This has been going on for years and it is one of the trickiest domain schemes online these days, one in particular I would like to point out that has beentrying to take advantage of me and fellow Canadians for years now.
The company is called iDNS, also known as Internet Domain Name Services that is leveraging the mail system combined with people’s domain name information (also know as their who is data) to try to get people to vastly overpay for their domain services.
The iDNS Mail, I Get It All the Time
Owning 100’s of domains has many advantages. A domain portfolio can be a valuable asset to your business and can appreciate in value if you hold some awesome domains, not to mention the potential to build out and create branded websites on your domains. I have built many very successful websites over the years and every successful website starts with a domain.
Unfortunately there are times when a company gets their hands on your domain details (your personal contact information) and they start soliciting you services/products, or in this case, re-registration of YOUR domain on their services.
For example, these domains I purchased were bought through namecheap.com, which is a very trustworthy domain registrar. What has happened though is that iDNS has caught wind of several domains that I have and sent me mail encouraging me to renew my domain at inflated domain prices, almost triple the normal cost of a domain.
For example, a domain through NameCheap costs me about $15 per year for a renewal whereas iDNS is trying to charge me $40 per year for the exact same domain. Trickery? Absolutely. Unethical practices, I think so.
iDNS, Fooling Those That Simply Don’t Know
The problem I see with this is that most people that own domains may not have the same sort of experience that I have within the online world and they might fall into this trap of paying almost triple for their domain. The iDNS mail seems legitimate and very professional. They are also convincing and put a good deal of time pressure on you, making the unsuspecting feel as though they need to act before their domains run out.
The very first line in the letter indicates:
“You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web…”
That is enough to strike fear into the unassuming and get them to overpay for their domain.
The problem is that you MUST not renew through the iDNS service unless you like paying much more than you are already paying for your domain name. In my case, I am using Namecheap for this domain name and am paying around $15 per year, they want to charge me $40 to renew through their service.
I can see this definitely fooling some people, if it didn’t Internet Domain Name Services would not go to all the work to send out posted mail about all domains they can find that are registered. I can only imagine people that are not privy to how domains work panicking and ultimately being sold into this domain renewal scheme.
Domain Registrars Will NEVER Send You Mail
You will not get email, mail, or phone calls from your domain registrar…EVER. So as a rule of thumb, if you get mail about something similar to my iDNS story here, then you should not be responding and absolutely do not pull out your credit and buy anything.
The iDNS scheme is not the only one going on. There are likely 1,000’s of other seemingly legitimate companies trying these same sort of antics by finding your information through the whois registry (if your domain has not been set to private) and they solicit you in a number of ways, some of them being very REAL and LEGITIMATE feeling.
They are not and you should not entertain any of these offers. I fell for this trap (from a different company) in my early days online. I don’t want you to make the same mistake.
Every More Reason to Privately Register Your Domains
When you register your domain, almost all domain registrars allow you to register your domain with “whois privacy”. What this does is protects your contact details from the world, so if someone looks up your WHOIS informaiton for your domain, domain protection information is put in there (which will vary based on the company you use to purchase domains).
There are several places I recommend you can go to buy your domains and protect yourself from solicitations or schemes like the iDNS one. Here some some domain registrars that are cost efficient and offer quality “whois privacy” and domain privacy protection.
(1) SiteDomains by WealthyAffiliate.com – Free Domain Privacy
(2) Namecheap.com – Free domain privacy first year, $2.98/year thereafter
(3) Godaddy.com – $7.99/year for domain privacy
If you have any questions or you have had any sort of solicitations recently in relation to your website/domain that you would like to report, please leave a comment below.
Thanks for bringing this up to our attention! I am new to online marketing and first time website owner. Fortunately, I signed with Wealthy Affiliate, so my information is private from those who search for my website’s whois.
Thanks again for the informative article and thanks for helping others from getting deceived into spending more money than they should have.
Yeah, too many people that have websites/domains and that are even established in the online world are still a little bit naive and fall for such programs.
It is highly unfortunately that people do and the problem is when companies are very elusive in their marketing practices and solicitations, such as these types of domain schemes (which are not new, but they still work).
I don’t even own a web domain and I’ve gotten 2 letters from this company one a couple years back and another one today…..Might be a stupid question but is there any risk of identity theft?
Not really, just make sure you don’t fill out any forms as you are going to be charged more for a domain that you already own. In the case of what you are receiving, perhaps they are hoping that you will actually purchase a domain (and spend too much on it).
How do I get iDNS to stop mailing me?
I am not quite sure. You could complain to the postal authorities about unsolicited mail if they don’t give you a means to stop it. They can likely block mail from certain addresses. Don’t hold me to this, but I am sure something can be done here.
Hi Kyle, I have just received an email from a similar company – thankfully this guide has helped confirm my suspicions.
Yeah, the domain style schemes come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they will tell you that you need to renew or your are going to possibly lose your domain, others will tell you that your domain has not be submitted to search engines yet (which is a total hoax, you don’t SUBMIT domains to search engines).
Glad you didn’t get crossed up or give that sham any of your money.
I’m in the United States and haven’t gotten anything in the mail from Internet Domain Name Services (IDNS). However, there are similar companies operating down here as well.
When I was starting out, the notices from these scams confused me. I’m sure they must make a ton of money because, as I recall, they wanted $67 to renew a domain I owned and could renew for about $13. What a racket!
Kyle thanks for explaining this so well
They do make money and they are doing it by taking advantage of the vulnerable and those that are not quite sure how domains and search engines operate. It is unfortunate that companies like this are allowed to operate and I think the reason is because it is a real challenge for the FTC and authorities to chase around companies like this (as there are truly so many of them out there).
I am in Canada as well, and I have gotten EMAILS from this same company telling me I had to renew my domain through them. Fortunately I have several domain names, and I had purchased domain privacy for most of them – so when iDNS latched on to the few that didn’t, I was able to see it for the scam it was just because it was an oddity, plus I already knew exactly how to renew my domains. I reported iDNS to my hosting company, but now that I know that this is “a thing”, I doubt my hosting company was able to do anything about it. So many scams out there – thank you, Kyle, for bringing attention to this and for being a trustworthy place to get information and advice!
Yeah, the best thing you can do is share your voice and experience within situations like this. It is a dead end road trying to contact a hosting company to complain about this as they don’t have time to regulate domain scams.
Glad you didn’t fall for this one, I know many are and the less experience you have, the more likely you will fall for deceptive domain “renewal” schemes like that that is being operated by iDNS.
Wow! Thank you for the heads up. That will keep me alert especially coz I am still very green in this field…then I am very lucky to have chosen wealth affiliate because this is where I got my domain a few days ago so I guess I don’t have to worry much about millions of other people out there getting my personal information from my registration. Will for sure stay alert and spread the word. I am learning something new every day!
That is exactly what companies like iDNS (internet domain name services) are banking on. People that are green to the internet business world and the domain process…they surely suck a lot of people into this scam and end up overcharging people for something they have already paid for (also known as a ripoff).
Keep your information private within your domain registration and you should be fine.
They sound like those dodgy parking attendants you get in the UK, at supermarkets.
They stand around and wait until you are gone and then slap a ticket on your window with a fine.
what most people dont know they do not have any legal requirement to pay them. The company they work for pay the DVLA for the car owner detail so they can sent them a fine reminder letter if they don’t pay.
The thing is it works because they threaten people with legal proceeding, Its all a bluff they have no legal right to fine anyone.
Thanks for sharing this Kyle, If I got a letter from them I would probably just bin it lol
Exactly what is happening here, same thing as that parking scam. That is nuts!
This is a huge domain renewal bluff that lots of people unfortunately fall for and they end up going from paying $15 per year for their domains, to moving their domains over to iDNS and paying much, much more ($40 per year).
There are many people out there that have claimed they have been scammed by this service and I hate to see this sort of misleading marketing taking place online. Hopefully this can bring some attention to what is really taking place when you get these types of letters in the mail.
Man I got loads of letters from iDNS in the past. The worst past, the very first letter almost got me. Everything looks so official that I thought: “Well maybe because I am in Canada I need to use this service?”.
I ended up calling them after 2 years of letters and asking them to stop spamming my mail box. I actually told the rep their company is a scam and that they are wasting their time with me.
Glad you did that Alex, but apparently they haven’t gotten the point. They must be ripping enough people off with their domain renewal scheme that they can afford to blanket mail I imagine 100,000’s of people with these notices. It is amazing what some companies can get away with, iDNS is definitely working within the grey area here.
wow. I’m still very green to online business world but more and more I learn about these scams, I’m starting to put up guards a lot more. I haven’t fell into any scams yet but there were several people that tried to dupe me into their scams. I’m a bit paranoid by nature so I just walked away from them. But still, you never know. Thanks for giving us heads up.
Yeah, you will likely never get anything of this nature unless you buy a domain through a registrar where the “whois privacy” is optional. If you ever do use a service that forces you to pay for this as an upsell, make sure you get it.
It is included in platforms like SiteDomains at Wealthy Affiliate and if you are using that platform you will never have to worry about getting solicitation like this as your whois (private contact details) will always be protected.
I really wish I would’ve never registered my domain name at Ipage.com. Not only do you pay for the domain name, but you also have to pay for one of their packages along with it in order to register that domain which unfortunately keeps increasing every year I have to renew it with them. When I renewed it back around the beginning of February, the cost was $163! I will never EVER register another domain name with them and I’m so glad that I got a new domain name for a 2nd planned website down the road through Wealthy Affiliate!
Wow, $163 for your domain renewal (plus I imagine some add ons). That is crazy. I will have to investigate what iPage is doing and perhaps let my audience know about this scheme they are running within their platform. Upon some quick research, I see that you are definitely not the only one that is unhappy.
Now that you have registered your domain with SiteDomains at WealthyAffiliate.com I can assure you that you will not run into anything like this again as we offer all domains at the exact same price the subsequent years. No “price jack” surprises.
HI there Kyle,
Great job uncovering a scam and warning others about it. Kudos to you for that.
Have you considered mailing back to them with the letter enclosed but no stamp?
You’ll quickly find that junk mailers will take you off their mailing list as it costs them money, very least double because you return their mail with no stamp on it.
Still, must say, a little refreshing in an odd sort of way to see that the old fashion junk mail still exists.
I wasn’t aware that this would work, I actually don’t mind getting this sort of mail (just goes straight into recycling), but where I do get worried is that many people are going to get ripped off by the iDNS renewal rates. It is typically nice to receive mail these days because like you said, it is refreshing because everything has become so digitized. Not this type of solicitation mail though.
Hey Kyle great post I actually ran into the same problem before and got mail saying I need to renew and It was around 40 bucks which is pretty overpriced like you said. Really love that Wealthy Affiliate offer free domain protection something that most company’s do not offer and really useful especially if you want to stop spam calls from other people trying to offer your bunch of crap.
Yeah, they are persistent. If you do any level of research online for any company that calls you, emails or phones you, you will notice that others are complaining about them. I found this is definitely the case with iDNS as many individuals are calling them out for their activities and they also have a BBB rating of F.
Key here is for anyone buying a domain to protect that domain from scams by making it private. Don’t leave your contact information public, ever.
Wow it’s amazing the length people will go to to get other people’s information and money. I love the tip about getting mail or calls about the domain, which is a huge give away. Whenever I get anything in the mail I always try to look into it first as it is. I’ll absolutely keep that in mind. Thanks so much!
Yeah, it is a huge giveaway when any company calls you regarding your website or your online business. If someone is trying to “sell” you something, they are either scheming to get your money or they are spamming you with a potential “scam” offer.
The best thing to do is always use a domain registrar that makes your domain details private (whois privacy) by default. SiteDomains at WealthyAffiliate.com offers domain privacy with all domains purchased, no extra costs.
Didn’t realize that sitedomains from Wealthy Affiliate was free with whois after the first year, that’s a great feature. I never understood why the internet needs your full contact information accessible to anyone who searches for all to see!
Ugh I hate those domain schemes. How do these people sleep at night when at the boardroom they’re like “So how many fools did we catch this week?” – it’s pretty despicable. I feel you were underrating just how scammy it is.
I’m glad you wrote this article though and I hope people are savvy enough these days to do some searching before they fall for things like this!
Yeah, the whois privacy with SiteDomains is free forever, as long as your domain is registered within that platform. It is a feature that NEEDS to be included with every domain because of the amount of solicitation that will take place with domains that do not have privacy added (and have open whois details).
Honestly, I can only imagine those boardroom meetings and the discussions that must take places by such companies that are soliciting people in this way. Their goal is to trick as many people as possible into buying something they don’t need, at the end of the days it his a horrible way to do business.