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Scams – they come from many different flavors. Some are downright obvious, like eBay and PayPal sites stealing your identity. Then, there is a generous Nigerian who is willing to give you millions in cash. Yet, other scams can be a little hard to detect. These scams do not directly target you. Instead, they may target your business (or your online business) and can have very damaging effects if you are not cautious.

Today, let me share a little about a “harmless” scam that seems very above-the-board at first, but is really not so when you dig deeper beyond the obvious.

Domain name is the most important item for a company to have in the Internet. Without it, there will be no such company. People can’t visit your website with ease (just imagine remembering all those IP numbers). Regarding that simple but significant issue, domain can be one of the prime targets for scammers. who are they and how do they trick you out of your domain?

Most scammers nowadays come from the China domain registrars; they e-mail you, say that there is third party trying to steal your trademark, and suggest you to register all China extension domain names referring to your company (like .cn, tw, hk) with them. It’s not new for my company as during the last one month, there have been few typical e-mails sent to us.

Dear Manager,

We are Fexon Technology Limited, which is the domain name register center in China. I have something to confirm with you. We have received an application formally, one company named “Chesterton Holdings LLC” applies for the domain names(hostdepartment.com.tw hostdepartment.com.hk, hostdepartment.net.cn, yourcompany.org.cn, etc.) and the internet Brand Name(yourcompany)on the internet Apr. 3, 2008. We need to know the opinion of your company, because the domain names and keywords may relate to the usufruct of brand name on internet. We would like to get the affirmation of your company, please contact us by telephone or email as soon as possible. Please let someone in your company who is responsible for trademark or intellectual right contact me freely.

We didn’t know it was just a scam. I searched in search engines and found out these cases have been undergone by many companies. China domain registrars contacted them, told them that another company was trying to register domains referring to their trademark, and advised them to register the domains with the China registrar. What did I do next? I replied them politely and said that our company has no plan to expand to China; so, there is no need to register the domains with them.

Did it stop? Wrong guess! Two or three weeks after, we received another e-mail from another China domain registrar. Awesome! Two companies but the same type, scam. It said like this:

We are Shanghai NIC Internet Service Co.,Ltd, an oversea domain name registration organization. On April. 28th 2008, we received the Aiffida Investment company’s application that they want to register the ¡°hostdepartment¡± as their CN domain name and the Internet Brand. It’s our duty to tell you this matter in order to avoid the unnecessary Intellectual Property dispute .We want to confirm whether you have authorized the company to register. If you haven’t, please let me know whether you need to protect your domain name and the Internet Brand or not. According to the register principle, the original owner of the trademark has the priority to register. The priority time is 5-7 workdays, if your company give up the priority, we will accept the Aiffida company’s register request and help the company register after the time is over. Best regards!

Dylan Lan, China Internet Network approve Organization -Shanghai NIC Internet Service Co.,Ltd

Regarding the ticket, we sent a polite reply, saying that nobody can steal any company’s trademark and if there is, necessary lawful action will be taken; but tell you what, he sent another e-mail, the same point in paraphrased sentences. They sounded the same to me honestly, annoying huh?

We are now auditing the application of Aiffida company. Hereby I need to tell you that Aiffida company is using the trademark “hostdepartment” to register the top domain in China “transactiondirectory.cn, hostdepartment.com.hk, hostdepartment.com.tw, hostdepartment.net.cn, hostdepartment.org.cn ” and internet brand “hostdepartment”. These domain names and internet brand involves your company¡¯s benefit and reputation, according to domain name registration principle, we are responsible to bring this issue to your attention. If you want to object Aiffida to register ,there is only one way is to register these domain name by yourself and prevent other to register it . If you need to register it ,we will send you an application form according to the procedure of registration .After you fill out ,please send me back .We will use it to reject Aiffida’s application and help your company to finish the registration

Best wishes! Dylan

Don’t you think it was already unbearable anymore? Replying this, we were not that tolerating anymore. We stated directly that they are included in the list of scam registrar companies and asked for their explanation. This was effective because no more e-mail again from them since then.

What to Learn from the Lesson?

I found articles about people’s similar experiences and even the law document about China domain registration. It’s true we will impossibly expand our business in China regions if a third party registers domain names referring to our company since the law doesn’t allow different organizations refer to the same trademark. On one hand, it seems they are helping to save our trademark from being stolen. However, be aware that the cases are not rare and it is silly to straightly trust them and register some domain names in a rush. We should at least check them out for their reliability.

Mostly, their strategy in tricking us is just exactly like our experience. They contact by e-mail and say that a third party company (is there any?) is trying to register some China domains referring to our brand and it will influence our trademark badly on the sight of our customers. No doubt about that (if the case exists). However, to tell you the truth, what they are doing is just trying to fool us for their profit since the Domain Name Registration usually costs higher than the usual one.

Even worse, are you sure it will guarantee your brand is safe once you register those domains to them? The answer is no since they just manipulate our money by selling the domains expensively at $20-$50 a year for one China domain. If we really want to register the domain names and protect our trademark, do it with reliable domain registrars to ensure that our trademark is really protected.

For information, the China government internet network institution, CNNIC, has exposed the lists of China domain registrars that are scams, as you can have a look at http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?p=6944670. In the provided link, you’ll be assured that these companies have grown abundantly in number, meaning that you should be more concerned when any of these registrars contact you through e-mail. Even more, who knows if the number has increased? Just beware! You don’t want to lose some money worthlessly for sure.

So, don’t get tricked by the domain scammers. Just inform them that we can take any lawful action for trademark thief and if they insist, let them realize what they should know about themselves.

-Gabrielle Capstick-

Deciding to expand your business online, you will need to choose the right set of tools. A merchant gateway, solid hosting account, and most of all, an easy to use shopping cart that can handle the massive load without any problems will be significant.

Having existed for almost 8 years, Oscommerce is excellent for online business with its experience plus benefits. Started in March 2000, OsCommerce has a large number of features that can make online business grow well. It has served more than 100,000 members and 12,000 shops, showing that it’s the most powerful, popular, and best known shopping cart.

Why Do You Need OsCommerce?

Numerous payment gateways to choose. It provides not only offline payments like credit cards, checks, money orders (and many more), but also online payments like paypal, ipayment, 2CheckOut, etc. These payment gateways will surely make you not left behind in your online business and customers may choose you more than others since you provide them with many payment gateways they can choose and feel comfortable with.

Not only that, you can use any operating system. No need to bother about whatever operating system you are using since OsCommerce can get along with any operating system whether it is Windows, Linux, or even Macs; very compatible and friendly. This will make things easier for you and your customers. So, why do you reconsider selecting the best shopping cart for your online business?

Sick of complicated steps, you just need very easy and simple set up and installation with OsCommerce. You will find that Oscommerce installation process relieving. Enabling one click installation you can do through cpanel feature and also automatic web browser based installation plus upgrade procedure has made Oscommerce simple and easy to use.

Not convinced yet? Oscommerce also contains some rich features for improving online business. It provides many features that enable you to add unlimited products to your website, provide customizable product catalogues to facilitate you in editing your online store at anytime, let you know if any customer visiting your website, and give you the detail information about orders and shipping.

What’s the Big Deal?

Knowing that online business and shopping cart are inseparable, a beneficial shopping cart like Oscommerce will be a great major influence upon your success and you can attract more customers plus spending your money less. Making it more special, Oscommerce also includes customer/frontend functionality and tax functionality, showing that it’s easier, simpler, and richer.

-Gabrielle Capstick-