Christian Huitema's blog

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Of domain names, spam, whois and business artists

31 Mar 2020

I had an interesting spam letter in my mail yesterday. It started like many other spam propositions:

Dear Manager,

We are an agency engaging in registering brand name and domain names. Today, Our center received an application from Dianshi International Ltd and they apply to register huitema as their brand name and some top-level domain names. We found the main body of domain names is same as your company name. I am not sure about the relationship between you and them. Please tell me whether or not your company authorizes them to register names.

We are dealing with the application and we need to confirm whether you have authorized them? If you don't authorize them, please reply me an e-mail. Looking forward to your reply.

Best regards,

Brion Han  |  Service & Operations Manager

Intriguing of course. I must be really famous if some obscure company in Hong Kong wants to use my name as a brand! Since this is a generic letter, I sent back a generic answer:

Hello Brion Han,

I do not have any relation with the company that you mention. I have not authorized them in any way in using my family name as their brand name.

-- Christian Huitema

And of course, as any good spam campaign, there was an immediate follow-up:

Dear Christian

Thanks for your confirmation. As soon as receiving the application of that company, we checked and found huitema is your company's using name. We are concerned that your name might be affected negatively by their applications, this is why we informed you. Following Brand name and domain names are applied by that company:
Brand name:
Domain names:
You know that the domain names registration is open in the world, that company also has the right to apply for the available domain names. You only have the preferential rights to register them.

At present, we haven't passed their application, we need your opinion. If your company consider these names of importance to your company's business or interest, i suggest that your company register these names first so as to avoid confusion or speculation. Of course, each company has their own idea. If you don't think their application will affect your company in the future, then my suggestion is your company give up these names so that we can finish registering for them as per our duty. Please give me your company's decision as soon as possible in order to handle this issue better.

Best Regards

Brion Han  |  Service & Operations Manager

The signature at the bottom is:

yundianreg. a registry in Hefei China

Ha Ha Ha! So this is the racket. A registrar has decided to drum up business with a spam campaign and a silly scare tactic. Someone else wants to register your name in China, and in various places in India! Hurry up! Quickly use my services to register a dozen names that you don’t need!

Of course, at that point I just stopped the exchange with “Brion Han”, whoever he or she is. Probably someone who harvested domain names and the email address of their owner from Whois, and then mounted this nice little spam campaign, and its “artistic” pitch. Which confirm the high impression I have of publishing names in Whois in particular, and of the state of the domain name industry in general.