Have you ever received a domain renewal notice from "Domain Registry of America?" If you own or manage a website, chances are the answer is yes.
Among tech-savvy professionals, this organization is among the most hated in the industry. Among inexperienced website owners, it's an unethical company that preys on ignorance to make money under false pretenses.
We've talked before about how domains work and who should control your domain name. Domains are stored with organizations called "registrars" such as GoDaddy.com, Network Solutions, or Register.com.
When your domain name is up for renewal, your registrar sends you a notice, usually via email, that it's about to expire and offers you the chance to renew it.
So what makes Domain Registry of America so evil?
This shady organization sends "renewal" notices (via U.S. mail) to people who are not their customers. They get the expiration dates correct (which can be found with a simple search) so it looks legitimate. They also use important-looking stationary with American flags and official but vague language implying that you are already a customer. Even the company's name implies that they are somehow the official gatekeeper of domain names in the U.S.
Because of this, inexperienced website owners sometimes end up filling out the paperwork, sending in their credit card numbers, and inadvertently transferring their domain name to Domain Registry of America. This usually means they end up paying a higher fee for the domain name.
Is what they are doing illegal? I don't think so, although numerous lawsuits have surfaced over this tactic. However, it is obviously unethical and deceptive.
So if you receive a "renewal" notice from Domain Registry of America, do not send it in (unless, of course, your domain really is registered with DROA, which I doubt). Throw it away and share this article with others so they are not duped.
Have you received one of these notices? What did you do with it?