Privacy service hijacked domain. Advice?

I transferred my domain from 1and1 to SustainableDomains back in 2007. I had used 1and1’s domain privacy service. Like most people, I didn’t realize that this made 1and1 the registrant/owner of the domain.

For some reason, when the domain transferred, 1and1 remained the registrant. I had already removed the privacy service to initiate the transfer, but apparently, 1and1 never relinquished ownership of the domain. I was unaware of this, because I signed up for privacy service through DomainsByProxy during the transfer process. In other words, I only saw DomainsByProxy’s info when I looked at the WhoIs records to confirm that the transfer had gone smoothly.

The domain expired on Feb 27th of this year. On the 25th, I began transfer procedures to bring the domain over to Dynadot. My transfer was denied because, after I removed the DomainsByProxy service, the registrant name showed as 1and1.

A SustainableDomains rep told me to go in and change the ownership data to my own info. I asked him if anything bad would happen as a result of this. He assured me that it wouldn’t. I changed the info and re-initiated the transfer.

The transfer was denied again, this time because updating my registrant information caused a 60 day domain lock to go into effect. In the meantime, the domain has expired, and Dynadot has turned my transfer payment into an account credit, rather than putting it back on my credit card.

My website is now gone from the web. According to SustainableDomains, I only have 2 choices:

  1. Renew with SustainableDomains.

  2. Wait until the 60 day lock ends and the domain is released back into the public pool, and hope that I can get it again.

I feel utterly abused by these registrars. Can anyone suggest another option?

Thanks in advance for any insights you can provide.

If you’ve let your domain lapse, it is with the oldest one that you can renew it and get it back - unfortunately they’ve got you a bit there.

You can possibly wait, but is it worth the risk that you’ll be asleep at the moment it goes free for all and is snapped by a spammer?

I’ve been there, having had problems with a renewal and having to wait before now - its not fun.

Thanks for the kind words, Tim. I tried to transfer the domain starting 2 days before it lapsed, but… problems ensued. If no-one here comes up with an alternative soon, I guess I’ll be forced to renew with SustainableDomains. They’re not a bad company, but this has left a nasty taste in my mouth.

Practically your only option is indeed to renew, especially given the risk that someone else might acquire your
domain name if it’s not renewed on time. As an FYI, SustainableDomains is a reseller for Wild West Domains, a
sister company/wholesale-reseller arm of Go Daddy.

That 60-day lock is Go Daddy’s own thing, but they changed it last year to kick in only if the registrant name
is changed for any reason. I wrote an entry how to possibly get around that, but I haven’t seen any feedback
yet if that works or not.

One more thing: there’s also a little-known 45-day rule where transferring a name within 45 days from its last
renewal will not add an extra year to it. I also wrote more on that one, so just another heads up.

Sorry there’s hardly any good news. Good luck there.

Wow, Dave, thanks for all the info! I didn’t realize that Sustainable Domains was a reseller for Wild West. Now things make more sense.

I want to thank Dynadot. They refunded my money right away after being informed of the situation.

Dynadot also suggested that I try writing to GoDaddy to see if they’ll allow the domain to be transferred anyway. They say that GoDaddy has made exceptions in the past, so my fingers are crossed. Dynadot will be my registrar of choice in the future.

For people reading this thread, beware of privacy services that replace the Registrant Name with their own. More here:

Nice! And thanks also for sharing that Dynadot article.

I’m actually going to write another one on WHOIS privacy, but I needed a registrar source for people to verify on their own.

I called Wild West, and was transferred to the Domain Support department. The rep said there was no way they could unlock the domain, so I asked for a supervisor. The supervisor said that the system had recently been updated to take away his department’s ability to override locks.

However, he spent the next 15 minutes or so rushing back and forth to some other department and arguing my case. He was eventually successful, although it took a lot of work on his part. I should see the lock removed via Whois in 24-48 hours, after which I can re-initiate the transfer. Yea!!!

Clearly, Wild West / GoDaddy still has some good people working for them, even if their policies are increasingly unfriendly. Dave, I’m glad you’re doing so much to make people aware of these issues. Buying a domain just shouldn’t have so many hidden traps.

For those who might read this thread for help, be aware that the company providing domain privacy services is usually different from the company that sells you the domain (your registrar). When you update your information with your registrar, you also need to update it with your privacy provider, or you may run into trouble down the road. I didn’t realize this, and it apparently added to my troubles.

@heavymental; Wow, awesome that you got them to unlock the domain for you! Any progress since then?

Sustainable Domains / Wild West / GoDaddy received my transfer request on 3/5. They sent me an automated email stating that I have until 3/9 to cancel the transfer. I.E., they won’t take action on my transfer request until then.

I had to get an authorization code from them to request the transfer in the first place. Is the delay industry standard, or GoDaddy dragging their feet? I’m curious.

I’m praying that my domain doesn’t get locked again before the transfer is finally completed. Fingers crossed!

If you are afraid someone else might SNATCH the domain name from you during this period of unrest, a creative and unconventional approach to this problem would be to ask a trustworthy friend to register the domain name for you.
They could later transfer ownership to you.

@ParkinT, I just tried to get the domain through GoDaddy’s main page, and it shows as already taken. Whew! My heart was in my throat there for a minute. :wink:

Good idea, though.

My domain finally transferred late last night. The DNS servers that transferred were for Wild West, meaning that my website stilled showed nothing but a blank page. I’ve updated the servers. Hopefully soon, my website will be up again. It’s been down since Feb. 27th.

Thanks for all the kind words and help getting this issue resolved. I hope that others can benefit from this thread.

whatever you guys do with your domain names, just a quick alert to you guys out there, be very very careful if you ever want to register your domain name with 1and1.
I placed my order for one domain registration just a few days ago, never received any email/follow up, 3 days later, they told me they can’t register that domain for me because it’s already taken by someone else.
I checked the whois, it reveals that domain I wanted to register was ‘somehow’ stolen/registered by someone else on the second day.
It’s either they have a spy/thief in their company or they have someone out there who is a domain thief and affiliated with them in some way, either way, my advice is stay away from their domain registration.