Here’s what the letter is:
If you examine all the text (which, as a business owner you may not have precious time to spend digging into it) you will see the clear statement that “We are not a domain registrar…” Unfortunately, the disclaimer is tucked in the middle of a small font paragraph in the middle of the page.
At first glance, our eyes see the words “annual”, “domain” and “We appreciate your business”. It could very well have been an annual domain renewal invoice. The letter seems legitimate because it includes your contact info and the specific domain you may have thought nobody else would have known.
The actual service that is being sold though is a business listing on the domain services website. You may want to buy this listing if you think your target audience will find you there. Perhaps it will be a good investment for you. For us, we feel like the soliciation is misleading because it looks more like a bill.
What the letter is not:
The letter is not stealing your money or identity. There is a real website where there are real listings if you choose to buy the annual subscription.
It’s also not offering to renew your domain.
Why am I getting this?
Your next thought might be “How did this company get my contact info and connect that with my actual domain?”
The simple answer is that your contact information is public by default. People who know where to look can find out the contact for any domain out there. Unless of course, you have “privacy” turned on. Keep reading…
How do I stop getting domain listing solicitations?
In short, activate the “privacy” setting to your domain. Whether your domain is managed by someone within your own organization or if you contract with a host, you can pay to have your contact information hidden from the public. Typically between $10 and $20/yr.
That amount may not be worth it to you just to avoid annoying mail or maybe it is. The delightful thing is that paying for domain privacy is not required and you get to make that choice.
The bottom line is there’s nothing to be afraid of if you don’t pay the fee (in our example a whopping $289/yr). Your domain will not be affected. Your site will not be affected.
The biggest risk is being influenced to buy the service just because the letter appears important. Look into the listing service to make sure the opportunity will actually help move your business closer to your goals. And be sure to reach out to us or your local hosting company with any further questions!