Just in case there were any doubts about the validity of my previous post, here is a current real-world example in evidence. One of our clients is a tea merchant who owns the trademark to Hu-Kwa tea. They have owned the hu-kwa.com domain name for quite some time now. Last week, I was contacted by two companies within an hour, each offering to sell me hukwa.com (without the hyphen), one using multiple e-mails. The first was a company called Flex Media / Flex Media Domains, which sent me an e-mail which included a “Priority Sales” hyperlink. This outfit is supposedly located in Hollywood, Florida. The second contact came in the form of three e-mails from InTrust Domains / Domain Names International / eTraffic Services, an outfit supposedly located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, sending me what they called a “Priority Domain Availability Notice. According to their website, they “currently manage a portfolio of approximately 10,000 domains, with about 70 new domains added each day.” I did a whois lookup at the time, and it very suspiciously showed nothing. I replied to this second company via e-mail, asking them for a price and the registration history (no reply, of course), although their e-mail directed me to a form where I could “express my interest”. I didn’t use the form with either of these outfits. Yesterday, I was contacted again, with a follow-up offer to sell me the “now available” hukwa.com. This time I clicked on the form, out of curiosity. It said that the price would be $397.00 and had a payment form.
I just did another whois lookup. Guess what? The company that contacted me yesterday registered the domain name YESTERDAY. I am guessing that happened immediately upon my clicking on their link! Either they are also “tasting” for 5 days, or – once they’ve had somebody express interest – they actually will keep the domain for a year. The price is $397.00 for a domain that they bought yesterday for about $6.00 (and can probably get refunded under a grace period).
Here is the current whois lookup information for the domain:
Domain Name: HUKWA.COM
Created On: 08-JUN-2010
Last Updated On: 08-JUN-2010
Expiration Date: 08-JUN-2011
Sponsoring Registrar: THREADSHARE.COM, INC
Registrant Name: Domain Admin
Registrant Organization: InTrust Domain Names
Registrant Street1: 4845A Pearl East Circle
Registrant City: Boulder
Registrant State/Province: CO
Registrant Postal Code: 80301
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: (1)(866) 582-2599
Registrant Email: email@example.com
Tech Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Name Server: CALL.303-800-0310.COM
Name Server: FOR-SALE-AT.INTRUSTDOMAINS.COM
Check out the “website” of their registrar: http://threadshare.com/
Does this look like the site of a legitimate registrar? Not in my mind.
Here is the whois lookup for ThreadShare.com:
Registration Service Provided By: Thought Convergence
Domain name: threadshare.com
Thought Convergence, Inc.
Domain Administrator ()
11300 W. Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90064
ThoughtConvergence.com is located at the same address in Los Angeles.
Totally legal. Totally unethical. Isn’t the Internet wonderful?
This post was written by Peter Pelland