Why Our Tail Wasn't Wagging: Someone Bought Our Domain

6 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

If you've visited my website, some of you might have noticed things have been a little "off" these past four weeks. We haven't been posting as much, didn't write a post-BlogPaws roundup, haven't been doing as many product reviews and there was a "dot blogspot" added to the end of our website address.

Well, here is why -- someone bought our domain. And, it couldn't have happened at a worse time -- in Salt Lake City during BlogPaws.

Why would someone want my website? I don't get 100,000 hits a month. I don't (unfortunately) make a living off my site right now.

So why?! Why would someone want My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much? And, why did it have to happen in the middle of BlogPaws right after Lena West's inspiring speech that had me ready to quit my job and pursue my real passions and dreams? Although, I will never get those exact answers, I can tell you I learned how cruel people on the web can be, and a lot about Internet regulations, or the lack there of.

Let's start with a little background. I currently use blogger and my domain is renewed through Google {who uses GoDaddy} every year. It is set up for auto renewal, but the credit card I had on file got stolen. So, when the time came, I got an email from Google saying there was a problem with my payment. I logged into my account, updated the credit card and put through my orders for this site, my other website The Adirondack Chick and my extra storage space. Each time, I got the same message in yellow at the top of the screen that said my domain was renewed for the year.

I continued to use my website without any problems or additional emails -- until, when, over a month later I get a tweet from Lauren at Life With Claire, asking me if something was wrong with my site, because she couldn't access it.

At this point, the panic hadn't begun to set in -- I was on a "Lena West high" {The time is now and I should pursue my dreams, and leave my corporate job so I can focus full time on finding one in the pet industry}. Then, Jillian fromFreshlime Digital Marketing, who was sitting next to me at a table in the middle of the ball room, looked up the Who Is information, and found out my website was now owned by a holding company I had never heard of.

Wait. What?

My heart began to race, my eyes welled up with tears as I tried to hold them back.

What? Wait. How could this happen?

My heart sank and panic completely overtook my body. Thank goodness for my roommate Jen, from @JeniferandJenks andBrown Dog Designs, who immediately began picking up and stringing together my falling apart pieces.

I spent the remainder of the day trying to get in touch with Google, on and off the phone with GoDaddy and doing a quick deep dive into Internet laws and practices. It was a mess. I was a mess.

To say it ruined the last day of BlogPaws for me would be an understatement. Realizing this wasn't going to get solved overnight thanks to some fabulous mentors, I finally pulled myself together, fixed my make up and enjoyed what was left of the event -- which at that point was the red carpet and the Nose-to-Nose Awards. {Yes, a lot of wine that night also helped}

Over the past weeks since then, I learned a lot, which at some point I hope to share with everyone, so you know your rights should this ever happen to you. But here, is an overview of what happened:

- All the other credit card transactions made at the same time had gone through, except the one for this website, even though it said it did.

- An overseas holding company known to buy and sell domains had My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much on a back order list. In other words, they were waiting to buy it and as soon as it expired, it automatically went to them.

- Despite owning the site for the past three years, I had no legal rights to it once it expired. This would still be true even if I had finished our trademark process.

It stunk. The good news was that I still had all my content.

As a result, I think I have spoken to everyone who works at GoDaddy's Arizona headquarters, and at least one person at Google, since in my humble opinion this was caused by a glitch on Google's part. To that, Google kept blaming me for not renewing it, even though I sent them a photo of the screen I got, and still get, when clicking on the transaction saying it was renewed. They even had the nerve to criticize my photo, adding I should have really gotten a screen grab. As soon as I said I was thinking of getting a lawyer because this was their fault, they stopped responding.

In the end, the holding company did put my domain name up for sale. {This was not without having a back-up plan that would have gotten implemented at the end of the month if we didn't get it back by then. Always have an exit strategy!}

Getting it back was a costly process. Since they weren't responding to my inquiries, I purchased GoDaddy's Domain Buy Service, where they act as a middleman of sorts between you and the seller. It worked, we agreed on a price and the process transfer started. That had it's own issues, which I will save the details of for another time, but I will tell you this -- the  holding company does this so much that I was told by almost every single person at GoDaddy, that they are very familiar with them and they are one of the "clients."

{Although I did have several problems with GoDaddy, once I flagged them and brought them to someone's attention, they were very, very helpful and apologetic for what was happening -- and got me answers fast. They also walked me though a ton of material, technical issues and more. To that, I am very grateful. Big thanks to Drew and their social media guy aka "^A."}

The whole process makes you feel completely helpless. And, the rules, my friends, are not in your favor. It's actually kind of sickening the fact that this can happen, and you -- the consumer -- have no recourse. There are even companies who boast at the fact they can make you a lot of money by participating in this Internet practice.

If I sound like I'm starting to step on a soapbox, it's because I am. I plan on calling my local politician, which happens to be Sen. Chuck Schumer, and do everything I can to help protect other consumers should something like this happen to them.

That said, this nightmare is over and we are back! We will be in the process of moving this site -- and all my other webpages-- over to a self-hosted Wordpress one, as well as sometime soon undergoing a little upgrade to make our pet lifestyle website a little more user friendly. So you may experience a glitch here or there, but for the most part -- it is back to business as usual -- Thank goodness!

Michelle Maskaly

The Adirondack Chick

My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much&

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