Back on 20th May, I wrote about some people are using the ABN or ACN details of legitimate companies or businesses to purchase domain names at the expired domain auctions.
In particular, I discovered there was a domain investor who had had his details used by someone else to acquire 16 domain names at Netfleet in recent times. Netfleet was informed, and I also wrote to auDA detailing all the domains.
The good news is that action has now been taken. All those 16 domains are now in Policy Delete status. Well done Netfleet and auDA.
One Down; Who’s Next?
In the previous article, I also mentioned my suspicions about someone falsely using the details of a company called Bremco Metal Products Pty Ltd.
Earlier this week, I managed to make contact with the owner of Bremco. Really nice guy. He was “gobsmacked” when I asked him if he had recently acquired 15 domains on the expired auctions at Netfleet. Of course, his answer was no. He put me in touch with his Digital Consultant, and together we are submitting the list to Netfleet and auDA.
Why is the type of situation a problem?
Very simply, it comes down to potential reputational damage. If a scammer uses a legitimate company’s details like Bremco to acquire a domain, and then (as an example) puts up an adult website, that’s not going to reflect well on Bremco.
Or another scenario could be that the scammer sells the domain to someone else; gets the money and then doesn’t transfer the domain. Suddenly Bremco is in the firing line. And whilst it has nothing to do with them, it still takes a lot of explaining.
What’s in it for the scammers?
So I ask myself why is this sort of activity on the rise? My theory (and I may very well be wrong), is that these domains are being purchased primarily for SEO benefits and lead generation. Let me give one example from the 15 domains currently in Bremco’s name.
businessconnect.com.au (I’m not hyperlinking this). The reason this was attractive to a scammer was because it had history. See WayBack machine screenshot below:
If you click on a few of the tabs on the current website, you will notice there is a link to a Sydney based SEO agency. I’m not suggesting that they’re the scammer – they could well be an innocent victim themselves.
Then there are a few businesses that have their own pages. I wonder if they are paying for these?
What do you think?
Ned O’Meara – 28th May 2016