The “Chinese domain name scam” is a common problem for site owners. Typically the emails pretend to be from a company in China that registers domain names (web site addresses). They write to inform you that someone in China wishes to register the name of your company with a .cn (China) extension.
This can make some domain name owners pretty angry and frustrated because they think they already own the name. The truth is that you have registered for the first part of the name, and probably one or two extensions like .com or .ca if you live in Canada. But there are hundreds of other possible extensions for your domain name – among them .org, .net, .info, .biz, .us, .tv – with dozens more being approved all the time.
A list of domain name extensions can be found on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_top-level_domains.
It would be impossible for you to register all of them. In fact, unless you’re a resident of a country, most countries will not allow you to register a domain name with their country extension. For example, if you’re not a resident of Canada, you can’t register a .ca extension.
However, the point of the email scam is not really to involve you in the domain name dispute. Rather it is a starting point for drawing you into fraudulent activity by getting you to reply.
Do not answer any emails asking you to buy another version of your domain name. If you reply, you will confirm your email is live, and any information you provide – such as your name and contact information – can be sold. At some point, you may be sent an invoice to purchase the .cn version. If you do buy the name, you will never see your money again. If you complain, you may receive increasingly aggressive responses.
For more information and to report these sorts of nuisance communications, please see: