Monday, May 28, 2007

Domain NameTheft

It's Memorial Day, and I'm sitting outside working on the edits for my upcoming book, The Next Adventures of Guy ... more wackiness.

It's a gorgeous day ... though I'm sticking to the shade so glare won't make it impossible to read the screen. Dont'cha love laptops? Anyway, I just posted a blog on Book Place, but I think the message is important enough to 'cross blog.' Especially since one of our own Acme Authors was involved.

Because of writer's conferences and such, I have met hundreds of writers, and gotten to know some of them better over drinks or at author fests. Still, though, there are thousands and thousands of writers in the various genres. So how surprising is it to hear the same story from two of the few that I know a little better? The story?

That of domain-theft.

This isn't really my story, but you have to hear it. One of the writers from the Mystery Writers of America posted a message on our Chat Board that someone had somehow swiped her domain name ... which was simply her name. It wasn't because the thief shared the same name, he wanted it and simply took it. She actually tracked down the jerk, and his explanation was that he 'collects' writer's domain names.

Yeah, you heard me, er, read me. He collects them!

She managed to get it back from him after pleading that her professional success depends on people being able to find her, and this is best done by having a website named after her. It ended up costing her nothing but a period of absolute panic.

Her message prompted a series of alarmed postings, and one more horrible tale:

Another writer told how his had been swiped, too, but when he contacted the perpetrator, he was told he could have it back ... for a price. The person who took it did so simply for monetary purposes. This writer told him to just keep it, and he simply changed his domain name. Hopefully later, the thief will let his illegitimate ownership lapse and the writer can get it back if he wants it.

My domain name is named after me, too,, in the hopes that the millions of people (I hope) who hear of me can find me. But every year or so, I get a mailing from a domain-naming company that offers to 'renew' my domain name for me. The first time I received this, I frantically contacted my web page company who assured me that they do this for me as a part of my contract with them.

So the word is, my friend writers, is 'writer beware.' There are people out there who want to make money without working for it. And they don't always do it at gunpoint.

The Adventures of Guy ... written by a guy (probably)
and coming soon, The Next Adventures of Guy ... more wackiness


Margot Justes said...

Hi Norm,

That is an interesting and scarry blog...thanks for the warning. Do we ever publickly find out who does it?

How does the name get stolen, what is the process, do you know?


Norm Cowie said...


Actually, I don't know any of the in's and out's to this, but here is an interesting site:

Norm Cowie said...

Here's another one

Can anyone else jump in here?