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Allegedly Stolen Domain Names Resold on Flippa

Thief resold domain names on Flippa to unsuspecting domain buyer.

A National Arbitration Forum panel has refused to hand over the domain names Recent.net, Than.net, and They.net in a UDRP decision.

I wrote about the case earlier this month, suggesting that the UDRP dispute must be over stolen domain names. UDRP is sometimes used to regain control of stolen domain names, but the complainant needs to be able to show trademark rights to the domain names. In this case the complainant admitted he had no trademark rights to the generic recent.net, than.net, and they.net domains.

The complainant says he bought the domain names on June 30, 2009, but his Go Daddy account was latter compromised and the domains transferred to the thief.

The respondent claims he bought the domain names on December 20, 2009 along with others for $1,000 at domain and web site marketplace Flippa.com. He says Flippa verified the seller by telephone. He also contacted the email addresses listed in the WHOIS to verify that Respondent was dealing with the owner and used an escrow service to effect the transaction.

Just because he won the UDRP doesn’t mean the buyer is safe yet. The fact that Flippa verified the current owner of the domains means little, and using an escrow service doesn’t help you avoid buying stolen domain names. In this case, the buyer would have been wise to look at the whois history for the domains, rather than just looking at the current whois. As I pointed out in my earlier article, the whois records for these domains has been erratic — a common sign of theft.

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  1. Chip Meade

    A UDRP would not be the appropriate venue to bring this to a conclusion, will have to file a suit or get the police involved. Look to see where the domain registrar is and file it there. Good luck!

  2. give me a break

    Quote –
    “Respondent purchased them, together with others, for $US1,000.”

    “Respondent says it had no reason to suspect that the domain names may have been stolen.”

    $ 1K for those 3 domains plus other domains.
    He thinks he is that good of a buyer?

    The 3 domains are worth much more than $ 1K.

    I’m also surprised Godaddy didn’t go to the mat to retrieve the domains. But, I guess I’m not surprised.
    Parson’s motto – “you are on your own.”

    I’m positive Moniker would have helped the domain owner.

  3. Andrew Rosener

    Several months back I had a three letter .com stolen from my Godaddy account (not Godaddy’s fault, the thief somehow installed a keylogger on my computer and was able to walk right in the front door of my Godaddy account).

    Godaddy was incredible in how they handled it. They locked everything down and I had my domain back safe and sound in under 12 hours.

    They really stepped up to the plate, so I don’t know why you get the impression that their motto is “Your on your own”?

  4. Louise

    There’s only been one prosecution of stolen domain name. Not surprisingly, it was stolen from a GoDaddy account:

    “Prosecutors claim that in May 2006, Goncalves illegally accessed the GoDaddy account belonging to P2P.com and initiated a transfer of the domain name to his personal GoDaddy account.” – http://www.cctldtalk.com/2009/11/p2p-com-stolen-and-sold-to-nba-player/

    Glad you got yours back, but complaints flow in almost daily to NoDaddy.com about stolen and restricted domain names.

  5. Robert Skelton

    Just thought I’d pop by and add my side of the story. I dabble in domaining, and often get domains for a 1/10th or better than I what I think they are worth. I didn’t expect to get the domains for $1000, that was an initial bid, so I was surprised to win.

    The complainant could have had them back for $1000 (which would have been great value compared to what he spent on UDRP), but his attitude was one of rudeness and accusation, and he didn’t look for any other avenue for solving this. And when I researched him, I found that he has a history of domain disputes and is a big player in the industry. No sympathy then.

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