Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 126.96.36.199
i am the business manager at a web-based business, and unfortunately, someone else owns the .com for our business name.
We have tried numerous times to contact the WHOIS privacy service that is listed as the owner of this site. We have also had it back ordered for several years, but it always gets renewed.
The status on the enom WHOIS site (the registrar company) has said that the domain name is expired for about three years.
So basically, I cannot contact whoever owns this domain name. At enom it says it's expired, but we can't buy it. Calling enom and leaving messages has had no result. Calling the numbers listed in the WHOIS has had no result, neither has emailing those addresses.
Is there anything we can do about this?
[edited by: Webwork at 9:13 pm (utc) on Mar. 30, 2006]
[edit reason] Charter [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]
Since the owner is apparently not interested in selling the name, you only have legal options. But if you can't prove trademark rights (just google it) to the terms, then there's literally nothing you can do.
Will that help us?
Oh, and when I say that it is expired, it's because when I look it up on whois.enom.com, that's what it says at the top of the page.
[edited by: Webwork at 10:04 pm (utc) on Mar. 30, 2006]
[edit reason] Please no domain name mentions per Charter [/edit]
Assuming it's expired for the past year or so, the only reasons I can think of why it's still being held are because: a) registrant is bankrupt, or b) some kind of legal dispute occurred, but the registrar has not been notified of its outcome (if any).
I'm thinking it's b, and that's going to make things more complex than they already are.
In any case, definitely you only have legal options. Get your attorney to work, that's what you pay him for. ;)
I have come across folks over the years that simply check for a web page, and when it's not found, they assume that the domain name is not being used. I don't know if this is your situation, but if so, don't make that assumption. I have domain names that I use for personal ftp, for "connecting" computers over the internet, for e-mail use, etc but not for web sites. There are thousands of things you can do with a domain name, only one of which is to have a web site.
So, I don't know how this affects your legal status. But I do know that if a domain name is actually in use, it gives the owner more standing if someone tries to take it away.
As others have eluded to, I recommend contacting a lawyer for advice.
Is this true? If so, what constitutes use? I have domains parked and generating revenue. Am I at risk of losing them?
There is one more option, the owner may not want to sell, and you can't do anything about it. If you emailed the owner offering $100 or so, don't expect a response. You are wasting your time and the owners as well. The number of years registered x $50 is a good rule of thumb of insulting an owner. Offer at least years x $100 to $500.
Money buys you anything, just a question of how much. There are only a few portfolios you can't buy from unless you have $300 Million, seriously.
If you owned the domain at one time and let it expire, that would be a negative factor in any wipo/udrp action.
It could be Enom renewing the domain. You might persevere with that line of action and buy the domain from them.