Domain Networks Bill Scam or Legit? What You Need to Know

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  • Post published:February 17, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

If you’ve recently received what looks like an invoice in the mail from Domain Networks requesting $289 for a domain listing service, you’re probably wondering – is this a scam?

You’re smart to be suspicious. Domain Networks is well known for sending fake renewal bills to try and trick companies into paying for useless services. Here’s what you need to know about these misleading invoices and the many complaints against Domain Networks.

Over 82 Complaints Against Domain Networks

One clear red flag about Domain Networks is the over 80 complaints filed against them with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They have an abysmal “F” rating on BBB with statements like:

“Received a very legit looking invoice in the mail about my domain and need to pay a bill. Turns out the whole letter was a scam and money grab. Can’t understand why this company has not been shut down illegal activity.”

“Misleading solicitation. They have a generic name making one think they are a domain utility that you need to pay in order to keep your domain.”

“Scam business and the owners and operators of this are a prime example of the degradation of our society.”

Complaints focus on the purposefully confusing invoices that trick companies into thinking they have to pay to keep their domain, when the “service” is useless.

An internet search shows hundreds more angry reviews and scam reports about Domain Networks across the web.

Clearly companies feel scammed, misled, and that Domain Networks uses deceptive tactics. But why hasn’t this company been shut down if so many think they are scammers?

Why Domain Networks Hasn’t Been Shut Down

The reason Domain Networks is still operating despite the mountain of complaints is because their invoices toe the line of what’s legal.

In tiny text they include a “disclaimer” saying:

“THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED ABOVE UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER.”

This one line protects them from outright fraud accusations. But make no mistake – the entire rest of the invoice is crafted to mislead.

Domain Networks also argues in their defense to the BBB that:

“We do not provide domain registration or domain renewal services. We provide directory listing services.”

So technically, they can claim they don’t directly state they will renew domain registrations. Instead, the invoice is for a useless web directory listing no one uses.

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Because of this careful wording, what Domain Networks does is immoral, unethical, and scammy – but not outright illegal. This is why they’ve escaped being fully shut down thus far.

Inside the Directory Listing Scam

So if Domain Networks isn’t actually renewing your domain registration, what are they offering? And why would any legitimate business pay $289 for it?

What Domain Networks sells is listings in their online business directory. But this isn’t like Google My Business or Yelp where listings get seen.

Their directory is scammy itself, providing no real SEO value or exposure. It’s essentially a database of business names, addresses, and websites.

You can view it here. Try searching for any major brand – none are listed. Only the unfortunate businesses tricked into paying Domain Networks will appear in this useless directory.

So the reality is that the $289 Domain Networks charges is entirely unjustified. Their invoices and directory provide zero value.

It’s a total scam by tricking businesses into paying for something they never asked for and don’t need.

An Evolution of the Yellow Pages Scam

Interestingly, Domain Networks isn’t even an original scam. Their model goes back to shady Yellow Pages advertisers decades ago.

Back then, scam publishers would send “invoice renewals” for print directory ads. If businesses didn’t pay, the ad would supposedly be canceled.

Many fell for these fake renewal notices and paid up because the invoices looked so real.

Domain Networks has simply taken this tried and true scam online. Their invoices look nearly identical to sneaky Yellow Pages advertisers’ from 30+ years ago!

Instead of threatening to remove print ads, now Domain Networks says your domain itself will expire. When really all they do is add you to their useless online directory.

So don’t fall for this existing scam that has moved into digital forms. The Domain Networks invoice is meant to instill fear that your website is at risk if you don’t pay them. When your real domain renewal has nothing to do with this company.

Who’s Behind Domain Networks?

Uncovering who is behind shady companies can also give clues if they have scammy intentions. But information on the owners of Domain Networks remains mysterious.

Their website DomainNetworks.com shows addresses in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Hendersonville, North Carolina. Searches reveal that the NC address belongs to random non-tech companies. And the New Mexico address was previously used by a web hosting company or two, but nothing current.

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So these likely aren’t real addresses connected to Domain Networks decision makers today.

Digging further reveals Domain Networks was previously called “US Domain Authority LLC”. This past name sends scam alarms blaring too. Why would a legitimate business hide behind multiple vague company names?

Unfortunately the people behind Domain Networks haven’t shared names or identities publicly. But their obsessive company name changing, use of bogus addresses, and overly complex system to hide their tracks implies shady behavior.

Professional companies stand behind their practices and have nothing to hide.

Warning Signs of the Domain Networks Scam

Watch for these tell-tale signs that a domain-related invoice could be a sneaky scam attempt from Domain Networks:

It shows your personal domain ownership details like domains you own, name servers, and registrar names. This gives the false impression they are affiliated with your domains when they have no relation.

The price is unusually high at $289 annually when real domain renewals typically cost ~$15 per year.

Aggressive language threatens your website will stop working unless you pay immediately. When again, Domain Networks has zero ability to deactivate your real domain registration.

The phrase “Listing Maintenance” or “Marketing Services” is used instead of openly saying it is a useless web directory listing. This further disguises what businesses are really paying hundreds of dollars per year for.

Essentially, the entire invoice looks real on purpose because Domain Networks knows an honest offer would get no sales. So they disguise it as a mandatory domain renewal bill instead.

Keep watching for these common scam signals to protect your business.

How to Report Domain Networks to Protect Other Businesses

If you receive one of these phony Domain Networks invoices (or spot other suspicious directory listing offers), consider reporting them to help put an end to the scam.

Here are a few important places you can file reports to potentially get Domain Networks investigated or shut down:

Better Business Bureau (BBB) – File a scam or false advertising complaint with the BBB against Domain Networks at BBB.org. The more complaints the BBB has on record, the worse the company’s rating will be.

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Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – Report deceptive business practices from Domain Networks to the FTC Complaint Assistant. If enough reports come in, the FTC can prosecute scam companies.

US Postal Inspection Service – Since Domain Networks sends misleading letters through the US Mail, this is considered mail fraud. File mail fraud complaints online or call 877-876-2455 to spur a mail fraud investigation.

Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – If you paid the Domain Networks invoice thinking your domain would expire, report online that you are a victim of fraud. The IC3 assists law enforcement investigations into complex internet scams.

RipOff Report – Post a review detailing your experience with the deceptive Domain Networks invoice on RipoffReport.com to warn others from falling for the same scam.

The more Domain Networks gets called out online and reported to authorities, the less ability they’ll have to keep scamming small businesses under different names.

So consider taking 30 mins to lodge a detailed report or bad review to protect your peers. If we collectively speak up, hopefully the owners behind this sham can no longer hide.

Don’t Fall For the Domain Networks Scam

At the end of the day, the important thing is avoiding the financial and emotional headaches from the Domain Networks scam in the first place.

Now that you know this misleading invoice’s intentions, you can quickly identify it as a fraud attempt in the future. Save yourself money and sanity by:

  • Carefully reviewing any invoice – never assume bills are legitimate
  • Watching for red flags like a domain or website listing
  • Knowing real domain renewals are typically $8-15 per year – not $289
  • Reading the fine print identifying it as an “offer” – not a mandatory bill
  • Reporting Domain Networks to relevant authorities to help bring penalties against them

Stay vigilant against increasingly sneaky business scams by learning from others’ experiences.

With the knowledge from over 80 real complaints and reviews now you can confidently toss that fake Domain Networks invoice right where it belongs – in the garbage. Don’t become their next victim!

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