Say it with a domain name

Love-Heart-02In less than two weeks the retailers will get another nice boost in takings as the world goes Valentine's Day crazy. Two years ago it was reported that us Brits spent close to £1 billion on gifts for our loved ones, a figure that will undoubtedly grow this year. In the US the situation is even crazier where this week the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicted that over $700 million will be spent just on pets for Valentine's Day.

A significant proportion of that cash will be spent on the Internet, with online florists gearing up for their biggest pay day of the year. The NRF estimate that 37% of gift buyers in the US will spend over $2.1 billion on flowers in the days before Valentine's Day. That figure doesn't even come close to the real amount as the scammers and fraudsters will be out in force, taking consumers hard-earned cash and delivering nothing but anger to loved ones.

Many people will find themselves on websites that have been set up specifically for Valentine's Day deceptions. The first time many consumers will become aware that they have been scammed is when their flowers fail to arrive on the big day. By then the cyber-criminals will have shut up their online shop, banking the cash (and more worryingly financial and personal information from the credit card transactions) and moved onto the next scam. Genuine online florists naturally raise their prices for their busiest day of the year, so people looking for a bargain may find themselves on rogue websites, lured by the cheaper prices. However, it always pays to remember the online maxim of 'if it looks too good to be true, it probably is'. It pays to do your research before you dive in not only for the sake of your bank balance but also for the health of your relationships! After all, will your partner really believe you if the flowers don't arrive when they should and you cry foul?

To avoid being the one being talked about in a bad way at your partners work place, take a minute to check that the website you will order gifts from is genuine. Our three simple steps should help to keep your personal details safe and make you a hero to your loved one.

  1. How long ago was the domain name registered? Put the details into and look at the date it was registered. Whilst it's not a fail-safe test, domains registered for a year or more tend to suggest a website that's reputable.

  2. Does the website use a SSL certificate? Websites that invest in protecting the personal and financial details of their customers will use SSL encryption.  This is shown by a padlock in the website address bar or when using certain browsers such as Chrome or Firefox the URL bar will be green. No SSL? No security to keep your details safe.

  3. What do other people say about the company? Social media is great. It allows information such as special offers, discounts or hot deals to be passed around the globe in a matter of seconds. And if the details appear on a Facebook site with hundreds of likes, or a Twitter account with thousands of followers it's all ok, right? Wrong. You can buy Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers, Pinterest Pins and so on for just a few pounds, delivered in seconds, giving the impression of authenticity. Do a search for peer reviews of a website, which are harder (although not impossible) to fake.

Of course, we don't always have to say it with flowers. For something really different, how about registering a new gTLD domain name such as a .rocks, .sexy or to be really innovative, a .我爱你 which translates into "I love you" and build a simple website professing your dying love for your partner that will last much longer than some roses...hopefully.

Written by Stuart Fuller, Director of Commercial Operations and Communications, NetNames.