Customer, which has previously sued Moniker, says domains should have been renewed.
A client of domain name registrar Moniker has sued the registrar, arguing that the registrar mistakenly let domain names expire.
Given the troubles Moniker has experienced over the past couple years, it might be easy to accept the allegations as fact. Yet, there’s a bit of history between the client and Moniker that suggests judgment should be reserved.
In the lawsuit, Mainstream Advertising alleges (pdf) that Moniker let 1,000 domain name registrations lapse that should not have. It says it received a notice that the domains were renewed, but Moniker later said that Mainstream was out of funds with the registrar and owed it money. Mainstream says it had a credit card on file.
This is plausible, given Moniker’s account balance issues after transitioning its registrar platform.
This isn’t the first time Mainstream has sued Moniker over expired domain names, and last time it didn’t go so well for Mainstream.
Mainstream sued Moniker in 2011, when Moniker was part of Oversee.net, arguing that 80,000 domain names expired that should not have.
Moniker countered that, in fact, Mainstream had specifically requested that Moniker not set the domains to auto-renew and that Mainstream had renewed certain domains in its account manually.
In the first suit, Mainstream also said that it paid $132,965 to recover 3,652 of the expired domains, but alleged that Moniker never placed them back in its account. Moniker countered that the domains were, indeed, in Mainstream’s account.
Mainstream later dismissed the case.
Mainstream’s new 2016 lawsuit uses much of the same language from the 2011 lawsuit, including the now incorrect statement that Moniker is a subsidiary of Oversee.net. Oversee.net sold the business to KeyDrive in 2012. A different lawyer filed the new case and apparently didn’t verify that the ownership status had not changed.
Oversee.net is also named in the suit.
The suit is filed as a trademark infringement suit based on DomainSponsor’s monetization of the domains after they expired. This is an interesting approach, to say the least.
It’s possible that Moniker messed up some of these renewals. But given the questionable allegations made in the 2011 lawsuit, I’ll wait to pass judgment.
[Update: In December 2016 a judge ordered that Moniker can recover about $270,000 plus interest from Mainstream.]