As a web designer, I get this question asked several times every year. A client receives an official-looking letter in the mail telling them to “act today” in order to not to lose their domain name which “may result in a loss of your online identity”.
Most of the time, my clients know to ask me if this is legitimate before they “act today”. So, is it legitimate?
Well, the answer is “yes” and “no”.
Technically, it IS a legitimate company that will renew your domain name for you. However, if you read the letter, it specifically says key phrases like “This notice is not a bill“, and “transfer and renew“. The key word here is “TRANSFER“.
If you don’t already use this company as your domain name registrar, they are trying to get you to pay them to not renew your domain name, but to TRANSFER and renew your domain name. This is a LOT different than renewing your domain name. Allow me to explain…
If you have a domain name registered anywhere else (whether you registered it yourself, or had me register it for you), sending this company money to transfer & renew your domain name will result in absolutely nothing other than being out $50 (or more).
That is, unless you transfer your domain name to them, which can be done. However, it does take some time to do, and while it’s not too complicated of a process, it can be a bit confusing if you don’t deal with domain names all the time.
Of course, once you factor in that your current domain name registrar is charging you far less than $50, does it really make sense to pay more and go through the hassle of a transfer? That’s an easy question that I’m sure you don’t need me to answer.