He is trying to scam me. I doubt the emailer is actually named Neil Zhang and I am almost positive that he doesn't work for the Asian Domain Registration Service in china. He is simply a Tweedle Beetle screwing with me. It is fine. I'm used to it.
In his email, he claims that some Asian company is trying to register "sheppybrew" as its "Net Brand", and has applied for a number of domain names such as sheppybrew.asia, sheppybrew.cn, etc ... (look below for the whole list). He is concerned that as I currently own the domain name "sheppybrew.com", I may not want this Asian company to pick up all those similar domains. He is giving me the opportunity to let him know that I did not authorize this Asian company to register the domains.
If you go and google "Asian Domain Registration Service in china", you will see all kinds of articles out there describing and warning about the scam, so I won't go into details about it. With so many sources (most of which quote almost word-for-word my exact email), it must be pretty common to get this scam attempt.
This email, though, makes me wonder ... are there actually enough people out there stupid enough to make this scam worth the effort? First of all, I don't care if someone else registers the domain name sheppybrew.asia or any of the other Asian domain names on the list. If I were concerned about it, I would have bought up all the similar domain names when I registered sheppybrew.com. Even if I didn't take that step originally and were concerned about infringement on my "Net Brand", eventually Neil or one of his colleagues are going to have to ask me for money, and I sure would not send some random stranger money without doing some sort of verification. Wouldn't anyone who owns a domain name have a tiny little bit of common sense? I would think so. Maybe there are idiots who own domain names and would fall for this, but certainly not enough to make it a real money-making prospect.
I am half tempted to reply to Neil Zhang:
Thank you, Neil, for your concern and due diligence. It is refreshing to know there are good people like you looking out for my best interest. I have, in fact, been contacted by NILI Int'l Co.,Ltd, and have authorized them to register these names. They already paid me a boat-load of money for this and I am retiring a very wealthy man. Keep up the excellent work!... or something like that.
I will probably just ignore the email for now. Perhaps Neil will follow up with me in the next few days. I may keep y'all up to date with any developments.
Here is the email I received:
(If you are not in charge of this please transfer this email to your President or appropriate person, thanks)
We are the department of Asian Domain Registration Service in china. I have something to confirm with you. We formally received an application on February 8, 2012 that a company which self-styled "NILI Int'l Co.,Ltd" were applying to register "sheppybrew" as their Net Brand and following domain names:
After our initial checking, we have found the name were similar to your company's, so we need to check with you whether your company has authorized that company to register these names. If you have authorized this, we will finish the registration at once. If you have not, please let us know within 7 workdays, so that we will handle this issue better. Out of the time limit we will unconditionally finish the registration for "NILI Int'l Co.,Ltd".
Best Regards, Neil Zhang
Tel:+86-5515223114 || Fax:+86-5515223113
Address:No.1688 Taihu Road,Baohe District,Hefei,Anhui,China