Chinese Domain Name Registration Scams

In the middle of December 2012 an individual in China calling himself simply “John” attempted to scare me into registering the .asia, .cn, .com.cn, .net.cn and .org.cn versions of my website’s address using a Chinese Domain Name Scam. The individual responsible is almost certainly one Pan Xiaohong of Shanghai, who failed to convince me to purchase a single thing from him.

Chinese Domain Name Scams

Too Long; Didn’t Read?

    1. It’s a scam
    2. Delete it
    3. There’s no need to register these domain names through your usual registrar
    4. If you ask your usual registrar they will probably use FUD (fear uncertainty and doubt) to encourage you to spend money with them as most registrars are not much better than these scammers

The Long Version…

Here’s an email I received before Christmas from info@ygnetworksit.com:

Dear Manager,

(If you are not the person who is in charge of this, please forward this to your CEO,Thanks)

This email is from China domain name registration center, which mainly deal with the domain name registration in China. We received an application from BaoYuan Ltd on December 17, 2012. They want to register ” squelchdesign ” as their internet keyword and China/Asia (CN/ASIA) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflicts with your company. In order to deal with this matter better, so we send you email and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China or not?

Best Regards

John
General Manager
Shanghai Office (Head Office)
3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road,
Xuhui District, Shanghai 200070, China
Tel: +86 216191 8696
Mobile: +86 1870199 4951
Fax: +86 216191 8697
Web: www.ygnetworkit.com

An odd email; Lots of broken English and things that don’t entirely make sense if you know anything about my company, but then it could be from a legitimate source that simply hasn’t taken the time to find out more about the company. I figured it had to be suspect, but gave them the benefit of the doubt to see where this was heading:

Hello John,

I’m not 100% sure I am understanding your question fully. BaoYuan are in no way associated with Squelch Design, today is the first time I heard the name.

Yes there would be a conflict if they go ahead and register squelchdesign.cn; Squelch Design does not actively operate in China, but is happy to accept custom from all over the world. I believe registering a company in China with the same name would cause brand confusion and erosion and, given that I went to great lengths to find a name that was not already in use, and having invested a great deal of time and money into Search Engine Optimisation, registering a similarly named website would be very poor etiquette. As far as I can tell BaoYuan are in the chemical/packing materials industry, so it strikes me as odd that they would want to register “squelchdesign” as a domain.

Many thanks,
Matt Lowe

Three days later I got a response. Not from John, but from Lin JianFa – supposedly an employee of BaoYuan – yet using the address jianfa.lin@yahoo.cn:

Dear Sirs,

Our company has submitted the “squelchdesign ” as CN/Asia domain name and Internet Keyword, we are waiting for Mr. John’s approval. We think this name is very important for our products in Chinese and Asian market. Even though Mr. John advises us to change another name, we will persist in this name.

Best regards

Lin JianFa

Immediately I smelt a rat, the style of the speech was absolutely identical to John’s, as was the formatting and with similar incorrect usage of punctuation. I’ve seen this before when I baited a Nigerian 419 scammer a few years back. The fact that this employee of the company was using a Yahoo address was just plain wrong. So far they’d set the scene: They’d heavily implied someone was going to take my company name and start using it, creating brand confusion, but they’d not yet presented a way to get money out of me. So, I carried on playing along:

Lin,

I believe that if you persist in using the name squelchdesign.cn you will only confuse my customers and yours, making it more difficult for my customers to find my website. May I ask what services/business your company would be doing with the name?

Many thanks,
Matt Lowe

That was the last I heard from Lin. John, however, did send me more emails:

Dear Matt ,

Based on your company having no relationship with them, we have suggested they should choose another name to avoid this conflict but they insist on this name as CN/Asia domain names (.asia and .cn and .com.cn and .net.cn and .org.cn) and internet keyword on the internet. In our opinion, maybe they do the similar business as your company and register it to promote his company.
According to the domain name registration principle: The domain names and internet keyword which applied based on the international principle are opened to companies as well as individuals. Any companies or individuals have rights to register any domain name and internet keyword which are unregistered. Because your company haven’t registered this name as CN/ASIA domains and internet keyword on the internet, anyone can obtain them by registration. However, in order to avoid this conflict, the trademark or original name owner has priority to make this registration in our audit period. If your company is the original owner of this name and want to register these CN/ASIA domain names (.asia and .cn and .com.cn and .net.cn and .org.cn) and internet keyword to prevent anybody from using them, please inform us. We can send an application form and the price list to you and help you register these within dispute period.

Kind regards

John
General Manager
Shanghai Office (Head Office)
3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road,
Xuhui District, Shanghai 200070, China
Tel: +86 216191 8696
Mobile: +86 1870199 4951
Fax: +86 216191 8697
Web: www.ygnetworkit.com

Note the good cop/bad cop thing that he has going on with Lin; He’s doing me a favour by telling me they want to encroach on my company’s name.

The guys over at TechRepublic received an incredibly similar email back in 2009. Over at HoaxSlayer other people have reported, pretty much word for word, the exact same emails I have shown here. Even Wikipedia has an article on this scam. But I carried on playing along, curious to see how much he wanted to fleece me for:

Hi John,

How long is the dispute period?

Many thanks,
Matt Lowe

 

Dear Matt ,

The checking time will be over soon, we have not received your reply about the domain name and internet keyword since our last communication. You must know domain name takes open registration, this is international domain name registration principle. So the company has right to register them. As a domain name registrar, we have no right to refuse their application. We aslo suggest this company should change another name but they stick to this name so if your company want to prevent anybody from using these domains, the only way is to register these CN/ASIA domains and internet keyword. In our checking time, your company has first priority to register them. Could you tell us whether your company want to make this application to prevent anybody from using them or not?

Best Regards

John

 

Hi John,

Thanks for the reply. How much would it cost?

Many thanks,
Matt Lowe

And now, the moment of truth:

Dear Matt:

Thanks for your reply. If you would like to protect by yourself and according to our checking progress,
we will send an application blank to you. After you fill in it, you need to send it back to us. When we
received you information we will overrule their application and register for you in one day. And the
registration fee for CN domain is 38.8 USD year, ASIA domain is 36.6 USD per year, internet keyword
is 148 USD per year. If you want to protect yourself, I am very glad to help you. Right now, the checking
is going to the end, please reply in two working days.

Have a nice day .

Best Regards

John

So back in his first email he suggested BaoYuan wanted to register squelchdesign.asia, squelchdesign.cn, squelchdesign.com.cn, squelchdesign.net.cn, squelchdesign.org.cn, and the internet keyword “squelchdesign”. That’s one .asia, four .cn domains, and one Internet keyword. That comes to a total of $339.80 USD or approximately £214.

The moral of the story is if you get an email from China (or anywhere else for that matter) warning you that someone is trying to muscle in on your business’s name, be very careful. Very very careful indeed. Here’s the registration details for the scammer’s company:

pan xiaohong
lichenfang@zjedu.org
tel: 13661529704
fax: 02162961557
shanghaixingqunandanlu
shanghai,shanghai,CN
200010

I’m 99% sure that “John” is a fictitious character and that Pan Xiaohong is in fact the perpetrator. So maybe if you get an email from this John character, maybe try replying with “Hi Pan”, and see what happens? ;) Take care of your businesses guys.


Update 28/08/2013

The comments section below is getting pretty long as more and more people find this blog and send in the emails they received. As such I’m going to try and summarise the information in the comments below.

You might get emails from any of the following companies: YIGUAN, YIGUDNS, YIGUTEK, YGITECH or the domain names www.ygnetworkit.com, www.yiguannetwork.com, www.yigudns.com, www.yigutek.com, www.ygitech.com, www.cnygregistry.net, www.ygregistryltd.net, www.ygasia.org, www.ygcompany.org, pxisp.net or des-registry.org.
They might use one of the following names: John, Jim, Terry Tang, Peter Cheng, James Zhang, Simon Cheng, Gary Zhang, Mika Cao, Lan Du, Lex Ren, Jim Ying, Bill Cheng, Mark Wong or Abby Wang.
They might claim that the company attempting to register the domain is: BaoYuan Ltd, Weisheng company, Weisheng Holdings Ltd, Taisheng Limited, PengCheng Trading Co. Ltd, Huasheng Ltd, Huafeng Ltd or Kenpoco Ltd. Note that some, perhaps even all, of these companies are legitimate Asian companies and the scammers are simply using their names to try and give credibility to their claims.
You might be contacted by someone claiming to be from one of the companies above, usually using a Yahoo or Hotmail email address rather than a legitimate business address: Lin JianFa, Warren Chiou, Darren Chiou or Jiang Zhifa.

If you received an email with slightly different wording or from a different company then please feel free to post it in the comments section below so I can update the blog and we can all stay one step ahead of the scam.

About Matt Lowe

Matt Lowe is a WordPress web designer / developer based in Newbury, Berkshire. After 8 years of doing the nine-to-five for other companies and watching them make the same mistakes over and over he set out in business on his own, forming Squelch Design to help businesses get online and make money.

1,181 comments on “Chinese Domain Name Registration Scams

  1. Good Day,

    Thanks for putting this up here, i nearly (very nearly) registered the domain names for my company, I had exactly the same emails as squelch design.

    Af the second email, i sent them a couple of links with exactly the same scam info and suggested they should f@@k off and not bother me again.

    • Thank you for saving me the trouble.
      after answering jim and receiving from Jiang zhifa – I just typed his name into google to see what business he has in China with my domain
      Your letter and everyone else’s were very helpful

    • here you go guys lmao… Dear Rick,

      Based on your company having no affiliation with them, we have suggested they should choose another name to avoid this conflict but they insist on this name as China domain names (.cn/.com.cn/.net.cn/.org.cn) and internet keyword. In our opinion, maybe they do the similar business as your company and register it to promote his company.

      According to the domain name registration principle: The domain name and internet keyword which applied based on the international principle are opened to companies as well as individuals. Any companies or individuals have rights to register any domain name and internet keyword which are unregistered. Because your company haven’t registered this name as China domains and internet keyword on the internet, anyone can obtain them by registration. However, in order to avoid this conflict, the trademark or original name owner has priority to register China domain name and internet keyword in our audit period. If your company is the original owner of this name and want to register these China domain names (.cn/.com.cn/.net.cn/.org.cn) and internet keyword to prevent anybody from using them, please inform us. We can send you an application form with price list and help your company register them.

      Kind regards
      Tony Zhang

      thanks.. needless to say i wont be replying

    • Nice try, “Jack”.

      From “Jack Wang” (jack.wang@yiguandns.cn)
      (Please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. Thanks)

      We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China. On July 14, 2014, we received an application from Huafi Holdings Ltd requested “joydewingcasting” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China?

      Kind regards

      Jack Wang
      General Manager
      Shanghai Office (Headquarters)
      B06, Yujing Building, No.1 Jihe Road,
      Shanghai 201107, China
      Tel: +86 21 6191 8696
      Mobile: +86 138 1642 8671
      Fax: +86 21 6191 8697
      Web: www . yiguandns . cn

    • I got almost the exact same letter:
      (Please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. Thanks)

      We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China. On Sep 29, 2014, we received an application from Huaya Holdings Ltd requested “jasonteale” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China?

      Kind regards

      Ken Liu
      General Manager
      Yi Guan (Headquarters)
      B06, Yujing Building, No.1 Jihe Road,
      Shanghai 201107, China
      Tel: +86 21 6191 8696
      Mobile: +86 138 1642 8671
      Fax: +86 21 6191 8697
      Web: www . yiguandns . com . cn

      I responded to his question and received a second more threatening letter:

      To whom it concerns,
      We will register the “jasonteale” as internet keyword and China domain names .cn, .com.cn, .net.cn, .org.cn. We have submitted our application and waiting for Mr. Ken Liu’s approval. We think these CN domains and internet keyword are very important for our business. Even though Mr. Ken Liu advises us to change another name, we will persist in this name.
      Best regards
      Gareth Xie

      Suffice to say that they are persisting but won’t get a response from here on in.

    • Wow!! Thanks so much! I have been receiving emails just like this from an Asian company: Tanlian Towan Company. I was hesitating to go to godaddy and buy them when I decided to search the company on google. What I found was your blog!! I will not buy those domains now. Who makes the money, anyway, if I had bought them on godaddy? I am curious about that. I see that a lot of them were 39.99 instead of 9.99. An inquiring mind would like to know! Thanks again!!

    • If you buy the domains through GoDaddy then GoDaddy makes the money. But the scammers want you to buy from THEM rather than going to GoDaddy.

    • Dear friends ,

      I almost felt for the same scam but thanks for your reviews and information i managed to Screw the guy Mom..:)

      I’m attaching the same email for reference , the only difference is that this time the F***er name is Jim.

      Dear Mustafa ,

      Based on your company having no relationship with them, we have suggested they should choose another name to avoid this conflict but they insist on this name as CN domain names (cn/ com.cn/ net.cn/ org.cn) and internet keyword on the internet. In our opinion, maybe they do the similar business as your company and register it to promote his company.
      According to the domain name registration principle: The domain names and internet keyword which applied based on the international principle are opened to companies as well as individuals. Any companies or individuals have rights to register any domain name and internet keyword which are unregistered. Because your company haven’t registered this name as CN domains and internet keyword on the internet, anyone can obtain them by registration. However, in order to avoid this conflict, the trademark or original name owner has priority to make this registration in our audit period. If your company is the original owner of this name and want to register these CN domain names (cn/ com.cn/ net.cn/ org.cn) and internet keyword to prevent anybody from using them, please inform us. We can send an application form and the price list to you and help you register these within dispute period.

      Kind regards

      Jim
      General Manager
      Shanghai Office (Head Office)
      3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road,
      Xuhui District, Shanghai 200070, China
      Tel: +86 216191 8696
      Mobile: +86 1870199 4951
      Fax: +86 216191 8697
      Web: www . ygregistry . com

    • I just received the same email….from “Randy” the General Manager.

      From: Randy Liu
      Date: June 24, 2014 at 2:42:09 AM CDT
      To:
      Subject: yourintegratedsolution domain and keyword in CN
      (Please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. Thanks)

      We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China. On June 23, 2014, we received an application from Huamax Holdings Ltd requested “yourintegratedsolution” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China?

      Kind regards

      Randy Liu
      General Manager
      Shanghai Office (Headquarters)
      3002, Nanhai Building, No. 854 Nandan Road,
      Xuhui District, Shanghai, China
      Tel: +86 21 6191 8696
      Mobile: +86 138 1642 8671
      Fax: +86 21 6191 8697
      Web: www . yiguannetwork . com

    • Look what we got this morning:

      Dear Gemma :

      Hello! We haven’t received your form, The checking time is over. We will do as principle to reister the domain name
      and Internet Keyword for the other company. We will ask the International company to wire the fee.
      Two days later, our system will transfer them to their website, and the they will the owner of these domain names and
      Internet Keyword and been protected by the law in the world. In need to remind you, in the future, you cann’t register
      the domain names and Internet Keyword again. Hope this registration will not take any effective of your company .

      Thank you .

      Best Regards

      Jim

      2014-08-11
      jim.zhang
      jim.zhang@ygregistryltd.cn

    • lol @ “the law in the world.” Oh no! Not the law in the world!!!! My company is doomed! DOOMED!!!

  2. Hey! I received same emails & was considering registration! But i found your website & few others about that John! Thnx Matt for the info!

    • No problem, watch out for the school books scams too. I was nearly caught out by one of those in 2011 and have been meaning to do a blog about that for a while now!

  3. I’ve got a dialogue going on now with one of these. They’re more sophisticated, e-mailing from the alleged domain registrar as well as the company. Funny though the ‘registrar’ passed details to the ‘company’ and the ‘company’ use a yahoo e-mail account. Added to that my Chinese friend was telling me on the weekend how my company name would not work in China. I’ve e-mailed back and asked for this guys chinese mobile number so my friend can call him to ‘offer some advice on choosing a better name’
    Glad this page is here to confirm my suspicions. Thanks

  4. Thank you very much for this information. I received the same emails and after initial panic, I started to “smell” some foul play. I am so glad I found this article. However, in my initial panic I contacted GoDaddy to ask and they convinced me to register additional extension such as .org, .info, .net, .co, .us. I hope that was not bad business practice since I have so far been very happy with the GoDaddy folks. It cost me about $900 for 5 years.

    • To be honest I’d say GoDaddy saw an opportunity and were only too happy to milk it. $900 sounds like a lot of money, how many domains did you register? If it was just the five you listed then GoDaddy took you for a ride. Let’s not forget that GoDaddy haven’t exactly got a squeaky clean past, the Wikipedia article I linked to on Domain Name Scams has the following on GoDaddy:

      In September 2009, “Law firm puts GoDaddy on Notice” for registration abuses. Law firm alleges GoDaddy and WebDesigners collaborate to register domain names under WebDesigners company name, resulting in actual domain name owner having no control over their domain name and then being forced to pay thousands of dollars in arbitration costs in order to get their domain name back

      In February 2011, Name Pros reported GoDaddy double billing clients through their website and then refusing to offer refunds until complaints made to the Better Business Bureau.

      Not to mention my own experience with GoDaddy when new clients have come to me wanting to move away from GoDaddy onto a better service.

  5. hello,
    i received the same email yestarday and today. i googled their two names and found out your web site. great thanx to you. i could lose my time with them

    • I’m getting a lot of comments on this article at the moment, I’m thinking they must be redoubling their efforts over in China!

  6. Hi Matt,
    yes, it was these 5 domain names. I have to say that the guy was a little bit pushy to have me authorize the credit card. I may just call them up again.
    Thanks for all your advice.

  7. we just got this email today at my workplace (Germany). Looks very similar, but from a different person- Any ideas?

    ******
    (Please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. Thanks)
    We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China. On June 5, 2013, we received an application from Weisheng company requested “agasan” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China?

    Kind regards
    Terry Tang

    ******************************
    Terry Tang
    General Manager
    YIGUAN
    Tel: +86-21-6191-8696
    Mobile: +86-182-2195-1605
    Fax: +86-21-6191-8697
    Web: www yiguannetwork com

  8. These scammers are on my door step this week (June 06 2013) with nearly the exact same approach.

    Thanks for posting the info, i came a looking because i smelt a rat immediately, but it’s gotta be getting a few unknowing people caught out.

    Cheers

    Jace

  9. Thanks guys Jim & Lin were in contact with me too! Do I genuinely now go and register these with the proper authorities?

    • You can do, although I’d not bother even doing that. I didn’t bother and nothing happened, and that seems to be everyone else’s experience.

  10. I got this email a couple of days ago. I emailed back to say that I have passed the info onto my lawyers, then I got another email, I am not returning anymore emails.

    First email:

    (Please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. Thanks)

    We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China. On June 19, 2013, we received an application from Weisheng company requested “fitfasttrainers” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China?

    Kind regards
    Peter Cheng

    ***************************
    Peter Cheng
    General Manager
    YIGUDNS
    B06, Yujing Building, No.1 Jihe Road,
    Shanghai 201107, China
    Tel: +86-21-6191-8696
    Mobile: +86-182-2195-1605
    Fax: +86-21-6191-8697
    Web: www . yigudns . com

    Second Email:

    Dear Sirs,
    We are Weisheng company based in China. We will register the “fitfasttrainers” as internet keyword and China domain names .cn, .com.cn, .net.cn, .org.cn. We have submitted our application and are waiting for Mr. Peter Cheng’s approval. We think these CN domains and internet keyword are very important for our business. Even though Mr. Peter Cheng advises us to change another name, we will persist in this name.
    Best regards
    Warren Chiou

  11. I just received one of these too.

    I consider myself pretty anti-spam-saavy and normally don’t even bother to look at these. However, my spam filter missed it, and I admit I was a little intrigued (and a wee bit spooked) by this claim of someone outside of the US wanting MY domain name (and name as a keyword-?) that’s been registered, to me, for years. –I was also a little curious given the better-than-average use of English in the email.

    So, I googled some “key words,” and stumbled across this wonderful piece. Thank you SO much for posting the deets and the helpful links. And I absolutely love the way you played around with them. ::snicker::

    Great post, and thanks for taking the time to write it.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your experience as I received this same email yesterday and you have saved me time and $ in researching this scam.

  13. Thank you for this article received the same email 2 days ago. After googling the address I found your article, so relived to see this.
    Here is the email.

    (Please forward this to your CEO, because this is urgent. Thanks)
    We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Shanghai, China. On July 4, 2013, we received an application from Weisheng Holdings Ltd requested “hillsea” as their internet keyword and China (CN) domain names. But after checking it, we find this name conflict with your company name or trademark. In order to deal with this matter better, it’s necessary to send email to you and confirm whether this company is your distributor or business partner in China?

    Kind regards
    James Zhang

    ***************************
    James Zhang
    General Manager
    YIGUTEK
    B06, Yujing Building, No.1 Jihe Road,
    Shanghai 201107, China
    Tel: +86-21-6191-8696
    Mobile: +86-182-2195-1605
    Fax: +86-21-6191-8697
    Web: www . yigutek . com

  14. Dear Matt,

    thank you so much for your blog. Received the same e-mails.

    So now I have got the important information and this helps a lot.

    Thank you again and have a great day.

    Andrea

  15. Thanks Matt,

    They are still at it, I had the “Network Service Company” e mail twice today 11th July, from “Bill Cheng”.

    As with your other contributors I found your information through Google.

    Another one to ignore.

    Rod

  16. Just got the same load of hooey.
    Sounds like someone needs a karate chop up side the head!
    Thanks for squelching the scam.

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