Issue 2022-08-04: Cybersquatters got me!

How to Prevent Being a Victim

I was a victim of cybersquatting. I failed to renew a domain name and someone swept in and took ownership. I wasn't sure of their intent. They could have wanted my traffic, serve up ads, or sell it to a new owner or to me.

I checked the WHOIS registry every year to see if they retired the domain. And after two years, it was finally retired and I regained ownership.

Those two years were miserable. Someone had something that was mine.

It was an oopsie. Here's what I learned:

  • Lower your chances of being a victim. A cybersquatter will run similar sites in order to destroy your brand or company or steal your traffic. Purchase as many similarly named domains as your wallet could buy. Grab all the popular TLD domains. Consider purchasing the domain names with typos in them too. For example, some of the traffic to could be for the domain

  • Set up a reminder to pay for the renewal on time. Consider renewing for the longest term available.

  • Set up a reminder to renew the payment method as well.

  • If you're running a company, set up the billing contact as a shared group email address so that notifications are sent to subscribers to the group and not a single employee. You don’t want emails sent to Joe if he eventually leaves the company.

  • If you become a victim of cybersquatting and want to buy the domain back reach out to the domain owner. Their contact information may be on the site itself or on the WHOIS registry. Consult your lawyers if you think you need to pursue legal action.

Don’t be like me and make this oopsie. Setup reminders to renew your domain on time. Renew it even if there is a slight chance of you using it again. If you plan to run a business take extra precautions to lower your risk of being a victim of cybersquatting.