Beware – Domain Renewal Group scam domain name expiration notice

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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

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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?

Complaint to Woolworths Wish Gift Card

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The saga continues. Here is a copy of the complaint I made to WishGiftCard.com.au:

Hi there,
I would like to make a formal complaint about the Wish Gift Card.

After being urged to purchase a Wish Gift Card at Safeway Newcomb last year, and with a not-insubstantial amount left on the card, I have hence been told by Big W in Geelong that the card has expired.

Checking the card against your site, it expired on 26 June 2008.

Point 1: I was never told that this card expires

Point 2: The card has no expiry date printed on it

Point 3: What happens to the leftover money? I assume that Woolworths simply absorbs this. At the current CPI, the $100 I “purchased” in 2006 would now be worth around $106, not to mention the fact that there’s still over $20 left on the card. Nice going – that’s a 26% return!

Obviously I will not be purchasing a Wish Gift Card again, and will be telling all of my friends about my poor experience.

Regards,
Kathy