No, I'm not talking about warm and fuzzy movie that was on cable other night with Nicholas Cage and Brigitte Fonda. I'm talking about another type of experience altogether - one of decidedly cold and nasty variety.
You know what cybersquatting is, right? It's when someone registers a domain name that heretofore has been someone else's trademark, with intent to hold name for ransom. Sometimes these people identify trademarks in market place and snap up domain name figuring that, sooner or later, owner of trademark is going to want to register domain name and may even be prepared to pay handsomely for privilege.
Other times, and this may even be worse, these trolls seize domain names that have lapsed due to their owners failing to renew them in time. When former owner tries to renew they soon learn to their horror that someone else has gazzumped them and are demanding several hundreds or thousands of dollars to return their property to them. As reprehensible as this practice is, there's nothing new about it and courts are chock-full of cases brought by outraged victims. ] But put *yourself* in shoes of poor person who has unwittingly allowed her domain name registration to lapse only to find that "Dave Web" is now rightful owner and wants $550 from you to give it back.
Now put yourself into these size elevens ... not only has Dave Web kidnapped your domain name, very one that used to point to site containing all of your hard work for past three years, domain name that is synonymous with your hard-earned reputation, not only that ... it now points somewhere else.
To a porn site.
We have now graduated from "mere" cybersquatting to criminal extortion. Not to mention criminal defamation.
This, believe it or not, is what happened to Jan Tallent-Dandridge just this week. Many of you will know Jan as publisher of Rim Digest (http://www.rimdigest.com). You may also be familiar with her other websites, http://www.marketingwarrioress.com and http://www.jtdbizopps.com, although if you tried to visit latter site today, you'd get a rather unpleasant surprise. This is domain name hijacked by Dave Web.
To give you background to this sorry tale, I asked Jan's permission to reprint her email to me
"... I had a domain name, jtdbizopps.com, for over two years but did not renew it. Instead I set up marketingwarrioress.com as a mirror and quit running ads, swaps, etc. for old name.
"When it came up for renewal, I was going to renew it just to keep it from being used for a year or so as I still had ads and link swaps out there I could not track down.
"Network solutions would not release name to me without my paying them $70 for 2 years and THEN transferring it somewhere else. I felt this was ridiculous since namebargain.com, etc. are only $10 or so a year.
"I did not renew in time and when I did try, about a week after cancellation date, it was "in purge", to quote NS, and I would have to wait 30 days or so for it to become available again.
"During this time an individual bought it somehow and offered it back to me for $550.00.