Strong opinions, weakly held

What to do if your Web site is stolen?

Smart Football is one of my favorite blogs. If you’re a football fan at all, you should check it out. Unfortunately, the site’s owner has run into a problem. Some person (whose name is supposedly Anil Jayanna) has registered the domain name smartfootball.net and put up an exact copy of his Web site, apparently to make money on ads (but potentially to distribute malware).

From the whois results, I can see that the registrar is Melbourne IT and that the DNS for the domain appears to be handled by Yahoo. A lookup on the site’s IP address reveals that it’s hosted in Russia.

The obvious steps are to email the registrar to report the abuse in homes of getting the domain name revoked and to email Yahoo in an attempt to get the DNS turned off. Maybe I’m cynical, but I don’t believe that emailing the hosting company in Russia is going to do a lot of good.

What else should Chris do? I hear about content theft fairly regularly, but I haven’t seen too many instances of an entire site being copied in this fashion. For all the horrible misuses of the DMCA, this is the sort of thing it was actually designed to prevent. This incident demonstrates its ineffectiveness, though, because the registrar and the hosting company are overseas and are thus out of reach. I guess if SOPA were in effect the Web site could be blacklisted — but in a thankfully SOPA-free world what recourse does the content owner have?


  1. A friend of a friend of mine had their site hijacked in a similar way and had good results after consulting with http://www.newmediarights.org/.

  2. He/she should get a good result from Melbourne IT. They were the original registrar here for all of .au when it was run by Melbourne University. They have a good reputation.

  3. I work for a domain registrar, so I’ve a bit of experience in this regard: what they should do is instigate a UDRP action against the rogue domain’s registrant to seize it from them. The whole process is pretty straightforward, given it’s an abusive registration, even moreso if ‘Smart Football’ is already a trademark of theirs. Here are the details: http://www.icann.org/en/udrp/udrp.htm

  4. @Phil: I’m not convinced that contacting Melbourne will achieve much – I’ve emailed their abuse@ email several times in the past regarding people running phishing sites on domains registered through them and they have never replied or taken action.

  5. My thought is that the fraudster in question probably chose Melbourne IT for a reason.

  6. I threw a tweet in their direction earlier, and from everything I can tell, they acted on it — the domain still shows up in whois, but smartfootball.net hostnames no longer resolve, and it looks like there are no longer any NS records for the domain:

    dig @a.gtld-servers.net ns smartfootball.net

    returns NXDOMAIN.

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