?    The USPS should never have used a .org domain name where the .com is taken.    If they needed to have that specific .org, they should have bought the .com for whatever it cost.    They then should have forwarded the .com traffic to the .org so they didn’t lose any eyes. The advertising campaign probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.    Why would they chance sending confused consumers to the wrong domain name, especially considering the message.        

This reminds me of the time Dick Cheney quoted something from FactCheck.org and accidentally directed people to FactCheck.com, owned by none other than Frank Schilling.

This has to be one of the most ironic, idiotic campaigns I’ve seen in a long time. The USPS just doesn’t get it!    

Just to be a bit more clear, I am not advocating that the USPS shouldn’t have used a .org.    I think the .org suits this campaign quite well.   I think they might have been  wise to choose another domain name where the .com was available, as people will inevitably enter the wrong extension.   In my opinion, many consumers are trained to goto the “.com” extension.   Why take a chance that some consumers will do this and end up on a site not controlled by the USPS.  

WSJ: Web-Address Theft Is Everyday Event

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Web-Address Theft Is Everyday Event

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article about a topic that most people in the domain investment business have been worried about for quite some time – domain theft. The WSJ article discusses the ease in which thieves can take possession of someone else’s domain name, and the detrimental effect it can have on a business that is reliant on the domain name as an ecommerce outlet or the email addresses associated with the domain name.

When a domain name is stolen, the thief usually tries to sell the name quickly, profiting even before the legitimate domain owner knows the name is out of his possession. Payment is usually requested through a company like Western Union, as it can be more difficult to track the thief. Once the domain name is sold, the new owner may try to sell it for a profit, believing he received a good deal, or he may begin to develop a website around the domain name. It isn’t until the domain name servers are changed that the legitimate owner would notice something was fishy, as his website wouldn’t resolve and email would suddenly stop working. The situation turns into a bad problem because two people feel that they are the legitimate owner, and determining the actual ownership becomes problematic.

Registrars don’t typically help unless there is a court order, as they would probably rather turn a blind eye than become involved in a potentially litigious situation. This makes it difficult for the legitimate owner, and it becomes more complicated when the registrar and/or new owner is located in a different country. Retrieving a stolen domain name can be a complicated task, and it may be best to enlist the assistance of an attorney like John Berryhill (quoted in the article) or Brett Lewis.

Some tips I would offer to ensure your domain name doesn’t get stolen include:
1.) Make sure your registrar password is made up of letters, numbers, and characters to make it difficult to hack.

2.) Keep the email address on the Whois record current

3.) Frequently log in to your email account on the Whois record, and/or forward all emails to a regularly read email account in case you receive a notice from the registrar.

4.) Do not click on links in emails as they may be phishing attempts to gain access to your various accounts.

5.) Do not log into your registrar accounts or email accounts from computers that aren’t secure, as keylogging software could track everything you type.

6.) Make sure your domain registration is up to date. It’s always better to pay far in advance.

7.) If you have an auto-payment plan in place to pay your registration annually, make sure your credit card information is up to date so it doesn’t get rejected, causing the re-registration to fail.

As I stated in a previous blog post, here are some tips to help prevent you from buying a stolen domain name:

1.) Do a Whois history check
-Did anything recently change?
-Does something seem strange in the Whois history like a different email address just added?
-Length of domain name ownership is a good way to tell if someone has all rights to the name

2.) Call the listed owner
-If the email address just changed, the owner will tell you the name isn’t for sale
-Conversation is frequently avoided by scammers

3.) Call/email the former owner
-They will tell you if they sold it (or if it was stolen)

4.) Search the forums/Google for any information that may raise red flags
-Stolen domain name posts
-Spam references on Google

5.) Do a WIPO/UDRP search
-May not be a anti-theft tool, but just make sure the history is clean

6.) Always pay with Escrow
Escrow.com, Sedo, Moniker or Afternic offer this service

7.) Never pay with money order or cashier’s check
-Difficult to track
-Many scams involve counterfeit checks/money orders

8.) Only buy from the listed registrant
-Don’t attempt to buy from the technical contact if it’s different from the registrant
-Technical contact doesn’t necessarily own the name, but may just manage the domain name

9.) TRUST YOUR GUT!
-If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is
-If the terms the seller is requesting seem strange, question them

Paypal Security Key

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A few months ago, Paypal introduced the Paypal Security Key to help prevent account theft. The security key is a device that generates 6 number code every 30 seconds. Once you have the key, you will type this changing code into your account along with your Paypal password. I think this is essential for anyone who uses Paypal. I know this is obvious, but just remember not to tape your account name to the keychain!

It would be great if a company like RSA came out with a security keychain that allowed you to sign up all of your various accounts (banks, registrars, email accounts…etc) requiring passwords. I believe consumers would be in favor of this, but it would take a huge effort to get companies on board. If you find the Paypal keychain useful, why not contact some of the companies you do business with and ask them to look into a security keychain for their company.

Domain Names for Charity

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Below are a few unregistered domain names I believe have good potential. Although I am not charging anything for researching these names, I am requesting that the person who registers each makes a donation to a non-profit organization.

DiscountOliveOils.com
DomainInvestmentTips.com
SailboatingLessons.com
CustomBicycleHelmets.com
PreownedMP3.com
PreownedWheelchairs.com
ItalianInstructors.com
GermanInstructors.com
HebrewInstructors.com
JapaneseInstructors.com
ArabicInstructors.com
ArabicGuides.com

You don’t need to tell me how much was donated, but I would love to know which charity was helped, so please drop me a line after!

A few non-profits I recommend (with the link to make a donation):

Dana Farber Cancer Institute
ALS Association
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure for Breast Cancer
Simon Wiesenthal Center
Meir Panim

Charities Previously Helped:
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

CarryOn.com: Protecting Children Online

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Carry On the Domain Charity

Thanks to Jay Westerdahl for bringing this to my attention.    The brainchild of Anthony Peppler and Sania Faucher, CarryOn.com is a 501c3 non-profit charity that allows domain owners to donate their adult domain names in lieu of monetizing them, letting them drop, expire or cancelling them.

Owners of domain names are occasionally in a bad position when they want to cleanse their portfolios of “dirty” names.    With domain tasting being so popular, pretty much any dropped/cancelled/expired domain name is picked up by someone and monetized.    Since domain owners are indefinitely listed on the virtual ownership paperwork, they are forever linked to every domain name they’ve owned.    CarryOn.com allows domain owners to donate their domain names without having to worry about them falling into the wrong hands.    Domain owners may also be eligible for a tax deduction.

This type of service could also be beneficial to owners of domain names with trademarks in them.    However, I believe this would be too risky for any charity, as the charity could become liable should the trademark owner seek financial compensation under the ACPA.    Additionally, the former domain owner would technically remain liable for owning it at one time.

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