Recognizing domain name scams.

You may have have received an email message from a Chinese company claiming to be a domain name registrar authorized by the China Internet Network Information Center ("CNNIC"),  the non-profit administrative agency responsible for Internet affairs under the Ministry of Information Industry of the People's Republic of China.  

Such messages state that someone in China has applied to register one or more Internet domain names incorporating a U.S. company’s name or trademark. The sender goes on to say that it has found that the U.S. company owns that name or mark, and that if the U.S. company does not itself register the domain names, the sender will allow the Chinese company to do so.

We have been told that the underlying reason for these unsolicited emails is that CNNIC has offered big rebates to encourage its accredited registrars to sell domain names. This has resulted in CNNIC’s registrars trumping-up threats as to allegedly pirated domain names in order to solicit business.

Some U.S. companies have investigated these threats and have reportedly been unable to corroborate them.

Accordingly, some U.S. companies have chosen to regard these messages as a scam and to ignore them. Others have decided to take the defensive measure of registering the domain names themselves.