Domain slammer promises to turn over new leaf

Cross your heart?

A Swansea-based businessman has agreed not to use dodgy sales tactics to try and flog domain names to businesses.

Adam Ripley - who was behind a number of domain name registration businesses including Solus Online Ltd, ISIS Online Ltd, Select Registrations and European Domain Bureau - gave the assurance after court action by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The OFT was bombarded with complaints from businesses who had been contacted by Ripley. He told them someone was just about to snap up a domain containing their name, giving them the chance to acquire it before someone else.

He then put the businesses on the spot and told they had to decide there and then to accept the offer - or risk losing what could prove to be a valuable business asset.

When the OFT contacted Ripley, he was unable to provide any evidence to support his claim that someone was after these domains. He also tried to flog ten-year registrations for co.uk domain names when, in reality, they can only be registered for two years maximum.

Said OFT chairman John Vickers: "Businesses should be wary about cold-callers putting pressure on them to purchase domain names in haste. Claims that third parties are interested in names must be substantiated and we will take action where such claims are misleading."

In April last year the OFT warned small businesses to be wary of dotcom cowboys making up fictitious buyers to pressure businesses into signing up for domains. ®

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