The first 100% Human-Verified Domain Theft Database – Re-Introducing DomainTheft.org!

Today I am very excited to announce a brand-new version of DomainTheft.org – the 100% human-verified Domain Theft Database and Recovery Service. The original idea for DomainTheft.org came to me in April of 2008 when I was starting to find more and more people emailing me for help recovering their stolen domains. Many had lost their domains either by having their email address compromised or selling a domain through Pay Pal only to find the payment returned to the buyer after the transfer had completed. I felt pretty helpless, there really was nothing I could do. I didn’t know any registrars, had no contacts in law enforcement, and didn’t know anyone at the popular domain marketplaces where some of these stolen domains were being moved, quickly, at rock-bottom prices.

So I decided to create DomainTheft.org as a resource for people to report stolen domains that we could then manually verify and list in our database. What I found is that a lot of people reported thefts, in fact over 1,000 stolen domains were reported, and given the amount of time it takes to properly verify a theft, the job turned-out to be more than my team and I could handle. We had to let DomainTheft.org sit dormant. Still, I knew there had to be a better way to do this and really make an impact in the space.

domaintheft_logoIn February of this year we set-out to create an algorithm that could check domains to see when the last WHOIS change took place, and verify a few other common conditions that occurred when a domain was stolen. For those familiar with DomainTools this is one of the most popular features they offer and we are currently using their new API as a core part of our system. This was really what sucked-up our time in the initial verification process, checking if someone who reported a stolen domain had actually ever owned the name, or if they were just trying to sink their competitors. With that, the Domain Theft Verification System (or DVTS as we like to call it) was born and we finally had a way to get rid of all the spam theft reports and focus on the real thefts.

I know that the only way to properly investigate these thefts is by hand with real people following a set verification procedure. Once the Domain Theft Verification System makes sure that the person submitting the theft report did indeed own the domain during the time period that they specified it is then sent to a member of our task force. We follow-up with the person reporting the theft to obtain two forms of identification and absolutely ensure they are who they say they are. Then we follow-up with the alleged thief and reach-out to them to get their side of the story. This process takes time and I currently have three very motivated and dedicated people on our DomainTheft.org task force following-up each and every theft report manually to ensure whatever makes it into our database is 100% verified. No thefts are added to our database as Verified Stolen unless they are verified manually by a member of our task force.

domaintheft_fullsiteOf course having a database is one thing, getting people and companies to use it is another. I am currently reaching-out to every single Domain Registrar and Marketplace I can think of to create a strategic partnership. We will allow any registrar and marketplace on the planet complete free access to our database. Of course we recommend that they only flag domains as stolen that have been Verified Stolen manually by a member of our staff and we are sharing our exact verification procedure with them. On top of that I am reaching-out to law enforcement agencies in all 50 states along with the FBI so that we know exactly who to reach-out to when working on domain name recovery. We have also decided to offer our recovery service at no fee. That’s right, there is no set fee for Domain Name Recovery, if you’d like to pay us you can but there is absolutely no obligation to do so!

Suppose you live in Idaho and your domain is registered with Go Daddy and stolen via a charge-back at Pay Pal. We will have strategic alliances with the local law enforcement in your city, Go Daddy, and the fraud team at Pay Pal so that you don’t have to fight the crime on your own. Forging these relationships is absolutely critical to our success and this is where a majority of my focus is going at the moment. We know that local law enforcement needs to be educated on domain theft and I am prepared to do this myself as part of our alliance.

No service of this kind has existed before. Instead the Domain Name space has remained relatively unregulated as it is often referred to as the “Wild West.” While there have been some good Samaritans in the industry, none have formed alliances with law enforcement in all 50 states, top registrars, marketplaces, and transactional providers like Pay Pal to create a cohesive solution. This is not some side-project that I’m giving the old college-try, this is a product, service, and solution that I am passionate about and I am confident will change the Domain Name space forever. Look out Domain Thieves, there’s a new sheriff in town, and we’re coming after you! Domain Owners, you can turn to us and we will help you in every way we can, while we can’t guarantee recovery we will do everything we can to leverage the relationships we have to get your domain name back and deliver the thief who stole your name to local law enforcement to prosecute them just like any other criminal.

 

 

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • Leonard Britt July 26, 2011, 9:55 pm

    It sounds like a noble project but ask yourself how many companies price a product or service on a “Pay me what you feel like paying me” basis? Would you price your best domains that way? Just a thought to consider… Regardless best of luck with the service.

    On another note it really is sad that Paypal doesn’t offer protection for sellers of domain names.

    Reply
  • Dan July 27, 2011, 5:51 am

    Hi Morgan,

    I just ran across this a few minutes ago….maybe be a hard one, but it looks like they could use some help…that is for sure.

    Only two post on page….

    http://lissnblog.com/

    Best,
    ‘D’

    Reply
  • Domaining July 27, 2011, 6:17 am

    A very noble project.

    But one thing i don’t understand is charging for reporting a stolen domain. Why discourage reports? Instead it would make more sense to charge for the recovery service instead.

    Reply
    • Morgan July 27, 2011, 11:41 am

      Thanks for all the positive feedback everyone, we are really excited about making a major impact in this space! I am already seeing incredible support from law enforcement, registrars, and marketplaces, it is clear this has been a long time coming!!

      @DotSutra – the reason why we added a fee is based on our experience with DomainTheft.org v1. We had over 1,000 domains reported which took hundreds of hours to investigate, in the end we found that many people were reporting stolen domains that were simply owned by their competitors in an attempt to hurt their brand. After surveying a number of entrepreneurs the top recommendation was to charge a fee to list these in our database as it would discourage this practice and keep the focus on only reporting names that were indeed stolen.

      We’re keeping the recovery service at whatever cost makes sense to the person who hires us. At the end of the day our goal is to make the Internet and Domaining space a safer place to do business and monetary compensation is honestly not our primary goal. We are building a real business, and a strong brand that will have alliances with law enforcement, registrars, and marketplaces to help recover domains and catch domain thieves.

      Reply
  • Tia Wood July 27, 2011, 6:39 am

    I’m excited to see where this goes. Good luck, Morgan!

    Reply
  • Samer July 27, 2011, 9:48 am

    Best of luck to you Morgan. I know you can make this succeed.

    Reply
  • Braden July 27, 2011, 9:51 am

    Great job!

    Reply
  • MediaWizard July 27, 2011, 11:56 am

    Good idea Morgan, think you’ll be well served taking Acro’s advice on it, he raised some important points.

    The efficacy of the software must be taken into account before listing domains though.

    Oh and please add twitter & +1 buttons to your blog as well, makes sharing easier, cheers!

    Reply
    • Morgan July 27, 2011, 12:02 pm

      Thanks @MediaWizard – Acro did have some great advice and we’ll be listening to everyone’s feedback to make the system as robust as possible. Just to be clear all thefts entered into the database are verified by hand 100% of the time to ensure accuracy. Acro had some great advice and I’m going to have a phone call with him to review it all. We welcome all suggestions as we want DomainTheft.org to be the very best that it can be!

      As for sharing icons on the blog, really appreciate it…adding right now from 30,000 feet 🙂

      Reply
  • carlos July 27, 2011, 2:36 pm

    Muy bueno. Exito!

    Reply
  • dimensionfifth July 27, 2011, 3:48 pm

    Morgan! You’re the best! I never encountered a domain theft but I always had it in the back of my mind “what if someone stole my domain and sold it for a nice price?”…I feel like I don’t need to ask myself that anymore.

    Reply
  • AndyO July 27, 2011, 10:08 pm

    Can I make a (possibly extreme!) suggestion for the ‘prevent domain theft’ page as an additional tip?

    Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – Use an different email account with a different password for your domain registrations to the one that you use for your personal and other email. With people sniffing WiFi at free hotspots, and others setting up rogue hotspots, it can be quite easy for email accounts to be compromised. If your day to day email account gets hacked, you can rest a little easier knowing your domains aren’t immediately vulnerable.

    Reply
  • Cartoonz July 28, 2011, 10:37 pm

    Rather than having just a front end to “search” from, why is there not a way to actually view the complete list of domains in the database? If its there, I must have missed it. Just seems silly from a lot of angles not to have that information readily available.

    Reply
  • aggiekat June 13, 2013, 10:11 pm

    I’m having a problem with cybersquatting and hugedomains.com. I was trying to register an expired domain, and had done some searches on GoDaddy and Register.com, and the moment it came available, hugedomains grabbed it. It’s my PERSONAL NAME and they have no business with it. They’re shopping it…and it went up for sale for $1595. I kept refreshing the page because every time I did, it showed a different category…”trucks, employment, crafts, furniture.” A few days later the price jumped to $1695.

    Are there any remedies for “the little guy?” The ICANN wants $1500 or more for mediation. I’m a small artist, but my name is MY BRAND.

    I started a facebook page to start collecting information on hugedomains doing this to others. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hugedomainscom-Sucks/176357232532539
    I also found that Dell sued them and won over some copyright issues. http://www.adrforum.com/domains/decisions/1106074.htm

    Reply
  • DMan June 20, 2014, 9:16 pm

    What, I cannot believe this Aggiekat, same happened to me, in 2014 now. I checked a recent trend, in the last few days, two of domains I wanted to register were also snatched from my nose (luckily I got better ones,haha) , and immediately they were put on sale, so today, I got suspicious and that is how I landed-on this page. Morgan Linton, I think it is time we stand up to this type of thing, I have the feeling that us small domainers do not have a voice against these big companies, cheating is cheating, there are many complaints online about them already.

    Reply
  • Luz February 19, 2015, 1:42 am

    Hi there! I just want to give yyou a big thuimbs up for your great information you have herre on this post.

    I will bee coming back to your website for more soon.

    Reply

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