Beware – Domain Renewal Group scam domain name expiration notice

Posted on February 28th, 2011

There was an interesting find in my letterbox today – a scam ‘Domain Name Expiration Notice’ from a company called Domain Renewal Group, seeking to have me renew one of my domains (wordpresschix.org) to them – for the bargain price of four times what it cost me originally!

This letter looks so authentic that less-savvy people could easily be fooled – in fact, unless you were really skilled in domains and registration, it would be difficult to pick it up as a scam;

Image of the scam domain name expiration notice

Because the domain is not in the .au namespace, auDA does not have any authority over the registrar. I emailed Public Interest Registry, the registrar for the .org TLD to let them know, and also let auDA know in case they wish to raise a consumer alert.

I also emailed Domain Renewal Group themselves, and threatened to report them to the ACCC (the enclosed self-addressed envelope – not reply paid! – has the address 189 Queen Street, Suite 209 Melbourne 3000 on it – so they obviously have an Australian base of operations) if they did not cease their operation;

To whom it may concern,

I recently received a letter addressed to me concerning the domain
WordPressChix.org

This letter constituted an unsolicited domain name expiration notice, and
is considered a scam. Because the namespace '.org' is not maintained by
auDA, the Australian domain authority, I have raised my concerns with the
Public Interest Registry (PIR), the official registrar for the .org TLD,
in writing.

I would like DROA to undertake the following:

1. A written apology via return email for your actions to me personally
2. A written undertaking via return email that you will cease these
operations in Australia no later than 14th March 2011

Failure to respond to this email with 14 (fourteen) days with the above
will result in a formal complaint being raised with the Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission (www.accc.gov.au).

Please note I will also be using social media channels to inform other
Australian webmasters of your unethical tactics.

You may also wish to know that you're garnering a very unfavourable
reputation within Australia;
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1040704

Regards,
Kathy Reid

Member, Linux Users of Victoria
Member, Linux Users of Australia
Board member, PHPWomen
@KathyReid on Twitter

We’ll see what happens!
(to be continued…)

Observation: wording tricks on Baskin Robbins price display

Posted on August 8th, 2010

A friend and I went out for ice cream at Baskin Robbins last night before catching a movie. While there, an interesting observation was made. Usually on a price display board, portions or servings are listed in ascending order of size;

  • Small portion $x
  • Regular portion $y
  • Large portion $z

At Baskin Robbins however they use two marketing tricks I hadn’t noticed before. Firstly, regular serves are not called ‘regular’. They’re called ‘popular’. Keep in mind that for many products on offer, Baskin Robbins offers only ‘popular’ and ‘small’ serves. One therefore assumes that this trick is intended to convey a sense of unpopularity or undesirability around ordering the ‘small’ serve. If you buy it, you’re not socially acceptable. Sneaky.

The second trick plays on the ability of our brain to ‘fill in’ anticipated information. Based on the example of ‘small, regular, large’ above, if the options were presented in this order, what do you think the missing piece would be?

  • Regular serve $x
  • Large serve $y
  • [unknown serve] $z

Most people ‘fill in’ the unknown element based on pattern recognition – and will state that the unknown serve is ‘extra large’ or ‘jumbo’ – something to that effect. However, Baskin Robbins uses this against us. Where do you think the ‘small’ serve is positioned? :-) That’s right – at the bottom of the list!

  • Popular serve $x
  • Large serve $y
  • Small serve $z

In reality your brain will generally ignore the ‘Small’ option – and make you choose between ‘Popular’ and ‘Large.

Perhaps a psychology major can explain why?

Weight bias in employment – and society in general

Posted on July 24th, 2010

While doing research for my MBA (Computing), I stumbled across the below article on weight bias in employment, and found it fascinating. In summary, the research showed that obese people, in particularly fat women, experience significant discrimination in workplace settings, and from society in general. Obese women are less likely to earn higher salaries, and their partners, if they are able to attract one, are less likely to be highly paid.  However, rather than poverty contributing to obesity – through factors such as access to nutritious foods, education on healthy eating practices, and access to safe exercise programs – the paper puts forward the notion that obesity causes poverty – if you are fat, you are less likely to be earning a high salary.

http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~rothblum/doc_pdf/weight/WeightBiasinEmployment.pdf

My employment experiences have generally been very positive ones; I’ve chosen workplace cultures that value intellect over attractiveness and reward excellence in output rather than in application of makeup. While dressing smartly, I rarely wear makeup and don’t even own a pair of high heeled shoes. They don’t make them in a size 11D :-)

Lately though the educational institution where I work is becoming ‘corporatised’ – with suits becoming more de rigeur. Slowly, our values are changing – with more weight (pun intended) being placed on image and presentation. So, although losing weight is a great health goal, should career advancement also be a motivator? Or am I just selling out to a culture that conflates being fat with being stupid and lazy? Clearly I’m neither – holding two degrees, well on my way to a third – and holding a significant workload both on the job and through extra-curricular activities.

What’s the best strategy for someone like me – that is, highly intelligent, well educated, but obese – and likely to remain so – even with significant weight loss – for the foreseeable future? As I see it, my options are;

  1. Accept the status quo but continue to invest in my career
  2. Accept the status quo but not invest in my career – as I may not get a return on that investment
  3. Lose weight (motivated for health reasons and personal drive)
  4. Lose weight (to look good, meet societal expectations and advance my career)

It’s a fascinating area. One of the concepts that’s been playing on my mind recently is around societal contribution. As an educated, gainfully employed member of society I contribute taxes, donate to charities and am generally a “good” citizen.

However as an obese citizen I’m denied many opportunities afforded others; social inclusion is more difficult, there are barriers to attracting a partner and starting a family, I’m taken less seriously in some professional situations and getting competent medical care is harder (viz the case when I presented with pneumonia and the first question from the GP was ‘how much do you weigh?’).

So why should I contribute as much to society when society doesn’t value me as much as the “hot chick”?

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