call the police, there's been a domain name theft

28th Mar 2006

Domain names get stolen all the time. Didn't you know?

If you're forgetful (or plain stoopid) you might find yourself in the position where the renewal date of your domain name passes by stealthily and leaves you in the shit. Or maybe you've had a brilliant idea for a website (like Jon Hicks) and you investigate appropriate domain names only to find they've been purchased (and worse still, they're not even getting used); well what do you do?

Just recently I was approached by a chap looking for a new site. He informed me that the old version of his site wasn't working anymore. After inspection I found that the domain name had lapsed, not passing away in it's sleep peacefully, instead, when some crowd of domain name sharks had stepped in and wangled control. I knew it was a hopeless case but I contacted them pretending to be stupid (which turned out to be remarkably easy in case you were wondering) asking if they could give me my ball back and they responded with two fine suggestions that easily matched my own:

  1. We can transfer the domain to a holding account with a company like 123-reg.co.uk and then pass it over to an account on www.123-reg.co.uk which you own (it is free to setup an account), at which time you can change all of the details etc, and setup the forwarding. The charge for the administration involved in this is £195. Estimated Time: 24 hours
  2. We can request and complete the Nominet transfer of domain forms, send them on to you for your completion, then submit them to Nominet and wait for them to change the domain to your choosen registrant. The charge for the administration involved in this is £395. Estimated Time: 1 month

Ha ha. Who would read that and say, "Wow, there's no choice there, the first option is clearly the only one I have." They forgot to include a third option, which would be something like:

Or just purchase a brand new domain name with a different tld, it's much cheaper. Estimated Time: 5 minutes.

Of course this isn't really the best option because what you're losing with an established domain name can be very valuable, like Google Page Rank, incoming links and customer familiarity with your website name.

And the mob that nicked this domain name were well aware of these advantages. Well, it is their business! So are companies like this just scum? They wait patiently to pounce on some poor soul's misfortune. And if they haven't just snapped up your recently expired domain name, then they've already purchased every potentially cool domain name you could think of.

Here's a few pretty decent domain names which you'd need to pay a bleeding fortune for:

  • databases.com
  • footballers.com
  • antique.st
  • groupies.net
  • pdaexpert.com
  • nicepages.com
  • hurricanenews.com
  • prelaunch.net
  • brooklyn.com
  • commerce.co.uk
  • drama.com
  • fire.com
  • golfers.com
  • nastygirls.com
  • pcshop.com
  • worldchampions.com
  • 4x4.com
  • freemusicdownloads.com

I'm sure you could think of a few yourself.

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