Domain name investors alerted domain owner to possible theft.
Chloe Tsakiris Alston says that she and her father registered the domain in 1997 and then developed it. The lawsuit states that the site generates $10,000 a month in Adsense revenue.
In 2018, the domain was listed in an auction on Sedo. Several domain name investors, including George Kirikos and Jamie Zoch, reached out to Alston to let her know the domain was being auctioned and to verify that the domain wasn’t stolen. The winning bidder of the auction also contacted her for verification before wiring payment for the $250,000 winning bid.
At that point, Alston contacted the domain name registrar, Network Solutions. According to the lawsuit, Network Solutions stopped a domain transfer to the alleged thief but kept the thief’s contact information associated with the domain. The alleged thief then transferred the domain to GoDaddy. It has apparently been sold since then and the new owner is also named in the lawsuit.
Alston is now trying to get the domain back through the lawsuit.
Oddly, Alston filed the lawsuit in Florida even though none of the parties are located there. The only reason I can think of for this is that the lawyer is with Recalde Law Firm in Florida. Recalde successfully recovered xportautoparts.com by getting a temporary restraining order that ordered the current registrar of that domain to transfer it back to the auto part store’s registrar.
It’s also worth noting that the original sale on Sedo by the thief was thwarted thanks to information in Whois. Several domain investors thought the sale was suspicious and were able to contact the true owner because of Whois information. This information is going away due to changes in the wake of GDPR.