Tuesday, September 08, 2015

File This Under: How A Web Pro Protects You

When you design and develop web sites, it's inevitable that you're going to set up domain names; it's part of the job. MX records, FTP logins, DNS... all sound scary to the lay person, but to those of us in the industry, they're no big deal. Another thing that's no big deal to us any more: frauds and scam attempts.

This past weekend, I registered a domain for one of my newest clients, The American Legion, Post #217 of Cusick, WA. and put their site online in advance of the long weekend. This morning, I received the following note:

Attention: Important Notice , DOMAIN SERVICE NOTICE
Domain Name:  legionpost217.org

Response Requested By
9 - Sept. - 2015


 As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration. This letter is to inform you that it's time to send in your registration.
Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.
Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine registration includes domain name search engine submission. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.
This Notice for: legionpost217.org will expire at 11:59PM EST, 9 - Sept. - 2015 Act now!

Select Package:

Payment by Credit/Debit Card

Select the term using the link above by 9 - Sept. - 2015
On the surface, this thing's got all the hallmarks of a legitimate warning letter: got my name and the domain I bought accurate, comes from a domain-based email address, uses a bunch of business speak... but a little deeper reading, and you start to see the cracks. Most of the biz-speak doesn't mean anything: "Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering." What? The registrars ARE private companies, so what does this even mean? The threats of people not being able to find the new site... to someone else, that might be a little unnerving.

To someone less familiar with domain names and how they work and what you have to do to make them work, this could sound like a scary notice and you might write them back. For me, it's just spam, but I worry about what if some of my clients who manage their own domains got one of these letters? Would these scammers get credit/debit information? After doing a little research, I see that these people have been at this for a while, changing tactics based on blog posts and critiques like this one (for instance, not emailing from a Hotmail account), and searching for the domains in the email headershow that they're purporting to be Internet marketers... but if they do things like this, they're actually scammers.

Web design professionals know that these kinds of scams have been going on for a long time and have no bearing on how your site will perform in search engines. What does have a bearing on how people find your site?

1. Relevant text and keywords
2. Easy-to-spider site design
3. High-quality in-bound links
4. Constantly updating with new content

Want to have a professional looking out for you on the web? Give CMDS.co a call today for your free, no-obligation quote.