Complainant cited Whois privacy service’s details to suggest an association with malware distribution.
Markel Corporation has been found to have tried reverse domain name hijacking the domain name MarkelGroup.com.
The company filed a UDRP complaint with National Arbitration Forum against a domain registrant in Florida.
Markel’s big mistake was to run a malware report on the domain’s privacy service and then claim that the domain owner itself was associated with malware. The company noted that two domains using the privacy service had been tied to malware.
The domain is at Namecheap, which uses a Whois service registered in Iceland. Millions of domains list this service as the registrant.
Markel Corporation continued to argue a connection to malware after Namecheap revealed the domain owner’s info. Markel also said that the registrant appears to be using the site to try to sell it but provided no evidence of this.
Historical Whois records suggest the registrant’s name is Noah Markel, although the domain owner didn’t respond to the dispute, so there’s no confirmation of this.
Panelist Alan Limbury found in the domain registrant’s favor and found reverse domain name hijacking based on the malware assertions:
The phone number and address in Iceland attributed to Respondent relied upon in the Complaint filed on April 26th 2023 were those contained in the annexed malware report’s WHOIS. Complainant was made aware of Respondent’s different actual name, phone number and address in Florida upon receipt of the Registrar’s verification and Complainant included those details in the header of the Amended Complaint. Despite this, Complainant continued to assert that Respondent’s phone number is the same as that associated with ransomware actors.
These circumstances satisfy the Panel that Complainant filed the Amended Complaint knowing that Respondent is not associated with ransomware actors and did so in an attempt at Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.
Markel Corporation was internally represented. It would have benefited from hiring a domain name attorney to review the case before filing it.