You’ve just come up with the perfect business plan and name. You’ve even checked to see that the domain is available. Not only that, but you’ve even BOUGHT the domain, paid for hosting, printed up your stationery, and started your pay per click campaigns. Then you try to upload your files, and nothing happens. You contact your host and they tell you sorry, your domain name has been stolen right out from under you, registered by someone else. That’s right. STOLEN.
Who could possibly do such a thing, and how?
Metapredict.com / UltraRPM.com is a company that has been mysteriously registering people’s domain names right after they have been searched for, for at least the past six months, with over 600000 registered domains. I found a link here: http://www.webhosting.info/registrars/reports/METAPREDICT.COM which shows this statistic.
Metapredict.com has a site online, and like UltraRPM.com, has a domain search box on their home page. Many people who end up there probably don’t know about Metapredict’s history of registering people’s domain names just after they are typed into domain search boxes, so they innocently enter the domain they are interested it to see if it is available, only to have it stolen right out from under them.
Even worse, many in the industry suspect they are running spyware at other popular domain registration sites and hosting companies.
So even when you think you have registered the site, if you can’t make changes to it, and a place holder card with all sorts of ads on it appears, you might have been the victim of “domain kiting”.
The ICANN Wiki explains “domain kiting” or “domain tasting”:
Because there is a 5 day grace period which for returning and receiving a refund on a domain, registrants are utilizing this to register domains, test them for traffic and keep the domains which are monetizable. This approach has the potential to be particularly lucrative and low risk because these businesses can test the residual traffic of a domain name before paying for it. In addition, the registrant can benefit from any residual income from the traffic received during the five day period even if the domain is refunded.
I had never heard of it til I got kited myself last week. I registered and paid for my new domains and had all my content ready to go with my new site, and couldn’t access it.
So I contacted hostgator, and they told me that MetaPredict was showing as the owner of my brand new domain name that I had a cpanel and site manager for!
They gave me these contact details.
87 East Green Street
Pasadena, California 91105
I can’t think how this happened except for spyware running at the hosting company. I bought and paid for the domains within seconds after going to hostgator, and I am on a Mac.
Admittedly the two domains were in a popular keyword area, which was why I was trying to aim for that niche.
Some people say that if there is a gap between registration and payment, they can take advantage of that. I my case, Hostgator takes payment through Paypal, so we are talking a 1 minute window of opportunity, and I STILL got kited.
Thieving a domain name is theft of intellectual property at the very least.
So what can you do if your domain has been kited?
Do not try to get your domain name back until after the 5-day grace period is over. Metapredict.com register the domain for a 5-day trial and probably only keep the domains that look like there is interest in.
Wait until at least 5 days after your domain name has been taken to see if it becomes available again. If it doesn’t become available, then you could contact Metapredict / UltraRPM.
If your domain has been taken by UltraRPM (dba Metapredict.com) their contact information can be found on Metapredict.com (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on ICANN.org which gives Metapredict.com contact information as: Trent Cooper +1-626-796-1004. Though I hear in the forums that it is just a voicemail.
If your domain involved a corporate or trademark name, gather all of your paperwork together to support your case that they are violating your trademark.
It has been a week since this happened, so I have written a cease and desist and demanded my domains back. I will keep you all posted on my progress.
I wish readers the best of luck in getting your domains back.
For those of you thinking of registering a domain, buy and pay for it quickly, so there is little or no opportunity to get kited.
Progress update- 2 days later: My host informs me I have got my sites back, and I am just waiting for them to propagate now.