Blair Rafferty is believed to have resurrected his bankrupt brother Chesley's domain name registration scam, targetting New Zealand and Australian registrants.
Domain name registrants in New Zealand are sent pro-forma invoices asking for $225 for a two-year period through NZ Domain Registration Ltd, with an office address given as 60 Cook Street, Auckland. The address is the same that Chesley Rafferty used in the past and leads to The Corporate Centre, which supplies serviced offices and telephone answering for customers.
Blair Rafferty is listed as the director of New Zealand Domain Registration Ltd, according to the Companies Office.
Clemenger Commmunications National IT Manager Jeremy Strachan says he received twenty such letters for various New Zealand domains. He says the domains are ones registered but not used by him, indicating that the information used by Rafferty is out of date.
Strachan showed Computerworld a copy of the letter, which promises a "free MP3 player" if people take the bait. Another .nz registrant, Patrick Baron, contacted Computerworldto say that he too has targetted by NZ Domain Registration Ltd. Baron says he is being offered the .net.nz version of his existing .co.nz domain for $225.00 including GST, and describes the attempt to as a "slightly more sophisticated mass-mailing attack" than previous such runs.
Chesley Rafferty sent out hundreds of thousands of invoices similar to the ones making the rounds now, was found guilty by Australia's Federal court in 2004 of false and misleading conduct under the country's Trade Practices Act.
In 2005, Chesley Rafferty and his business partner Brad Norrish had A$1.3 million damages awarded against them, after the Federal Court found the pair had copied UK domain registrar Nominet's database of customers. Rafferty went bankrupt last year, and Norrish in July this year.
However, Blair Rafferty has since then taken over as director of his brother's companies, according to Australian official records.
Computerworld rang the number given for New Zealand Domain Registration Ltd to speak to Blair Rafferty but the call was answered by a voice mail recorder. Our call was not returned.