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Seller Behaviour

Look at the website name
There's millions of websites out there, and as a result it stands to reason that people can't quite get the website name they might want. It's also understandable that those who are not particularly fluent in English may purchase a website name that they've translated from a term or phrase that makes more sense in their own language, but gets lost in translation.

Example
http://www.helloworldtrade.com
http://www.lovelyhope.com


It may be that the person buying the website doesn't even bother trying to make a name that makes sense.

Example
http://www.yyynnm.com
http://www.az168.com


 

Or it may be that people purchase names that mislead people into thinking that they are somehow official, or they choose a name similar to an existing legitimate company in an attempt to deceive.

Example
http://www.nikeolympic.com
http://www.nfl-trade.com


There can often not be a great deal of information within the website name, so this isn't a smoking gun, but it's always something to consider. What is the website name, how does it lend itself towards the company. What does it mean.

 



Whois searches
A Whois search allows you to view information relating to the owner of a domain name. There are plenty of tools available that allow you to do this, and obviously I use SiteHound and I will soon have lookups you can perform from this website the same as SiteHound.

In the interim we will use the website http://www.domaintools.com which has a simple and free web based search option.  When you visit DomainTools you will see a field age labelled "WhoIs Lookup". Simply enter the website name you wish to search and click on the "Search" button.
So if we look at some examples. I'll start with a search for scamchecker.net http://whois.domaintools.com/scamchecker.net
What you want to look at is the Registrant, as that is the person or company that the website is registered to. Here we see it's

Registrant:
   Chris Gleason
   PO BOX 4620
   Christchurch, South Island 8140
   New Zealand


Easy enough, if we also look at the Administrative Contact we see further contact details.

   Administrative Contact:
      Gleason, Chris 
      PO BOX 4620
      Christchurch, South Island 8140
      New Zealand
      +643 963 1436      Fax --

One of the really useful pieces of information is the dates. Look at the dates the website was first registered, and when it expires. For scamchecker.net we see this

Created:      2008-04-23
Expires:       2013-04-23


What you want to look for is consistency, you want to look at the owners registered details and dates involved and see if they compare well to actual information presented on the website.



Let's compare that information, to information for a potentially dodgy site.
So we'll now look at elecsalon.com http://whois.domaintools.com/elecsalon.com

Registrant details are suspicious, as the address is lacking. I have no idea how many people in Beijing, but one would think you'd need more than a name and a postcode.

Registrant:
duan zhijie
beijing
100021
±±¾©



Administrative contact details raise some more flags, take a look at the phone/fax numbers that were provided.

Administrative Contact:
duan zhijie
duan zhijie
beijing
beijing Beijing 100021
CN
tel: 86 010 12345678
fax: 010 12345678



Now let's look at the dates

Registration Date: 2007-08-31
Update Date: 2007-08-31
Expiration Date: 2008-08-31

 

If you look at the bottom of their website though, you will see the text Copyright 2006.   They are trying to mislead people into thinking the company is older than it really is.



Use of free services
Reliable and honest internet companies should not use free services for email. Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo, Gmail, should all be warning signs if they use that for their points of contact.