Beware of DNS services "invoices"

A company by the name of DNS Services Corporation is apparently sending out letters to domain registrants that look very much like an invoice for DNS services. They are likely scraping public WHOIS records to get the names and addresses of registrants to do this.

Like the Domain Registry of America (DROA) and Domain Registry of Canada (DROC), DNS Services seems to think it’s perfectly reasonable and ethical to get their customers through these types of practices.

A scan of the letter that they send out is shown below (click it to see a hi-res version). We’ve taken out any personal info, but you can see it has been made to look very much like an invoice, and the text indicating it isn’t an invoice is very easy to miss.

dns-services-letterThere are two great ways to protect your customers from getting letters like these.

  1. Use Contact Privacy. We provide it for free on all domain registrations (where the registry allows it). With Contact Privacy info shown in the public WHOIS, we’ll end up getting these letters instead of your customers. We already get a ton of them from the Domain Registry of Canada which we properly dispose of for recycling.
  2. Educate your customers. Let them know about these types of practices and explain that they should simply discard the letters, or get in touch with you if they have any doubts about any payments or invoices they receive. Your customers will very much appreciate this help – it’s a great part of the service you provide to them.

If you or your customers run into any other examples of these types of practices, feel free to send them our way through the Community Forums at our Help & Support portal, or email Reseller Support. We’ll let your fellow resellers know so we can reduce the effectiveness of these types of mailings and hopefully make the whole practice go away.

Lots of thanks to Nancy from Aardvark & Associates for bringing this to our attention and shame on DNS Services for using this tactic.

6 thoughts on “Beware of DNS services "invoices"

  1. Thank you for making this information public. Hopefully we can all stop these sorts of things from happening in the future by putting this information out there.

  2. Actually I don’t think contact privacy helps for this, as we have customers who’s info has never been listed in the whois, but have gotten these letters. Due to the bad formatting of the person’s name, it appears DNS Services is scrapping something like Yahoo Local to link together domains and those who use them while making a complete end run around the need to scrape public whois.

  3. Thanks for sharing that. There are indeed a few additional sources available to those looking to scrape that data. It’s unfortunate that not everyone or every business seems to hold the same values and ethics as the rest of us.

  4. Just received the typical DROA domain name expiration notice stating “… now is the time to transfer and renew …” for my domain

    DROA then states that and “are currently available for you to register and secure …” which implies DROA has registered and will transfer them to me thereby “… protecting your domain name from being duplicated.”

    In my opinion this is fraudulent since I registered all three at the same time – at the very best it is misleading.

  5. I manage my customers’ domains directly, so if something like this does show up in the mail, I tend to be the lucky recipient. For larger businesses, this can be challenging, so blogging or using whatever means to educate customers is not only beneficial, but required.

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