How do I remove my old web content from the web?
June 11, 2009 7:04 PM   Subscribe

How do I remove my old web content after my domain has expired and I can't find any record of my old hosting company online?

I had a website about 6 years ago that still shows up as one of the top google searches for my name. I am not crazy about people being able to access all of my old content.

The problem is the domain name has long expired, and I can find no record of my old hosting company. How can I get this old content removed?

I tried contacting the new owner of the domain name and asking him to remove the content, or at least point the domain to a new server. The new owner never replies.

Any help is very much appreciated! Thanks.
posted by amanlikeme to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Contact the hosting company.

# get the IP hosting the domain

# lookup who the IP (from above) is mapped to (not the domain)

There should be an email address or phone number. Send them a take down notice. State that you created the content. It is yours, (the way back machine may help prove its age) and you say your name is on it, so it should be obvious that it's your content.

You said you couldn't contact the hosting company.. the above should help with that.
posted by ecco at 7:49 PM on June 11, 2009

Of course, once something is on the internet, someone is possibly caching it somewhere. (Such as the wayback machine linked above)

Perhaps something to do would be to aggressively use SEO to promote some other association with that search result.

But the content is probably still going to be out there.
posted by titanium_geek at 7:54 PM on June 11, 2009

Or, um, in extreme cases, it's easy to

1. Navigate to page
2. Right-click and select "View Source"
3. Save the source code
4. Download any files presented therein, such as images, sound, video, et cetera, perhaps using FlashGot if necessary.

Remember: if it's on the internet, it's available to everybody.
posted by koeselitz at 9:43 PM on June 11, 2009

Download any files presented therein

Downloading something doesn't remove it from the internet.
posted by dhammond at 9:46 PM on June 11, 2009

I think the phrasing of the question is very confusing, as to exactly how the content is showing up.

I tried contacting the new owner of the domain name and asking him to remove the content, or at least point the domain to a new server. The new owner never replies.

You are saying someone took over the domain AND the content? This sounds very unusual to me, when a domain expires and someone takes it over they have to start from scratch with their website on their own webhost. If they still have the content somehow, a takedown notice is the answer. If they don't respond go to their webhost. If still no response (unlikely) , write to *their* upstream ISP.

But is it more likely that the content is no longer actually on the web? It could be gone since domain ownership changed but Google still caches it. Are you looking at the content via Google cache link? If this is it, then you need to talk not to the current domain owner but instead to Google, and I don't know if they have a process for getting content you own removed from their cache. Maybe someone else does.
posted by aguy at 11:00 PM on June 11, 2009

sorry - totally misunderstood th' question - please ignore
posted by koeselitz at 11:06 PM on June 11, 2009

I too do not understand the situation. How can the content still be up if the hosting provider you were using doesn't exist?

Unless they were reselling hosting they bought from another provider? but even then who is paying the bills to host this material?
posted by mary8nne at 6:00 AM on June 12, 2009

If the domain is owned by someone new, they are obligated to honor your copyright, and so is their hosting provider. Determine their host and use the DMCA to order your content removed (as ecco said, but without the clarification that they are legally obligated to comply). That should be sufficient, but if not, you may need to have a lawyer serve them with a cease-and-desist order.
posted by dhartung at 2:58 PM on June 12, 2009

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