How do I get my hijacked domain back?
June 18, 2006 11:49 PM   Subscribe

My website domain went to the Ukraine. Any chance of getting it back?

I used to own the domain "slater.ch" (CH = Switzerland, before anyone gets confused), for which I forgot to pay the outstanding domain bill. Of course, as soon as it lapsed, some guy in the Ukraine nabbed it. Namely, according to whois:

Alexander Litvinov
Politechnicheskaya 13
UA-03056 Kiev
Ukraine

He holds other, previously registered swiss domains (llb-be.ch being the one he uses as nameservers for "my" domain), so i'm going to assume he's a domain squatter.

I'm perfectly willing to pay him some money for it, but before anything like that happens, I'd like to get in touch with him (maybe he doesn't want money?).

So my question is, apart from hoping the address he's given in the whois is correct and sending him a postcard, are there any other ways of getting in touch with him? The swiss registration place can't give out his email address, as that's private.

Any MeFi people in Kiev?
posted by slater to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Ask nicely for the opportunity to have your domain back, or get another domain.
posted by iamabot at 12:14 AM on June 19, 2006


iamabot: Done (no reply from webmaster@slater.ch, postmaster@ etc.), and done. I'd still like that domain back...
posted by slater at 12:18 AM on June 19, 2006


maybe he doesn't want money?
I seriously doubt that. Look at the current page being served on the domain, and you've got stuff like this:
<meta name="keywords" content="fleischdach, sex, mp3, tits, naked, lolita, mozilla, sali, hoi, nggalai, urs meier, horror">
Clearly he's going to put up one of those incredibly obnoxious pages that redirects to a porn site so he can get referral money off any bookmarks or links that used to point to your page. It seems certain to me that he will want to charge some exorbitant amount for the domain, as that is the MO of these scumbags. If at all possible don't give him a dime, just accept the fact that you messed up and move your site to another domain. If you put food on his plate it only legitimizes this awful vocation.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:37 AM on June 19, 2006


How do you go about getting a .ch domain?
posted by booksprite at 12:38 AM on June 19, 2006


booksprite: list of country code registrars, .ch
posted by Rhomboid at 12:47 AM on June 19, 2006


Rhomboid: For reasons unknown to me, he copied MY source code from google's cache. Those are my keywords I put in before he nabbed my domain. I was bored :)
And yeah, I know what you're saying. My hope is that a year from now, when he himself hasn't paid the dues, it'll lapse again, giving me the chance to get it back.

booksprite: www.switch.ch is the official domain registrar for .ch and .li (Liechtenstein) domains.
posted by slater at 12:48 AM on June 19, 2006


Ah. I see.

Well in that case I highly recommend the DomainTools' (formerly whois.sc) free monitoring service. You can give it a list of domains and it will send you an email whenever the status of any of them changes.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:52 AM on June 19, 2006


Rhomboid: Domaintools doesn't allow me to monitor .ch addresses, only com, .net, .org, .info, .biz and .us
posted by slater at 1:03 AM on June 19, 2006


Well crap. I got nothin'.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:49 AM on June 19, 2006


Play nice first. If he doesn't give it back for a small price, tell him that you know he is trying to fool Google's expired domain filters by appearing unchanged despite the change of ownership and you will contact Google to make sure the site, the IP address and everything that is linked to it is dropped from Google. So it will be worthless to him anyway.
posted by zaebiz at 2:02 AM on June 19, 2006


Not to sound prejudiced, but the whole Eastern Europe thing makes me think the people involved are scammers/squatters as Rhomboid suggests.

The recycling of your metatags with different page content tends to confirm that as it looks like he wants to keep any traffic from search engines that might still be pointing to you.

Give it up, seems like the best advice.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:06 AM on June 19, 2006


This happened to me. My strategy, which worked, but only over two years, was to persuade the squatter that the domain was worthless - that he'd wasted his money. Such squatters buy their domains in bulk, so it doesn't cost much, but it does cost something. If you can convince them that they are just throwing money away in continuing to renew, they will let it lapse too - and you can get it back.

Put yourself in their shoes, what would persuade you that no-one is interested in this domain? Behave as if you've given it up - ie: put up a credible alternative, and make sure there's no traffic to the old one - change every reference, inform google and everyone else. Make sure there are as few clicks as possible.

Then you wait. If you don't have the patience to stare them out, at least you will have strengthened your hand in the nasty negotiation ahead.
posted by grahamwell at 2:58 AM on June 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's worth noting that many domain registrars are now using the add/drop grace period to avoid paying for their domains at all by automatically de-registering and re-registering them every few days, which means that you might be able to snag one back quite quickly. Not sure if this applies to .ch domains, though.
posted by reklaw at 4:17 AM on June 19, 2006


By domain registrars, I meant domain squatters, there.
posted by reklaw at 4:17 AM on June 19, 2006


Let it go. You don't want to deal with these folks, and have no reason to expect them to deal with you ethically and honestly.

Moral of the story is: set up automatic renewal of your domains.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:06 AM on June 19, 2006


It's always worth asking nicely. But he did register it fair and square -- it's not at all "hijacked."

You've got a mailing address. Send a letter if you can't find any other info. Is there an online phone directory for the Ukraine or Kiev? (If not, there might be a hard copy in a library near you)

Decide what it's worth to you and make him an offer. Quick turnover is probably worth alot (e.g. 200% return in two months is better than 500% in a year).
posted by winston at 7:26 AM on June 19, 2006


Thanks for all the answers, guys. Decided I'll let it be.

I also wrote myself a lil PHP script that checks the whois records hourly, and if anything changes in the records, it sends me an email :)
posted by slater at 8:14 AM on June 19, 2006


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