What To Do If Your Domain Name Is Hijacked

One of the worst feelings a site owner can experience is what ensues when you find out that your domain name has been hijacked. Domain name hijacking refers to a practice where a competitor or a regular person purchases a domain that is extremely similar to your own.

When this happens, you are immediately put at risk for several different problems. Your site may lose customers, due to confusion from consumers. If the competing site is posting material that is harmful to your business, you may lose more than just a few customers, you may lose your business.

Hijacking can occur by taking your domain name and modifying it slightly. For example, if you have yourname.com registered, they could use your-name.com or other variations. It can also take the form of purchasing other extensions for your existing domain. For example, instead of yourname.com, they could purchase yourname.net or yourname.biz.

If you have become the victim of domain name hijacking, you will need to take action quickly. Do not wait for any damage to be done. It may be too late to counteract any problems if you do wait. You will have several options.

First, you can contact the owner of the hijacked domain and offer to purchase it from them. If you have extra capital, this may be the cheapest way to avoid legal action.

However, it also means that you have become a target for future hijacking. Many people will hijack a domain just to see if they can get the owner of the domain in question to pay them off. Tread carefully and feel out the situation before making any decisions.

It is possible that someone honestly did not know they were infringing on your domain, so approach them carefully. If it is an honest mistake, you can quickly alienate someone if you come out swinging. Try a nice letter at first, and then escalate if necessary.

Second, you can contact an attorney who is well versed in Internet law. This type of attorney will be able to advise you on what kind of recourse you will have. If your domain is trademarked, you will have a much greater chance of success.

If all manner of recourse fails you, you may be stuck with the hijacker. In this case, you will need to specify in your advertising, on your site and in any promotional material that your site is the “Official Site” for your company.

To avoid domain name hijacking, you can trademark your domain or purchase all of the available extensions and variations for your domain. This process can be quite costly, but when compared to the legal and financial implications associated with dealing with domain name hijacking, it can be well worth the extra time and money. It is also a good idea to monitor similar domain names to make sure that you are aware of potential hijackers ahead of time.

Related Posts:
Trademarking Your Domain
Should You Purchase All Of Your Domain’s Available Extensions?
Hosting Industry Daily Briefing for 03/01/2006
What Are Vanity Domain Names?
What to Do if Your Domain Name is Already Taken

Posted on 12/14/05 10:32 PM

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