I got an official-looking document via snail mail today from IDNS – Internet Domain Name Services. The registration for one of my domains, MitzvahStudio.com, is scheduled to expire July 10.
If I “Act Today!” I can re-register MitzvahStudio.com for just $45/per year, $80/2 years (Recommended), or $180/5 years (Best Value).
IDNS is telling me this as “A courtesy…switch today…take advantage of our best savings.” They tell you upfront what the pricing is and for how long, when your domain expires, and if “you accept this offer” you’ll be switching your domain name registration to IDNS. The language is so friendly and helpful, the document is so official, they even offer suggested companion names with .net and other extensions.
Is This a Domain Renewal Scam or Just Doing Business?
So is this a domain renewal scam, or is ISDN just getting new business in guerrilla marketing fashion? Technically, they aren’t offering anything they won’t provide. But if you get a letter like this don’t fall for it. ISDN will lock you in at exorbitant prices and make it difficult for you to leave. ISDN is all over the Internet and with a little searching I found many mentions of them.
Because I’m in the web business I happen to know that those “best savings” are far above what you’d normally pay, 3-4 times above going market rate. The expiration of my domain isn’t imminent and I prefer to register, and keep, my domains where they are currently registered. Plus my current registrar frequently sends me emails with discounts.
If you look closely on the document under Domain Name Expiration Notice, their domain name is www.idns.ag ~ I never heard of .ag so I looked it up. It’s an extension for the country Antigua. When I went to the IDNS site after clicking around on a few pages I realized it had changed to www.ins.to. I never heard of that extension either, so I looked it up ~ it stands for the country Tonga.
ISDN also leads you to believe that “Privatization of Domain Registration and Renewals now allows the consumer the choice of Registrars when initially registering and also when renewing a domain name.” You’ve always had the right to register and renew your domain name anywhere you want.
If you get a letter like this from IDNS, or any other company you don’t know, offering friendly and helpful service don’t send any payments or credit card info. Contact us ~ or your web design company or website host ~ in case you are not sure about a reminder email or snail mail you receive.