We’re back! In case you haven't noticed, we’ve been using HowardForum.com as a temporary domain for the past 13 days. Our domain name HowardForums.com was stolen and we only got it back on Friday afternoon. I held off posting about this because I wanted to wait for the DNS change to fully propagate. In case you’re not aware of what happened here’s a timeline of what happened along with a touching correspondence with the domain thief:
Sept 5-7: I was at the Nokia Lumia 820/920 announcement when I had to print something. The hotel (Hotel Gansevoort in the Meat Packing district) had free printing at their business center. Against my better judgement I checked my email using this computer. I suspect my password was captured by a keylogger. BTW, After this ordeal I now use 2 factor authentication on my email accounts. I think the domain transfer process started on Sept 10th. Filters were created in the email account to automatically delete emails from GoDaddy.
Sept 15: our domain HowardForums.com was stolen and transferred to Aust Domains. I phoned GoDaddy asking for help and they instructed me to email their domain transfer dispute department. I found out that this department does not work on the weekend. I was dismayed that no one would be able to help me until Monday. I complained about this on Facebook and Twitter. I also began using HowardForum.com (no ‘s’) as a temporary domain. I also called Aust Domains in Australia asking for help. They told me they can’t do anything about it.
Sept 16: after seeing my complaints on twitter GoDaddy began working via email with me to our domain back. They emailed Aust Domains proof that I own the domain.
Sept 17: 1 day since the initial email, Aust Domains still hasn’t responded to GoDaddy about my stolen domain. GoDaddy emails Aust Domains a second time.
Sept 18: 2 days since the initial email, Aust Domains still hasn’t responded to GoDaddy regarding my stolen domain.
Sept 20: 4 days since the initial email, Aust Domains still hasn’t responded to GoDaddy regarding my stolen domain.
Sept 21: Aust Domains finally responds to GoDaddy. Why did it take them 5 days to respond? Do they care that they’re holding onto a stolen domain?
Sept 23: I called Aust Domains again. They were not helpful and told me to talk to ICANN. I asked to speak to a manager to someone higher up but they refused to transfer me.
Sept 24: I get news from GoDaddy that Aust Domain has finally agreed to return the domain. They’re going to transfer the domain to Verisign (the company that controls .com registrations) and then Verisign will transfer it back to me. First Aust Domains has to authorize the transfer.
Sept 26: Aust Domains actually authorizes the domain transfer. Now I have to wait for Verisign to return the domain. I’m told this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
Sept 27: Someone emails me out of the blue offering to sell me my stolen domain for $400. The email address they’re using is the one is the one listed on the whois for howardforums AFTER it was stolen. Here is PART of the conversation we had via email.
I'm ready to sell that domain for 400 $.
let me know if you are interested so we can talk about the transaction method.
How did you end up with the domain?
so you only wanted my confirmation ?
my offer is valid for 12 hours anyway.
Its 450 $.
Again this offer is valid for 12 hours Mr. Choi
You have to trust me if you want this domain.
I'm not looking for any trouble, You pay and I'll provide you the info instantly after payment.
I'm not going to make any trouble for me and my business for 450 $.
I bought it. I'm a domain broker.
And we both know I have this domain.
That is the reason I believe you are wasting my time by asking unrelated question or by saying I'm trying to get that money !!
Are you serious ? don't **** with me please.
You don't need to do that.
I think you need it more than this domain, so please keep it.
I can also trade you my other phone if you'd like.
As for the domain thief who knows why they did this. Maybe they were upset that they didn't win our mystery box contest. After all, who guesses that there's a 70" LCD TV in the box?
Anyways, it’s good to be back. I was beginning to think I’d have to print a new batch of T-Shirts that say HowardForum on them. Check back on Monday, we’ll be giving away an iPhone 5!