A new domain, XXX, and what it could mean to you.

Sep 29

Thanks for the fabulous folks at SouthwestCyberPort (my ISP) for alerting us to this new domain name:

To: SWCP Customers
From: SWCP Tech Support
Subject: [SWCP] Some important information about Domain Names

Greetings. We have a few domain name issues to tell you about. It’s a little
long, so here is an Executive Summary:

1. .xxx domains are launching. If you have a trademark you can block people
from registering your name as a .xxx domain. But only until Oct 7, 2011.

2. Beware fake “renewal invoices” trying to get you to transfer your domain
to another registrar, especially “DROA”.

3. If you have domains registered with other registrars, transfer them to SWCP
to get free renewal tracking and WHOIS privacy.

The longer version:

First, the new “.xxx” domain registry is being launched this fall. It’s
unique among domain registries, and we’ve received several questions about it.
The biggest difference from other domains is that a trademark holder may
purchase a “blocking” registration. That prevents anyone from registering
their trademark in the .xxx domain (without having to register the domain
yourself and pay yearly for a domain you don’t want to use).

The window for blocking registrations closes on October 7, 2011. If you have
a trademark and want to block it, we can help you do it. The cost is $240
one-time and is a “permanent” block. We have more details in a blog posting
on our web site:

Second is, “beware domain scammers”. We see several different flavors of
unethical behavior around domain registrations. The most common involve
trying to get you to register domains you don’t want, or trying to get you to
transfer your domain to a different registrar, under the guise of an annual
renewal. To call out one company by name, “Domain Registry of America” sends
people transfer requests which are made up to look like a domain renewal
notice. They prey on people who are too busy to check the details. They
respond to the “invoice”, which triggers a transfer of the domain to DROA.
DROA does actually provide domain registration service, so it’s not a complete
scam. But they charge an inflated price and acquire their customers under
false pretenses, which adds up to a scam in our book.

Another common scam email we see is a notice that someone else is trying to
register a domain with your company name in another country. The other
country is almost always China. For example if you own company.com, they tell
you someone is registering company.com.cn and implore you to register it
before they get it first. We have also seen the same scam regarding the “.us”

And finally, a note about domain renewals with non-SWCP registrars. SWCP
partners with OpenSRS/Tucows for domain registrations. We have been using
OpenSRS for over 10 years. Our combined system includes robust renewal
tracking. When one of our customer domains comes up for renewal, we email
them about 6 weeks in advance to notify them, with weekly reminders. If we
don’t get any response, we will contact them by phone. We do everything in
our power to make sure they know their domain is in danger of lapsing.

Most other registrars rely only on email notifications. About once a month,
we encounter a customer whose domain has expired by mistake. Usually they
can recover the domain the same day, but in some cases it takes longer. If
the domain owner doesn’t notice for a long period of time, the domain can even
be lost altogether (there are “domain squatters” who troll the daily lists of
expiring domains to snap up domains they think might be valuable either as
domains, or to hold for ransom).

If you would like to transfer your domain from another registrar to SWCP, just
let us know (email help@swcp.com). The transfer costs $20, and extends the
current registration period by one year. If you aren’t sure where your
domain is registered, you can check at our domain tracking web page here:

Log in with your SWCP username and password. We list all of the domains we
provide any services for. If the Expiration Date of a domain is listed as
“UNKNOWN”, that means the domain is registered with another registrar. If the
Expiration Date is shown, that means the domain is already with SWCP/OpenSRS
and is in our renewal tracking system.

Or feel free to ask us by email and we will check the status of your domains
an report back. We can also tell you who the current registrar is for each

Oh, one more benefit to using SWCP/OpenSRS as your registrar: Free WHOIS
Privacy. If you would like us to enable “WHOIS Privacy” on your domain, just
let us know. This removes your personal information from the public WHOIS
records, which can reduce the amount of spam you receive.

If you have any questions about any of this, please contact us by phone or

Mark Costlow

So why the concern? Imagine you are running for office, or running a business and someone bought yourname.xxx (fill in your name) and was able to post anything they wanted on it. Coming that with Photoshop and viola, you’ve got a bad combo for having your brand “hijacked”.

Email dont’s

Sep 26

The email below was recently shared with me, and I thought it was a perfect example of the need for people to obtain a “license” to email before they just broadcast to the world. The exchanged occured between a proffesional consultant who sent out an email to a group of stakeholders and one of those stakeholders who was surprsied that their email had been made “public” by putting it in a carbon copy field as opposed to the blind carbon copy. The following is a verbatim (except for correction of typo’s) response to the original email:

“You are one of my best…and few chances… to witness spontaneous human combustion since you are such a flaming dither-wit. Will you publicly give me a physical address so I can observe this phenomenon? Oh, you just did that. I can find it.

Do you have any inkling of what you have done?

I have asked that my name be removed from this open broadcast list/list serve OR that this info be sent blind carbon copy (bcc). I cited past undesirable experience as the basis for my request.

You assured me first…that you would remove my name from this list, and then continued that you did not know if you could remember to copy me separately. I am still on this open list. You did NOT remove me as I requested.

Then you sent an email saying you had learned how to do a bcc. No worries…problem fixed,

Apparently neither statement is true.

I consider your inability to competently facilitate secure communication to be inexcusable. Are we clear on this? Your blatant disregard for my privacy and electronic security, as well as that of every person on this email broadcast list, is exceeded only by your inattention to both detail and your ineptness with very basic communication technologies.

You do have firewalls…correct?….and your AOL account has state of the art virus/malware detectors and everyone on this list is protected. Correct?

Until you learn how to use this technology safely REMOVE ME FROM THIS LIST.

Are we clear on this?”

If you are new to internet and email, this link will provide some background information on email etiquette and this link is an interesting white paper on how email flames get started.

Lacking that, I would stick with a quote I once heard “if you see someone coming at you with an email address that ends in .aol, RUN!

Finally, my own personal opinion is that you tell so much about yourself by using an AOL email address, very little of which is positive. The only way you could expand on that faux pas would be to use an AOL email for business. (If you have no clue what am I am talking about, consider registering your own domain name and using that address for your email.)

Which of the telecomm companies is the dumbest?

May 14

Just when I think no telecommunications company can oust Qworst from the most difficult in custome service, along comes along Sprint.

Sprint who required that I sign up for paperless billing when I ordered my Overdrive internet device. The same Sprint that won’t give me my login info to update my profile, so I can login, unless I can verify my info from a bill, that is tied up behind their webserver, which I need a login to see…and of course, when I call them they want the same info.

Back to writing letters to solve this ridiculous technology/customer service issue.

You want to do what to my main computer?

May 14

Windows 7 would like an update…why doesn’t it speak the truth “my updates are more important than the work you are trying to get done AND there is a 15% chance, that I won’t reboot after I install these files”