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Domain Registrar Settles Fax Suit

A Canadian company will pay $375,000 to settle charges that its fax marketing efforts promoting its domain registration service violated federal law, the Federal Trade Commission said yesterday.

According to the FTC, one Ontario-based company doing business under three names sent faxes to Web site operators, many of them small businesses, warning them that another entity was trying to register a domain name identical to theirs. The faxes were unsolicited, which is illegal under federal law, and bore the headline, “Urgent notice of identical domain name application by third party,” the FTC said.

In one instance, the owner of a site, www.sobi-sky.org, was told that an application for the domain name www.sobi-sky.net had been submitted, the FTC said. The fax went on to say that the application might have been submitted “in bad faith” by a competitor, according to the FTC.

The fax offered to block the application for $70, the FTC said. In reality, no applications for the identical domain names had been submitted, according to the charges.

Penalties paid by the company, which did business as National Domain Name Registry, Electronic Domain Name Monitoring and Corporate Domain Name Monitoring, will be used to reimburse victims, the FTC said.

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