By Ruth Barringham
I had been running the website, Writeaholics.net, for around 10 years, when out of the blue in early 2016, I received an offer from a lawyer, Loren Piel, saying that a client of his wanted to own the domain name.
At first I said no, but then eventually, after negotiating to a much higher price than was originally offered, I agreed to sell it. And I did, in May 2016.
But now I don’t want anything at all to do with this website after the new owner turned out to be unethical and a thief.
And I thought I should warn others about him too.
What happened was that the new owner wanted to keep all my writing articles on the site for what they claimed where SEO reasons, which made sense, so I agreed.
I gave the new owner temporary access to my website files so that they could obtain the articles.
But instead of only taking the articles, they downloaded all my files (including my web design files, css files and all my webpages, images, videos, etc) and uploaded them to their own hosting account.
So there was my old website, complete with all my ads, my layout, links to my products AND my “about” page stating that this was still my website. They even included my signup boxes for subscribers so people kept subscribing.
At first I didn’t understand why they did this and I thought that it was just a temporary situation and that soon they would change the website to however they really wanted it to be. Why else would they want to keep my whole website online so that I was still making sales through it, getting subscribers and earning money from the other advertisements?
Why would any sane person do that?
But after a couple of months I realised that nothing was going to change, despite the fact that the reason they originally gave for wanting my website in the first place, was so that they could launch their latest product.
They had also kept their identity secret and so I had only dealt with their lawyer, Loren Piel. And on the WHOIS online database, their identity is also hidden by a privacy protection company.
But I had waited long enough and I was sick and tired of them still pretending to be me and stealing my website design and all my content and images.
So I found out who their hosting company was and contacted them.
I sent them a DMCA take down notice, which is basically a legal document detailing what intellectual property of mine had been stolen and where it was posted online and that the person who had published it had no legal right to do so.
Within 3 days the content was disabled. The new owner could have issued a counter notification stating why they thought they had a legal right to the copyrighted property of mine, but to do that they would have had to give their name, address, telephone number and email address.
They could have used a lawyer to submit a counter notification on their behalf but no lawyer could legally state that this person had a right to my copyrighted property and could be held in contempt of court if the matter was pursued.
I was going to pursue the matter if they had issued a counter notice by taking them to court and proving my case. But I had a feeling they wouldn’t issue any counter notice because they didn’t want to disclose who they were. All DMCA take down notices and counter notices are published online at chillingeffects.org.
Anyway, the upshot is, that writeaholics.net has now been taken offline, and hopefully for good and the new owner will have to create their own website instead of stealing mine.
But what this has taught me is that the new owner of that site is nothing but a crook. Using someone else’s website like that is so unethical and so stupid, because it doesn’t benefit them at all.
What I don’t understand is why they wanted to buy it in the first place if they weren’t going to use it?
And why did they lie to me and say that they needed to buy it quickly because they were about to launch a product online and needed my website to do it?
That was obviously a lie. They weren’t about to launch anything. In fact, I doubt that they even know how to.
What I do know is that this person is a thief and an unethical business person to do what they did.
And I don't ever want to do business with them.
They are clearly someone that can’t be trusted.
But obviously they have money to burn, because they paid me a lot of money for my website domain name and then never used it.
They are what I usually refer to as an idiot with deep pockets.
There are a lot of them around.
And if you ever meet one…RUN!
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