With domain theft becoming a major issue these days, it is imperative that we are vigilant with respect to the status of our domain names. Obviously the easiest way is to monitor account alerts from our domain registrars, but if someone is able to access our accounts, I presume they could change the notifications or circumvent the process without us knowing that something was altered. If that happens, domain names could be transferred out or pushed to other accounts without us knowing about it.
One potential solution is to monitor your domain names via third party monitoring service like DomainTools or DomainIQ. Any time a change is detected, the third party service will send an email notification with the change that was made. If you know of other domain monitor services, be sure to let share it in the comment section.
I think the best way to monitor my domain names is to set up an alert for either the registrant name (business or personal name) and the email address used for domain name registrations. When the service detects a change for one of those fields, they will send an email noting the change. Once the monitor is created, you should receive an email every time something changes on one of your domain names, such as a transfer or change of ownership.
There are four things to keep in mind with domain monitoring:
- The monitoring services don’t necessarily catch every single change, so just because you don’t receive an email doesn’t mean a domain name wasn’t transferred or pushed elsewhere.
- On some transfers and pushes that I have completed, the the old Whois information was retained. A thief could keep the Whois information the same to avoid detection.
- Some changes are detected long after the domain name is transferred, rendering them less useful.
- If you have privacy enabled on your domain names, you won’t be able to monitor them via 3rd party monitoring.
If you are monitoring your own domain names you will likely see if they are transferred. Unfortunately, by the time you notice that the domain name was transferred, it might be too late to get it back right away because it could already be registered to someone else at a different register. In this scenario, it might be more difficult (and expensive) to retrieve, but at least you are then able to actively monitor the domain name and notify proper authorities of the domain name theft.
When mainstream publications like Huffington Post are covering domain theft, you know the issue is a major one that impacts many people outside of the domain investment space.