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Your Domain Can be Stolen

Posted by Patrick Connor on: 2006-09-10 22:42:39

Self SEO > Domain Name Articles


Believe it or not, even thieves are already high-tech these days. Browsing the net and reading through online forums, I came across a startling story about how thieves have found their way to infiltrate the world wide web. I read about a lady who was planning to put up a web page of her own. As the normal process dictates, she first thought of a domain name for her website. She chose her own name and had it checked in CNet Domain Search page for domain registrations and found out that it is very much available. A couple of days later, she checked it again and was shocked to discover that her name is already taken. She found out that her name is already a domain name registered to a firm with the name Chesterton Holdings.


The helpless lady brought the matter to the attention of Larry Seltzer, a columnist of eweek.com and a staunch critic of cyber crimes. Larry Seltzer investigated the matter himself. He checked the website whose domain name is that of the lady's. He immediately came to a conclusion that firm who "owns" the website and its domain name is a domain squatter, one among many domain squatters scattered all over cyberspace. Seltzer saw that the website is full of advertisements all domain squatters are associated with. He even claimed that the advertisements were syndicated through information.com. In Seltzer's column in eweek.com, he followed the next events regarding the theft of the lady's domain name. He reported that after a number of days, Chesterton, the bogus owner, has already let go of the stolen domain. He said this could have been prompted by the low hits or very few visits the site had. Apparently, silly domain squatters do not stay long in a domain, which is not lucrative for them. Squatters are somehow wise, at least in that sense.

The question that was immediately formed in my mind that Mr. Seltzer also posted, is how in the world was Chesterton able to register someone else's name to be its domain name? Moreover, why was the squatter allowed or given the permission to have ownership of a domain that is obviously not theirs? Anyway, I think my questions are unanswerable as of the moment. Even big companies and other established domain owners cannot exactly explain how domain theft is being successfully done. I bet you have also heard of the stealing of panex.com's domain. Well, if you have not, the bottom line is that even the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), whose mandate is to police the world wide web, failed to fully account the culprit behind the theft.

Curious about how rampant domain theft is, I made a little cyber investigation and probed on my own. I logged on to search.com, a property of CNet domain, and searched for the availability of my own name. I guess you've already guessed the result. Yes, my own name is already a registered domain name. With whom is it registered? Bingo! It is with Chesterton Holdings. My possible domain is already stolen. But I am confident the squatter will leave sooner than I think. My name is unpopular nor does it sound good to generate thousands of hits and visits. There is no way that notorious domain thief can make profit out of my unpopular name.

Though my stolen (domain) name is not much of a big fuss for me or for others, domain theft is an issue of great concern for other web owners. It is alarming that theft incidence can happen so easily and victims cannot do anything to account for the theft done.

Who is behind this syndicated theft? I do not think we can answer right now. Who is to be blamed for the proliferation of cyber thieves? We can go on pointing fingers but still not quell domain theft. I guess the only question we can answer as of now is who is already registered in a particular domain and who is not -- thanks to whois, a *querying database*. Whois is a transmission control protocol(TCP)-based query or a response protocol. It is utilized to identify the owner of a domain name, an IP address, or an autonomous system number on the internet. But then, it is also very probable that domain squatters are using whois to know which domain, in the form of people's real names, can they squat in.

Domain theft and squatting is really a complex and alarming matter. This issue is a concern for current domain owners but more so to those planning to put up a website. This issue is most especially pertinent to those who are planning to put up an online business and use a website for marketing. I guess the best that people can do is to seek only the services of trusted web servers and hosts for domain registrations to ensure the security of their domain.

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