Jealous Thief tries to steal my ABNLookup.com.au domain.

A jealous thief (or perhaps “thieves”?) deliberately tried to steal my domain name ABNLookup.com.au(.)

The dirty would-be thief submitted a complaint in late November against my domain name in what he/she probably hoped would see my name drop to the public auctions during the Christmas holiday period so he/she could scoop it up for him or herself!

It nearly worked too!

Uniregistry (my Registrar) dropped the ball and must have been on early holiday break as they didn’t bother to chase me up or notify me that auDA had received a vexatious complaint against my domain name ABNLookup.com.au(.)

According to the Namebid.com.au “drop system” data, the same would-be thief also seems to have been very busy recently making similar complaints against these other “ABN Keyword” domain names;

RegisterABN.com.au

ABNRegistry.org.au

ABNLookup.org.au

Luckily, Daniel from the auDA Compliance Team quickly recovered my valuable (at least, for me!) domain name from the drop system once I noticed it was in jeopardy of being ripped away. Daniel responded very quickly, even over the holiday break period.

Thank you again for all your help, Daniel from auDA, who assures me “the domain currently resolves to a correctly monetised website. We will inform the registrar and close the complaint.”

In the meantime, I have requested from auDA the Name, Email and most importantly the IP ADDRESS of the “anonymous” domain name thief so I can publicly expose him/her and consider my next movements against this horrible person. (whoever it may be?)

The “anonymous” would-be thief had better hope the IP Address he/she used to make the complaint doesn’t align with the recent IP Addresses my online security team have been recording of hackers trying to break into Domainer and also from hackers illegally attempting to attack my payment gateway and invoicing systems on one of my other company websites…

Story developing…

15 thoughts on “Jealous Thief tries to steal my ABNLookup.com.au domain.

  • Neddy
    January 6, 2021 at 7:13 pm
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    Firstly, well done to Daniel from auDA for his quick action during a holiday break.

    Secondly, good luck in getting the complainant’s details from auDA!

    Anonymous complaints have long been a disturbing aspect with .au domains. E.g. when “Donald Duck” with a throwaway email address can make a free vexatious online complaint to auDA (which gets actioned), then there is a real problem. There is no transparency or accountability. Nor is there any recourse for the registrant.

    Genuine complainants should not have a problem putting their name to a complaint if they believe in their case. This is a mandatory requirement of complaints made through auDRP or UDRP (for which complainants have to put up at least $2k as well!).

    I wonder by what percentage complaints would diminish if auDA charged complainants a $50 fee (which could be refundable if they were successful)?

    There is precedent for this. If a registrant decides to appeal an auDA decision to the Registrant Review Panel, they have to pay $250 + GST upfront. If they are successful, they get their money refunded.

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  • Avatar
    January 6, 2021 at 7:28 pm
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    Who are these dodgy pricks? They’ve already had a crack at three different domain holders for that keyword. Who are they going to roll over next?

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  • Avatar
    January 6, 2021 at 8:35 pm
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    Hi Neddy,

    I hear what you’re saying about anonymous complainant’s details being hard to get from auDA (it sure is ridiculous that complaints are “anonymous” anyway…), but, I’ve been told, in some cases, there are special circumstances that require auDA to hand them over.

    I’m about to test this theory.

    I can’t wait to find out who submitted the complaint.

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    • Neddy
      January 7, 2021 at 6:10 am
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      I hope your test works Rob. A big spotlight needs to be shone on underhand and disingenuous activity. You’ve done that well with other incidents in the .au space.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 5:32 am
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    Was there no notification that it had been disputed and was going to drop Rob? Surely that would be a failing of both the registrar and auDA.

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    • Avatar
      January 7, 2021 at 9:24 am
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      I believe it was the Registrar’s responsibility to see me as an important client and keep trying to reach out to me to ensure I was aware the name had a vexatious complaint against it. I guess this is the problem with going with an overseas Registrar, instead of an Australian-based one. They’re not exactly going to phone you or SMS you that a complaint has been made.

      Imagine a Registrar who actually cares about you and TEXTS you that your domain is in jeopardy? We need this in Australia!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 6:06 am
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    A disturbing twist is that some of these complaints are made by professionals working in this market

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  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 8:30 am
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    Sounds like a miserable unit who doesn’t have enough money to buy the domain, as all domain thieves are. Picture the grotty pickpockets from Oliver Twist who don’t know how to get what they want any other way.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 8:39 am
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    There needs to be a nominal amount paid to lodge a complaint and at the very least auDA should be identifying the complainant.

    The Privacy Act allows the option of dealing anonymously or by pseudonym with an APP entity but that comes with conditions, such as only allowing the option where it is practical. Without a requirement to identify themselves auDA creates a free-for-all for people to “give it a go” at causing a domain to be dropped.

    Perhaps auDA thinks it is impractical for it to check identities? But recall that Resellers need to identify Registrants. auDA should hold themselves to similar standards that it expects of others.

    An object of auDA is to protect the .au domain space. By allowing anonymous complaints auDA devalues the processes that it tries so hard to further.

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  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 8:44 am
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    Please indulge me the position of devils advocate here as I think there is actually a time and a place for privacy protections.

    1) I’d advocate for a moratorium on policy deletions where the 14 day period falls over the Christmas to New year summer break. So no domains to be policy deleted by registrars from 7 Dec (14 days to the 21st) until 1 Jan. auDA controls the final deletion date and I feel there is a subtle rush to tie up loose ends at the end of every year which results in a rush of quality deletions on or around Christmas.

    2) I would support the idea of a nominal fee to initiate a complaint but also for auDA to figure out a better way to incentivise the Registrar to make formal contact with a defendant. Right now it is an expense to run a complaints department and there is no upside to a registrar making extra effort to reach a non-responsive registrant.

    3) Retail registrars make money out of selling registrants web hosting related services. If you are paying $10 for domain renewals the Registrar is only making a few cents per year per domain looking after you so don’t be surprised if they don’t go the extra mile to contact you. Find a registrar who is taking thousands of dollars a month off of you and I’d wager that they have an Account Manager assigned to you with your mobile number on speed dial. Drop catchers are an obvious example but you can also buy lots of other stuff like web hosting from your other suppliers so they are incentivised to keep you on as a customer.

    Finally the new rules are just around the corner now (95 days away) so I am going to be in the unfortunate position of knowing who the complainants are but not being able to share that information with you. To be honest I am not looking forward to that particular part of the new rules at all.

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    • Avatar
      January 7, 2021 at 10:58 am
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      Hi Ant,

      Your moratorium is a great idea. This will stop dodgy complaints over the Christmas period. The vast majority of Australian businesses go on holiday a week before Christmas and don’t come back until a week into January. This is when dark, shady domain name complaints are made, knowing the Registrants aren’t checking their emails over the Christmas break.

      I also agree that a nominal fee should be required to lodge a complaint for sure. auDA should have implemented this many years ago.

      auDA have always allowed vexatious complaints against policy-abiding Registrants to be made ANONYMOUSLY and FOR FREE, however, they clearly have a duty of care to Registrants to allow a domain name holder the opportunity to know WHO is trying to steal their domain name.

      auDA need to seriously look into this.

      We need to lobby auDA this year as a community to make these changes. So, I’ve created a new page on Domainer called “auDA Changes”. It can be accessed under the menu options RESOURCES / Required auDA Changes and will feature on the front right column of Domainer moving forward.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 11:07 am
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    I do not at all believe a fee should be a requirement. If I see my local pie shop’s old URL (businessnamepies.com.au) is directing to a car wash and is registered to a car wash ABN, there should not be a fee to let AuDA know. Perhaps only anonymous complaints should have a fee and/or a penalty system should be involved where a complaint is seen to be vexatious. We have laws already around slander/defamation, perhaps these could be reviewed to see if they apply here? I’m sure a criminal charge would dissuade some people?

    Incentivising successful fights against these would be good too though. Perhaps penalties for Registrars who loose more than they win. It would keep them keen to be strict on new registrations and would also keep them keen to contact registrants who need to defend themselves.

    A moratorium on deletions around holiday periods makes sense.

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    • Avatar
      January 7, 2021 at 11:35 am
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      You make a good point. Maybe if found guilty of vexatious there’s a fee? Or, maybe there is a $50 fee for any complaint, and then a $100 extra fee if the complaint is found to be vexatious?

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    • Avatar
      January 7, 2021 at 11:41 am
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      What if there was a charge held on a credit card and if the complaint is upheld it is not processed but if the complaint is dismissed it is processed? Thus payment for unsuccessful complaints.

      Reply
  • Ed Keay-Smith
    January 8, 2021 at 10:30 am
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    Totally agree Rob

    There needs to be transparency with who is making the complaint and a fee would be a great place to start in reducing the number that are happening at the moment.

    Let’s hope auDA are paying attention.

    Reply

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