Domain theft: Should you disclose it, or be quiet about it?

One of the most interesting discussions I had, in the aftermath of the Moniker mass hacking of customer accounts, was related to disclosing domain theft incidents.

While it has been a personal subject of consideration, I did not have the opportunity to analyze my position, so hopefully this post will clarify that.

A very respectable domain investor who asked that question, faced the dilemma of disclosing every stolen domain from his portfolio, or attempt to deal with it in private.

The short answer: it depends.

The challenge of identifying, reporting and publicizing the loss of a domain name to a thief, hijacker or cybercriminal is complex.

Depending on the particular conditions of the theft and the amount of time that has passed since the act, one might choose to take an approach that combines both methodologies.

Certain parts of any reaction to a domain theft should be kept under wraps for the best part of a case. Whether that is reporting the act to the authorities or hiring a lawyer or a private investigator, some details are best left out from any public disclosure.

On the other hand, in my opinion, it is beneficial to announce that a particular domain or domains have been stolen.

Such a public announcement almost immediately tags this intangible property as “red hot”, and for the most part freezes most attempts by the thief to quickly dispose of the domain on an otherwise lawful domain exchange venue.

Obviously, this does not mean that the domain will be returned, as if by magic, to the possession of its lawful owners.

By disclosing that the theft has occurred, however, there are higher chances of expediting the recovery process, and to protect those unaware of the domain’s status, who might be offered a heavily discounted price.

When a digital asset such as a domain name has been stolen, there is no room for bashfulness and embarrassment control; one must make a coordinated attempt to provide evidence of ownership, while disclosing the loss of their property in public.


  1. I think name and shame whenever such an act occurs, ego does not pay the bills, you need to get the word out

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