It’s been a few years since the last reported web name scam but sadly it’s back. Thankfully the client called me first to check if this was a legitimate sale and we managed to save them £400!
Firstly and before I explain the scam, Google only recognises one web name per web site. If you try and submit more than one it may penalise you so remember…One web name per website
Phone rings, usual pre-amble, “are you the business owner” etc quickly followed by an offer on one or more web names that will be closely associated to your active web name and/or business (they do their homework first).
It could even be the same web name but the .com or .co variant (called Generic top-level domains or GTLDs). For example they may offer us OastHouseMedia.mobile or OastHouseWeb.co.uk.
They will also tell you that another business is trying to buy this name but they “want to offer it to you first” or as in this case, “another business has liquidated and their web name (and potential web traffic) has become available”.
The price is usually around £200 per name plus VAT and you will receive an official quote on headed paper/PDF. The company that approached my client was a UK listed/Limited company with a trading address and VAT no.!
They are NOT breaking the law, just re-selling a web name that’s available from someone like www.easily.co.uk for just £10.
What is illegal is trading as an approved re-seller of web names and putting information on quotes/web pages that is simply untrue. Here at Oast House Media we have actively campaigned to stop these scams as they do our trade no good at all. In this case the incident/evidence has been submitted to Nominet who ‘police’ UK web names and as it happens, they have already been reported by other victims and under investigation.
Thanks to the client who called; our advice is don’t pay for something you already have and call us if unsure.