The term “domain slamming” is derived from telephone slamming,
where a subscriber’s telephone service is changed without their consent –
a practice particularly prevalent in the USA and Britain.
slamming has been rife for years, but people still unfortunately fall
victim to the ploy. While it can be an uncommon practice with country
code Top Level Domains (ccTLD’s) due to regulations in some nations,
generic TLD’s such as those ending in com, net and org are heavily
targeted; particularly com.
Domain slamming usually consists of a
registrar different to the one currently managing a particular domain
name on behalf of a registrant sending out a letter to the registrant
that looks like a registration renewal.
The communication is in
fact a transfer form that will allow that registrar to transfer the
management of that name to their own service. Other services may be
tacked onto the “renewal” that further increases the cost.
term “transfer” may even be on the form in smaller print and noticed by
those with a sharp eye or who are aware of the practice, but in some
cases this may not even be stated or stated in such a way the average
person has little chance of realising what will occur.
that the domain name is being “stolen” as such as the registrant still
has access to it, but it’s still in effect an unauthorised transfer –
much like finding that one month you are subscribed to one company for
telephone services and the next month, another – without ever having
consciously made a decision to change carriers.
troubling factor is given the acquiring registrar’s tactics; their
service quality may reflect their approach to client “acquisition”.
Additionally, during the unauthorised transfer, vital settings may be
changed that can render a registrant’s web site and email
One of the safeguards implemented to improve
security and help reduce the domain slamming problem was the “Registrar
Lock”. Domain names with the lock enabled cannot be transferred until
the registrant accesses their account and clears the lock.
of com names who live outside of the USA and Canada are by no means
immune from receiving domain slamming letters from overseas services. It
seems the strategy is successful enough that it makes it worth the
offending registrar’s while to pay for the overseas postage.
play things safe, registrants receiving such letters should always go
directly to their own registrar’s web site in order to check whether
their domain name does need renewing or to contact their registrar to
determine the authenticity of the letter.
Michael Bloch is an online business consultant with years of experience
in the web hosting and domain names sector. Michael is currently
consulting for Australia-based Domain Registration Services – start your
domain name search