The www.1728.com Domain Name Theft

In mid-May, 2011 the domain name www.1728.com was stolen from us.

That's right, as of May, 2011, www.1728.com is a stolen domain name.
Luckily we were able to retrieve it in Sept, 2011.

I responded to a "phish" E-Mail which was made to look exactly as if it were from GoDaddy, which it wasn't. A few days later, the E-Mail and the www.1728.com website stopped working. (Basically, the domain name server numbers, which control a site's location, were changed and I lost total control of the website and all its E-Mail accounts.)

Not that I am accusing anyone, but the domain name 1728.com is currently owned by wang yunfeng of BeiJing, China (E-Mail kubesh081@yahoo.com) and the current registrar is guoliang wang of China Springboard Inc. (namerich.cn) E-Mail (walter@namerich.cn) also of BeiJing, China. These people are probably unaware that the domain name was undoubtedly stolen from me. That domain name was in my possession for twelve years and I gave no authorization to anyone to transfer it anywhere.

However, I didn't publish this page just to tell my story. Any owner of a domain name should be aware of just how flimsy and tenuous that ownership is. I owned my domain name for twelve years, it has been archived at the "Wayback Machine" since February 29, 2000 and I also own 1728.US 1728.MOBI 1728.ME 1728.CO 1728.BIZ and 1728.ORG but all of that holds absolutely no weight in regaining a domain name.

If you own a domain name, especially a well-linked, well-established name, you should be extremely careful not to lose it because the odds of recovering a stolen domain name are very slim and you will encounter some extremely difficult problems.
If you still want to have a website, you will have to set up a new one with a new domain name.
But how will people find your new website?
All of your regular website visitors will discover their bookmarks no longer work.
Well, couldn't they send you an E-Mail?
No, because your website with the E-Mail address is no longer there.
What if you were in their E-Mail address book, couldn't you be contacted that way?
No, because the E-Mail is now under the control of the new domain name owner.
Couldn't people be automatically redirected from the old domain name to the new domain name?
No, because the new owner has total control of the old domain and you don't.
How about people trying to reach you from clickable links on other websites?
No, that doesn't work either because all those sites will point to your previous domain name.
Are you beginning to understand just how complicated things can get when your domain name gets stolen?

I was naïve enough to think that if a domain name was stolen, you'd contact your registrar and you'd get it right back. Well, I have been in contact for a month with GoDaddy and the result has been absolutely nothing. Their transfer dispute department can only be reached by E-Mail and they respond with indifferent, demoralizing replies such as "the current registrar could not be contacted" or "try contacting the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)".

So, I did find ICANN's website and I left three phone calls and two E-Mails and received no replies to any of these. So, I searched their website and learned that the domain name theft falls into their Unauthorized Transfer of Your Domain Name category which leads you to this page, where they tell you how to file a Registrar Transfer Dispute Resolution Policy. Can you see now how things are getting really complicated? Yet the domain name "thief" is in no greater danger of being apprehended than the day he stole it. As we all have heard, ICANN is a rather anemic, powerless entity that cannot enact or enforce any rules or laws.
Just to be fair to ICANN, they were the folks that thought up the .museum and the .ws website extensions and the Internet, as well as the entire world, has become a much better place because of it.

Okay, I would have updated this sooner but I was too busy trying to get the domain name www.1728.museum LOL

Let me state again, the loss of a domain name will totally destroy your presence on the web. All those search engine links, bookmarks, and E-Mail addresses that were built over a period of years become instantaneously useless the moment the name gets stolen. Here is the main point I want to stress even though you will never read this "law" anyplace

domain name ownership is solely based upon who owns it at the moment

That is it. Nothing else.
Has the name been owned for 12 years?
Has the site been archived at the "Wayback Machine" (www.archive.org)?
Has the name been outright stolen?
The answers to those questions are completely meaningless because the only question that matters is:
Do you own the domain name now?
That is the way domain ownership works on the Internet and you sure will never see GoDaddy or ICANN emphasize that point. Heck no! They want to make a buck and they don't want to advertise the fact how weak, impotent and anemic they really are.


... to be continued ...

Well, on Sept 12, 2011 a letter from the United States Department of Commerce (and an unexpected E-Mail from GoDaddy), alerted me to the fact that 1728.com and www.4Y4.com were being returned to me. It took a while for the domain name to be set up but as of Friday, Sept 16, 2011 1728.com was back on the Internet (after four long months).

To anyone who is reading this, remember to be very careful not to lose your domain name.


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