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Ad watchdog critical of Domain Registry of Europe

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The Advertising watchdog has slammed Domain Registry of Europe (DRoE) for misleading consumers over its mailshots that "look like bills".

Last month The Register reported how the Canada-based domain registration outfit is currently targeting domain holders in the UK with unsolicited letters that readers claim "look like bills".

DRoE maintains that the letters point out that the notice is "not a bill, rather an easy means of payment should you decide to register or renew your domain(s) with us".

However, that hasn't satisfied the Advertising Watchdog Authority (ASA). A document seen by The Register reveals that the ASA is highly critical of DRoE's approach and demanded that it revises its letters to ensure they are clearly marked as an advertisement.

Said the ASA in correspondence to one of those people who complained about DRoE's tactics: "We consider that the mailing suggests that it is an official notice, that it misleadingly exaggerates the importance of the mailing's content and that it fails to indicate clearly that this is an advertisement.

"We have therefore asked for the advertisers' assurance that the mailing is amended to delete the words "IMPORTANT NOTICE" and other suggestions that exaggerate the status of the mailing and that it states clearly from the outset that the material is an advertisement."

If DRoE fails to amend its documents then the ASA said it would consider "pursuing the matter further".

The ASA declined to comment on the matter except to say that it had written to the DRoE and that the company was under investigation.

Those behind the complaint to the ASA have also reported DRoE to Trading Standards officers.

Separately, UK domain name registrars, Internetters, has called on the industry to adopt a code of practice to deter what it calls "cowboy registrars" from riding roughshod over the Net.

It believes a code of practice would help deter cybersquatters and disreputable domain name registrars.

It also believes an industry wide code of practice would result in better service for customers and lead to a decrease in the number of domain name scams. ®

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