Watch out for this email spam that looks like a domain registration!
It comes from “Domain Services” and the subject line is “Domain Notification – This is your Final Notice of Domain Listing” – and then your domain name in capital letters.
Inside is this alarming-looking message:
- It looks urgent.
- It looks official.
However, also note:
- They do use the word “solicitation”, which means that they are soliciting you for a new service, not for the renewal of your domain name.
- It does not come from your domain registrar.
- In the small print, it says “THIS IS NOT A BILL” – even though it looks like one.
- What they are actually offering to do is to submit your domain name to unnamed search engine(s) for $42 for one year, or $499 for a “lifetime”.
What you need to know to avoid getting scammed:
- Regular search engine submission is a thing of the past – a decade past, in fact. Once the search engines (with Google bringing about 90% of the traffic; the other major ones include Yahoo!, Bing, Search and AOL), have found your domain, there is no need to resubmit.
- Your domain name registration is another thing altogether. That is something you must pay annually, or for up to 10 years at a time. It is an important asset of your business. (And it should be owned by YOU or your business, not your web designer, marketing consultant or advertising agency.)
If you want to make your site more visible in the search engines, there are things you can do that will help, including:
- Update your site regularly.
- Know which keywords people actually use to find what you offer.
- Make sure your site is properly optimized for search engines (SEO = Search Engine Optimization), which includes unique, keyword-rich and relevant Title tags, and descriptive and inviting Meta Description tags on your pages.
- Use social media to bring people to your site. Comment on relevant blogs and forums, use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media as appropriate.
- Solicit links from other relevant sites, including directories that are specific to your business.
- Have a listing on Google Places.
This list is not exhaustive, but as you can see, it takes a bit of work to really make things happen. Much of this work you (or a knowledgeable employee on your behalf) can do yourself.