Domain name scam back for another try

Unwilling to take no for an answer, Domain Names NZ has again sent out letters to New Zealand registrants offering to secure the .net.nz equivalent of their domain names.

Unwilling to take no for an answer, Domain Names NZ has again sent out letters to New Zealand registrants offering to secure the .net.nz equivalent of their domain names.

Domain Names NZ has tried this bulk registration tactic [Domain name scammer old hand] on more than one occasion in the past and has also used it in Australia trading under the name Domain Names Australia. The owner of both companies, Chesley Rafferty, is in trouble with the Australian equivalent of the New Zealand domain name commissioner, the Australian domain administration (AuDA), for breaching AuDA rules and regulations.

The Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued proceedings against Rafferty in federal court for breaching the Trade Practices Act.

In New Zealand the Commerce Commission has warned customers to be wary of Domain Names NZ as its offer risks "breaching the Fair Trading Act".

Domain name commissioner Debbie Monahan is also warning registrants to be cautious about accepting the offer, which also breaches New Zealand domain name registration rules.

The campaign targets existing name holders and offers to register the .net.nz equivalent, or the .net or .com if that name is already taken. The offer for .net names for two years is $237 and includes a "closing date" of November 14.

Monahan is interested in hearing from anyone who received one of Domain Name NZ's letters referring to a name registered in the .nz space since August. Monahan says her office is trying to work out whether Rafferty is using a new list of registrants or the same list he used in August.

"We've seen no unusual activity on the whois list so that would indicate he's not using a new list but we want to be sure". Monahan's email address is: info@dnc.org.nz.

Monahan is also alerting registrars to the new letter and will be checking new registrations of .net.nz names over the next few weeks to see whether there is any unusual activity.

Rafferty ran a similar campaign in 2002 using the company name Internet Registry (Commission talks with Aussie counterpart over registration spam). Domain Names NZ did not immediately return Computerworld Online calls.

More about Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

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