was transferring one of my domain names
Someone was transferring one of my domain names
If you have a domain name(s) that you've registered how much thought
have you given to who else might want the name? That question crossed
my mind only in the context of - do I have a name that others might
like to buy or one that could potentially drive traffic to a website.
I was registering many domain names.
Some names I wanted to use myself, some to keep, hoping they would
go up in value, and others to sell as soon as I could find a buyer.
Most of the names I had made up - until it had become difficult
to think of new names that had meaning and were not very long. When
that happened I started registering expired domain names.
After accumulating several hundred names I decided to take a break
and pondered my next move. I didn't have to wait long. Within a
week I received a notice from my registrar. It seemed a registrar
in Germany had someone who was transferring one of my domain names
to their account.
How could they get away with that? That was my first experience
of having someone steal a name from me. I had heard of such things,
but experiencing them first hand is much more real.
I quickly emailed my registrar and asked what was going on and
that I had not given anyone permission to take one of my names.
I was told my domain had already been transferred to someone else.
I gave my registrar explicit instructions to cancel the transfer,
which they did immediately, and as soon as I got the name back they
placed a lock on the domain so it could not happen again.
Confident I had solved the problem, that incident quickly left
my mind, as I had a myriad of other things to do. But no - things
never seem so easy, as I came to realize a couple of weeks later.
I checked my email and there was an email from that same registrar,
where two weeks earlier someone tried to transfer my domain name.
It was a form letter in both English and German telling me they
were transferring my domain name to their registry. I asked a co-worker
who was German to translate the German language part. She verified
that language said the same as the English version. All my domains
were locked so there was nothing I had to do.
By now I wondered how my name, ~~~~fix.com*, which I made up, could
be so important. I did some quick research on the Internet and found
there was a company in Germany with the name ~~~~fix. It was starting
to aggravate me that if someone wanted my dot com version of the
name why didn't they just make me an offer for the name.
It seemed awfully suspicious that someone wanted that name so
badly that they would try to transfer it when it was plainly up
for sale. The directory website where that name was hosted showed
a for sale notice along with a price.
I quickly composed a letter and emailed it to that registrar expressing
my thoughts. I also raised the price of the domain name once I had
sent the email. Because I was upset about the matter I decided to
raise the selling price by a factor of ten. I never received a response
from my email and assumed the matter was closed.
Well, to make a long story short I received three more emails within
the next three weeks, each with attempts to get me to transfer my
domain name to them. The emails included dubious documentation and
said "You must agree to enter into a new Registration Agreement
with us". I ignored all attempts to sign away my domain name
to the other registrar.
The last four attempts to get me to surrender my domain name all
occurred just after ICANN changed the rules pertaining to domain
names. That new ruling took affect November 12, 2004 making it easier
(in my opinion) for someone to sneakily transfer a domain name.
With the current new rules it seems all you have to do is not respond
to your registrar within five days of them sending you notice indicating
your domain name is being transferred. If you happen to be on vacation,
not respond to your email quickly, or overlook such email, you may
find yourself short a domain name.
If however, your domain name(s) is locked, then you shouldn't have
to worry about that problem. My impression is that many registrars
are now locking domain names by default so they cannot be transferred
automatically, but you should check yours to be sure.
All this fuss over a domain name I made up got me thinking about
my rights to my domain name. I checked the Anticybersquatting Consumer
Protection Act, signed by President Clinton, November 29, 1999.
I'm no lawyer, but it does not look favorable for me, even though
I made up a name I did not think anyone else had. I'll let you the
reader check the law and come to your own conclusion.
There has been no further action on that domain name and it has
been two and a half months since the last attempt to transfer it
away from me. Is this the end of that saga?
* I've left out the first few characters for my protection. Contact
me if you must know the exact name.
About the Author
Charles is a programmer
- developer turned web entrepreneur. He has written software for
many major U.S. Corporations as well as written and sold his own
software. He is currently developing a website for his many domain
names and another on top-rated eZines. Charles lives near San Diego,
CA and operates www.LowCostMagazine.com.