I got an email out of the blue yesterday reminding me that a domain name we maintain for one of my authors Olly Newland was due to expire and needed renewing.

The email looked like this:


Note the expiry date: 2009-10-04.

Following the conveniently-provided link (“If you wish to continue using your domain name please click on the link below. Click here to renew.”) took me to a page at the website  http://www.domainrenewal-online.org  and provided options to “renew” for 1, 2, 3, 5 or 10 years. (Look at the prices!)


Also note the branding/window-dressing: Oracle, Cisco Systems, IBM, Microsoft.net — all very reassuring. And the legitimate-looking Whois info in the sidebar — which, in this case, shows “No match”. Never mind.

At this stage I thought: Who ARE these guys? and Why didn’t my normal system throw up a reminder that the domain was up for renewal?

A quick Whois check of my own showed up this:


Extract from Whois

(Note the expiry date 4 Oct 2010! Oh. I see.)

So, the domain DIDN’T expire on the date quoted in the ISP Domain Name Services “renewal reminder”. The “reminder” is a year early. How strange.

That’s when I looked closer at the prices. 1 year USD79.95, 2 years USD149.95 etc. Yikes!

Compare that to Namecheap.com:


So … I’m left wondering about the people at ISP Domain Name Services (http://www.domainrenewal-online.org) who send out “reminders” from ‘ISP Renewal’ renewal@onlinereminder.org

What kind of business are they running?

And given their demonstrated inaccuracy with respect to expiry dates, what, I ask, could they do with any credit card details entered blithely into their site? Hmmm.

Any thoughts?

PS Reading the fine print on the original email and on the er, incomplete “Whois report” on their website makes for fun reading. Really. (For readability, view the image of their website in a new tab/window to see it undistorted.)

PPS Olly Newland’s website is actually at www.ollynewland.co.nz