vir·tu': excellence or merit in objects of art

Recently there has been a spate of clients asking "What do I do about this bill?" or "I tried to complete this registration but the link is broken," or "Is this really legitimate?"

So we're going to very quickly address a common scam that people see, and then at the end we'll review with you who you will get bills from.

Here's an email (with some information removed) that one client received:

Important Information About Your New Domain

Congratulations on your domain ****. Have you had your website listed in the search engines yet?

Google, Yahoo, Bing 

Submitting your website to the search engines is one of the best things you can do for your website 

Give your website the boost it needs and submit your site to the top search engines. 

If you'd like your website listed in Google, Bing, and Yahoo follow the link below:

Register *****

This is a common e-mail sent out to people who have just registered a domain name. The people who send it recognize that if someone just bought a domain name, they may be new to the online business world, and therefore may be fooled into thinking that they should spend a lot of money to get listed in the search engines. As a matter of fact, submitting to search engines doesn't require ridiculous monthly fees (or even a single ridiculous fee). Plus they use the fancy term "register" because they know you've heard that word before, and understand it has something to do with owning and keeping the domain, so they use it in hopes that it'll fool you into thinking this is something you must do to keep your domain name.

Interestingly, this particular site's terms and conditions say (in effect) "We can change our terms, conditions, fees, etc. at any time, and we're not responsible to notify you of these changes. It's up to you to keep re-reading our terms and conditions to make sure we haven't changed anything."

Do NOT respond to offers like this.

Here's another one, again, with pertinent data removed. This one came to a client who is not a new domain name owner.

RE: Attn: ****.com Notice of Registration Soon

[snipped a lot of personal data, as well as official sounding invoice information, etc]

Dear ****,
Don't miss out on this offer which includes search engine submissions for ****.com for 12 months. There is no obligation to pay for this order unless you complete your payment by 10/21/2015. Our services provide submission and search engine ranking for domain owners. This offer for submission services is not required to renew your domain registration. 

Failure to complete your search engine registration by 10/21/2015 may result in the cancellation of this order (making it difficult for your customers to locate you using search engines on the web). 

You are under no obligation to pay the amount stated above unless you accept this offer by 10/21/2015. This is a courtesy reminder for ****.com.

This offer for ****.com will expire on 10/21/2015. Act today!

This one, again, makes use of the term "registration" to scare the reader into thinking "Oh no! I'll lose my domain if I don't pay these people!" Granted, later on in the email in the fine print they acknowledge that their service is not required for domain registration, but they are almost certainly hoping you won't notice that. Also, they hint (without saying it outright) that this is a continuation of a service you are already receiving. And finally, they imply that cancelling this order (that you never made) will negatively affect your website.

Incidentally, their email ends with a link that says "Secure Online Payment," but the link is to an http address, not an https address. Not so secure.

Delete this email. The people running this "service" might be operating within the letter of the law, but you do NOT want to get involved with them.

Who Will You Get Bills From?

You will get bills from us, for hosting. You will also get a bill from the company you purchased your domain name from. For most of our clients, the registrar is, and for some of our church/charity clients it is If you get a bill that implies that it's related to your website, but it's not from us, and not from your domain registrar, it's probably a scam. You should feel free to send us an email about it; we're happy to look at other bills and help you figure out whether they're legitimate or not.

Paying Your Bills

Most of our clients pay us by check, and the address to send a check to is on the contact page of our site. Do not send checks made out to anyone but "Virtu Software" and do not send checks to any other address but the one on our contact page. In this way you will guarantee you are not being spoofed by someone pretending to be us.

When it comes to paying your domain name registration fee, here's a good rule of thumb: if you get a renewal e-mail, don't click the link in the email. Instead, go directly to the web address for your registrar, and login there. If your domain registration is due, there will be a notice, and a link to renew. Do everything from within their website.  And if you go directly to the registrar's website, login, and find that you don't have a registration payment due, you can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that you managed to evade getting scammed.