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My admin stole my domain and now is trying extortion

 7:44 am on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have a forum that went down while I was involved in a move.

When I got back online after the move my forum Admin had moved the domain name into her name and not only that moved the data from my host to her host.

This is a person that I have paid more than $7,500.00 for work preformed.

She told me that she had to move them in order to fix things but I don't think it really needed to be moved.

She sent me an invoice for this move and told me it had to be done in order to save the forum. I paid the invoice.

Later I asked for the domain name to be changed back to me and I wanted new hosting account moved into my name.

She responded that she is not trying to steal my forum and wanted to know why I wanted it transfered back so fast.

She has several times in emails said it was my forum and that she is not trying to steal it but will not return them. In the latest emails she wants to know what my intent is after I get them back.

The last email she gave me a list to pick from if I want the name and the site returned to me. One of the options is to sign a contract for her have continued paid involvement in the forum. One of the other options is for me to pay her to return my property.

I think this smacks of extortion. I was going to do further business with her but her reaction to my request for the transfer makes me not want to deal with her anymore.

As an added note: She has replaced my paypal account on the forum with her own.

Any thoughts on this situation?



 9:50 am on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

1. lawyer.

2. lawyer.

3. lawyer.


 9:53 am on Aug 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

1. Backup, save, archive, download everything you can (try something like wget for windows with the -r flag to download the whole site)

2. Lawyer


 8:39 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but get a lawyer.

I'd also suggest ceasing all communications with your (former) admin - let a lawyer do the talking, documenting everything - for a lawyer, and, oh yeah, hire a mean lawyer.

The only other suggestion would be to kneecap her, but that might not be extreme enough, so get a lawyer instead.


 8:41 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

get the lawyer to kneecap her - that is the safest route. but you still need to get a lawyer


 9:26 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Later I asked for the domain name to be changed back to me"

how did she do that change the domain name?

Did someone tell ya to get a Lawyer....


 9:27 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

my forum Admin had moved the domain name into her name

I hope this means that at one time your name, address and telephone number were the registrant contact details with the domain registrar. This means that there is a immutable record of the chain of ownership.

This would be helpful to your case.

Get a LITIGATION lawyer.

One that is clued in to internet issues if possible.

Now, some moves requiring an understanding of the internet that your lawyer can do with your assistance:

1. contact the domain registrar about this fraudulent transfer and demand a reversal. if this succeeds, make sure that only you are listed as registrant, admin contact, technical contact and billing contact. make sure that all passwords are changed. if more than one registrar is involved, contact both.

2. contact your former host and ask for written confirmation of your hosting history

3. track the dns records and file a DMCA takedown notice with every host she moves to. that should keep her real busy. at the same time, have your lawyer demand a complete backup, including the *databases* be held in escrow. this is to help you get the site back online later. they are not required to do this, but hey, they just might. wget will not get the databases back :(

4. contact paypal, they dislike being in the middle of fraud.

5. print hard copies of all your paypal transactions related to the sites before they disappear. you might need them to support litigation.

Good luck.


 10:19 pm on Aug 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Now, some moves requiring an understanding of the internet that your lawyer can do with your assistance:

What plumsauce said.

FYI, there are archived records of every whois record change. Sticky mail me if you need them -- and a lawyer who eats domain name disputes for breakfast knows how to get this as well.


 10:20 pm on Sep 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Everybody above has provided the sage like advice of contacting an attorney. As an attorney that deals with this scenario, I thought that this thread could benefit from understanding how an attorney would approach this situation.

First, I would request all documents that concern the website. I then review all executed proposal(s) and contract(s) and scan for any mention of ownership with regard to domain names, development terms, hosting, maintenance, etc. If these documents are silent regarding essential terms (or more likely there is no proposal or contract), I then analyze all correspondence in chronological order to understand the relationship between the parties. Please note IMHO most undocumented conversations between parties are relatively worthless unless the contents of them are provable. I then analyze the situation, considering all relevant areas of law, and determine all the legal bases that would result in what the client desires. Finally, I counsel the client to inform them as to how they should proceed.

I would I could write more about your particular situation SidneyB but without all of the above mentioned documents in front of me, Id be guessing at best. What I can say is that it appears you do have a cause of action. You should get an attorney ASAP.

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