I got a brilliant one today…

Dear CEO,

We are a domain name registrar centre in HongKong, and in charge of the registeration in Asia,We have something important need to confirm through your company.
We received a formal application from a company called "Ry-hey International Holdings Ltd" applying to register
Internet brand: Lateral
And the domain names:
lateral.hk
lateral.net.cn
lateral.org.cn
lateral.tw
lateral.it
lateral.pl
lateral.co.kr
in Asia on September, 3, 2008.

During our auditing procedure we find out that the alleged "Ry-hey International Holdings Ltd" has no trade mark, Intellectual property, nor patent even similar to that word. as an authoritative registration organization, we have the duty to inform you this matter. If you do not know this company, we doubt that they have other aims to buy these domain names.

Now we have not finished the registration of Ry-hey International Holdings Ltd yet, in order to deal with this issue better, please let someone who is responsible for trademark or domain name contact me as soon as possible.

Best Regards,
Shirley wu Director
---------------------------------
Tel: 00852 8122 6293 / +(00)852- 30759838
Fax: +(00)852-8125 7328
Website: http://www.westtechnology.asia
Email: Shirley.wu@westech.hk.cn and Shirley.wu@asiadm.net.cn

Confidentiality Notice. This is a letter for confirmation. If the mentioned third party is your business partner or distributor in Asia please DO NOT reply. We will automatically confirm application from your business partner after this audit procedure.we have to notify you,and our registration organization are not responsible for any dispute questions about trade mark,intellectual property nor patent after they succeed in registration.hope you can understand.thank you.

Whilst I love the whole gag - the confidentiality notice is just the icing on the cake!

I know I’m only supposed to do this blog once a month but I really had to share. Absolutely wonderful up there with Daniel Kagan’s scam.

This impresses me on many levels. Too many to go into in a short post like this, however given that we were talking about extortion not a few days ago this was just brilliant. A quick Google will of course find a whole bunch of other folk who have received the equivalent of this.

In many ways it’s a perfect Net proposition: it’s totally personalized. They ain’t selling Viagra, Russian brides or even telling me that I must to enter my banking details because my bank ‘lost’ them. It’s coherent barring the poor English, it’s helpful, all in all it’s just plain genius. Lex Luthor would be proud.

I decided to reply to them which given my love for flirting with disaster is par for the course. I won’t post the entire response but it was words to the effect of :

"Thanks for the heads up -- actually we're not terribly interested in those domains, asia isn't a very interesting proposition for us--- however westech and westtechnology are of interest -- great idea -- thanks for that. We've decided to set up a business in the Europe bearing in mind we are of course in the west. And therefore we are registering all the available westech domains

plus given that obviously ryhey aren't so hot on net branding
we decided that ryhey.com would be good home for some of our work and all those spare sknet domains as well. Great names.

Unless of course you get back to us in the next 14 days and tell us you have some legal claim over them of course in which case you can buy them back at a reasonable price.

I've bcc'd this letter to Campaign, Digital Arts, the Guardian, the BBC, the New York Times, Reuters, Associated Press, CNN, Tech Crunch, the Register, Boing Boing, Wired and a few other mates just to ensure that we're completely clear on this. I wouldn't want this to be misconstrued as extortion we're really just being helpful.

Again really appreciate the tip!

I did of course try to call but alas non of your numbers worked? Problems paying the bills?

Have a nice day."

I’ll post the response when/if I get one.

Apparently folk read this blog – I really want to hear from others who have been extorted in this way!