Watch out for dubious domain renewal direct mail offers

I’m really busy. So when I got a domain renewal notification letter yesterday I almost renewed my domain without thinking twice. Luckily something didn’t feel right and I double checked first.

Avoid the Domain Renewal Group at all costs

According to the letter ‘privatization’ means I can choose who to renew my domains with. I don’t have to stick with my original domain Registrar. Anyone and his dog can renew my domain at any price they choose. And consumer choice is always a good thing, right? Not in this case. The Domain Renewal Group are offering me:

  • 1 year renewal for £20
  • 2 years for £35
  • 3 years for £65

Buy my registrar, Go-daddy, provides renewal for £7.41 a year. No contest.

Presumably the Domain Renewal Group is operating within the law. But I get the feeling they know they’re being naughty. Skating close to the edge, not quite within the spirit of the law. Perhaps it’s an outright scam – I’m no legal expert.

My domain doesn’t renew until January 2011. They’ve approached me far too early, way before necessary, so my Registrar’s automatic email reminder campaign hasn’t kicked in yet. And because £20 for a year’s registration doesn’t seem desperately unreasonable, the pricing probably wouldn’t put your financial brakes on if you were in a rush. Plus… they allegedly have a UK office but the offer is made in American English, which is rude as well as a clear sign that something’s not quite right.

The moral of the story? Look before you leap. If I’d gone ahead I’d have spent almost £45 more than I needed to renewing my domain for three years with a company I know nothing about and – on reflection and research – wouldn’t dream of trusting. It isn’t a huge amount of money in the scheme of things. But it’s the principle that counts.

Toxic direct marketing at it’s worst. From unpleasant individuals with no sense of Karma. To be avoided at all costs.