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My domain name and website content has been hijacked! What should I do?

jjmpsp profile image Joel Murphy ・2 min read

I've been away from working in the I.T industry for quite a while now due to a personal illness. During this time my personal domain name expired and I didn't consider renewing it. I'm now slowly recovering from my illness and getting back into working with computers and was even considering getting my website back online but today I noticed my domain name and website content has been STOLEN!

My original website was running on Wordpress with a sleek custom theme but it seems the content was scraped and cloned. This isn't a direct clone as it seems whoever did this has dumbed down the content and now has backlinks to their website within my original blog posts. E.g 'C++ Mobile Development - Snapchat' links from:

http://joel-murphy.com/mobile-app-development.html to -> https://intetics.com/portfolio/technologies/c

I did a whois lookup on my old domain and it seems whoever did this bought the domain and hosts the content on Amazon s3 servers.

I have a strong feeling this was https://intetics.com/ just for the SEO benefits but I'm unsure why they'd target me? I owned my domain name http://joel-murphy.com/ for many years and I had links to it from my CV/Resume, Business cards, LinkedIn, etc. My website did have some traffic but not enough to justify being targeted. I guess there's not much I can do other than use a different domain name in the future but I'm more concerned about the potential of my online identity being mocked or played with. Anyone been in a similar situation to this before?

Discussion (4)

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ferkungamaboobo profile image
Doug R. Thomas, Esq.

I... guess? It could be an SEO play? That "built with Intetics" link on the app development page sort of points that way.

If they are using your photos and misrepresenting you as working with this company, that's probably worthy of some action. I wonder if your local tech community has an IP lawyer who can tell you for sure.

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senyorcranc profile image
Senyor Cranc

Unfortunately is not stolen. You let it expire, so was publicly availabale again. Anybody could purchase it.

You should have recieved news about expiration and the ending of the grace period.

If your site is your name, maybe icaan can help to recover it.

Finally about your content, if it reproduces exactly your content you can reclaim to stop using it, but if they only wanted the link, well, this is not copyright protected.

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computersmiths profile image
ComputerSmiths

There used to be a way where if you were a company whose name had been stolen, you could write in on your company letterhead and get your domain back. I suspect that you are in a similar situation where if the person who currently owns the domain doesn’t have your name, then you could probably get it back. Especially if tgey are using your IP.

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ryan profile image
Ryan • Edited

Hopefully an SEO expert can explain better/correct me, but your domain would be valuable for its reputation. Doesn't have anything to do with traffic. Google et al. use an algorithm to determine a domain's trustworthiness, this in turn helps determine how much links from that domain are worth.

So if you have a legitimate domain, with legitimate content, with backlinks from reputable sites such as linkedin, that has existed for a long time, then your site would appear higher on search results, and links from that site would be worth more points in Google's rankings, than a site with the same traffic on a fresh domain.

Of course Google will adjust over time -- eventually it will learn your site is now a spam hole, so it's only a short-lived boost, but even that is valuable for spammers.

Not sure what you can do about it other than try to buy your domain back for some exorbitant price, or try reporting abuse to their host. These people are bloodsuckers.