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Domain Slamming Advisory

I've just become aware that one of our clients fell victim to a deceptive practice known as domain slamming. In this scam, a predatory company issues emails or letters asking the recipient to renew and transfer their domain name(s) before they expire. These letters tend to rely on the victim's perception that this is part of the normal renewal process or promise some sort of (false) savings.

The critical point of this scam is to trick people to transfer control of their domain name from their trusted domain name registrar (a company that manages domain name registrations) to control by the scamming company. Once the scammer has control, they may charge higher rates for renewal and be uncooperative in releasing control of the domain name.

How do you avoid this scam?

  • If you receive an email or letter from a company that is NOT the registrar you pay for your domain name, kindly delete or recycle it. Do not send them money!
  • Opt for PRIVATE registration with your domain registrar. It costs a few extra bucks per year, but scammers and spammers cannot contact you!
  • Report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Your complaints help keep these badly-behaving companies in check.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) before doing business with any company.
  • DO NOT release the transfer code for your domain name to any company. This allows them to take control of your domain name (potentially holding it hostage or raising your fees).

Years ago, these letters were extremely deceptive. After intervention by the FTC, they've tweaked their wording, but still rely on lack of consumer knowledge to trick people out of their money.

In this case, we were able to intervene when our client asked us what the transfer code was. We prevented the bogus domain transfer, however, they were still duped out of a $105 fee.

For more information:

The companies involved are well-documented online, but may be operating under different names.

  1. Read this Wikipedia article.
  2. Check out this Google search.

Getting Adobe Flash Player to work in Ubuntu 9.04 64-bit

I've been trying to get Adobe Flash Player to work on my new workstation. It's running the 64-bit version of Ubuntu 9.04 and Firefox 3. The normal 32-bit version of Flash Player doesn't quite work in 64-bit versions of Linux. Adobe has released an alpha version of 64-bit Flash Player 10 for Linux, but I did not have any luck getting it to work.

Finally found this recent blog post by voodoologic with a shell script he modified to install the player properly:

http://voodoologic45.blogspot.com/2009/08/64bit-native-flash-driver-ubuntu-linux.html

Worked like a charm!

Hopefully, Adobe's 64-bit version goes mainstream soon.

(Thanks to voodoologic...I'd comment on your original post, but it requires a Google account.)

Installed WordPress 2.8.4 Security Release

I just updated another site, which is a mix of my own PHP framework integrated with WordPress, to the latest WordPress security release. Thanks to my server admin Don for the heads up.

Because of my customizations, upgrading was somewhat more tedious than usual. Still, it took less than a half hour. I've taken to using Drupal for most of my other sites that require content management. I've found it more extensible for the commercial purposes of myself and my clients. However, for a straight up blog, WordPress is outstanding and superior in many respects. My last Drupal upgrade took almost two hours, so that's another consideration to keep in mind!

Site Redesign

I'm putting the finishing touches on a new look for the Danenberg Consulting site. I felt the old site was rather dull with its blue and tan color scheme. So to liven things up, I thought I'd give teal and fluorescent brown a whirl! I consider the brown and orange somewhat of a nod to Ubuntu, which I've been using a lot lately. However, I arrived at it as a complement to this lovely teal (RGB #006F6F), which itself was a loose translation of CMYK 100/0/40/45, color number 57 in the book Color Harmony 2: A Guide to Creative Color Combinations. From there, I went to the ever-improving Color Scheme Designer 3 site to develop a color palette.

Most of the design was done using Photoshop and UltraEdit. I replaced the old dark side menu with a lighter tones to keep the pages bright. I tried to follow contemporary web trends with the full-width horizontal banner and simple background gradient, while adding my own touches and not specifically emulating any particular site.

A few weeks ago, I migrated the whole site over to the open source Drupal content management platform. This was largely for two reasons: to simplify maintenance of the site, and to build a user support system into the site using various Drupal modules. As an added benefit, I've started a blog here to talk about exciting business and industry topics such as these!

Enjoy the new site! Your feedback is always important, so please comment or send a message.

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