If you've recently received an official looking letter from the 'Domain Registry of Canada', we urge you to proceed with caution.
The "Domain Registry of Canada" is a company who has been in operation since 2001. The "Domain Registry of Canada" has no association with CIRA, or any government organization. They are also not related to Webnames.ca in any way. Their official looking letter (see images below) is an aggressive direct mail campaign aimed at trying to get you to transfer your domain away from your current registrar to them.
The letters claim the same thing. They tell you that your domain is about to expire and that you need to renew it immediatley; unfortunately, this is not the case. In the domain industry this practice is known as "Domain Slamming."
Domain Slamming is best described as a scam where a domain registrar attempts to trick customers of other companies into switching from their current registrar to the scamming one. They make it sound as though you are simply renewing your domain, while in reality you are signing paperwork, and sending money to effectively transfer your domain to them.
The overall look of the letter itself is very misleading. It looks similar to an official Government of Canada letter you may receive from time to time. The worst part about these letters is that they use scare tactics to convince customers they need to renew their domain, with lines like "Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web." Not only is it misleading, they tend to charge exorbitant amounts for domains, making you pay significantly more in the long run.
Make sure you keep a few things in mind if you receive a suspicious looking letter or email:
Do you recognize the sender, and is this a legitimate company?
If you don't recognize the company name, take a moment to look them up on the Better Business Bureau's Website. If they are a legitimate business with a good reputation than contacting them should be no problem. If they are scamming you, this website should give you a good sense of that.
Who is the Registrar of Record for your existing domain(s)?
If you receive a notification of renewal for one of your domains, be sure that it is coming from the registrar of record for that domain name. All registrations are handled by registrars and your Registrar of Record is who you initially registered your domain with. You can check your domains at http://www.webnames.ca/whois or call your registrar.
Wondering how you can stop having these notices sent to you?
Check out Webnames Privacy Service which protects your information from being publicly visible and available to spammers and telemarketers. You will only receive official correspondence from Webnames.ca and the Registries and all other companies will be blocked out.
The main point to remember when receiving any communication is to read it fully and carefully (including the fine print) so you understand what the information is. Always deal with companies you know and trust. Most importantly, if ever you are unsure as to the legitimacy of a notification, contact us at email@example.com and we will be happy to review the notice you received.