Challenging a Domain Name

Anyone ever challenge a domain name? Someone has a domain with a few vacation pictures on it and nothing else. I have been trying to contact them for a couple of years to no avail The street address in the “who is” listing is not valid, the phone is diconnected, and no one responds to my email. On the other hand, the domain registration was automatically updated last year.

The domain name in question is the same as our store, and we have a trademark on it, but they had their site a few months before we opened. I’m willing to buy it, but I need to be able to contact them.

I haven’t challenged a domain name before, especially one that is completely legitimate like the one you’re referring to. But, I have had a similar situation, and had to go through extraordinary lengths to contact an AWOL registrant…eventually I found him and he helped me out.

In another case, a domain registrar went out of business. One of his clients contacted me to try to save her web site, which was registered through that registrar, and they had listed themselves as the registrants. I had to get a copy of her driver’s license, and a copy of her company letterhead to prove that she rightfully owned the domain. With that information, I called the parent registrar and they helped me out.

ETA: If you PM or Email me the domain name, I might have time this weekend to see if I can find out anything.

If you can prove that you’re entitled to the name, something like this may help you get it for free if you don’t mind the paperwork:

Check your PMs

Do be aware that some people mainly use their domain name for email, not web.

A trademark is useful but not all trademarks have the same value. For intance if you were to trademark “Acme Hardware,” there might be hundreds of local stores called Acme so you’re trademark would only protect you in a local area. But Sears is nationally knows so your trademark would be protected all over.

If the domain register is false you can bring up a case and get the site closed down. But the original owner still will get to update and correct his information.