Friday, November 2, 2007

Protecting your domain name and identity

The likelihood of someone grabbing an expired domain name and testing it for profitability has increased so much that experts advise several precautions to prevent the crime or actions to take if it has happened.
One option is to not let the domain expire at all. If it is done, however, you can take steps to rescue it. Here are some things to think about:

  • There are more than 200 registrars to choose from, so do your homework. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) must accredit all registrants.
  • Verify that you or an authorized representative of your organization has been selected as the registrant. Go to WHOIS database at the Web site of Public Interest Registry (PIR) and view the name of the registrar, administrative contact and technical contact for your .org domain(s).
  • Check that email contact is valid.
  • Consolidate .org domains.
  • For a national organization, centralize your portfolio of affiliate domain names by giving it to national.
  • Register your domain names for the maximum amount of time.

For organizations that unintentionally let their domains expire.

  • The redemption grace period that ICANN has put in place provides actual and constructive notice that something's wrong.
  • Look up the new owner's information on WHOIS and send a demand letter. Seek the advice of knowledgeable counsel.
  • Contact your ISP and alert it of fraud.
  • File a proceeding under the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy.
  • File an action in federal court under the Anticybersquatting Act, which is part of the Lanham Act.

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