Someone from China wants to use your URL. Hmm…

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Since my company produces products for K-12 school administrators, dentists, writers, publishers, and treasure hunt planners, you can count the number of sales that we have made to China on no fingers.

So you can imagine my surprise when a firm from Singapore emailed me that a person was interested in registering my URL in Asia (China primarily)–as their own! The URL in question is “gordonburgett”! Hardly an everyday phrase in any form of Chinese (or any other language that I know of). It’s my name, and according to the White Pages a few years back there were only six Gordon Burgetts in the entire country. (A Burgett was a town gatekeeper in the very olde days. No trendsetting there.)

A mystery from afar. The letter was quite professional so it wasn’t easily dismissed. It prompted three images: “a future lawsuit,” a “future shakedown,” or a fairly “sophisticated scam.” I looked at the website that the email came from and it said the firm had 100+ employees registering URLs. Impressive if true.

I checked “Asian URL scams” or “Chinese URL scams” with Google. Nothing. I was on my own.

The first email asked me if the person interested in registering gordonburgett.com was affiliated with or worked with my firm. I wrote back a pleasant no. And I asked why in the world with about a billion URL choices available in Chinese (or so it seems to me, who can’t read any of them) waiting to be used, why “gordonburgett”?

This is the follow-up letter I received yesterday.
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Subject: CN/ASIA domain names & Internet Keyword

Dear Gordon Burgett ,

Based on your company having no relationship with them, we have suggested they should choose another name to avoid this conflict but they insist on this name as CN/ASIA domain names (asia/ cn/ com.cn/ net.cn/ org.cn) and internet keyword on the internet. In our opinion, maybe they do the similar business as your company and register it to promote his company.

According to the domain name registration principle: The domain names and internet keyword which applied based on the international principle are opened to companies as well as individuals. Any companies or individuals have rights to register any domain name and internet keyword which are unregistered. Because your company haven’t registered this name as CN/ASIA domains and internet keyword on the internet, anyone can obtain them by registration. However, in order to avoid this conflict, the trademark or original name owner has priority to make this registration in our audit period. If your company is the original owner of this name and want to register these CN/ASIA domain names (asia/ cn/ com.cn/ net.cn/ org.cn) and internet keyword to prevent anybody from using them, please inform us. We can send an application form and the price list to you and help you register these within dispute period.

Kind regards
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My name is hot! My family likes fortune cookies so they probably suspect that the registry folks from Singapore have some special view into the future, perhaps they see a coming flood of fiscal prosperity, and somebody wants to get good footing before the green deluge occurs.

I’m not quite so certain since most of my fortune cookies say “You will live another day!”

So I decided to let my web server have the last word. His firm is much closer to China than California so he might have some extra insight. His reply? “This is just a scare tactic to get you to register domain names with them.”

So I’ll leave it there. But I’ll keep my eyes open for new airplanes, race cars, or yachts heading East to West bearing the brand name of Gordon Burgett. Thank God I got there first!

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

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