Company says Moniker didn’t appropriately notify it of expiring domain names.
[Update: see Moniker Oversee.net comment below] A large client of domain name registrar Moniker has sued the company and parent company Oversee.net over alleged shenanigans with expired domain names.
Mainstream Advertising, Inc. filed the suit (pdf) claiming breach of contract, conversion, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition.
The company started using Moniker in 2005 and claims that it has registered, hosted and/or maintained
approximately 120,000 domain names through Moniker’s registration and hosting services.
Mainstream says that Moniker did not notify it appropriately about expiring domain names. Moniker and Oversee.net companies allegedly took over the domain names after they expired.
According to the suit:
Defendants engaged in practices that increased the likelihood that these domain names would lapse and fall outside the control and ownership of Mainstream. These practices included, but are not limited to, failing to provide appropriate expiration notices to Mainstream regarding these various domain names.
Moniker sends weekly notices to clients of expiring domains that are not set to auto-renew starting 75 days before the domains expire and continuing 21 days after the domains expire, according to the suit.
But Mainstream claims:
Upon information and belief, the weekly email notices regarding expiration which were required to be sent during the 99-day (sic) period were either never sent, or transmitted in a deliberate and capricious manner so that they would be blocked by Mainstream’s e-mail computer systems, including through their reasonable and standard spam filters.
Mainstream attached Moniker’s Domain Name Deletion and Auto-Renew Policy as an exhibit in the suit. I had never read this agreement, but interestingly it states that the registrant should take action to whitelist Moniker’s email addresses to make sure it receives expiration notices.
Many of the domain names ended up with Moniker and Oversee.net’s companies after the domains expired, mainstream says.
Mainstream became aware of this in 2009 and actually agreed to pay $132,965 to recover 3,652 domain names that it had let expire. That amount was primarily for four years of renewal per domain name at $7.75 each. You can see a partial list of the 3,652 domains here.
The company says it paid the amount but the domain names were never returned to it. Oversee.net said otherwise in a comment released to Domain Name Wire:
We are aware of the alleged claims brought by Mainstream Advertising and believe that they are wholly without merit. For example, if Mainstream and its attorneys were to log into their Moniker account, they would see that the 3,652 domains which they allege were never delivered to them were, in fact, delivered to them in 2009 and remain in their account to this day.
Mainstream alleges that the defendants have converted about 83,000 domain names it previously owned.
On its web site, Mainstream Advertising describes itself as “an innovative provider of results-based interactive online marketing services to advertisers and agencies. Our extensive advertising network consists of inventory that we purchase from Web Traffic, Search Engine Optimization, PPC campaigns and email publishers.” It owns SearchABC.com.
Its LinkedIn profile shows 20 employees.
The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Southern District of Florida.