How do I get my domain name back?
October 18, 2006 2:39 PM Subscribe
Help me get back my domain name. It was stolen.
posted by sour cream to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My company had a .com domain. Due to a clerical error, we failed to pay the renewal fee and it expired (it was billed to an expired credit card and the reminders wound up in the secretary's junk folder for some reason).
We immediately contacted our registrar, who is in Japan. They told us that there is a cooling off period or grace period of 30-45 days during which *nobody* can register this domain. Including us, the rightful owners. I couldn't believe it, so I also asked another Japanese registrar, who basically confirmed this. So here's my first question:
1) Is it normal that the previous owner of an expired domain cannot (re-)register it during the grace period or is this a Japanese thing? How does it work in *your* country?
Now the 45 days are over and during the last few days we tried to register it every day. Alas, we were too late. It turns out that now the registrar is a company called zigzagnames.com which is possibly a subsidiary of another company called snapnames. Anyhow, I called zigzagnames.com and the nice lady that I talked to explained to me that they are only the registrars and that our domain was registered by a company called oregonnames.com . So here's my second question:
2) What's my best course of action to getting my domain back from oregonnames.com?
A little research suggests that oregonnames.com is in the parasitic business of snapping up expired domain names and trying to extort money from their previous (rightful) owners. A post to a bulletin board also suggested that if there is not much traffic to the site, they might just let it lapse after a few days. It's hard to guess, but I don't think my site draws much traffic, probably less than 10 legitimate hits (i.e. without spiders). I mostly want it back for my email, i.e. there may be a couple of people (including clients) that may contact me through the domain in the future.
I wonder whether contacting the parasites might be a step in the wrong direction, because that will prove my interest in the domain, so that they'll hold on to it. But supposing that I contact them, how high is the extortion fee that I'm looking at?
Also, I prefer dispute resolutions without lawyers or hired goons, but just out of curiosity -- what's the legal angle to this? The domain name was essentially a part of our company name. Can I derive rights to the domain from that? What if I register a trademark on our company name in the US? Too late now? (Yeah, I know a lawyer is better prepared to answer these last questions, but I thought I'd query the hive mind first...)