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Fraudulent Hosting Charges

Fraudulent Hosting Charges

Building highly functional and properly optimized websites is a core competency for ReThinc’s marketing team. Simply put, it’s what we do … it’s our jam (which sounds so much better than the words ‘core competency’ which implies that I’m just not fun anymore).

We make clean, contemporary, and user-friendly websites. From a cost to quality standpoint, I think we’re an industry leader when it comes to designing and developing websites.

In the past it’s always been our strategy to turn everything over to the client (maintenance, hosting, etc.) once the website is complete. This was, in our minds, the right thing to do. Other agencies that we compete with weave in monthly fees for hosting and maintenance. We saw that as a less than appealing business practice, disingenuous, and very Dick Cheney like.

We were wrong. Skip to paragraph 12 if you want.

The Digital Back Alley and Fraudulent Hosting Charges

Some time ago, we received a letter in the mail stating that we needed to pay our annual fee to retain our current domain. A website domain in simple terms is the address where your website is found. For us, it would be rethincadvertising.com.

To be clear, there is an annual fee to keep your website live, but that’s paid to a service platform like GoDaddy or wherever you originally purchased your domain. In America, it’s almost always GoDaddy.

This letter looked official, was properly creased and even had big tech words on it like ‘official’ ‘term’ ‘hosting’ and other terminology that made it look like we’d lose our domain if we didn’t pay something like $129 by October 1st. The problem was, that it wasn’t from the service platform where we purchased our domain.

All good. We knew it was a criminal enterprise sending this letter because this is what we do for a living, plus Andrew wasn’t working from home that day. No big deal … letter discarded.

Two months later we got another letter which is pretty much identical to the last except they asked for a little bit less money and didn’t use as many big words. This got my attention. It also got the attention of two of our clients who received similar letters.

At this point, we realized that some deprived individual(s) were targeting small businesses in an effort to defraud them. Of course, being good Americans, we immediately blamed Dick Cheney but after some discovery, we realized he had nothing to do with it. Regardless, we felt like that was a good place to start.

Domain Registry and Domain Listings are Not Legitimate Companies

The letters source from two companies, Domain Registry and Domain Listings. They live on a throne of lies. Paying them money does NOTHING to keep your URL safe, secure or in your name as the owner.

After receiving a very threatening letter from Mr. Cheney’s publicist (or attorney, whatever), I decided to notify the postal inspector that a fraudulent scheme was being perpetrated on small businesses owners across America. They placed me on a 45-minute hold and then informed me that there was really nothing they were going to do about it. This even after I told them that I was friends with Dick Cheney.

Our next step was to send out a gently worded email from Stephanie to our clients warning them about this letter. That got the word out because Stephanie (unlike me) has a 100% open rate on her emails.

But other people don’t know. For the three of you that have made it to this point, thank you, but I need you to do more for the cause. Forward this blog to everyone you know who owns a business, works for a business, or consumes oxygen to stay alive. We must get the word out that bad people intend on doing bad things with the good money you earn. And just to be clear, Dick Cheney has nothing to do with it.

In addition to getting the word out, we’ve enacted a new standard operating procedure for building websites. Just like our brilliant competitors, we will now charge a nominal fee to host, update, and maintain the website we’ve built for you. This takes all the worry about your website from you and keeps it in our very capable hands. I’m not too proud to mention that we appreciate the lesson our competitors taught us.

In the meantime, be on the lookout for letters that look like the one below.

Fraudulent Hosting Mail - Domain Registry Spam
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Ed Olsen is the president/owner of ReThinc Advertising and Public Relations. He has lots of opinions on all things marketing. To read more of them, click here.

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