Scammers are constantly searching for new and more deceptive ways to trick people into giving away their money. Most recently, FairWinds received this notice from the “World Intellectual Property Database” urging our DigitalDNA business, which brokers domain and website deals, to renew its international trademark registration:
Some of you might have picked up on the fact that the “WIPD” looks a lot like “WIPO,” the World Intellectual Property Organization. They even mimicked WIPO’s font and logo. DigitalDNA has an international trademark registration pending with WIPO, and that is likely how WIPD found us: the people behind WIPD appear to have pulled information from WIPO’s public database and sent fake notices seeking registration renewal fees from trademark owners. Aside from recognizing the obvious discrepancy in the name and acronym, what really tipped us off was the URL the notice directs to. WIPO – the real WIPO – would never use a .BIZ domain. As a specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO uses the .INT extension.
We wanted to post this to make sure other companies are aware of this scheme, and to warn them not to fall for it. We have also gotten in touch with our contacts at WIPO to alert them, and they are working to stop this scam.
UNICEF appears to be in the market for its own TLD. The UN organization dedicated to providing humanitarian and development aid to children and mothers in developing countries recently announced a Request for Information from potential vendors to help acquire and operate .UNICEF.
Back in October 2009, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) entered into an agreement with ICANN to operate .POST, making UNICEF the second UN organization to pursue its own TLD. I’m curious to see what will happen going forward – will even more UN organizations follow suit and apply for eponymous TLDs? Moreover, I wonder why the UN is so interested in owning TLDs and why these organizations feel they need these kinds of labels when they have .INT all to themselves and there is no fee for registering an .INT domain.
I’m also wondering who will be next – maybe the World Health Organization with .WHO?