Chinese Domain Name Scam

August 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

I received a very interesting email the other day. Seems as if this very nice Chinese company wants to help protect my business identity and trademarks. Maybe it’s just my skeptical nature, but such unsolicited generosity doesn’t seem genuine to me.

Before going futher, here’s a copy of their email to me:

Dear novo-ops:
We are Shanghai Chooke Network Information Technology Co.,Ltd,which is the domain name register center in China.I have something need to confirm with you.
We have received an application company named “Wanda (China) Investment Co.,Ltd” applies for the domain names( etc.),and the Internet keyword(novo-ops) on the internet July 31,2009.We need to know the opinion of your company because the domain names and keyword may relate to the copyright of brand name on internet.
we would like to get the affirmation of your company,please contact us by telephone or email as soon as possible.

Kind Regards,
Tel: +86-21-62416070
Fax: +86-21-62597835
Shanghai Chooke Network Information Technology Co., Ltd

At first glance, it appears as if some domain speculator in China is trying to register versions of my domain name under the .cn top level domain. It’s awfully nice that the good folks at Shanghai Chooke Network Information Technology are looking out for me.

Of course, the fact they are trying to register “novo-ops” with a hyphen, rather than “novoops” without a hyphen, is the first clue that this seems a little less than authentic.  Also suspicious is their claim that this supposed company is trying to register my “Internet keyword”.   That’s mildly amusing; I suspect that would be a good pause for concern if such Internet keywords actually existed. Lastly, I know of no registrars that do any such checking before allowing the registration of a domain name. None. Zip. Nada.

A little research on the Internet seems to reveal that the purpose of this scam is to scare domain owners into registering additional domain names. So, if you get such an email, I’d recommend filing it with all the other domain name registration scams that have come before…in the trash.

If you’d like to read a bit more about this scam, here’s a couple of other good links…

What’s in a Name?

July 14, 2009 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Uncategorized 

My previous post Yet another blog has me thinking a bit about the value of grabbing an available “name”, before someone else does. As I indicated in that post, I registered the domain name back in January of 2001, with the eventual plans of putting together some sort of personal website. This site, of course, is that site.

Domain Names

We all know that most domain names have been grabbed up either by legitimate people and businesses, or are held onto by cybersquatters and other morally questionable enterprises. I’ve always been of the strong belief that if you have an idea for a good domain name for a project, it is far better to register it and hold onto it for the day when you need it, rather than take a chance it will be unavailable when that time comes. Today, it’s relatively inexpensive enough to register a domain; I really don’t see a good reason to not grab the names you plan to use while you can. At worst, you’ll be out of pocket only a little bit of money if you decide to go another direction.  If you don’t know a good place to register your domain names, I recommend you consider using Novo Ops — my company, if you didn’t figure that out ;-).

Of course, as inexpensive as they can be, with enough domains registered the costs can slowly start to add up. Eventually, you may want to drop a few that you’ll never use. A good strategy is to set a time limit for yourself, some point at which point if you haven’t developed the site you can let it go. When I was registering the name for my business, for some reason the related name sounded good to me as well. After years of holding onto it, I realized in all likelihood I was just never going to do anything with it. On the other hand, back in 1999 I had registered the names and with grand plans that unfortunately just never materialized.  These names, however, were too good to just let go, so I held onto them with the slim hopes that I’d one day get around to those projects. Ultimately, I sold them to Naveen Jain, the founder of InfoSpace, so in the end they were definitely worth keeping, but that’s a story for another day.

.COM Children

Are you wondering if I registered my kids’ names as well? Maybe it is a bit of a geeky thing to do, but wouldn’t it be nice for them to have them when they are older?

Four days after my older son was born I thought of this and registered his name for him. As far as my younger son, I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I actually checked the availability of the domain name before he was born. I’m not suggesting that I would have wanted to give him a different name if the domain wasn’t available, but the fact that it was available was a nice bonus. However, although I’m really not a superstitious person, I did wait until the day he was born before registering it.

I guess I’m not the only one who thinks like this. I have a friend who called me from the hospital shortly after his son was born. After I congratulated him, he asked me to register the domain name for him!

Social Networking Names

But what about the other “names” that are out there on the web? There’s Twitter and Facebook, and an whole host of other social networking sites that let you stake your claim on your “name”. This name then becomes a unique URL to your presence on their site. Are these names also important pieces of property that must be claimed before others do so?

I guess it depends on what name you are trying to protect or promote. If it’s your brand, and particularly if exposure via these social network sites is part of your marketing strategy, I think it is a wise move to secure these names earlier rather than later. Although a trademark should protect you from any cybersquatters even in these realms, it’s far easier (and cheaper) to protect your brand and/or identity in advance, rather than recover it from another in the future.

How Many Ian Goldstein’s?

Coming full circle, what if it’s not your brand you are trying to protect, but perhaps your own vanity? I had registered back in 2001 in a exercise to protect my own personal identity on the web, but when I setup my Twitter account I was just a little too late. Another “Ian Goldstein” had beat me to it. Damn.

In fact, at the time there were actually 3 other Ian Goldstein’s on Twitter — @iangoldstein, @iannus and @iangolds. — and since I set up my Twitter account there’s been another addition — @img2878.

Since I don’t have a clever nickname or handle that I like to go by, I did the next best thing. I used my middle initial and can be found on Twitter as @IanSGoldstein. I may not score points for originality there, but at least I don’t have to worry what would happen to my ego if another Ian S Goldstein had taken that name on Twitter. On a related note, I’m certain that somewhere in this world there is another Ian S Goldstein that will one day want to use that name on Twitter and will not be so happy with me.

Facebook Name Landrush

For those of you on Facebook, you probably know they recently added the ability for a user to select a unique “vanity name” which will forever be associated with their profile.  ‘Of course, in typical Facebook style, it is a permanent setting that once selected can never be changed. That makes no sense if you ask me. Regardless, I knew exactly when these names would be available — the night of Friday, June 12th precisely at midnight. It was my plan to grab the name IanGoldstein before anyone else could. Besides what’s the likelihood that another Ian Goldstein really cared as much as I did? Either way, at midnight I knew I’d be in front of the computer.

Surprisingly, I apparently do have a life outside the computer world, and as it so happened June 12th was a busy day. In the morning I attended my son’s second grade play and in the afternoon I had made plans with some friends to go wine tasting out on the North Fork. It was a great day, but I’m sure you’ve already figured out that I was not at the computer at midnight. While I imagine you’re assuming I “tasted” too much wine (and we did somehow manage to visit 7 vineyards that day), sadly I cannot blame the wine for my screw-up. Despite the reminder from my Blackberry that I had obviously set to receive way too early, by the end of the day I simply forgot.

Early Saturday morning , while sipping my morning coffee I realized my blunder. I immediately logged into Facebook and quickly saw that the IanGoldstein name had been taken. In fact, this really shouldn’t have been a surprise to me as there are currently 32 people on Facebook with the name “Ian Goldstein”. Well, IanSGoldstein wasn’t taken yet, so as per Facebook’s bizarre rules, that is what I will forever be known as on their site.

In the end, using IanSGoldstein makes my Twitter and Facebook accounts match quite nicely, almost as if I planned it that way.

The only problem, though, is that they don’t quite match exactly with the domain name for this blog. Now does that really matter all that much? Do I really care if someone else was to go ahead and register the domain name? I guess the answer to that should be obvious. Yes, I actually went ahead and registered it. It’s now an alias to this site, inspired by this very entry.