Read fine print before paying “Domain Listings” $288.00

It must be that time of year again. I just opened a suspiciously invoice-like “offering” from a company called “Domain Listings” that offers to add you to their “Annual Website Domain Listings on Internet Directory” for the low-low unreasonably-expensive price of $288 per year.

Please note that Google will do this for you for free. In fact, chances are Google will “list” your site unless you go out of your way to ask them not to.

I’d leave people like this “Domain Listings” company and the older but equally sketchy “Domain Authority” alone if they’d just advertise their expensive listing services the old-fashoned way. But they don’t. Instead they mail “window” envelopes containing “offerings” that look very, very much like invoices from domain registration companies.

Annotated photo of a "Domain Authority" letter.

Note: I get half a dozen calls a year from people asking why their website’s domain registration expired after they paid this company or one like it. Usually they’re very angry or very hurt. I’ll help recover their registration if I can — usually you get a grace period after your website disappears when you can recover it. But really the better deal would be if these companies grew a conscience and stopped running this… misleading… offer.

Extra funny. On the back of this letter, in very small print, they say “All Listings are final.” Because as soon as the average website owner gets a real invoice for their domain registration (usually for less than $20/year) they’re naturally going to ask these people for their money back.

Extra credit: their “domain listing” service looks very slick but since relatively few people fall for this kind of thing their actual listings are pretty sparse. For instance if you search for “lawyer” in tech-savvy Seattle you’ll find… exactly none have been dumb enough to list there. Or how about searching for a single webmaster, anywhere, who’s paid these guys?

Screen shot of website showing no webmasters listed in any city or post code.

Again, it’s your money, and if you want to get listed with them that’s totally fine. But don’t mistake their advertisement for an invoice. Don’t imagine you’re renewing your domain registration when you pay this.


David Innes,

I've been building and maintaining websites since 1997 and building and supporting similar hypertext-driven software since 1987. I've done maintenance, support, and maintenance for physical and digital systems since 1981. And no, I still haven't seen it all but by now I usually know where to look. More about David Innes...