Recovering Our Web Address

Yesterday American Thinker suffered a temporary loss of control of our internet domain, http://www.americanthinker.com/. As a result, readers were unable to reach us, and we were unable to post new content to the site. The disruption lasted close to 24 hours, but has now been ended. Readers around the world will be able to find us as the change is propagated through the world's network of servers.

We were victims of a company operating under the name registerfly.com which took our money to register the domain for two years, but only paid for one year. When the anniversary of our domain registration came, the domain was removed from our control, even though we had paid in advance for it.  Registerfly.com does not respond to emails or phone calls, and appears to have no money left. Draw your own conclusions about the type of people who might be attracted to a business where they can get away with this sort of activity for awhile.

That money was in effect stolen from us, and we are far from alone in being victimized by this scam. The number of affected websites runs into six figures. The sums involved per website are comparatively trivial, but multiplied by hundreds of thousands, a great deal of money was apparently stolen. There are websites devoted to registerfly.com, and a class action lawsuit is underway.

As of March 16 this year, registerfly.com (which still had custody of our domain, as far as all the records were concerned) was in effect exiled by ICANN, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, with termination of the registrar accreditation agreement, which enabled them to register names in the first place. This left our domain in a kind of limbo, where the party authorized to pass control of the domain to anyone else was itself unable to do so, because it was no longer accredited to ICANN.

The problem had gone from a technical issue to a legal and institutional level. For some time it appeared we might be tied up in a lengthy legal proceeding to get our web address back. But upon further research, some careful thinking, and the submission of some documentation, we were able to work with a legitimate accredited internet registrar to regain control of the domain on an expedited basis. Several very smart people worked long and hard to make this happen. I will not name them, but they know who they are, and I am very grateful to them all. It has been a very hectic 24 hours. Maybe not Jack Bauer territory, but nonetheless full of surprises, twists, and even something resembling heroism.

We apologize to everyone, readers, writers, friends, bloggers, emailers, and everyone else who has been inconvenienced.

It will require roughly 24 hours for the world's server networks to all incorporate the new "road map" to our servers. But once this happens, all should be back to normal.

We are glad to be back.

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of American Thinker.
Yesterday American Thinker suffered a temporary loss of control of our internet domain, http://www.americanthinker.com/. As a result, readers were unable to reach us, and we were unable to post new content to the site. The disruption lasted close to 24 hours, but has now been ended. Readers around the world will be able to find us as the change is propagated through the world's network of servers.

We were victims of a company operating under the name registerfly.com which took our money to register the domain for two years, but only paid for one year. When the anniversary of our domain registration came, the domain was removed from our control, even though we had paid in advance for it.  Registerfly.com does not respond to emails or phone calls, and appears to have no money left. Draw your own conclusions about the type of people who might be attracted to a business where they can get away with this sort of activity for awhile.

That money was in effect stolen from us, and we are far from alone in being victimized by this scam. The number of affected websites runs into six figures. The sums involved per website are comparatively trivial, but multiplied by hundreds of thousands, a great deal of money was apparently stolen. There are websites devoted to registerfly.com, and a class action lawsuit is underway.

As of March 16 this year, registerfly.com (which still had custody of our domain, as far as all the records were concerned) was in effect exiled by ICANN, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, with termination of the registrar accreditation agreement, which enabled them to register names in the first place. This left our domain in a kind of limbo, where the party authorized to pass control of the domain to anyone else was itself unable to do so, because it was no longer accredited to ICANN.

The problem had gone from a technical issue to a legal and institutional level. For some time it appeared we might be tied up in a lengthy legal proceeding to get our web address back. But upon further research, some careful thinking, and the submission of some documentation, we were able to work with a legitimate accredited internet registrar to regain control of the domain on an expedited basis. Several very smart people worked long and hard to make this happen. I will not name them, but they know who they are, and I am very grateful to them all. It has been a very hectic 24 hours. Maybe not Jack Bauer territory, but nonetheless full of surprises, twists, and even something resembling heroism.

We apologize to everyone, readers, writers, friends, bloggers, emailers, and everyone else who has been inconvenienced.

It will require roughly 24 hours for the world's server networks to all incorporate the new "road map" to our servers. But once this happens, all should be back to normal.

We are glad to be back.

Thomas Lifson is the editor and publisher of American Thinker.