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How to recover a stolen or lost domain

The domain of a web page is a personal and transferable name. It is personal because it identifies a person or company. And it is transferable because it can be passed on to another person or company. This page has as domain avertigoland and is associated with me. In the future I can leave it free, so in 90 days it would be available to anyone or I can transfer it to someone else by providing the “door key” of the domain, the authCode ¬†or EPP (authorization code), a security code ¬†associated with generic type domains. It serves to prevent unauthorized transfers.

In this article I will deal with several assumptions and explain how to do to recover it if you have lost it or if someone has registered it to do business.

Recover domain purchased to do business

There are many people who buy domains and then sell them to the highest bidder. An example occurred in 2002 with David Bisbal. Due to the program Operación Triunfo of 2001 this singer became famous and several domains were registered that bore his name in bad faith, with the intention of doing business. Specifically, davidbisbal.com, davidbisbal.net, davidbisbal.info and davidbisbal.biz.

One person registered those domains a day after the first Big Brother gala. David Bisbal very well advised wanted to recover those domains that bore his name and filed a claim with the ARBITRATION and Mediation Center of WIPO and whose final resolution can be read in this link. That court decided that:

The Panel, considering it established that the domain names < davidbisbal.com>, < davidbisbal.net>, < davidbisbal.info> and < davidbisbal.biz> are each and every identical to the Plaintiff’s stage name, that the Respondent has no legitimate rights or interests with respect to the domain names that are the subject of this dispute and that they were registered and used in bad faith,¬† decides that the Claim must be upheld and requires that the registration of the domain names < davidbisbal.com>, < davidbisbal.net>, < davidbisbal.info> and < davidbisbal.biz> be transferred to the Plaintiff.

In this case it was recovered by going to an arbitration court with power to revoke the possession of a domain to a person or company.

Losing a domain for not renewing it

It can also happen that a person or company does not want to continue having that domain and no longer renews it. In that case there are 90 days in which it can be recovered after completion. When it expires, it is free after approximately 90 days. This means that anyone can register it. The way to retrieve it is to contact the current registrar and reach an agreement for them to provide the auth code.

Let’s take for example that I had in possession for a few years, avertigo.com. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to recover it. In this case you can use two tools that I explain below.

Find the domain’s dns server

Each domain has DNS (Domains Name Service) information that is public. DNS is like a list of phones with ip addresses of machines where web pages are hosted. There is a very useful page for this called leafdns.com.

This may not tell you who owns it, but it can tell you how the lost domain is being used, which can be an important step in recovering your website files if you’ve lost them.

In the case of avertigo.com is now in possession of above.com as seen in Fig. 1.

dominio domain
Figure 1. Domain data avertigo.com

WHOIS domains public information

WHOIS is a public database with information about Internet domains registrars. It tells you who is responsible for a domain. There are many websites that offer this information. I usually use whois.sc  but any other is equally valid.

Searching for WHOIS information yields information about where the domain is registered. However, the registrar shown may just be a reseller, and if this is the case, you must do a little more research and look for the URL on the reseller’s website to hopefully find the original provider.

dominio domain

As the page indicates this domain is for sale and if we click there it directs us to a landing page with a registration form to make an offer on it. That page is from afternic.com  that belongs to Godaddy.

Buying domains

If we try to buy that domain, but not from that registration page but by putting directly avertigo.com and choosing the option to buy we arrive at a web page in which they ask us to make an offer, which can not be less than 888 dollars as can be seen in Fig. 2. I do not know how they have chosen that amount.

dominio domain
Figure 2. Domain on sale

Wait for expire

One way to have a domain againis to simply let it falland hopefully the company that currently has it won’t automatically renew it. In the case of avertigo.com expires on December 4, 2021. If I put an alert on the mobile and that same day I check if it is free or not. If it is free, I could register it.

Get data if relevant information was lost

WHOIS will also give you the registrant’s name of the person who registered the domain. In that case you can know if it was a former web designer, a business partner or even yourself who set it up. You will also find the creation date and the expiration date. With this information, hopefully you can contact the person who registered it and transfer the domain to you.

If you need to recover a account where you lost the password, the WHOIS information will often give the registrant’s email address that will help you recover a password and registrar login.

Privacy in domains

Keep in mind that some domain owners pay for privacy to hide public WHOIS information. In that case, you’ll be out of luck and may have to wait to expire before you can register it yourself.

Summary

With these tools provided in this article you will be able to determine where your website and your domain are hosted. Once this is done, you must register with a username and password on the page that provides you with the accommodation. That information is very important and must be kept safe so that you do not lose control of the information that belongs to you.

In case you have lost the domain you can contact the current registrar. Keep in mind that this domain can have an abusive price because there are companies that are dedicated to negotiating with precisely that. The age of the domains is a key factor to assess their price, in addition to whether it is remarkable for search engines.

References

  • https://webeminence.com/domain-name-recovery/
  • http://leafdns.com/
  • https://www.godaddy.com/whois
  • https://community.weebly.com/t5/Domains/Checking-if-My-Domain-is-Private/td-p/10151
  • https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2002/d2002-1135.html

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