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Experience with Fighting Domain Farming

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the gimme-malda-dot-com-dangit dept.

Your Rights Online 259

Lost_my_regs writes "I had a .com domain name relevant only to me, no legal trademark, registered and hosted at a provider that went bust. When attempting to re-host the domain I discovered, to my unpleasant surprise, that the domain is now registered by a domain farming company (name removed). My question is: Is there any way to claim back my domain?"

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259 comments

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I dont think so (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709112)

You are being very broad to what the name of the website was. Unless it was something like your fullname.com and the other person doesn't share the same name the only way you could get it back is from buying it from them.

In a word, no (4, Informative)

winkydink (650484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709120)

I longer words, if you are prepared to devote vast amounts of your time and effort then there is a very slim chance of your success.

Re:In a word, no (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709314)

If the registrar was ICANN certified, the domain registration should have reverted to ICANN or another ICANN provider when the company went bust. If the company was a subsidiary of another, the registration reverts to the parent. You do not lose the registration, you just get moved to a different registrar (though there can be some period of time while it all gets worked out). Sounds to me like you failed to follow the transfer or failed to pay when it came time to renew. Perhaps your spam filter shitcanned their instructions on how to start using the new registrar.

The relevant ICANN policy

j. Ensure that the registrar's obligations to its customers and to the registry administrator will be fulfilled in the event that the registrar goes out of business, including ensuring that SLD holders will continue to have use of their domain names and that operation of the Internet will not be adversely affected.

SLD is second level domain.

ICANN policy [icann.org]

Re:In a word, no (2, Insightful)

ls -la (937805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709488)

If the registrar was ICANN certified, the domain registration should have reverted to ICANN or another ICANN provider when the company went bust. If the company was a subsidiary of another, the registration reverts to the parent. You do not lose the registration, you just get moved to a different registrar (though there can be some period of time while it all gets worked out). Sounds to me like you failed to follow the transfer or failed to pay when it came time to renew. Perhaps your spam filter shitcanned their instructions on how to start using the new registrar.

The relevant ICANN policy

j. Ensure that the registrar's obligations to its customers and to the registry administrator will be fulfilled in the event that the registrar goes out of business, including ensuring that SLD holders will continue to have use of their domain names and that operation of the Internet will not be adversely affected.

SLD is second level domain.

ICANN policy [icann.org]

Very good find and post here. You should have logged in so people would see it.

Re:In a word, no (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709552)

You should have logged in so people would see it.

If people don't read AC posts that's their own problem. Read at -1, Nested!

Re:In a word, no (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709922)

you know - when i first came to /. i spent ages and a day trying to figure out who this prolific anonymous coward chap was - ha!

Re:In a word, no (4, Interesting)

nametaken (610866) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709576)

I was wondering myself about how this happened to the poster. I assume they used a host and ALSO used the host to do the domain registration.

I've always used a separate registrar from the hosting co's. The sad fact is every jerk in the world is a hosting provider nowadays, but you know some hosting co's and registration co's aren't going out of business any time soon. Sometimes that means spending $10/yr instead of $6/yr for the domain, and then do your bargain hunting for the hosting. The name can be important... where it's hosted is a much more flexible affair.

So to the poster... make it a lesson learned, you're not getting the name back.

The most important part, perhaps, is that there are reasonable ways to make sure this doesn't happen... WE DON'T NEED MORE RULES AND REGULATIONS!

Re:In a word, no (2, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709786)

They did not go bust, but lots of people lost domains that were registered at Registerfly due to mismanagement (and possibly fraud) by the owner(s) of Registerfly

Re:In a word, no (1)

Pinkfud (781828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709458)

Sadly, this is true. I used to own "pinkfud.org", a name totally useless to anyone else, and lost it to one of these people. Rather than try to buy it back, I registered "pinkfud.net" and went with that. I will never understand what they expected to gain from grabbing a no-value name like that.

Re:In a word, no (0, Offtopic)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709472)

I'm sure the legions of pinkfud-fuckers could explain it to you, except at this point in history they're still in the closet

pinkfud-fuckers (0, Offtopic)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709696)

Excuse us non-native English speakers, what does "pinkfud-fuckers" stand for? I could not find it on Google.

.

Re:pinkfud-fuckers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709816)

sounds like nonsense to me... and I am a native english speaker

Re:In a word, no (2, Informative)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709686)

I will never understand what they expected to gain from grabbing a no-value name like that.
It's all automatic, an outfit will harvest and release tens of thousands of names a day, without any human seeing them.

Re:In a word, no (1)

dalpeh (450604) | more than 6 years ago | (#21710012)

no is correct

ICANN (look it up) has rules. No trade mark or service mark, you have no basis. You get 1 month after the expiration of the domain before any register can list it for sale. Even then, some registers have a grace period that they are able to hold on to it for times longer. (don't know how this works, but it happens)
giving you a chance to renew if you have not got an automated system doing it for you, godaddy does, brinkster and others I use do not. Avoid brinkster and networksolutions, they really hack me off and I will drop them asap. I want to try host monster and a few others if they are as cheap and user friendly as godaddy.

my advice, try godaddy.com: register and put the name on the want to buy domain search, it will come up taken and have an option to buy on expiration or to use a domain agent to try to get you the site if you want to try a faster more expensive effort

my experience: I have about 200+ domains and 150 + websites across 4 domain registers

http://www.allthegospel.org/ [allthegospel.org]
http://www.gospelblog.org/ [gospelblog.org]
http://www.calvarychapelag.org/ [calvarychapelag.org]
http://www.allthegospel.co.uk/ [allthegospel.co.uk]

Find them... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709124)

...kill them, wait two years and reclaim what is yours.

Re:Find them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709382)

Yep, I agree.

It may be legal, but it's just plain wrong.
These domain parking organisations are criminals. Anybody with half a brain can see that.
Ask them for your domain back. It may have been an automated process and they may agree.
If that doesn't work. Kill them.

Buy it (0)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709136)

If its really that minor a domain, offer the current registrant a $100 and tell him it has sentimental value. These guys are registering under $10/year and realizing gross revenues in the range of $15/year. They'll take the deal.

Re:Buy it (3, Insightful)

Aioth (870942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709164)

So, make it worth their time to continue clogging up the internet?

Re:Buy it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709260)

It's worth their time either way.

Re:Buy it (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709272)

It is what it is. The UDRP is rigged so that even if you do have a strong claim it's costly and difficult to get the domain back. The OP didn't ask, "How do I take a stand?" He admitted he had a weak claim and asked, "How do I get it back?"

Re:Buy it (5, Informative)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709344)

So, make it worth their time to continue clogging up the internet?
Sadly, as long as pretend-to-do-no-evil giant Google keeps encouraging and rewarding [google.com] these shady practices, us regular guys are utterly powerless. It would take a tremendous concerted effort to outvote Google with our pitiful dollars.

Even so, I'd try everything I could before resorting to paying the leeches. It's just too distasteful for words.

Re:Buy it (4, Interesting)

klenwell (960296) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709418)

Sadly, as long as pretend-to-do-no-evil giant Google keeps encouraging and rewarding these shady practices, us regular guys are utterly powerless. It would take a tremendous concerted effort to outvote Google with our pitiful dollars.

I agree this is the crux of the problem. I wish Google would move against domain farming, but as parent points out, they're the industry leader.

Had a similar thing happen to me with a domain which I was using much like the OP. I had the .com version -- wasn't commercializing it in anyway. Let the registration lapse and it got vacuumed up by a domain farmer. I just registered the .net version. Then after a year, after the farmer probably lost money on it, the .com domain was free again and I re-registered it for a longer period with (what I hope is) a more reliable registrar, Yahoo.

Re:Buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709268)

Offer them A relatively small sum of money, sure. But you'd be stupid to tell them it has sentimental value!

No. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709144)

You'll have to buy it from them. Welcome to the wonderful world of capitalism!

Ask nicely (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709146)

This might sound silly, but it worked. Explain the situation calmly, and ask them nicely to get your name back for a small fee (however much you'd normally pay for registering a domain). Believe it or not, it worked for me.

Re:Ask nicely (5, Interesting)

justfred (63412) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709548)

Back around 2000, my domain name, www.sideshowfreak.com, was at Netcom, and they somehow managed to drop it in the middle of a back-end transfer. I found out two weeks later when my emails stopped coming.

I did what you suggested, asked nicely, offered to double his transfer expenses, explained that I was setting it up for some friends doing a circus.

He was a total and complete jackass. Hurling obscenities, suggesting unreasonable prices ($100,000). I gave up. It wasn't worth the effort or the agony. I did manage to call his mom, who had the phone number that the account was registered to - the guy was in college and didn't have a phone. The poor woman sounded like she had had this conversation dozens of times. "Please, I don't know why my son is doing this, can you speak to him and ask him to stop, I'm getting so many calls, he's just out of control..." Eventually he anonomized the whois.

That domain name is STILL hosted by a domain name farmer - don't know if it's still him. I expect whoever it is uses some metric of number of hits to determine how valuable a name is, so listing it here might bump up its value.

Domain name farming should be killed. If you're actually using a domain, fine. But if you're just holding it waiting for someone to pay an unreasonably high price, someone with a legit claim (say, the previous owner) should be able to snipe it back.

"NO PARKING!" (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709928)

Domain name farming should be killed.

How about a parked-site blacklist? It could be implemented by a Firefox plugin, or an app that modifies the hosts file for users of other browsers. I can imagine it wouldn't be hard to convince even the least IT literate user that this is a Good Thing.

HAL.

Re:Ask nicely (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21710016)

I would say it's more like "domain investing" rather than "domain farming". It's an industry and 100% legal. Not referring to cybersquatters and typosquatters here, obviously, but there is nothing wrong with buying generic domains. Everybody is allowed to buy and own as many domains as one wishes. You can do it, too. I would say if you lose a domain because you forgot to renew it, then that's your own fault. But don't blame the person who bought it. By the way, it's likely that he ended up paying more than $10 for it, because that's just the annual registration fee and the one-time acquisition fee should be $50+, depending on the value of the domain.

If your domain registrar shut down and you lost the domain due to this, contact ICANN and file a complaint. You should not lose your domain because of a registrar making bad business. If you forgot to renew it that's another thing, but I believe you're entitled to your domain if you lost it due to bad management by the domain registrar you used.

And FYI, $100,000 isn't necessarily an unreasonable price for a domain. Just imagine a generic domain driving hundreds of potential clients via direct navigation traffic to its owner's website. Each of these clients could be worth thousands of dollars. So you see, targeted traffic makes generic .com domains highly valuable. It's definitely not unusual that domains are traded at prices higher than $1,000... maybe even as high as $1+ million.

D.

On a related note... (1)

3p1ph4ny (835701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709148)

What's the best way to get a domain from a parker? I've got a particularly unique first name, and I'd like to buy myfirstname.com, which is obviously parked.

Should I just look up the admin in the whois and send him an e-mail? I wouldn't be opposed to spending $50-100 on this domain, I just want to know how to contact.

Re:On a related note... (4, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709288)

I've got a particularly unique first name, and I'd like to buy myfirstname.com, which is obviously parked.

Let me guess, your last name is mylastname? Unique, definitely, but unfortunate I'd say.

Re:On a related note... (1)

3p1ph4ny (835701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709310)

Taking my own advice, I just looked and my desired domain is listed as owned by "Moniker Privacy Services". Upon a visit to moniker.com, I see that I can place a minimum bid of $1000 for the domain. This is (obviously) out of the question, since it's been parked for the last year or so.

I suppose I could just wait for it to expire (2008) and have someone register it for me.

Maybe (1)

zapwow (939754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709150)

I was in your situation three years ago. I lost my domain simply because I forgot to renew it, so I had to wait three years before two other buyers decided it wasn't worth the money.

Sum it up... (1)

Mullen (14656) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709158)

No.

Unless your are big with lots of money and lawyers, it is not going to happen. You will have to buy the domain back from them, that is how domain farmers stay in business.

Ever hear of auto renew? Standard option on any halfway decent domain registrar.

Re:Sum it up... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709192)

His provider went bust and he was probably buying the domain through his provider. Sorry, auto-renew wouldn't have saved him.

Getting Your Domain Name Back (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709162)

I'm no lawyer, and I don't know the details, but I seem to remember reading that these creeps have to make some use of the name, they can't just scoop it up and squat on it forever. I'm sure somebody here can give you chapter and verse on this.

Re:Getting Your Domain Name Back (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709326)

That's trademarks. You have to use trademarks to keep them. A domain name you can squat on forever, or at least as long as you're willing to keep renewing it.

Re:Getting Your Domain Name Back (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709438)

That sucks. Can we just take a couple of these leeches out an stake 'em to an anthill or something?

Re:Getting Your Domain Name Back (1)

Thuktun (221615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709682)

And even if that weren't the case, they would surely try to argue that the "search" pages typically hosted at a squatted domain meant they were using the domain.

Trademarks (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709168)

I can't give you any real advice, and IANAL, but do keep in mind that trademarks do not have to be registered in order to be valid - rather, they become trademarks when you use them, even if you don't register them.

Re:Trademarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709350)

A name becomes a trademark only when you use it for "trade", i.e. in business. Even to register a name, you need to indicate when you previously started using it in trade.

But the OP I would guess was not using it for commerce.

Re:Trademarks (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709360)

You're thinking copyrights. Copyright vests as soon as you create the work.

For a trademark to be valid, you have to declare that its a trademark. You generally do this by placing the letters "TM" after the mark or R in a circle if you've registered the mark. If you just use the name and don't include that notification then it's not a trademark and you have no protection under trademark law.

Re:Trademarks (1)

ISayWeOnlyToBePolite (721679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709492)

For a trademark to be valid, you have to declare that its a trademark. You generally do this by placing the letters "TM" after the mark or R in a circle if you've registered the mark. If you just use the name and don't include that notification then it's not a trademark and you have no protection under trademark law.
Where did you get that information? It seems to contradict my small google research and certainly it's news to me.

Re:Trademarks (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709774)

Perhaps I oversimplified. Let me put it to you this way:

If I open Bill's Diner and register the trademark, no one else can open a Bill's Diner anywhere in the US that there isn't already a Bill's Diner. If they do, I can sue and win.

If I open Bill's Diner and place a "TM" after it, no one else can open a Bill's Diner nearby. By placing the TM after it, I have claimed the trademark even though its a relatively generic name.

If I open Bill's Diner and do nothing, someone else can open a Bill's Diner a block away and there's very little I can do about it. Its pretty generic and there's no reason the other Bill's Diner should have suspected that I was claiming a mark.

You have a legal right to slap TM on anything that you could reasonably claim as a trademark. Doing so carries the specific legal meaning that you are claiming the mark. And trademark law is very slippery when it comes to how close you have to be to violate. If you want to claim a mark and don't at least put TM beside it, you're not adequately protected.

Keep Offering (4, Insightful)

stevesh6 (1018130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709170)

They may not take the 100.00 offer right away. They'll probably come back with a ridiculous counter offer. Keep offering the 100, and they'll eventually take it.

No, go lower on the counter offer. (5, Insightful)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709330)

They'll probably come back with a ridiculous counter offer. Keep offering the 100, and they'll eventually take it.

I would say start lowering it. They come back with $5,000: come back with $50.

Those people are out for easy money. Easy money should be peanuts or less.

Be prepared to walk so that they'll lose and they'll lose because the domain name is only good to the person who's responsible for this article. Meaning, after they're registration time is up, they'll abandon it themselves. Paying them is to only get it back sooner.

Re:No, go lower on the counter offer. (2, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709390)

Believe it or not, those people are human beings too. They can be insulted and almost anyone can afford to walk away from $100 because the person offering insulted them.

Re:No, go lower on the counter offer. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709604)

Believe it or not, those people are human beings too.

That is unlikely. The kind of creature who does this, knowing that they will at best be taking advantage of another party's reputation and at worst actively damaging them to make a profit, is probably a lower life form. Even if their actions are technically legal and, at least for now, permitted by the domain registration authorities, those actions are still unethical at best. In other contexts, analogous behaviour would be bordering on criminal.

Re:No, go lower on the counter offer. (2, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709708)

Nevertheless, you'll find that they respond to insult the same as any real human being. If you want to convince one of them to take a particular action, tossing an insult his way is not an effective strategy.

Re:No, go lower on the counter offer. (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709956)

Believe it or not, those people are human beings too.

No they're not. The biggest question when dealing with them should be whether the assault charges are leveled by the police department or PETA.

This is sad news (1)

Thilo2 (214163) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709172)

I'm sorry, but unless you're a corporation with good lawers and a long breath you probably won't have any chance getting the domain back without paying the squatters what they want you to. I've seen this happen to so many domains. In a way, these domain farmers are parasites and no better than the ordinary spammer. I get really mad when I see another one of those generic pages that are packed with advertisements to even get additional revenue. The only way this could be fought would be to make it more expensive for these companies to register domains.

Sue (5, Funny)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709184)

Sue, sue everybody. Sue the now defunct company that lost your domain. Sue the company that bought your domain. Sue the owners of said companies directly. Sue their parents, their wives, and their children. Sue their pets. Sue everybody!

Great Idea (1)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709482)

In this course of action you're bound to find somebody that's wronged you. Dumped by a girl in high school, thats a cool million for pain and suffering. The basketball coach laughed at you for trying out, another cool million for discrimination against your geek heritage. Your parents kick you out of their basement... that's a tricky one... ah! Sue your mother for medical malpractice all those times she gave you chicken soup instead of taking you to a real doctor. By this time, you're so mega rich that you've forgotten about the jerk that stole your domain. So you go and send them a thank you card for sending you in the right direction on your path of litigiousness paved with gold.

Re:Great Idea (1, Funny)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709814)

In this course of action you're bound to find somebody that's wronged you. Dumped by a girl in high school,
This is a /. reader we are discussing. In order to be dumped by a girl in high school, he would have had to have had a girlfriend in high school. As a /. reader, this is implausible.

Re:Great Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709978)

This is a /. reader we are discussing. In order to be dumped by a girl in high school, he would have had to have had a girlfriend in high school. As a /. reader, this is implausible.

Well, I did have a girlfriend in high school, so there goes your theory.

She wasn't very popular, and her hands were kind of big, kind of tall, too, but I didn't mind.

Re:Sue (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709490)

Sue, sue everybody. Sue the now defunct company that lost your domain. Sue the company that bought your domain. Sue the owners of said companies directly. Sue their parents, their wives, and their children. Sue their pets. Sue everybody!
Is this what happens when Keyser Söze goes down the legal route?

Was it not yours? (1)

grahammm (9083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709216)

IANAL but surely if you had registered the domain then it was, at least until time for renewal, yours? So even if the hosting company went bust you should have been able to move it to a different hosting company.

In future use the trade mark rules (5, Insightful)

Nomen Publicus (1150725) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709232)

It's too late for the person in the article, but if your domain name is important and doesn't infringe any existing trade marks, trade mark it immediately.

The domain now has no value to another as they cannot use or sell it without violating the trademark. You also have a much stronger position in the various appeal processes.

Re:In future use the trade mark rules (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709736)

Trade marks are regional. Domains are not. Internet knows no boundaries; even if you register your tradermark in, say, the USA (this being Slashdot), it may not be valid in Hong Kong (where I happen to live). Or in Japan. Or any European country. So it may be a good idea in the first placve, it's not necessarily going to get your domain back cheaper or so.

Re:In future use the trade mark rules (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709782)

On the other hand, you're obligated to vigorously protect against any misuse of your trademark or else it's quite easy to lose it, in which case it does you no good. One should consider beforehand whether the domain will be worth the added legal expense. IANAL, not legal advice, etc.

Re:In future use the trade mark rules (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 6 years ago | (#21710034)

It's too late for the person in the article, but if your domain name is important and doesn't infringe any existing trade marks, trade mark it immediately.

Doesn't quite work this way, as the article submitter indicated that the domain name is meaningful only to the submitter. Might I suggest a more authoritative source, such as this link [uspto.gov] , instead of depending upon Slashdot for legal advice?

Wait (1)

Heston (1122839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709246)

If the domain is as useless to anyone but yourself as you claim, it should be available after they find out it was a waste of monkey to farm.

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709352)

yeah, but it depends on how many monkeys they have to waste.

Re:Wait (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709396)

They know it's valuable to someone. They didn't just register some random combination of letters. They checked which domains timed out and registered them, for exactly the purpose we see now. Someone wants it back and is willing to pay the extortion money.

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709500)

If the domain is as useless to anyone but yourself as you claim, it should be available after they find out it was a waste of monkey to farm.

I really hate monkeys being wasted.

Get a trademark (1)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709250)

IANAL, and I have no idea what the domain rules are with .com, what arbitration and so on you have to jump through first, but if it gets to court then it will help to go get a trademark, even if your business looks even close to real then it will look better than a farmed domain.

how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709476)

what are the instructions on how to do this and how much does it cost?

Please Clarify (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709282)

So what I think you are saying is your registrar/hosting went bust and some other one picked up your registration (before it expired) and now claims it as wholly their own.

Is that what you are saying?

Scary. What is a good domain registrar or ... (1)

mikep.maine (585648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709304)

Scary. What is a good domain registrar or how do we all check to make sure we are not caught in the same dilemma ?

domain name squatters (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709316)

I may be wrong but I think as long as the domain is kept current the registrar is owns the domain and nobody could take it, even if the host goes bust.

Falcon

Buy domains directly from registrars (2, Insightful)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709366)

Disclaimer: I don't currently own any domains.

Things like this are why all the domains I've bought in the past have been bought directly from a Registrar.

Hosts going out of business is not the only danger with domains. There's also the practice of hosts keeping the domain if you ever choose to switch hosts.

As for registrars, the only advice I can give is to avoid GoDaddy [slashdot.org] , as they cave to big corporate interests.

Re:Buy domains directly from registrars (1)

rho (6063) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709706)

Good domain registrars:

Gandi.net [gandi.net]

DynDNS.org [dyndns.org]

Not the cheapest, but both are Good Folks(TM).

This recently happened to me. (3, Interesting)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709412)

Domain farming causes me no small amount of anger in principle, but it recently bit me, as well. Due to problems with my registrar (joker.com--which after years of service without complaint I now would recommend NO ONE use), a domain I managed for some one else was snagged by a domain farmer.

This was upsetting enough by itself, but what really caused me to become enraged is that the same company that bought it and sold it back to me [i]IS A LICENSED REGISTRAR[/i]. Granted, they do it under a couple of different names, but it's quite clearly all the same operation, or at least willing co-operation. The fact that this sort of thing is allowed to go on shows that either ICANN allows it or is completely inept in regulating it. The only question is whether they are incompetent or swayed by money at some point in the process.

Re:This recently happened to me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709906)

what were your problems with joker ? they are great.

Re:This recently happened to me. (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21710006)

Odd - We use Joker, and despite running a fierce email server, there renewal alerts and wrdp checks things do get through. Mind you we are not loons that block email from europe because it is not in america that some folk in america (?aol?) think good logic.

Being european i prefer to use a large eu based registrar rather than an american reg like godaddy who run some rather dubious scams and documented here in slashdot.

And no we dont work for, or sell Joker services.

Think bigger (2, Funny)

Hexedian (626557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709422)

The real solution involves finding the domain farmer's home address. The real solution also involves burly men and baseball bats.

How it happened makes a huge difference (4, Insightful)

dpm67 (258482) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709424)

I have a fair amount of experience with such situations, mostly from helping various clients, and in my experience it largely depends on how it happened. Did you simply allow the domain to expire and then someone else snatched it up? If so, you are pretty much just plain out of luck. If it is not a pre-existing trademark of yours, then you really have no basis for trying to reclaim it under ICANN dispute resolution policies. If the new registrant somehow took control of it under false pretense - like submitted falsified statements and/or documentation to dispute the domain, then you most certainly have grounds to file your own dispute. If that's the case, then you should initiate a dispute via the registrar you normally use for your domain registrations. If it doesn't really fall into those extremes, then an ICANN dispute is probably not going to lead anywhere and your only option would be some kind of legal action, but that is not likely to have any different kind of outcome either.

Wait! Patience! They may be a "taster".. (5, Insightful)

thatseattleguy (897282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709444)

I have some experience here. My strong advice for now:

Wait. Don't contact them. Don't make any waves.

Often - very often - a domain farmer picks up the domain for just a week or so (no matter how long the WHOIS says it's really registered for) - and waits to see if the pay-per-click ads generate enough revenue to make it worth keeping. So often the best thing you can do is...nothing. Don't visit the site (generates traffic), don't contact them (tells them they have a chance of milking you for $), don't do anything - just sit and wait. Often the name will get dropped and another farmer will pick it up immediately - but if you're patient and check back in with the WHOIS, you should eventually see it free again for long enough to grab it.

This may sound ridiculous, but it's how the domain name economy is currently working, courtesy of weak ICAAN rules. Make it work in your favor - you want that one name, but they want 100,000 that generate enough revenue to make up the low ($3.50/year? can't remember) ICAAN fees necessary to hold on to it. (They know WIPO arbitration is going to cost you $1500+legal fees, so in that route the numbers are on their side.)

This has worked with the .com versions of two different domain names held by non-profit clients of mine just this year. Good luck.

/thatseattleguy/

mod parent up! (1)

RandyOo (61821) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709762)

If any post on this topic deserves a +5 Insightful, this is the one.

Re:Wait! Patience! They may be a "taster".. (2, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709832)

It might be fun to show fake interest in worthless domain names...
If you can make these squatters think your interested in some pointless domain, they're more likely to hold on to it for longer and try to sell it back to you for an extortionate rate.
So we find some worthless domains, offer well below what they want, and when their counter offer comes in just say you'l wait for it to expire... Get them to renew the worthless domains for a few more years.

Re:Wait! Patience! They may be a "taster".. (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709840)

This also happened to me. I wanted to me when I wanted to transfer a domain. I tired to so do, and was not able to get a release through the web interface. No problem, i thought, i will just wait for it to almost expire. That led me to learn that I could not transfer a domain within 30 days of it expiring.

When it expired, it was immediately converted to a ad/spam/link farm type of page. After several weeks it was released and I was able to get it back.

I am not sure how businesses deal with this. On most products, one can get a 10, 50 or even 99 year lease, and if something happens to the agent, the courts protect your right. OTOH, I guess this is all part of freewheeling new economy, in which the ordinary laws of economics and physics have been suspended.

Re:Wait! Patience! They may be a "taster".. (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709852)

Wait. Don't contact them. Don't make any waves.

Often - very often - a domain farmer picks up the domain for just a week or so (no matter how long the WHOIS says it's really registered for) - and waits to see if the pay-per-click ads generate enough revenue to make it worth keeping. So often the best thing you can do is...nothing.
This is excellent advice -- I would add one more comment -- don't even visit the web page.

I was able to pick up a domain that I wanted this way recently. I knew that the domain would not be renewed (defunct company) so I put an order into goDaddy's domain backordering service. Someone else snagged the domain, but after a week, it was available again and I got it.

This works because of a huge hole in the registering process -- the registrars have 1 week to pay the fee or give up the domain. Thus a registrar can "test-drive" a domain for a week. If ICANN got rid of this ability to return the domain without payment it would go a long way towards removing registration abuses.

Please Clarify (4, Interesting)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709464)

Names are registered with Registrars. Hosting is done at ISPs. Are you saying your now-defunct ISP where the site was hosted was also a Registrar?

If that was the case, when your site was registered was it in your name or the ISP's name? Who was Technical contact, you or the ISP?

If it was in the ISPs name and they went defunct and were bought, then you're screwed.

Re:Please Clarify (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709718)

That would depend on the agreement between customer and ISP. I.E. Whether the agreement b/w ISP and customer states that the domain belongs to the ISP or the customer.

Or whether the ISP is merely acting as an agent or bailee of the customer in registering and managing the domain on their behalf.

I guess if the ISP has already been liquidated; the time for the customer to file any necessary legal paperwork to claim THEIR property in possession by the company being liquidated has probably come and passed.

Owning a domain name is like owning a home (0)

mrkitty (584915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709480)

registrar = bank
renewal fee = mortgage
not paying renew fee = foreclosure

You didn't pay attention to the expiration date/when a payment was due and the registrar(bank) resold your property. You're SOL.

Re:Owning a domain name is like owning a home (1)

ls -la (937805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709590)

Did you even read the *summary*? Unless the summary is quite misleading, he didn't forget to pay the registration, the provider went out of business and he somehow lost the registration, which is *not* how ICANN is supposed to work.

fa60rz (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709498)

Certified Offer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709556)

Make an official offer using Network Solutions' Certified Offer service:

http://www.certifiedofferservice.com/ [certifiedo...ervice.com]

That way the current registrant can be sure they will receive the money and you can be sure you will receive the domain.

(name removed) (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709570)

Why bother posting the article here if you dont give the facts? Such as the COMPANY NAME? Waste of time.

Re: (name removed) (2, Insightful)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709672)

Because then other people would try to buy the domain and resell it to the poor sap as arbitrage, a thousand slashdotters would look at the page generating ad revenue, and so on. There's no reason to give the company name, and there are ample reasons not to.

who owned the domain? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709572)

If the domain was owned by you, and you haven't signed any forms to transfer it, then you should ask your registar to please show you the document signed by you that approves of the transfer.

If they can't show it, then threaten to sue and then sue.

Registars need a signed transfer document from the owner to transfer domains. However if the domain was never on your name anyway then your shit out of luck.

A few months back this even got stricter because domain squaters where sending out transfer forms to companies with a bullshit letter that they should sign it. (it still amazes me that that actually worked) So now a days you can also lock your domain name, which means that before the domain can get transfered even more hoops have to be jumped. And i believe depending on where you are, theres a quarantine time, before the name can be released again.

Process Issues for Registrar Bankruptcies (4, Informative)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709584)

I had a .com domain name relevant only to me, no legal trademark, registered and hosted at a provider that went bust. When attempting to re-host the domain I discovered, ...

This account seems somehow wrong. Did you leave out some material information from the story?

Did this happen to you on a yearly boundary? If not, and if you had a registration on the domain that was good for a year, why couldn't you just go to another domain provider and identify yourself for a transfer? Was the account in good standing? Am I confused, or is this information not a matter of public record that extends beyond the end of your term of registration? Is the registrar at which you bought it the only source of record for such information? That would sound terribly dangerous as a single-point-of-failure for the web in the case of any kind of disaster, much less bankruptcy.

Additionally, did you get no notice? Did you just come in one day and find that your domain no longer responded and that all domains at that registrar were up for grabs? If so, that again seems very weird. I thought a bankruptcy required some court intervention at least for the purpose of asset divvying, and the notion that the registered domains were not an asset that required deliberative action seems odd to me. Possible, certainly--I'm not a lawyer and don't know the process. But odd nevertheless.

Did you act at the moment of the bankruptcy--or did you wait? That is, was your problem the result of the bankruptcy or your failure to act quickly? I realize these issues are probably sad and embarrassing, and I'm not meaning to rub salt in a wound. But Slashdot articles inform people about how the world works, and in exchange for the attention and good advice you offer, I think it's good to offer a complete accounting of the story.

Are you sure you're not leaving out some information? Perhaps the left-out information is not relevant to the question you were asking, but implicit in the question you were asking is alerting people to something that might happen to them. And I'd like to understand better the process by which this could happen to someone else so that we all, as a community, might understand if there's a process issue that needs fixing to assure proactively, rather than reactively, that this shouldn't happen in the future.

Sorry about your problem, btw. Losing a domain happened to a friend of mine by the more usual means of just failing to pay for it for a while. Someone scooped it up and they were left paying a couple hundred dollars to get it back. I agree that's a nuisance, but it does argue for keeping payments up to date on things you care about.

Obtaining a new domain? (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709602)

One problem that many people run into is finding a 'non-parked' domain to register...

False modesty on your part (1)

AmigaBen (629594) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709620)

Let me get this straight. You claim a company has intentionally wronged you via dirty business practices, and you want to protect them by leaving their name out?

Seems like good intentions gone wrong.

Re:False modesty on your part (1)

mindwar23 (964732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709976)

Perhaps it was redacted by /. editors.

Getting a domain... (1)

tristian_was_here (865394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709636)

I think the only way you can get rights back to that domain was if it was a Trade Mark of some company.

Block domain squatters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21709690)

This is a list of domain squatters that you should block.

8.15.231.115
8.15.231.139
63.214.247.170
64.20.33.115
64.20.33.131
64.20.49.210
64.27.14.2
64.40.116.41
64.186.56.73
66.45.231.154
66.45.254.244
66.45.254.245
66.154.25.64
66.246.195.42
68.178.232.143
69.46.226.166
69.46.228.43
82.98.86.163
82.98.86.170
82.98.86.171
82.98.86.178
204.13.160.26
204.13.160.129
208.73.212.12
208.254.26.132
208.254.26.140
209.62.21.206
209.85.51.151
209.200.153.152
216.34.131.135
216.40.33.251
216.40.33.252
217.68.70.69

Blocking this IP address will prevent your browser from visiting ad pages when you enter a typo in the domain name, or an domain squatter have stolen a domain.

4Chan had this happen last night (1)

autocracy (192714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709860)

I'd say, follow their story and see what they do... http://4chanstatus.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

It's called speculation, not farming (-1, Offtopic)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709866)

Perhaps you've heard of it. Happens all the time: Real estate speculators buy up property (perhaps the property *you* had your eye on), and watch to see what happens to it. If it's a dud...they dump it. If it appreciates, a smart investors hangs on.

House flippers do the same thing: They buy up houses (perhaps the house *you* had your eye on). They spend some money, hoping that their investment brings returns.

I'm sure you can think of your own example. The point? Domain name speculators (call them what you want) look for domains they can make money with. It's no different from any other speculator (real estate, stock, arbitrage, etc.). With speculation, there are always winners and losers, because it's a zero-sum game.

My suggestion: If your domain wasn't taken from you via nefarious means, then get over it, learn from your mistakes, and move on. This is the way life is. Bitching about it on Slashdot won't change things.

Those of you who will mod me down for this know, deep in your hearts, that I'm right, but just can't get over the fact that someone else thought of the idea before you did.

Re:It's called speculation, not farming (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21710044)

Except in this case he already *owned* the domain. However, the registrar went out of business and somebody else bought it through another registrar. It would be like if you mortgaged a house through your bank for a while, then your bank went out of business and some guy came along and mortgaged the house you're currently living in through another bank. It sounds like he didn't perform the steps required to retain ownership in the time limit provided, though. So while it's probably technically legal and proper it's still kind of a dickish thing to do.

Types of registrars (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21709942)

Domain registrars come in several types:
  • ISPs who register domains in their name on your behalf. Many "free domain with hosting" deals are like this. This is strictly for throwaway domains, not for anything serious.
  • Resellers of domain registration. These are "affiliates" of actual registrars. Don't use them.
  • Accredited ICANN registrars who are primarily domain speculators. There are hundreds of these, most of them false fronts. "enom1.com", "enom2.com", ... "enom471.com" are examples.
  • Real registrars, consumer grade Go Daddy is at this level. Low rates, bad service, policies that give the registrar discretionary authority to delete the domain.
  • Real registrars, commercial grade A bit more upscale. Network Solutions is at this level. They're good enough for "ibm.com".
  • Real registrars, national brand grade MarkMonitor is in this business. They register domains like "google.com" and "ford.com". If anything goes wrong with your domain, alarms go off, and technicians and lawyers descend on the problem. If you have to ask, you can't afford it.
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