Domain name scheme resurfaces

, posted: 29-Oct-2003 22:01

Australian Chesley Rafferty and his company, trading here as Domain Names NZ, are once again trying to get New Zealand domain name holders to part with $237.

The fee is supposedly for registering the variant of a name holder's domain. However, the price is very high as accredited .nz registrars charge around $40 a year for domains.

Domain Names NZ received a formal warning from the Commerce Commission on October 8th for sending out misleading letters to holders of domains, soliciting registration fees.

However, Rafferty's company appears to have ignored the Commerce Commission warning, and has sent out large numbers of similar letters over the past few days. Commerce Commission Fair Trading Director Deborah Battell confirmed it has received complaints about the current mail-out from Domain Names NZ. The Commission is assessing whether or not the new solicitation could be breaching the Fair Trading Act.

New Zealand Domain Names Commissioner Debbie Monahan reacted swiftly when notified of the mail-out. She notified .nz registrars this morning and warned that Domain Names NZ was not an authorised .nz domain names registrar. The Commission also published a notice urging registrants to exercise caution when dealing with Domain Names NZ.

As Domain Names NZ has no physical presence in New Zealand, neither Battell nor Monahan expressed much hope at being able to go after the company legally.

The Herald tried to contact Domain Names NZ, which uses a telephone answering and virtual office service at Cook St. Calls to the numbers given for Domain Names NZ were routed to an answering machine but messages left there were not responded to.

Chief Executive Joy Cottle of Wellington domain name registrar iServe expressed dismay over the Domain Names NZ mail-out. Cottle said iServe has to foot the cost of sending out warnings about the scam to customers as well as for handling incoming calls from worried registrants.

In Australia, Domain Names Australia is under legal fire from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which launched proceedings against the company and Rafferty on October 2 under the Trade Practices Act.

The Australian Domain Administration auDA took Domain Names Australia and its director, Mr Rafferty to the Federal Court in August seeking an injunction on the use the funds received from a mail-out in Australia. It was unsuccessful although the judge said there were several misleading aspects of the notice sent out by Domain Names Australia.

The legal action in Australia followed a long string of activities dating back to early 2002, when domain registration solicitations appeared from the Internet Name Group or Internet Name Protection Pty Ltd, which is now defunct.

Other related posts:
Video: Kim Dotcom and Mathias Ortman at the IITP Mega breakfast
Two-factor authentication broken
The problem with naming and shaming

comments powered by Disqus


Google News search
IT News
PC World New Zealand
Computerworld NZ
PC World and Computerworld Australia
PC World US
Computerworld US
NZ Herald
Virus Bulletin

Content copyright © Juha Saarinen. If you wish to use the content of my blog on your site, please contact me for details. I'm usually happy to share my material as long as it's not for spamblogs and content farms. Please attribute with a link back to this blog. If you wish to advertise on my blog, please drop me an email to discuss the details.
Comments policy All comments posted on this blog are the copyright and responsibility of the submitters in question. Comments commercial and promotional in nature are not allowed. Please ensure that your comments are on topic and refrain from making personal remarks.