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Ex-employee stole Domain name

 8:51 pm on Aug 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

My family runs a small publishing company and we also build websites for our Advertisers. We recently fired one of our Employees. When he left he stole a website that he was working on for a Client and started communicating directly to the Client, posing as our company. We resolved that problem but, we didn’t find out until today that he also transferred ownership of the Client’s domain name to his own personal registrar account. I know, he shouldn’t have had access to the registrar account in the first place. Lesson learned.

My Dad called the ex-employee and asked him to take down the Clients website, which he did. When my Dad asked him about the domain name, he said he didn’t have access to it (which is a lie). I just checked and ex-employee put up a “This domain is for sale” place holder shortly after the call was made.

Obviously he has stolen company property, but since he changed ownership, any chance of getting it back seems hopeless. What can we do to rectify this problem?

I was going to send the ex-employee an email asking him to release the domain to us. Should that be my first step?



 9:10 pm on Aug 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

You should not "ask" him to do anything. You should demand that he do it and assure him that youwill pursue all civil and criminal theft penalties available to you. After all, stealing IS criminal, even if the value of the domain name has an uncertain value.

Furthermore, if you know that he has a new employer, you should insist to the former employee that you will be forced to contact the new employer to determine whether he stole it on their behalf. Be careful about following this up without consulting an attorney first because he will no doubt be fired immediately and you need to be protected against any slander or libel charge.

Depending on the leverage you have (such as whether you know the employer), the person will likely respond without involving a lawyer. But your next step may be to consult a lawyer depending on how much this domain is worth to you.

I had a former employee run off with a laptop and he made all kinds of excuses why he couldn't have it back for months. When I threatened to contact his respectable new employer, the laptop was immediately returned (somehow all the reasons why it couldn't be returned evaporated).

Good luck.


 9:11 pm on Aug 15, 2005 (gmt 0)


I would first take screenshots of anything on the web
that could help your case in case you need it. Buy a screen capture tool or find a free one.

You could first ask him to give up the name. That would be cheaper than getting laywers involved.


 9:12 pm on Aug 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

You should get legal advice, which is something that unfortunately you cannot get on a public forum.

Speak to a lawyer.


 3:28 am on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Problem is resolved. Thanks for the advice.


 3:47 am on Aug 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Can I ask how you resolved it so suddenly?


 8:21 am on Aug 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Contacted those those nice Italian gentlemen from Siciliy.


 10:44 am on Aug 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

it is not a matter for civil proceedings through a lawyer, it is a simple case of theft for which the full force of criminal law should be applied. call the police and let him explain to them why he stole your domain. when faced with a criminal record you may find that he becomes very reasonable.


 2:53 am on Sep 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

In such cases it is worth submitting the site to archive.org via Alexa to get an independent snapshot.


 3:12 am on Sep 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

> Can I ask how you resolved it so suddenly?



 1:54 pm on Sep 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

We had something very similar to this happen at a company I used to work for, where the ex-employee transferred ownership of one of our domains and set it up on his own server.

It was easily resolved, and with no contact with the ex-employee by simply contacting our registrar and informing them of the unauthorized transfer. We had to fax documentation to the registrar proving we were the rightful owners (invoice from registrar for initial registration and company credit card statement in this case). Simple and painless, and our domain was back under our control within a few days.


 2:08 pm on Sep 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not much you can do. Unless you have deep pockets. <snip> scammed me out of thousands of dollars earlier this year as an affiliate and local law enforcement said they were too busy on the web tracking down pedophiles to do anything about my case, which anything over a certain amount is a felony (as this amount was in the thousands). Not to mention them being in New York and me in Florida, it was also theft over state lines so I guess this would be a matter for the FBI? Well I couldn't get any help and it's 2005.

Good luck!
- Will

[edited by: stuntdubl at 5:57 pm (utc) on Sep. 30, 2005]
[edit reason] no specifics please [/edit]

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