Is It Flattery When People Steal Your Stuff?
More than a few times in my life, I have been stolen from. The usual remedy for when people steal from you is to take them to court. Of course, that assumes you want to pay money for attorneys and court fees. It likewise assumes you believe the court is or will be just. I stopped making that assumption long ago in the case of courts sanctioned by men. The reason is fairly simple. The incentive to lie is high for many involved. Why? Because money tends to follow lies. It often does not follow truth.
Some time in 2014, my wife and I conceived of the idea of having a podcast. The domain we requisitioned for this podcast was nearlysacred.com. You probably guessed that was the name on the basis of the large screen capture provided. Here is a wayback link from 2016. The place I purchased the domain from was Hostgator.
Website Gets Hosed
Sometime around 2017 or the end of 2016, our website which at the time used Wordpress, was Denial of Service attacked. This was the tip of the spear concerning other attacks both digital and otherwise later. The attack also took the time to inject some unwanted code into the website with the idea of leaving some trojans behind. I simply deleted the site. No biggie. It was backed up anyway. I decided after changing my email and other accounts around as a precaution that I needed to change web hosting providers as well. The only complication there was the domain and that should be easy enough.
Problem was, my old email was listed as the contact, and the purchasing card for the website domain was entangled with an old account whose card credentials did not belong to me. No biggie there either. I ought to be able to prove I am who I say I am, since this is the digital age. We all have digital footprints the size of entire states. Hostgator, though, refused to accept any specific proof of who I said I was. After trying with tech support over the time of probably around three months, I decided since it was close to renewal time on the domain that I would simply have to settle for renewing the domain and then putting in my updated credentials. Hostgator had, apparently, stringent security which should be a good thing. I could not fault them for that entirely, although it seemed a tad unreasonable given all the documents I had provided proving that I was who I said I was.
Domain Is Gone
When renewal rolls around, the option to renew the domain through re-upping it does not appear. In fact, the domain would not be available until 2020 and if I wanted it before then it had an asking price of about 2,000 bucks. Since I purchased the domain for around 15, I was somewhat flattered that it was that valuable, but also annoyed that someone had taken something that belonged to me and was now essentially ransoming my property. I strongly suspected that Hostgator had not allowed me to prove who I said I was because they had some agreement with agencies such as these. Think about it, you are a company and you invest a lot of time on your web presence and suddenly you cannot get your domain due to changes that are company based--a fairly common occurrence. If you refuse to accept any proof of someone's identity, then you have a real interesting scenario open to you where you can then ditch the domain to shady Gus and then ask for thousands of dollars. Maybe Gus greases your palm in return.
As you can see from my screen capture, the domain is still owned by someone else, but the interesting thing is that this domain registrar claims to have owned it since 2015. Really? I think they are trying to re-write history. The company that bought the domain has an illustrative quote from the owner of the company:
"I'm just really greedy," said Mann, a man no one would describe as modest. "I want to own the world."
So I guess the business model is to lie and manipulate and steal things other people build into something valuable and use Hostgator as a sort of "fence". The only way I can see this situation being other than this is if Hostgator uses this company for their domain registration, but if they do, why oh why would they want to? Are they in some domain name mafia together?
In the end, I suppose it does not really matter in the sense that I have a new domain for our podcast. It is just interesting to see how business is done. The new domain, if you are interested, is at nearlysacred.us.