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Know The Truth About “Domain Name Search Engine Registration”

Sleazy Domain Registration Service Email

Sleazy Domain Registration Service Email

There is a special circle of hell reserved for people who send emails like the one reproduced at right. These are the scary-looking “NOTICES” that take advantage of a business person’s unfamiliarity with the technical terms of the Internet.  The messages try to get an unsuspecting website owner to buy a horribly overpriced, maybe worthless, service.

This particular email was sent to me on January 17th asking me to reply by January 18th.  The sender is creating a false sense of urgency to get me to act before I figured out what I was doing.

The formatted electronic letter says it’s a “Domain Service Notice”.   It looks like the senders are trying to trick you into thinking that you need to renew your site’s domain name registration.  Domain name registration is a real service. Domain name registration is what records you as the owner of your and tells everyone on the Internet where to go to see the site.  Domain name registration for .com domains currently costs under $20/year from reputable registrars.

This message is not selling domain name registration.  They are offering “Domain name search engine registration.”  I don’t know what that is.

I suspect that it is a made up product with no commerical value for your website.

You don’t have to register your domain with places like Google or Bing.  Those search engines find and read all of the pages of your site and put you in search results for free.  You can submit your site to Google, but that really isn’t necessary.  Google will find your site through in-coming links from other sites it knows about.  (You have to make sure that your site gets pointed to, but that isn’t difficult.  Writing a public post on Facebook or in a blog like this is enough!)

At most, you might submit a new website to the major search engines to try to kick-start its visibility.  Most experts don’t think you need to do this, but the search engines generally let you tell them about your site.  For free.

In any case, I cannot think of a reason why you would need to submit your site more than one time, when it is new.  Google and the other search engines regularly revisit the sites they’ve found to process and reindex the new content that’s published.

This come-on letter offers you a one-year “registration” for $75.  The senders say their “best value” is a lifetime service for $499.  I have no idea what you get for multiple years of the service.

Unfortunately some people will fall for this urgent-sounding pitch. Its wording is carefully legal: it says straight out that it’s not an invoice and you are under no obligation to pay. But, the message is skillfully formatted and it looks so official!

Luckily this sleazy message came directly to me because I am listed on the real, official domain registration for a client.  My client didn’t have to panic, and he didn’t waste his money. I know what to do with offers like this: trash them!

If you have any questions about you get in your email or USPS box, talk to me or your webmaster.  Don’t pay for a service you don’t understand!

By |2012-01-31T11:25:20+00:00January 31st, 2012|Domain Names|55 Comments

About the Author:

San Francisco Internet Marketer and web designer gets you on the Internet in a cost-effective, responsible way.


  1. Christy September 6, 2012 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Thanks! I just received this email today, and though I didn’t really think “Domain Name Search Engine Registration” was a real thing, I figured I’d do a little research before deleting a potentially important email. Thanks for clearing this up! (I also received the same email 5 times in a row – usually means spam).

  2. Deb September 19, 2013 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this article! I just got one of these emails today and spent some time looking up when my domain name registration expired. I had already renewed it a few months ago and it renews automatically. Reading the email more closely I realized it’s not to renew a domain name, but register a domain name search engine. Put those words into google and got this article. Thank you!! It verifies to me that yes, it indeed is a scam and that there is probably no such thing as a d.n.s.e.r.

  3. Randy June 23, 2014 at 5:19 am - Reply

    Thank you!!! We just got one of these while in the midst of doing some other domain name transfers and thought for a min that this was part of it. Phew!

  4. Ona October 13, 2014 at 5:20 am - Reply

    I also just got mine today after registering my domain before the weekend 4 days ago. My question will be: how do these guys know wehn you register a domain name and almost immediately atleast within a week, they send you a mail to make your domain shearchable?
    Thanks for the post ozdachs

    • Ozdachs November 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm - Reply

      Sorry for the delay… I wasn’t notified of the comment (something for me to check out).

      Looking around I see that there are daily lists of new domains available. I assume that folks have programs that get those lists, find out who registered them, and send spam to each new site owner offering one service or another.

      You don’t need to pay anyone to submit your site to search engines, if that’s what they’re offering. Google and the others prefer to find you through links from other sites, and the search sites can do their own recognizance and visit newly registered domains on their own.

    • naaim April 4, 2017 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      Data mining?

      • Ozdachs April 5, 2017 at 8:12 am - Reply

        I don’t think so. I think they are simply tricking people by fear and then overcharging for a relatively straight-forward service. I don’t know how much data they’d get that they don’t already have from the public domain registration record.

        But, if they could find a way to be sleazier through data mining, they probably would!

  5. Abe French October 29, 2014 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Let me get this right. Google will find just because I put it in this post? My friend owns the business and I have been trying to help him however I can.

    So, Thank you for your advice and assistance. If I misunderstand, please let me know what I’m not getting. Thanks!

    • Ozdachs November 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      LOL. Yes Google will see the link from here to your friend’s site. BUT, because of the way this blog is set up, links in comments are typically marked as “NOFOLLOW”. That tag tells the search engine to NOT to visit the mentioned site it seem and to NOT give the destination site any link juice.

      WordPress (the engine that runs this blog) and most other systems make comment links NOFOLLOW to discourage spammers from trying to make off-topic comments and put in links where they don’t belong.

      So, sorry, your comment won’t help your friend’s site rise in Google

  6. Joshua Orizu March 1, 2015 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    Good Morning,

    Thanks so much for your inofrmation I got a similar mail although in my spam mail. but I know this is quite outrageous and irresposible. that made me to go online in search of similar information on this. thanks for your eye opening mail on this. below is a copy of the mail i got similar to yours.

    Attention: Important Notice , DOMAIN SERVICE NOTICE
    Domain Name:

    ATT: Joshua Orizu
    REGISTRANT CONTACT: +91.9913797979

    Response Requested By
    01 – March – 2015


    Attn: Joshua Orizu
    As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration. This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your registration.

    Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.

    Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine registration includes domain name search engine submission. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.

    This Notice for: will expire at 11:59PM EST 01 – March – 2015 Act now!

    Select Term and Package Here

    Payment by Credit/Debit Card
    Select the term using the link above by 01 – March – 2015


  7. Sri Varshan R Y March 12, 2015 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    Thanks for putting this up, i received the a similar email for a newly registered free domain provided by my hosting provider and it was moved to my spam folder. I instantly knew that this isn’t for me so trashed it right away but the interesting question that pops up is how the heck did they find my email since it is nowhere in the domain registration details when i checked the whoisdomain information. Anyways thanks for sharing, good day.

    – Sri Varshan

  8. Barry Lendrum June 29, 2015 at 10:03 am - Reply

    @Joshua Orizu

    I just got the exact same worded email today. It immediately looked suspicious because as well as it being immediately sent to my spam folder, I had never heard of such a thing as registering a domain with search engines before, and had always known that it was not how search engines such as Google ever operated previously. I can see how less experienced people would easily fall for this one though, it even took me a few extra seconds to arouse my full suspicion into googling this email out first to find out if it was indeed a scam, and of course it is. Devious little termites.

  9. kenyon June 30, 2015 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    just got this email today still going strong apparently.

  10. Dominick R July 1, 2015 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Weird, I got one of these today and they cited a “respond by” date of last week. It seems sometimes they screw that up a bit. I do have a question though, any theories as to how they get your email address? As far as I’m aware, when I made my website I signed up for WHOIS GUARD protection so that nobody can search my domain and find out who it’s registered to.

    • Ozdachs July 13, 2015 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      I have heard that if you don’t sign up for a masking service, people can get the email from the original registration record (that’s how the FBI found the Charleston’s shooter’s site ownership, I believe). So, if you bought the service a while after the domain, your email address might be out there. Other than that, I would make sure that there is nothing on your site with your email address.

  11. Riyadh Al-Nas July 22, 2015 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Thanks so much for this post, I just received one of those emails, although I didn’t think it is something to care about, but I wanted to make sure that I’m not missing something important, but I payed for private registration and I got this email, and oddly it says [SPAM] in the subject line, and it lands in my email inbox.

  12. Sean Pretorius September 29, 2015 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this – I have just started my blog and immediately got inandated with emails offering me this service at a special reduced rate.

  13. Catherine Ev October 1, 2015 at 8:45 am - Reply

    Just would like to mention that I just received one of those emails for my website that is not even build yet. Being unfamiliar with the whole thing, I unfortunately send them through PayPal 97 dollars US (134 Canadian dollars) for search engines registration, for one year, which give my website access to the top 50 search engines out there, except YAHOO. Furthermore, as of yesterday, I cannot even access my website which was visible to me through google before, at least. Their business name is Exalt’s design, which unfortunately does not appear on the search engines itself. There is however a website name “Exalt Marketing Design”, which I suspect is not the same company. Thanks for your insight. I am simply going to cancel the business through PayPal.

  14. Mary October 6, 2015 at 8:13 am - Reply

    Thanks so much! I received the same email and even though I suspected it was a scam, I’m still somewhat new to owning my own domains and just felt that I should make sure. This post confirmed my suspicions and made me feel loads better about it! Very much appreciated!

  15. David Stringer October 12, 2015 at 3:05 am - Reply

    I’ve had many of these requests in emails and also snail mail over the years, but every time one arrives it gives a sinking feeling in my stomach. Yet another bill!
    Just look what you can save though!
    TOP 50 Engines Registration
    5 Years – $297 (SAVE $188)
    Cheeky, robbing b…ds.

    Binned again.

  16. Eugene October 19, 2015 at 6:46 am - Reply

    i just received a simillar mail and at first i was scared, thanks that means i dont have to pay for this scam

  17. Fred Mattlage October 24, 2015 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    Read your article ! Been getting a lot of this in my email also, and also from phone solicitors. Been in business 5 years and my organic website always appeared middle of first page or higher. 2 months ago, it started showing up on search results on 3rd, 4th or later pages. Some of these solicitors say the site is unclaimed and for certain amount of $$ they can get it back there. You have any idea what the solution is do,tsolving that problem ? Any advice would be appreciated ! Thanks …

  18. lida November 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for understanding the issue about Domain name search registration, it was too much pressure to respond one day notice to the email I received yesterday – exactly the same message as Joshua Orizo:

    Domain Service Notice…
    This Notice for: will expire at 11.59PM EST – 19 November – 2015 Act now!
    Select Term and Package here
    Payment by Credit/Debit Card
    Select the term using the link above by 19 – November – 2015

  19. Wolfgang Et November 20, 2015 at 11:33 am - Reply

    OFANTASTIC post, so useful and informative. Even non techies like me can understand it.

    I did receive an email just like the one you mentioned and I thought if I can not get noticed. … so in my panic I thought I would do some research to see if I need to do it now or can it after the weekend.

    After this post, clearly it is nothing more than a scam and no action (other than pressing delete) is needed.

    Today your post saved me £200 around $300.

    Thank you kind sir.

  20. Al Ert November 25, 2015 at 6:33 am - Reply

    Well, it appears this scam is back up and running just in time for Thanksgiving. Our company just received the exact same solicitation, and thanks to this site, we avoided it.
    Thank you so much for your help! We all need to be smarter about phishing scams and learn to trust our gut when things look strange — doesn’t ID our domain provider, doesn’t provide an individual to contact, asks for money, “Final Notice”, but no other notices received, haste in response — these are all things that should tip folks that something’s up.

  21. Andre Hospidales December 1, 2015 at 5:34 am - Reply

    Thanks for the reassurance. I already deleted it because it sounded like a scam but your article just confirms it.

  22. Marina Tch. February 2, 2016 at 8:10 am - Reply

    Thanks A LOT!
    I just received this email and I got so confused because no one mentioned dong such a thing when you start a blog or wsite (ad I did A LOT of research!)
    Thanks again!
    Have a good day!

  23. Frances February 11, 2016 at 4:23 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for this article. Really useful post. Very grateful to you.

  24. Clemente Aragon February 17, 2016 at 11:53 am - Reply

    Thank you very much!!!

    It really helps a lot.

  25. Clemente Aragon February 17, 2016 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Thank you very much!!!

  26. Sandy February 20, 2016 at 5:30 am - Reply

    Thanks. I’ve been getting them too. So glad you posted this information. If I do anything elaborate with my website to-be, I’ll contact you!

  27. Autumn Landry March 6, 2016 at 1:50 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for this article! I kept receiving these but thought I could do it already for free but then started second guessing myself- Do I need to pay? When ever I was searching for my website – it kept saying “do you mean this?” even though I could see the website listed below. I started to panic a little since the deadline was today. So then I dug a little deeper and found this article. Awesome. Really appreciate it!

  28. Stephen March 30, 2016 at 12:56 am - Reply

    Even after all this time this is still a really useful post – thank you! I’ve been getting these emails for a while for different domains I own and was ignoring them, but you know how it is – you keep getting them and so you start wondering if maybe there is something to it. Thank Google your article popped up and set my mind at ease.

    I had one today, pretty much the same as those quoted above, that had an interesting disclaimer at the bottom:

    “Disclaimer: The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask mailers to stop spamming them. The above mail is in accordance to the Can Spam act of 2003: There are no deceptive subject lines and is a manual process through our efforts on World Wide Web. If you send me an UNSUBSCRIBE email we ensure you will not receive any such mails.”

    Quite a cunning touch.

  29. Benjamin April 15, 2016 at 8:01 am - Reply

    Thanks for this post.

    I just received similar email today. Now, I know what not to do.

  30. Teodora Vasileva July 9, 2016 at 10:26 am - Reply

    Thank you!!!

  31. Isaac August 16, 2016 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Thank You So Much.You Have Saved Me.I Also Received The A Similar Message Telling Me To Pay $297 not later than 15th August 2016 for my domain that it gets registered by 10 top search engines

  32. Rossi August 22, 2016 at 1:07 am - Reply

    Thanks for the peace of mind. Yes, the sense of urgency definitely was there but so was the feeling of unprofessional language, confusing combination of terms and the drastic discounts of the 5 year plan vs. 1 yr – they really could have been more discrete with this scam. Thanks again for sharing this reassuring post!

  33. Eduardo September 25, 2016 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Thank you!

  34. Lauren October 25, 2016 at 5:24 am - Reply

    I love your phrasing, “special place in hell.” That’s where these scammers belong. I read it. It did sound very official, but common logic would dictate that if I wanted more traffic for my website, I should get better at SEO, not pay a random person money. But many small business owners don’t realize that. Shame on these scammers!

  35. Jaclyn November 2, 2016 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    Thank you! I just received it today and I wonder why I need to do so.

  36. Juliana orji November 21, 2016 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    This article is helpful. I thought I had to go through another stress and another billing for my new domain name. Thanks for this article.

  37. Tina November 25, 2016 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Thank you..I have been recieving these scary messages too…So I decided to do some research first…Your post really helped me. Thanks alot…

  38. Roman November 29, 2016 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Thank you!
    It is the exactly mail that I have got today.
    I will send to trash!!!

  39. Helen Athey December 19, 2016 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    Well, I got fooled by one of these, probably because of the seeming urgency. I should’ve realized that it wasn’t a name change of the legitimate domain name service, and that my ‘plan’ was not due for another 2 years. Since I can’t find an actual website to get a refund, not sure what to do. Does PayPal, through which I paid for this unnecessary ‘urgent’ renewal, help resolve refund issues with questionable/’fly-by-night’ vendors?

  40. Helen Athey December 19, 2016 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    I paid for a so-called urgent domain name registration renewal via PayPal. Will they help me get a refund? (I thought the domain name firm had changed its name, but should’ve been suspicious, since my renewal isn’t due until sometime in 2018.)

    • Ozdachs December 19, 2016 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      Hi, Helen.

      You probably should first see if the “service” already extended your domain registration. They would have had to transfer the registration from the registrar you picked to their service. You should have had to approve that transfer.

      If you approved the transfer and the “service” extended the domain for another year, I am not sure what you could tell PayPal. But, I might give it a try.

      If the scam artists did NOT extend your domain registration for another year then I would definitely complain to PayPal. I don’t know what PayPal’s refund policies are, but if you didn’t get what you paid for, I think they should issue a refund.

  41. Delta Dawson February 5, 2017 at 6:03 am - Reply

    Thanks. I assumed it was a scam, but there has been some funny stuff happening on my domain this week, apparently related to the fact that I moved across the Atlantic a few years ago and the registration was still linked to out of date email and snail mail addresses and an out of date landline number. Curious as to why this only occurred this week, since those contact points have been out of date for several years. In any event, the email was listed as coming from “Unknown” which does little to establish credentials. In truth, it was fairly straight about its offer. No threats of domain deregistration, just promises of greater order flow and more satisfied customers. The sender is now on my spam list.

  42. Nigel Lacey February 7, 2017 at 3:43 am - Reply

    This is still going strong – exactly the same wording and appeal for urgent money. I have had 5 of these in the last couple of weeks!

  43. ANDREW SMITH July 17, 2017 at 4:42 am - Reply

    Very useful.
    Received a similar email today – needing me to register within 2 days.

    Recently set up a website for my musical – don’t want to be duped!!

  44. Partybra August 10, 2017 at 8:03 am - Reply

    These jokers are still at it. By the look of it they’ve been going years.

    We at partybra have been getting this email every time we register a new domain.

    I can see how people can be tricked by this.

    This is the scam company’s postal address:

    Exalt’s Design
    PO Box 117
    United Kingdom



  45. Andrea September 20, 2017 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much. Knowing that you wrote this post 5 years ago- I can only imagine how many people have saved money after reading your post. Many thanks!!

  46. Nick September 29, 2017 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Brilliant. Thanks.

  47. Bob geldof November 30, 2017 at 1:44 am - Reply

    Amazingly this scam is still running after 5 years! They must be fooling enough to make it profitable, sadly 😐 I am surprised that registrar’s don’t warn about this if it’s been around for so long.

  48. Dan March 30, 2018 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the info on this scam. Just let you know I was unaware I was taken on this last year . I first set up my web site to save myself some money and have control of the content at my finger tips . I could change pictures wording and so on. I just followed a step by step video on how to set up a web site. It was a bit of work but it was great to see that I could do it. They ar ethe guys below just as in Partybra’s post .They are the guys that got me once but never again

    This is the scam company’s postal address:

    Exalt’s Design
    PO Box 117
    United Kingdom

    Thanks again on saving me some money.

  49. David April 14, 2018 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this post. FYI, this scam is still ongoing as at April 2018. I noticed two e-mails in my junk e-mail folder today urging me to pay for “domain name search engine registration”. The scammer was “”. I didn’t fall for it. I deleted it.

    We are using WhoIsGuard. I think it helps identify hoaxes because the real hosting company would know our e-mail address and not need to pay through WhoIsGuard. Plus it is several months out of sync with the real expiry date of our domain.

    Here some excerpts from the e-mails to help others to identify it as a scam:

    First e-mail sent on 10 April urging me to act within 24 hours:

    Sender: “Domain Notice ”

    Subject” “Domain Notification For … [my company website name]… This is your Final Notice of Domain Listing”.

    Excerpts from the body of the e-mail:

    “Response Requested By 10 – April – 2018” (i.e. the same day).

    “Attn: WhoisGuard Protected
    As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration. This letter is to inform you that it’s time to send in your registration.

    Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.

    Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine registration includes domain name search engine submission. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web.”

    Here is the scammer’s presumably fake address: “Unit 8193, PO Box 6945, London, W1A 6U U.K”.

    They sent me a similar e-mail the following day to try make me panic into thinking that I was late.

    Hopefully no-one falls for this trap. Maintaining web domains is hard enough as it is.

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