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Squatters on My Internet Lawn!
January 7, 2012 4:40 PM   Subscribe

WTF? I just Googled myself and someone has a site that is www.myname.com and it looks like a blog that is aggregating (or producing) articles which are similar to those that I've written and published elsewhere.

So I write for a couple of my own blogs. One is about art (haven't written for it in a few years, but there are plenty of posts up). The other is a food blog that I write for pretty regularly. I used to own www.myname.com a while back, but let the site go because it was costing a good deal of money (this was before I had the web skills I have now). I haven't Googled myself in a while and I was shocked to see that not only is someone using the domain name but the crappy, content-farmed articles they're writing are about either food or art! Grrrrrr!!!! I don't want anyone to think that I'm somehow affiliated with this site. My last name has changed but I still use and am known by my old last name.

I've looked at the Whois info, but all it says is: Private Whois madarahill.com
Private Whois madarahill.com bwhgmvz4db2fd25d97ce@oqjij874d9300d54bd95.privatewhois.net
*******PLEASE DO NOT SEND LETTERS******
****Contact the owner by email only****
c/o madarahill.com
N4892 Nassau
Bahamas
Tel: +852.81720004

I have yet to call the number, but before I do, what should I do? Or think? Googling the address gives me a bunch of links to what looks to be a web squatter. Help me get this guy off my lawn!
posted by madred to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
What do you want madarahill to do? Give you back your domain name? Delete all of the content? Give you contact info for whomever now owns the domain?

This guy's not a squatter on your virtual lawn - he's renting the address that you used to have.
posted by panmunjom at 5:07 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


My bad - I thought madarahill was the domain registrar.

Google that phone number. It's quite popular.
posted by panmunjom at 5:10 PM on January 7, 2012


I used to own www.myname.com a while back, but let the site go... not only is someone using the domain name but the crappy, content-farmed articles they're writing are about either food or art!

Right. You had a site with reasonable page rank at the domain. You let it expire, they picked it up to pick up the page rank and the inbound links, and are posting content in the genre that got the domain it's authority in the first place. Your old domain is now a content farm.

Technically, this is passing off, though you would be well advised to engage a lawyer or solicitor before engaging in the ICANN dispute process. (That information is for the UK but the process is the process.) If you fail with ICANN, you can see recourse in the courts.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:19 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


That whois information means someone has registered your former domain at internet.bs, a domain registry based in the Bahamas, and are using their whois privacy option. The contact information is for internet.bs, not the person who registered the domain.

internet.bs will forward emails sent to that address to the actual registrant, but will not tell you who that person is. In fact, here is their CEO stating how difficult it is to force them to divulge that information. Calling the number in the whois data will only get you an office at internet.bs, and is very unlikely to get you much else.

You have a few choices.

1. Wait for the domain's expiry date and hope it's unprofitable enough that the current owner doesn't renew it. Any large numbers of page views or expressions of interest prior to this makes it more likely that they will renew.

2. Try emailing, the owner may be willing to sell it back to you. But see point 1. I'd do this only after it's clear they've renewed it for another year.

3. ICANN or court disputes. Not for the faint or heart or wallet.
posted by metric space at 7:45 PM on January 7, 2012


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