UPDATE: I received a cease-or-desist from DRoA in March 2006 about this post.
UPDATE2: I received a cease-and-desist from a Belgian law office in November 2010 about this and other DROA posts.
Just received a letter in the post from ‘Domain Registry of America’ (DRoA), urging me to pay them for renewing my domain name. The paper, with a London address on the back, looks like a bill and tries to scare the reader with “Your registration will expire on May 10, 2005. Act today!”
The issue is: it’s a scam. There is no need for me to renew now, and certainly not with DRoA. I know exactly who manages my domains and I am quite happy with them. But I can imagine this trick works quite well with people who have no clue how DNS works, or in accounting departments of companies. These guys have been fooling people since at least 2002, as the Domain Registry of America, of Canada, of Europe and of Australia.
Who’s behind it?
- The letter I received has a UK address: (…) SW7 4UB London. This happens to be the same address as Mail Boxes Etc, so it’s probably just a mail box.
- The letter was shipped from “Jamaica, NY”, which seems to be the USPS post office in John F Kennedy Airport. The address on the DRoA site says “(…) – Buffalo, New York”, which apparently is again a “Mail Boxes Etc” location.
- A legal document of the Federal Trade Commission (Dec 2003) places the company in Ontario, Canada. I found a “(…), Markham, Ontario” address on their Canadian site. Again an PO Box, no ‘real’ address.
- A search in Canada’s WHOIS comes up with: droc.ca was registered in Aug 2001 by a Mr Pearl Bitton. A search in Canada’s 411 phone directory gives us one Mr. P. Bitton in Thornhill, Ontario – about 15km away from Markham. I can’t be sure it’s him, of course.
- The FTC final judgment of Dec 2003 mentions a Daniel Klemann, President of DRoA. Mr Klemann must be seing a lot of court rooms, because he was already convicted in Canada in June 2002. So this man has been told twice by a judge that he should stop his practices, but still continues.
- His partner in crime, James Tetaka, equally popular in courtrooms, was convicted for similar facts in May of 2004 and described as a Toronto-area man.
- The company under which they operated is “1473253 Ontario Inc”, which is run by Peter Kuryliw, also from Toronto.
- So they first ran a scam as Yellowbusiness.ca, then as Internet Registry of Canada (IRC), and now they are basically active all over the world.