back to article Goddamn the Pusher man: Nominet kicks out domain name hijack bid

Nominet has thrown out an attempt at reverse domain name hijacking after some, er, pushy Brits tried seizing their old web address from a fast-fingered fellow in Romania. Pusher Ltd failed in its attempt to take control of the domain pusher.co.uk from Lee Owen, a resident of Romania, after forgetting to renew its registration …

  1. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    lesson ?

    Renew your domains in time or they're gone ...

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: lesson ?

      Check your emails more than once a year.

      1. Dimmer

        Re: lesson ?

        Yep, shure do. And every day I have emails from network solutions hawking some product. EVEN after explicitly opting out of it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: lesson ?

          What i wouldn't give for e-mails..I get calls every day from a new IT consultancy I've never heard of wanting to set up demonstrations or just have a quick call..

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: lesson ?

      I started to receive emails about 8 months after I last renewed my domain (a .com) regarding renewal. I contacted the registrar because I'd paid for ten years and should therefore have had 9 years and two months to go. I also started to get emails from other companies who were wondering if I wanted to register similar domains. The registrar admitted that they had buggered up the renewal and selected 1 instead of 10 years. They fixed it immediately but it was a interesting to see how quickly and how often I was contacted about renewing.

    3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: lesson ?

      Beware: Make sure you are renewing with your registrar, not with some chancer. I regularly get confusingly-worded emails that appear to be about renewing my domain, but, on careful reading, are offering SEO services.

    4. Lotaresco

      Re: lesson ?

      Well, duh. But sometimes it goes wrong. I lost a domain set to auto-renew because the registrar took the money and forgot to renew it. However if you check the contract, all you can get back is the fee. Still, the loss of the domain wasn't an issue for me, and I told the Russian cyber-squatter who tried to hold me to ransom over it to take a hike.

      From time to time I check the domain, as in "just now" and yes, the idiot is still sitting on the domain and it has cost him more than I paid for it, ten times more, to maintain it. He's an idiot.

  2. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

    If the .EU can do it

    'Pusher Ltd failed in its attempt to take control of the domain pusher.co.uk from Lee Owen, a resident of Romania'

    Ummm why does some Romanian guy get to have a .co.uk whatever they are smoking I want some.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: If the .EU can do it

      Because the rules around the .uk registry don't require that the registrant be a UK resident.

      They do specify the equivalent for the .eu registry.

      That's just the way they were set up... Check the rules of your own registry.

    2. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: If the .EU can do it

      Maybe the Romanian buyer bought the pusher.co.uk domain to set up a drug dealing business here in Blighty. Who knows?

      Many domains don't require you be a resident of the country to register them, I own 2 domains that belong to countries that I have not even visited never mind lived in, purely because they are short, spelt out an English word and are easy to remember.

    3. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Optional

      "Lee Owen" doesn't sound like a Romanian name. To me, it sounds pretty British, and it's only reported that the individual is a _resident_ of Romania.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Optional

        and it's only reported that the individual is a _resident_ of Romania.

        Looking at other news flow, I wonder if there has been some officially sanctioned swap of low life?

      2. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Optional

        Well it most certainly isn't a native Romanian name or anywhere close. I guess the residency is purely incidental, might as well be Nigerian or anything else in-between...

    4. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: If the .EU can do it

      How many .tv domains do you think have anything to do with Tuvalu?

      Or .co and Colombia?

      Or .me and Montenegro?

      It seems to me that having geographical restrictions on registrations is not as common as you might think.

  3. steelpillow Silver badge
    Joke

    Sweet greens

    I hear the Nominet person dealing with this case was called Step N. Wolf.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Sweet greens

      The best domain that wasn't for the company you might have thought it would be was back in the day - Baa.com

      So the British Airports Authority might have been a logical guess but it wasn't owned by them. It was in fact hosting a website about sheep and wool. See here for proof: https://web.archive.org/web/20000520095021/http://www.baa.com:80/

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: Sweet greens

        There is a link on that site to netscape 1.2 for ... Windows 95, 98, and NT ... it works, hm ... does not look legit, though ... but what do I know ....

  4. Mystereed

    How about some grace time after expiry?

    If a domain has been owned for a couple of years, how about having an embargo on it being picked up by someone new for a month or so? If you really don't want it, you can give permission for someone to have it early?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      How about some simple logic ?

      Fine, Pusher fucked up and didn't do its due diligence. I get that.

      Now please explain to me why some guy in Romania needs a .co.uk domain in the first place, and explain in detail why he needs it to be named Pusher. He wants the domain ? Okay, give him a month to set up a viable business website and start doing business.

      If he doesn't start doing business within a month, then he purchased the domain in bad faith and it should go back to Pusher - with an administrative fee tacked onto it, of course (like, triple normal - lessons and all that).

      1. Just Enough

        Re: How about some simple logic ?

        This would be an interesting development in internet domain purchases. Some authority gets to decide whether you "need" a domain, whether you can justify its name, and whether what you're doing with it is a "viable" business.

        No problem I can see there. None at all.

        1. Chris King Silver badge

          Re: How about some simple logic ?

          Actually, that's what JANET does with .ac.uk domains. Even though the application process is web-based these days, all applications go through a Naming Committee and the applicant has to justify why they want a particular .ac.uk domain. They can be quite fussy about what they'll accept, but no money changes hands until the application is accepted.

          They also have a specific rule for "Generic" domain names - from their Eligibility Policy:

          "Generic domain names, which could be applicable to a number of eligible sites, must provide evidence that they have the backing and approval from the majority of relevant members of the UK academic and/or research community, in order to be permitted to have that generic domain name".

          This mostly covers domain names based on a single dictionary word, but anything which could be legitimartely claimed by multiple sites can also come under this rule.

        2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: How about some simple logic ?

          And that the intended use is for a website.

          I have loads of customers who have domains purely for email, and those aren't the only 2 uses for a domain.

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: How about some grace time after expiry?

      There effectively already is this embargo.

      After your expiry date, they tend to wait 30 days before dropping your glue records. Then 60 days after that your registration is deleted. During that time you can renew, but no-one else can buy the domain - however, in the final 60 days you may have to pay an additional fee.

      So that's 90 days after domain expiry, and after 60 days of outage that the opportunity arises for someone else to buy your domain.

      And you get multiple, regular emails telling you that your domain is coming up for expiry, has expired and is in the grace period, is now in the redemption period, will be released, gone.

      The timings are different (tighter) for .com and other TLDs.

      I recently had all that with a domain I _wanted_ to let lapse. The repeated emails are kind of frustrating in that scenario, because you can't really miss them

      My guess is that they hit the redemption period, didn't want to pay an additional £60 fee, so figured they'd wait for it to hit the market and then renew for 15.99 and lost that gamble.

      1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

        Re: How about some grace time after expiry?

        But after a while, you stop being able to use the domain - because it's lapsed. So there's no website or email associated with it.

        Assuming that that didn't happen for the first 30 days, that gives them at least 6 weeks to wise up.

        And if they didn't feel the need to pay another £60, I have to question whether it was actually THAT important to their business anyway?

        1. Chris King Silver badge

          Re: How about some grace time after expiry?

          "And if they didn't feel the need to pay another £60, I have to question whether it was actually THAT important to their business anyway?"

          Exactly - if it's THAT important to your business, then it's an ASSET, and should be treated like one.

      2. Dave Lawton
        Holmes

        Re: How about some grace time after expiry?

        Unfortunately it would seem that

        And you get multiple, regular emails telling you that your domain is coming up for expiry, has expired and is in the grace period, is now in the redemption period, will be released, gone.

        No longer applies (sample of one).

        One of my domains, supposed to be automatic renewal (and paid for), wasn't renewed by the hosting company, and the first I knew about it, was when I received an email from Nominet saying that the domain HAD expired.

        YMMV

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: How about some grace time after expiry?

          So you think that nominet don't send emails because you got an email from nominet????

          ( 'expired' is not the same as 'suspended' or 'cancelled' - i.e. you got the message at the start of your grace period, not at the time when someone else could register it)

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: How about some grace time after expiry?

        "And you get multiple, regular emails telling you that your domain is coming up for expiry, has expired and is in the grace period, is now in the redemption period, will be released, gone."

        None of which helps if the email address is someone who has left the company, gone sick or for whatever other reason, isn't reading emails.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: How about some grace time after expiry?

          That doesn't make it anyone else's fault. If the company put their asset under the control of someone and didn't check that that person was doing what they should be doing, it becomes their fault and their problem. You have no right to a domain name; your right to use the name starts when you buy it and ends when your agreed time of purchase ends. At that point, the name is available again. From the sound of it, the policy provides for a convenient length of time so a matter of minutes can't kill the domain. If they didn't notice that 1) the registrar is sending a bunch of important-looking messages to us about our domain and 2) the services that happen from our domain have stopped being used and if you go to the domain you get a DNS lookup failure, then they don't seem to be doing the proper tests I'd expect from the least technical of organizations.

        2. BigSLitleP

          Re: How about some grace time after expiry?

          That just means that your IT department are bad at their job. If your domain name isn't high on your priority list, then you'll lose it and will have no one else to blame.

        3. aks Bronze badge

          Re: How about some grace time after expiry?

          Sloppy admin gets results, just not the result you wanted.

        4. Been there, done that, it never ends

          Re: How about some grace time after expiry?

          Which is why I always used a role account for this type of thing and made sure several other people were aware that email to the role account MUST be monitored.

    3. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: How about some grace time after expiry?

      There is a grace time built in already. But nominet term it 'suspension'

      Not only did they not renew it in advance, they also: didn't renew within the first 30 days after expiry (it would've still been working), then didn't notice that it stopped working for another 60 days before it was cancelled and someone else was able to register it.

      So they had 90 days after the expiry date to do something, and for 60 of those days the domain didn't work at all.

      I don't have much sympathy for them.

      https://www.nominet.uk/domain-support/#faq

  5. adam payne Silver badge

    Looks like a classic due diligence failure on the part of Pusher. If the domain name is that important to them shouldn't there have been policies in place to get it renewed? Even a calendar reminder would have been better than nothing.

    I'm still not sure why a person from Romania would need a .co.uk domain though.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Especially as they don't seem to be doing anything with it at the moment. In Jormany at least I think they'd have more of a chance of getting the domain back: domains, like trademarks, have to be asserted to remain valid so squatting on them is of little value. But, yeah, they shouldn't have let it lapse in the first place.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      I'm still not sure why a person from Romania would need a .co.uk domain though.

      The main thing is it's an irrelevancy why they want it. It's good enough that they are entitled to own it and chose to do so.

      There are cases where legitimacy in acquiring a particular domain name needs to be proven but when that's not in the rules it's not in the rules.

      As someone above noted 'Lee Owen' doesn't sound like a Romanian name so could be an expat who desires to retain a presence in the UK; a .co.uk domain would be ideal for that and entirely reasonable.

  6. Twanky
    Facepalm

    Similar experience

    A company I worked for handed responsibility for buying and maintaining domain names to one of the marketeers. The guy bought every variation of the company's (already too many) domain names to 'protect the brand' - it cost a fortune. I never did understand why the marketeers in general thought that any potential customer might visit <boring name>.XXX and expect to reach <boring company>. A year or so later a long-standing customer told us that visiting <boring name>.co.uk now took him to a different company's website. Oops. The marketeer had left our company and his company e-mail address which had been used for registration had been closed down. The related paperwork had been filed in the 'I don't have time for this technical shit' folder by his former colleagues.

    Cue much finger-pointing.

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      Re: Similar experience

      Been there, seen that, got the t-shirt.

      Buying up multiple domains and pointing them at the same content is as lethal to your search engine ranking as stuffing pages full of irrelevant META tags. Yes, people still pull this "SEO" crap, then wonder why they only appear on page 30 of Google's results.

      I've also had to chase down former employees to get domains renewed/transferred. As I've said before, they're assets, and should be treated as such. Keep track of them, and don't let random people register them on your behalf - or at least get them to transfer such domains to you before they leave.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    been there, paid that

    We had this happen almost 1 year to the day after being spun off by a very large company. Of course, the person who registered our new domain had been a consultant, and the renewal got lost..our fault...So someone bought it, and we paid through the nose to get it back... We did learn our lesson after only one screwup.

  8. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    dvla

    First thing I tried was that with dotcom on the end. Good example to show our customers how not to browse the internet.

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    FAIL

    Change of email

    Probably one of the commonest oopsies - and most obvious.

    Also, have these people not heard of that thing called a diary?

  10. nobodyspecial

    Lee Owen is British and happens to currently be resident in Romania. He's a Nominet member and tag holder and I would consider him as a person who is a domain name registrant on a professional basis, for speculation purposes.

    1. nojobhopes

      IIt appears he is a "domainer", and buys and sells domains.

      https://uk.linkedin.com/in/squillions

      https://www.acorndomains.co.uk/threads/lee-owen-squillions-minisites-a-warning.87809/

      https://www.acorndomains.co.uk/threads/why-am-i-infamous-here.17805/

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        "It appears he is a "domainer", and buys and sells domains."

        That sounds more like he did it in bad faith than Pusher, to be honest. I would not have been so hasty in writing this article to suggest that Pusher is completely in the wrong here.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Except Pusher clearly is completely in the wrong. Did Owen buy the domain in completely bad faith? Sure, very likely. But he did it according to the rules, and now it's his. There is _no law_ that Pusher "ought to" keep their domain name no matter what. They fucked up, now they can pay the price. Intent and faith, good or bad, does not come into it.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            I find this type of person to be really annoying, as they have found a bunch of domains that eventually someone will want and will only give them away in exchange for much more than most of them are worth. That said, they have the rights to those domains, and I don't. It's annoying because I want to buy them for less than the domain resellers want to get, but it is not as if they've done anything improper in obtaining them. If they disappear tomorrow, I'd be happy, but I would not do anything nor would I want anything done to them to take away the things they obtained in a completely legal way.

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        He even, apparently, conspired to replace nominet directors:

        retired_member6: https://www.acorndomains.co.uk/threads/the-new-real-time-dac.48909/page-5

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