John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?  Competitive Web & SEO

With More Domain Thefts, enter Fort Moniker ?

The world is full of scams, and as domain values increase there is a need for a Fort Knox style facility for holding domains securely. Moniker continues to earn top praise as the registrar of choice. I see Moniker recommended every time there is a domain theft or a new scam (and there is a new threat today – see below). I can only hope the domain auction business provides adequate cash flow, because no company can provide the levels of security we need with the few bucks they get on domain registrations (update: now owns Moniker… cash flow not an issue?).

Today on NamePros there comes warning of more abuse of the public’s trust in PayPal, this time for domain sales. Someone is allegedly offering to buy domains and using a PayPal account, which is then charged back on the premise that the item never “shipped”. The way PayPal works with credit card companies apparently leaves the seller holding the (empty) bag, even though the buyer has control of the domain. Read this thread because they identify the aliases used by this person, the whois, the email domains, and even a photo for those on the ground in Romania ;-)

Of course escrow is the answer, and that’s where Moniker gets recommended highly again. Good to see them stepping up to the plate as domaining advances and the various schemes are put into play by, instead of sitting back and monetizing the status quo until something breaks (the way it seems most companies operate these days).

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4 Responses to “With More Domain Thefts, enter Fort Moniker ?”

  1. webprofessor Says:

    John an issue related to this is what about cheaper domains? The cost of an escrow of for domains selling for sub $500 wipes out any profit margin.

  2. john andrews Says:

    @webprofessor: cost of doing business, no? I am used to “buyer pays escrow fee” myself, so profit margin isn’t always an issue for the seller. How will the market react to increased volume of smaller payments needing escrow?… how did the market react to the need for micropayments on credit cards (I buy $1.60 coffee with a VISA these days).

  3. webprofessor Says:

    Pretty much John. I hope the market comes up with a solution. At the moment I just try and trust people and sell to people with established reputations.

  4. IncrediBILL Says:

    The problem sounds more like idiots at the helm of the anti-fraud dept. for the payment processing because I’d bet money all those cards are stolen if the domain ends up owned in Romania.

    The worse thing that could be happening, which would be an absolutely stunning blow to CC anti-fraud, is the hackers that got the info via an infected machine on a botnet actually posted the transaction from the same machine so it would match the actual card holders IP address!

    Anything else is just sloppy anti-fraud measure pure and simple.