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  1. #1
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    Domain Names and Website Stolen

    Okay, I'm very upset about all of this and I don't know if there is anything I can do...so if anyone can offer any knowledge or advice in this matter it would be greatly appreciated. Heres what happened....

    Recently an associate and I quit our jobs at an internet marketing company(that we built from the ground up, for someone else) to start our own similar company that would be our own. The idea was that he would handle the sales, and I would build our company site and do the work on the first few accounts until we had banked enough to hire employees. The only thing standing in our way was that we were of course opening a business that was direct competition for our former employer. To negate that, all of the legal stuff, business licenses and bank accounts were opened in my associates fathers name(which happens to be the same as my associates). The downside to doing all of this, is of course that I have no legal claim to the business assets, but I retained ownership of the domain name, web site and hosting accounts, partially because I already owned them, and also as sort of a "kill switch" in case my associate wanted to play dirty.

    Anyway, 3 months later everything was in full swing, I built the website and the service(and we had several clients we were working, I was bringing in independent contractors because I couldn't keep up with the workload), and my associate was writing a ton of business(about 70k in almost 2 months of officially opening up shop).

    Then today I tried to login to our paypal account and find that the password had been changed, I tried several of the other business accounts and its the same thing...all changed.... so I make a couple calls to find out whats going on...get no answers, then this evening I finally get call back from my associate and he tells me he changed everything and I'm pretty much out on my ***.

    Okay, I think to myself, time to pull the plug on everything take my domain names and website and go build a new sales crew, then I logged into my personal directnic account and find that the 2 domains associated with the company are gone, and few hours later they resolved to a copy of my website on a different server.

    Now, I know I'm probably screwed and grasping at straws here,....but both the website, and the domain names were my property, on my personal accounts and I never gave access or passwords out to anyone in the company...and I know they got access to both accounts to by representing these accounts as company accounts and requesting access via tech support, but they weren't, they were my personal accounts....and they stole the domain names and a copy of the website from me.

    Ive been in touch with directnic but will probably have to wait until tommorow to actually talk to someone....and beyond that, I'm looking at contacting the proper authorities(not even sure who to call) to see if any crime was commited in all of this

    So my question is open to anyone out there who has any ideas on what I can do about all of this? Does anyone know if there is anything I can do or who to contact to take legal action against the associate? any advice would be great, thanks

  2. #2
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    I guess you could work on this. Im not an attorney but im sure we could build a case out of it. The down side is you do not have legal claims/document to these items. Did you register the domain with your name? ICANN could probably backlog to trace the owner name and at least to find out when it was transferred away. You could write them assure that the domain was stolen from your without your approval. Lucks.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumps View Post
    I guess you could work on this. Im not an attorney but im sure we could build a case out of it. The down side is you do not have legal claims/document to these items. Did you register the domain with your name? ICANN could probably backlog to trace the owner name and at least to find out when it was transferred away. You could write them assure that the domain was stolen from your without your approval. Lucks.
    Yes, the domain name and webhosting were purchased with my credit card and my personal information nearly a year before the business license or anything to do with the actual company was started, even the website, while not complete, was partially built and sitting on my server for months before we had even discussed moving forward with the business plan.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Member
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    A little update as I just received word from directnic, not good at all....

    Hi XXXXXXX,

    The registrant and owner of both these domains, prior to the transfer was XXXXXXXXXXX. Per ICANN regulations it is the registrant that has full authority of the domain ownership.

    We recently received the ownership change agreement paperwork that gave us the permission to transfer these domains to another directNIC account, so that the registrant could control the domains that belonged to them.

    Registrant:
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Please let us know if you have any additional questions regarding your account.

    Thanks,

    Suzette
    directNIC Support

  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMatt View Post
    the domain names were my property
    While people seem to generally believe that, read your registrar's contract to
    see if it says anything of that sort. It's the agreement (or the lack of it) that
    counts.

    Given that this is more or less a legal issue, unfortunately you'll need a lawyer
    to try to sort this out. Good luck.


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