Invasion of the Name Snatchers

Domain Kidnappers are watching youKidnappers are waiting for you to relax your vigilance!  They’re waiting in the shadows in the best of neighborhoods!  They’re watching your home(page).

These thieves aren’t after your children, and what they’re doing is probably legal.

They’re lowlifes, nevertheless.

These kidnappers hang out in cyberspace waiting for your domain name to expire.  The domain name – the part after the www. in your website name – has to be registered by one of the world-wide accredited services.  Typically registration costs less than $20 a year.

If you forget to renew your domain registration you have a grace period and a redemption period during which you can wake up and renew the registration. The site will do dark after about day 45. But, maybe your site is pretty static and just out there to provide basic information to your current and future clients so you don’t visit it yourself for months at a time.  Or, maybe you tried your site and assumed that the hosting service was having problems when you got a browser error.  You forgot to check back to see if your site came back up.

Whatever. 

You don’t renew the registration, and after 75 days your domain name will be deleted and will be available for anyone in the world to register.

Here’s where the kidnappers step in. 

These bad guys make a business out of compiling lists of domains soon to be deleted.  As soon as an active domain is made available, they register it for their nefarious purposes.

Nefarious Purpose #1 --  Ransom.

The domain snatchers wait for you to discover that your domain isn’t yours anymore. 

When you do find out that your San Francisco organization’s domain name is now owned by a man in London, he’ll charge you an arm and a leg for the safe return of your baby. 

You’ll have to make the decision on whether to change your letterhead and directory listings or pay up. 

Nefarious Purpose #2 – Reflected Glory.

Your carefully designed, previously popular site was in the search engines and other directories.  People visited your site because you advertised it on your stationery, too.

The new owners buy the domain to get attention from visitors that are looking for you.  They’ll put up new pages selling junk – maybe even pornography.  Or, maybe the pages will just be ads that they get money from every time someone clicks on them.

The bad guys figure that a certain percentage of people looking for you will buy their products or click on the ads.

The Cops aren’t on this Beat

Domain theft has no cops on the beatThere is no practical way for you to get your domain name back once it’s bought by someone else. 

If Ozdachs.biz was bought by someone else, I could not get it back.  You wouldn’t be able to get your name back either.

There are laws preventing people from cybersquatting.  But wrenching control of a domain name back from a kidnapper is a formal process and the time delay and legal fees make it impractical for all but large corporations.

Guarding Your Good Name

Fortunately, protecting yourself against the Name Snatchers is cheap and easy.

In the meantime, you can check the expiration of your domain registration online. I use the services of Domain Tools. Go there and check out in real time the expiration date of your domain.

Make sure that the name snatchers don't come for your website.

Please contact Ozdachs for assistance in guarding your good name.