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Every year thousands of domain names are stolen. Some of these domains are valued in the five and six-figure range, and can often be the front-end to an entire business. Unfortunately law enforcement agencies do not have a procedure in place to track the theft and generally nothing is done. Most domain registrars and marketplaces try to stay-out of these situations as well and assume zero responsibility for the loss, even if the customer put their life-savings into the domain. There is no domain name police, theft database, or recovery agents, until now.
A creative new company founded by part-time Domain Investor Morgan Linton has just been announced and he plans to make a major impact in the domain security and theft prevention space. DomainTheft.org is a centralized database of stolen domains all verified by a proprietary algorithm called DTVS or the Domain Theft Verification System. DTVS does an initial check to ensure that the theft being committed is valid and then sends it along to a member of DomainTheft.org’s task force for investigation. “People have been buying and selling domain names for over 15 years, and thieves have been stealing domains for the same amount of time,” says Linton who runs a popular blog that attracts Domain Investors from all over the world.
Domain owners pay a small monthly fee to list their stolen domains in the system and the database is available to every major domain name sales platform and marketplaces like eBay and Flippa. “If every marketplace checks our database before listing a domain for sale it will not only dramatically reduce the number of stolen domains, but also improve the chance of recovery,” says Linton who is pioneering the space as the founder of the first Domain Theft Database available online. “Along with listing domain names in our database we have dedicated recovery agents that will work with registrars and law enforcement agencies to recover stolen domains.” The amazing thing about DomainTheft.org’s recovery service is the price – there is none. “The cost of this service is entirely up to the customer. At the end of the day we want to make the domain world a better place and financial gain is not our primary focus.”
Last week marked the first case where a domain thief was criminally prosecuted in the United States. Daniel Goncalves was sentenced to five years in prison after stealing P2P.com from domain investor Mark Ostrofsky and attempting to sell it to retired NBA star Mark Madsen. In cases like these it can take high-powered lawyers and big bucks to recover a domain.
“Our goal is big and the challenge is even bigger, but we think that we can make a huge impact in the Domain Name Security space. Just think, if everyone checks our database before they buy a domain name, it will be almost impossible for thieves to sell domains.” Linton feels strongly that by making it harder to sell stolen domains, thieves will become less inclined to even attempt a theft. “Some people want to make the physical world a better place, I want to make the virtual world a better place and DomainTheft.org will do exactly that.“