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  1. #1

    Fraudulent Theft of Website...Other Relevant Experiences Out There?

    Dear Colleagues:

    I want to open a thread to solicit comments on the technical or other aspects of what we believe was a fraudulent usurpation of our web site, first by misrepresenting the renewal date (by the ISP host) as next year, then expiring the site, demanding a massive reinstatement fee. We refused, let the site expire, and then found it snapped up by a pirate (using some sort of software that grabs a site at the moment it is released) who now advertises related services for profit.

    We want to solicit professional input on this subject, and/or others who may have had similar experiences. This is quite important to us and perhaps other consumers can benefit from our serious investigation.

    This has obviously impacted our referrals, which were to our non-profit literary agency assisting new writers that has been in existence for 10 years (a charitable literary trust). This seems to go far beyond 'sharp practice', and involves a UK company at the front end, and an Australian one at the 'pickup' end. It smacks of conspiracy or at least collusion, possibly by employees of the hosting company (perhaps without their knowledge) with the second (who obviously knew precisely what they were getting).

    Thanks for all inputs, with professional regards, Paul Muller (real name)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    85
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Muller View Post
    Dear Colleagues:

    I want to open a thread to solicit comments on the technical or other aspects of what we believe was a fraudulent usurpation of our web site, first by misrepresenting the renewal date (by the ISP host) as next year, then expiring the site, demanding a massive reinstatement fee. We refused, let the site expire, and then found it snapped up by a pirate (using some sort of software that grabs a site at the moment it is released) who now advertises related services for profit.

    We want to solicit professional input on this subject, and/or others who may have had similar experiences. This is quite important to us and perhaps other consumers can benefit from our serious investigation.
    Tough Luck. Move on... It's ultimately up to you to pay attention and have your domain registration registration paid for and active in advance. A lot of times, after domains expire it looks like the domain registration has 1 year left because the ISP has the domain on "hold" for you to renew it. If you neglect that time, then the domain goes into redemption before it is deleted. During the redemption time typically it is $100 or more to retain your domain name, this typically goes to Verisign's pocket and not the registrars (which I am assuming is what you mean by reinstatement fee) . Once redemption is over, its wide open for anyone to register. It's your own fault if you let it go that long.

    If there are legitimate trademark concerns and it is worth fighting for you can go through the UDRP process as mandated by ICANN . However that is likely to cost a couple grand by the time it is all said and done.

  3. #3

    Thank You...But

    If what you say is true, that the expiration date in the last 3-4 weeks BEFORE expiration reads that it expires one year later, then this is what I would call a 'system' trap, and if so, it fooled our web site manager, a mature and experienced practitioner. It was for that reason that we did not renew, and the rest is history.

    We have indeed moved on, did that the next day in the business, no regrets, life is like that.

    Can you provide me with some references that document how the registration can show valid for one additional year, why this is done, and why we should have known better? I have never heard of this, nor has our professional man.

    This, if true, is so bizarre as to stretch credulity.

    Best regards, and thanks, Paul Muller.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    203
    It is a hard experience but I believe you will come out of it with great lesson. You should always check when your domain name will expire. You can go to networksolutions.com and do a whois on your domain name. It should tell you when your domain is going to expire.
    Good luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    639
    You might want to check out the following.

    http://www.icann.org/

    Also check this out for the domain life cycle http://www.icann.org/en/registrars/gtld-lifecycle.htm
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    4,033
    I do not agree on your conspiracy or collusion statement. As we all know expired domains which are available for registration are often snapped up by domain squatters as soon as it is available to be registered.

  7. #7
    Thanks guys, much appreciated. I agree with James L that there is software out there to snap up domain names, but surely they don't snap up and register at $25 a time, every domain name that becomes available...they will likely need and want extra information, such as how viable the site was, is there business associated with it etc. This is a bit murky.

    The main issue is emerging from this thread and I would like to emphasize that we are now focusing on this specific issue: Does any legitimate part of these processes (such as the official sites noted in the thread) and procedures customarily show the expiry date of a website both before and after the renewal date as valid for one more year? And if that does not and cannot happen, and it was observed by our experienced Web consultant that the hosting ISP so indicated both before and after the renewal date, what comfort do you have for him? He e-mailed this to me immediately, so this isn't a matter of delayed memory playing tricks; it was also checked several times.

    All responses sincerely appreciated.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    4,033
    Well you should use a public WHOIS like DomainTools to check on your domain's expiry date instead of relying on your hosting provider's record. Everyone makes mistake but it varies depending on whether it is intentional or unintentional.

    As for the domain squatters, most of them will snap up domains which are at least a few years old and have quite some traffic to it. Even iNet Interactive ('s owner) provide such a service: http://www.deleteddomains.com/

    P/S: It can cost as low as $6.95 for a domain name and not $25.00. To domain squatters this is a money worth invested and they will try to sell the domain back to you for 50 or 100 times of that price.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    10,482
    P/S: It can cost as low as $6.95 for a domain name and not $25.00. To domain squatters this is a money worth invested and they will try to sell the domain back to you for 50 or 100 times of that price.
    Exactly Right, I bought a domain "Techyforum.com" back in the day. I originally bout it for $9.95 through a Webhost, Bad Mistake and now it is for sale for nearly $1700.00. So you are right about that James, I would not have the funds to re-coupe that domain, However, I do not really need it
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Tech Belt
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    Yeah I have personal experience from the 1and1 theivery ring. The best you can do is wait or just move on. I'm still waiting for my domain to expire.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt - HostMist View Post
    Yeah I have personal experience from the 1and1 theivery ring. The best you can do is wait or just move on. I'm still waiting for my domain to expire.
    Why> Why don't renew that and transfer? That is the way of risk and your domain name might be lost

  12. #12

    Thievery Rings and Thanks to All

    Thanks, lads, much appreciated. The fundamentals in all this are pretty clear now, and we should have relied on a public source for the expiry date.

    The investigation is now clearly focused on the possibility that at the ISP's end (or somewhere in between) there was an intervention, either with or without their knowledge (more probably without), that misrepresented the expiry date.

    I am particularly interested in more information about Matt's comment (thanks) "1 and 1 thievery ring".

    It does seem clear that something intervened between the servers at our ISP host and our consultant's computer display. The evidence that the date was shown as 2010 is overwhelming...e-mails sent immediately this was noted, and the interrogations were multiple. That's why we didn't try to renew it. Again, the point that we erred in trusting the ISP alone is well taken, but the point now is to assess:

    Whether this type of situation/behaviour/scam or otherwise is known to others or has been experienced or investigated by others. All assistance very much appreciated and respected, as I am a retired IT consultant with 30 years of practice in the UK and USA.

    As noted earlier, we 'moved on' the next day. This isn't about sour grapes. It is about finding out what went wrong, where, why, and how, in the interests of other users and good business practices. In that sense this is truly altruistic, analogous to the situation when a crime is committed and the victim assists the police and other investigative authorities in discovering the facts so as to protect others in the future. No kudos solicited or expected, but a clear statement of our intent seems appropriate at this point.

    All assistance much appreciated.

    Best professional regards, Paul.

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