I was recently sent an official looking letter from the “Domain Registry of Canada” which, at first glance, seemed to be asking me to renew my .ca domain. “Yet another bill,” was my initial reaction.
Except, of course, that I wasn’t registered with the Domain Registry of Canada, and DRoC’s $40 per year fee is much higher than my current rate.
Given the official appearance and wording of the letter, it would be easy to mistake this notice as being from the domain’s current registrar. And after a quick online search, I found out that many people have complained about DRoC to the Better Business Bureau, and that this letter can be misleading.
Under further inspection, the letter reads: “This is a solicitation for the order of services and not a bill, invoice or statement of account due. You are under no obligation to make any payments on account of this offer unless you accept this offer.”
Many think the following line, while not untrue, seems particularly misleading : “Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity…”
DRoC is based in Markham, Ontario, Canada (about 20 miles northeast of Toronto), and has been operating for more than a decade. The company seems to basically find people through public WHOIS records and send them letters telling them to renew their domain or transfer their domain to DRoC. This goes on in different countries, and may be known as the Domain Registry of America, Domain Registry of Europe, Domain Registry of Australia, and other aliases.
And it’s a large operation. Court records have shown that DRoC was registrar to 101,823 .com domains, 15,308 .net domains, and 13,465 .org domains in 2010. And despite many legal battles, DRoC continues to operate.
Neither DRoC nor Canadian domain registry authority CIRA responded to my requests for comment.
In the mean time, domain registrars should know that people are getting letters that might lead (or, as some argue, mislead) them into changing registrars.