Recently, the blog Crescat Sententia’s domain was taken over by a company that snatches up any expired domain names of popular websites the minute the original owner fails to renew. The company then tries to exploit the Google Page Rank of the domain or tries to sell back the hijacked domain to the original owner for a hefty price.
Originally, the blog was at the URL http://www.crescatsententia.org/. If you visit that URL, you can see that the blog’s full contents remain. The new URL is http://www.crescatsententia.net/. At the new site, Will Baude writes:
In September, without my knowledge or consent, our old domain was purchased by a Search Engine Optimization firm that intends to make money by either reselling the domain for a pretty penny to somebody greedy for its pagerank, or by using that pagerank to sell links to sites eager to trick Google. The webpage up there now is not this blog (it’s an old cache that he will have to take down soon), and this blog is the current and future home of crescat.
Because of the switcheroo, I can’t post a notice over there telling everybody where we’ve gone, so we’re reliant on people updating their blogrolls, and on word of mouth. With your help, hopefully we can minimize the disruption this has already caused.
This practice just seems wrong, and I think that there’s at least a case for copyright infringement. What potential legal recourse could the folks at Crescat take? I’ll leave it to the cyberlaw and intellectual property experts to opine on the viability of any legal redress.
UPDATE: When Will Baude emailed the owner of the company that bought up his domain name, here’s the response he got in return:
Thanks for your email. The content on crescatsententia is not copyrighted nor is it revenue generating so there would be no issue with the domain in its current state. Obviously the site will not remain on the domain when we sell. We left the domain on the site while you backed up your files. We were not obliged in any way shape or form to contact you so that you could save your content.
Now you reply with this stupidity. Domain names have set registration periods. If you fail to register your domain out of stupidity or ignorance then it is made available to the general public. If the domain had not been purchased it would have been deleted and all work lost.
The sale of the domain will go ahead. The new owner will have the great privelege of utilising a pr7 established domain which registers thousands of visitors a day. As is customary for such idiots; the domain will most likely be converted into a gambling site, an adsense site or a site for the adult industry which will be a great waste. However, I am no longer in control of such things and the domain needs to show a return on our considerable investment.
Again; the content will stay up for now. It was requested to remain live by yourself and im sure taking it down would affect your readers. Perhaps you will be able to contact some of them before the sale goes through and give them the new address. You never know some reader may even buy it back for you.