Watch your domains – Fake Domain Renewal Scam

Watch your domains – Fake Domain Renewal Scam

Do you have a Domain Name?
Have you got a letter or invoice asking you to renew your domain name for a higher price than normal?
If so, then read on!!!

If you have a website then you will most certainly have a domain name, be it .com, .org or .co.uk you will renew your domain name every year or two. An alarming new trend on where people who own domain names getting what seems like a domain renewal bill. These are Fake Domain Renewal Scams which are nothing more than an SEO service.

These letters are addressed to the domain holder and state that if you don’t renew your domain your website will no longer be visible. This is a correct statement, i.e. if you don’t renew a domain your site can’t be found – the problem is that people think that they have to renew with this company who sent this letter which seems like a bill for their domain.

One sample of a Domain Renewal Scam which I got recently is shown below. Note I have removed any items such as addresses and formatting which might identify the domain it was sent to or the company who sent it. My aim here is not to target one particular domain name scam rather to highlight that the practice takes place.

Sample Domain Renewal Scam Email

Below I have shown a type of domain name scam email which I got recently, not all are of this nature, some arrive by standard mail not email, but it should give you an idea of what to look out for.

— — — START — — —

Registration Expiration

Order Number: 123456
Order Date: October 21, 2016
Bill To: Your Name goes here, Your Address goes here

PROCESS SECURE PAYMENT

Domain Name SOME-DOMAIN.COM
Domain Registration October 21, 2016 – October 20, 2017
Price $85.00
Term 1 Year

Domain Name: SOME-DOMAIN.COM

To: [Your name]

Your Domain Registration includes Search Engine submission for SOME-DOMAIN.COM for a period of 12 months. There is no obligation for you to pay for this order unless you complete your payment by Nov 12, 2016. Our Search Engine Submission services provides submission services and search engine ranking organization for domain name owners. This search engine offer for submission services is not required to renew your domain registration.

Failure to complete your search engine registration by Nov 12, 2012 may result in the cancellation of this order (making it difficult for your customers to locate you using search engines on the web).

For Domain Name: SOME-DOMAIN.COM

PROCESS SECURE PAYMENT

UNSUBSCRIBE INSTRUCTIONS

You have received this message because you elected to receive special domain notifications and search engine submission offers for SOME-DOMAIN.COM. If you no longer wish to receive our special notices, please unsubscribe here, or mail us a written request to the attention of: Some fake domain registration company who sent it, PO Box DOMAIN, Somewhere in Domain town, DO 00001-00002. Please allow up to six weeks for the complete unsubscribe process to take place. NOTE: If you have multiple accounts with us, you must opt out for each one individually in order to fully stop receiving these notifications. This message is CAN-SPAM compliant.

Please do not reply to this email, as we are not able to respond to messages sent to this address.

— — — ENDS — — —

Some of the things to look out with domain name scams are;

  • The letter may not be named or addressed personally or correctly
  • The price for a one year renewal is far too high – $85 as opposed to maybe $10 per year
  • The domain expiry is always in the next few days even though your domain might be paid for until the following year – always know when your domain expires.
  • The invoice is not for domain registration rather it refers to Search Engine Submissions for your domain
  • The letter doesn’t read right – or you might say, “I never got this before regarding my domain name”, you might have a gut instinct about these dodgy practices.

If you are unsure you could ask your hosting company (if you have a quality host with good support), or ask a local web developer or IT person who will know of these domain name scams.

What to remember about your domain names / Domain Renewal Scams

  • Basically, your domains should auto-renew and most domain registrars tell you 1 month in advance that the domain is scheduled for renewal
  • Most domain names are $10-20 at most per year (unless it is a specific domain type i.e. not .com / .net / .org)
  • All domain name registrars will address you by name with correct personal information
  • Finally, if you are uncomfortable renewing or processing a letter where you have to part with money – seek advice.
FlightRadar24 Vs Plane Finder, Flight Tracking iPhone Apps

FlightRadar24 Vs Plane Finder, Flight Tracking iPhone Apps

This post is a re-edit of the original post made earlier last year.

I downloaded 2 Aircraft Tracking iPhone Apps which allows you to track the position, height, speed, Squawk Code, Aircraft type, heading, source, destination and Aircraft Registration, plus much more.

These amazing iPhone apps are brilliant if you are interested in aircraft or just want to know where a plane in the sky is heading.

So Which one is better, FlightRadar24 or PlaneFinder (Harry Hill would normally do ‘FIGHT’ at this point but I’m going to look at the 2 apps and do a proper review…In no particular order)

Flight Radar 24

This was the first app I downloaded. The main features were full flight tracking plus visual tracking where you could hold the iPhone camera up to the sky where there was an aircraft and it would point to it with identification. The Augmented Reality makes it possible to point the camera to the sky and view aircraft information and all the details regarding air traffic over you.

Flight Radar Screenshote - FlightRadar1 iPhone App Review

Flight Radar Screenshote - FlightRadar1 iPhone App Review

The accuracy is stunning – I actually grabbed a pair of binoculars when a Lufthansa 747 was reported over Waterford, and it was indeed the aircraft mentioned on the iPhone App. Amazing.
Check out http://www.flightradar24.com/ for more details.

PlaneFinder

I downloaded this app just as a comparison as this one showed actual photos of the aircraft in question and also allowed for sharing of the spotted aircraft on Facebook etc.

PlaneFinder iPhone AppThe screen shot above shows the same Aircraft which was spotted in the Flightradar24 App.

PlaneFinder does almost everything that FlightRadar24 does, but I find that there are certain functions you can achieve such as advanced filters, e.g. show all aircraft above a certain height, speed or indeed of a certain airline.  I also found some aircraft not listed on FlightRadar24.
More information on PlaneFinder can be found at http://my.pinkfroot.com/

How do these iPhone Aircraft Tracking Apps Work?

These apps only show information regarding aircraft which are equipped with ADS-B transponders. About 60% of the passenger aircraft and some private aircraft have an ADS-B transponder installed.

The Flightradar24 and PlaneTracker apps use a network of ADS-B receivers around the world. These ADS receivers get plane and flight information from the aircraft with ADS-B (Broadcasts) and sends this information to a main server. These apps simply collect the ADS data and displays this information on the iPhone Apps map. However only aircraft within the coverage area of the ADS receivers are visible – so if you are in USA you may have limited visibility as these apps are mainly covering Europe. Current coverage is approx 90% of Europe. However, there is also limited coverage in USA, Australia and Middle East.

App Problems?

Both Apps require WiFi or a 3G connection to work. If you only have a cellular data connection you may get 1 or 2 aircraft showing up but the app won’t work to it’s full potential – so ensure you have 3G turned on.

The only problems I saw was one aircraft which was a ghost image of itself – i.e. for example an aircraft D-GBHF was showing up side by side but it was the same aircraft. Could have been a glitch.
However the most fun glitch I saw was an aircraft which had a recorded cruising speed of zero knots – clever trick!

Flight Tracking Apps – Conculsion

Both apps are excellent in the way the aircraft are displayed plus the refresh rate and the accuracy is very good on both apps.

Both apps have been updated since my original post and I will be updating this post with the changes and new features.

PlaneFinder retails at €3.99 in the App Store

FlightRadar24 reatils at €2.39 in the App Store.

FREE Versions of these iPhone Apps are available also.

If you have any comments regarding these apps please comment below!

How to Fix an iPhone / iPod Touch with a Frozen Safari App

How to Fix an iPhone / iPod Touch with a Frozen Safari App

Nothing words than an iPhone App which Wont Start ! - Fix non starting Safari App problemsI was asked today how to fix a iPhone (or iPod Touch) which had a Frozen Safari app (Apples Internet Browser).

The problem was that Safari on the iPod Touch would not accept any touches to the address bar, search bar or bookmarks – basically the Safari GUI on the iPod was frozen.

The solution to fix this is fairly easy, but not everyone knows it. To fix and unfreeze the iPhone Safari App , do as follows;
– Load the Safari App on the iPod Touch / iPhone
– when Safari has loaded, press and hold the home button (the circular button in the middle of the iPod) until Safari quits
– your iPhone / iPod Touch should return to the home screen.

If this does not work you can try do an iPhone reset. The iPhone / iPod Touch reset is done by pressing and holding the home button and the power on/off button simultaneously, until you see the Apple logo and then release – while ignoring the “slide to turn off prompt” when doing this.

Its probably useful to clear your cache and cookies when this has resolved; this can be done by Going to Settings > Safari and select Clear History, Clear Cookies, and Clear Cache.

You can also ensure no further issues occur by turning off and repowering the iPod/iPhone once finished this.

Hopefully, this should solve any problems if you have an iPod Touch or iPhone with a Safari App which is Frozen.

If you are very unfortunate and your iPod / iPhone won’t start at all, review this fix which resolves this issue.
Click Here to Read this iPod Full Reset Fix

5 tips to secure your WordPress Blog & avoid downtime

5 tips to secure your WordPress Blog & avoid downtime

There are millions of WordPress blogs around the world and if you host WordPress yourself you will know that there is often some maintenance to be done. But many people don’t know and therefore when things go wrong on their blog they are surprised to find out that there were things they could have done to prevent the downtime.

1) WordPress Plugins

Your hosted WordPress installation will have some plugins installed and from time to time these will be patched, improved and in some cases be given security improvements. You will know if an update is due on your WordPress plugins as a circle with a number will appear after the Plugins section on the left hand column of your WordPress Dashboard. Simply click into the Plugins section, select the plugins for upgrade and hit the Upgrade button. It is a straight forward process which is worth checking for every few days.

2) WordPress Installation Updates

Occasionally WordPress itself will be upgraded, at the time of writing this post version 3.4.2 of WordPress is the latest stable release. You will know if an upgrade for WordPress is available as it will be highlighted across the Top of your WordPress Dashboard. This Notification should not be ignored as it usually gives security improvements plus new features. The Upgrade process may include a database backup advisory so if you don’t backup your wordpress databases you should and there are some excellent plugins which allow you to do this.

3) Framework Updates

If you use purchased or 3rd party WordPress Themes, these may come with a Theme Framework. These framework updates are sometimes overlooked and people don’t even know they are there. Most often if you click Appearance -> Themes you may see an extra dropdown for Update Framework…this may also appear further down the Dashboard left column under Theme Options. you should always know what theme you are working with so that you don’t inadvertently delete or change settings for the theme – also if you are on twitter / the web you may see notifications or alerts for certain themes saying that updates are available for potential security loopholes etc.

4) Permissions

This is one of the biggest problems on sites which have been attacked or hacked – people don’t set the correct permissions on files and folders. Setting permissions using chmod 777 which is read, write and execute for everyone is one way of asking for trouble. Its like leaving your backdoor open and wondering why you got robbed. There are plenty of tutorials online which explain file permissions and correctly set permissions allow WordPress and you (as the web admin) access, but no-one else.

5) Table naming and Admin usernames

One other way of protecting WordPress is when installing the system to avoid calling your tables wp_ and also by not allocating admin as the username but by choosing something else. This helps avoid attacks on known tables / usernames.

Conclusion

Hopefully these tips will help you maintain a safer installation of the worlds best Blogging software.

SEO Experiment in July seemed to work … I think

The traffic to the site is now 1,000 visitors up PER DAY, over the same daily periods in the first 6 months of the year. In the months Jan to June I was getting about 1,800 visitors per day to the site and I put this down to my lapse in frequent blogging and a reduction in updates to the site. This follows on from the Panda and other updates from Google in recent months and I was sure I was affected.

In July I decided to start blogging more and updating the site more frequently. I uploaded a few blog posts in July. This seemed to work very quickly and early August traffic seemed to indicate very high spike in traffic and no apparent reason. Could this be down to the updates and more frequent blog posts?

I will wait and see – but for now I will not be resting on laurels and will be updating the blog on an ongoing basis to ensure this new gain of traffic is not lost !

How failing to have regular website updates can hurt your traffic

How failing to have regular website updates can hurt your traffic

I had being blogging quite a lot between July 2011 and January 2012 but due to may things, I had very infrequent updates to the blog and to the website in general since January. The one thing I noticed was a drop in traffic and this is something which Google and Search Engines love to see – Regular Updates with Original Quality Content.

Below is a graph of traffic to the website since the regular updates to the site were reduced to once a month or once every three weeks. I’m now doing a test to see how a concerted effort on content might grow this traffic once more.

Regular traffic updates help grow your website traffic - SEO Website Traffic Growth

I’m going to have a blog post on the site once every three days if possible and can then assess the results in traffic numbers. I’m looking at getting the traffic back up over the 50K unique visitors per month.

Lets wait and see…