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Author Topic: Loss of ownership / control over a .org domain - advice requested  (Read 4352 times)
Ampa
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« on: April 24, 2011, 05:57:41 PM »

A friend of mine runs the charity Women4Resources, which had a website at women4resources.org

The domain was registered for her by her web-designer, in his name. He turned out to be a nasty piece of work, trying to extort money from the charity, so he was dumped by the charity, but they failed to get the domain signed over.

Renewal date arrived, but they were unable to renew since the domain was in his (the unscrupulous designer's name).

The registrar is Tierra.net who said that after 75 days in limbo the domain would be released back on to the open market, and the charity could purchase it again.

My friend made a note in her calendar, and after the allotted time tried to buy the domain, only to find that someone else (VWNames.com) had already bought it!

For now the charity has a mirror site located at http://women4resources.co.uk but the .org tld is listed on all their literature...

So, what should she do?

VWNames have no right to the name and no desire to own it - other than to make a fast buck selling it back to the rightful owners!

How did they get in there first?

Does a charity have any legal claim over a domain if it shares their registered name?

Thanks,

Ampa
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2011, 06:06:37 PM »

Unfortunatly, this type of thing happens every minute of every day.  Due to the charity making requests to purchase it, VWNames.com will have picked up on this, and instead of taking a moment to realise this was a charities domain, they have simply picked up on the fact that it was an active domain, that had traffic, and could indeed make them money.

The company in question will have automatically purchased it (Possibly using backorder) the very second it became publicly available.

'Snatching' is very common, however, the host 'Tierra.net' should (But are not legally bound) to offer the domain back to the charity...this would have been the logical thing to do...however, they could also argue that the charity should have placed a backorder on the domain.

Perhaps making a request to VWNames.com to release the domain (At perhaps even a small profit to them (10% over purchase price)) will get them to release it.
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mouser
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2011, 06:07:12 PM »

At some point i suspect you probably do have a good case for the domain name if it really is so specifically related to your charity.

I don't have any particular knowledge in this area, but one general piece of advice might be that being in the right counts for very little if you have to purse legal recourse -- who can afford the legal fees is going to be much more important.

So, perhaps the first step would be to contact the people who bought the name and explain to them just what you explained here and see if they would sell it back to you for $100 or so, in an effort to avoid having to deal with legal issues.  You never know what their response will be.

Such a long specific .org domain name likely has very little real value to this company other than selling it to you.  So they should be open to a cheap purchase i would think.  It's not like their are going to be any other bidders for it.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2011, 06:08:53 PM by mouser » Logged
Stephen66515
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2011, 06:16:39 PM »

Side note:

It seems TierraNet still own the domain.  To me, this looks like they have simply parked the domain to make some cash from it.

Domain Name: women4resources.org
Updated: 1 second ago - Refresh

Registrar: TierraNet Inc. dba DomainDiscover (R86-LROR)
Status: CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED

Expiration Date: 2012-01-27 14:28:30
Creation Date: 2009-01-27 14:28:30
Last Update Date: 2011-04-08 12:01:28

Name Servers:
    forsale2.requestdomainquote.com
    forsale1.requestdomainquote.com
See women4resources.org DNS Records

Information Updated: Sun, 24 Apr 2011 23:09:30 UTC
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2011, 06:20:08 PM »

It's a very dicey situation where the rules will vary by country. If they're serious about getting the domain back they'll need to get competent legal advice before they do or say anything. Internic has a loose dispute process that may get their domain back, but they'll likely need an attorney to help them with that if a name troll has gotten ahold of it.

The real problem is that Internic will not arbitrate a name dispute. If the other party decides to dig their heels in on this, then the only option is a lawsuit to get the name back. That or pay the asking price.

Luck.  Sad
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2011, 06:30:43 PM »

This link may be able to help you:

http://www.icann.org/en/udrp/udrp.htm
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f0dder
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[Well, THAT escalated quickly!]

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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2011, 05:00:18 AM »

The "www" part of domain names refers to what the internet is - the Wild, Wild West. People suck.
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- carpe noctem
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2011, 05:06:38 AM »

The "www" part of domain names refers to what the internet is - the Wild, Wild West. People suck.

The suckier part is that you can't just run around and shoot people that piss you off anymore though... Sad  Angry

cheesy

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Ampa
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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2011, 05:24:23 AM »

Thanks for the info - have passed on the advice.

The Charity is going to contact VWNames and hopefully talk to someone who will be compassionate!
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f0dder
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[Well, THAT escalated quickly!]

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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2011, 05:43:21 AM »

The Charity is going to contact VWNames and hopefully talk to someone who will be compassionate!
Domain squatter, compassionate? >_<
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- carpe noctem
40hz
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2011, 12:53:18 PM »

The "www" part of domain names refers to what the internet is - the Wild, Wild West. People suck.

The suckier part is that you can't just run around and shoot people that piss you off anymore though... Sad  Angry

cheesy



Yeah. In the 'enlightened' society where I live, the government frowns on it enough that they may even elect to send you up for The Big Sleep if you do.  Grin

I personally think shooting cybersquatters should be a constitutionally protected activity.  Thmbsup
« Last Edit: April 25, 2011, 12:58:26 PM by 40hz » Logged

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vlastimil
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2011, 04:08:25 AM »

Domain squatters suck.

Anyway, as people advised above, try to ask the current owner politely to give/sell you the domain. I would not bother with threats of legal action. The squatter will just ignore it - they won't bother responding, because the process is complicated and the worst that can happen to them is they lose the domain. But it takes time and they will happily make money on "your" visitors until then.

The domain does not appear to have a lot of traffic or links and therefore, for the squatter, it does not have a significant value. Offer them a price that would cover the time needed to transfer the domain. The $100 mentioned above is a decent price for this task - make it clear, you are unable to pay more. If you offer a low price that does not cover their time, the squatters will just ignore you. I doubt you can count on the goodness of their heart - cybersquatting is a shady business.

According to yahoo, only feministcardiff.wordpress.com is linking to your original site. If that blog is under your control, you should change the link to the mirror (removing the links further decreases the value of the domain to the squatter).
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