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We have received several queries from our clients regarding a scam which is doing the rounds again. This one is relating to internet keywords, and the company that is sending you the email is trying to protect your internet branding/trademark by contacting you first to see if you want the china/asia based domains. The email goes something like this:

Dear Manager:

We are a Domain Name registration service company, which is a professional Internet Domain Name Registration and dispute resolution organization in China.On May,28th,2010, We received NENJIE Investment company's application that they are registering the name "yourcompanyname" as their Internet Trademark and "","" , ""domain names etc., It is China and ASIA domain names. But after auditing we found the brand name been used by your company. As the domain name registrar in China, it is our duty to notice you, so I am sending you this Email to check.According to the principle in China,your company is the owner of the trademark,In our auditing time we can keep the domain names safe for you firstly, but our audit period is limited, if you object the third party application these domain names and need to protect the brand in china and Asia by yourself, please let the responsible officer contact us as soon as possible. Thank you!

Looking forward to your reply.

Kind regards

Oversea marketing manager
Tel:+86(0)21 6296 2950
Fax:+86(0)21 6296 1557

Our research...
In China they have a system that works like the old RealNames system. You can buy keywords and users can access your site without entering a URL in the address bar. There's more info on the CNNIC site

An Internet trademark, is not a trademark at all - certainly not under US or UK law. It is the right, in China, to have your branding come up automatically in an address bar if someone types in your “Internet trademark”. These Asian scammers also refer to them as Internet keywords and internet brands.

For example, if you bought the Internet trademark “alinash” and someone typed alinash into the Explorer address bar in China, (not the search box), your site should automatically pop up, even without the http:// or www.

The trouble with this is, you are probably not aiming at a Chinese speaking marketplace and most importantly, if you type in Alinash into any Explorer browser in the World, wherever you are (possibly with the exception of China - never been there, never tried it), your site will automatically pop up anyway, as Explorer has already decided that you are the most established website that the keyterm, alinash would fit!

These types of emails are a scam because they are trying to sell you something which you would not have bought had you not received the email. The "scare tactics" are fraudulent, as more often than not the company "registering your trademark" are fictitious. Our advice is to avoid doing business with anyone who contacts you via this method. If you are interested in the domains they are trying to get you to buy, then ask us about them and we will help you obtain them if you are eligible to.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

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