Dennis Yu

When your domain name gets stolen...

This is a guest post by my friend, Bill Hartzer, who I’ve known for over a decade as a world-class SEO and domain expert. We have 431 mutual friends on Facebook.

I saw him share this knowledge on Facebook and absolutely had to share it here on my blog with his permission.

As you may (or may not) know, I run a company called DNProtect.

We protect domain names, offer a domain name protection service, and also recover stolen domain names. Unfortunately recovering domain names takes up quite a bit of my time, as it’s a huge problem that no one talks about.

People are literally waking up in the morning, their email doesn’t work, their website is down, and they quickly realize that their domain name has been stolen. DNProtect is the ONLY company that currently offers a service to recover domain names.

Your domain name is your most important asset. If you lose it, your website is down, email doesn’t work. And if you’re selling stuff online or you’re getting your leads that way, it can be a HUGE hit to your business.

Your business STOPS instantly if you lose your domain name.

I am flabbergasted, to say the least, that people have less security on their domain name(s) than they do on their websites. They pay a domain registrar the least possible for domain registration services. And don’t pay attention to their domain name.

But one mistake can literally take away your business overnight.

I see this happening over and over again, several times a day because I personally help people recover their stolen domain names. It’s tough to see someone desperate to get their domain name back after it’s stolen, and I never want to see YOU in this situation.

Frankly, I do not want to ever have to talk to you about your stolen domain name.

So, here are some things that I have learned after recovering a LOT of stolen domain names for clients. These are things that are easy to do, and things that I wish my clients had done so they wouldn’t be hiring me to recover their stolen domain.

Do these right now, today. And please share this with everyone you can, as I know that there are so many people out there that have no idea that stolen domain names are a big problem.

Set up 2FA (two-factor authentication) whenever it’s offered to you by your domain registrar. If they don’t offer it, transfer your domain name to another registrar.

If you are going to use 2FA, consider adding a physical key to that process. You can get a Yubikey inexpensively and add that to the 2FA process. Hackers won’t have the physical Yubikey, so they cannot gain access to your account.

Google offers Google Advanced Protection, so you may consider adding that if you use a Google Account for access to a Google Account (Google Domains). I recommend setting up 2FA when you can, but people need to realize that it is NOT foolproof.

Hackers routinely turn 2FA off when stealing domains. The 2FA that uses an app like Authy or Authenticator (an authenticator app) is better than simply getting an email with a code. An SMS text message with a code is better than an email code, but that can be bypassed easily by hackers as well, and I’ve seen hackers steal domains with the SMS text message 2FA turned on.

Turn on the registry lock if it’s offered. It is different than registrar lock. This basically makes it more difficult to make changes to the domain, especially name server changes. It’s just another level of protection but can be turned off by the hacker.

Register the domain at least 5 years in advance. If it’s stolen or transferred there will be no question as to whether or not it simply expired. I’ve run into this over and over again when recovering domains. We can easily rule out expiration since it was registered a few years in advance (easy to see via whois history).

Do NOT rely on “auto renewal”, as we constantly hear from people who lose their domains because auto-renewal was turned on and their credit card was “supposed to be” charged. And it was not. (Credit card didn’t go through, etc.).

Never use a “free email” such as Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, etc. as the contact email on the domain. Those accounts routinely get hacked, compromised, etc…

Make sure that you don’t ever use the same email address as the domain. For example, in the whois record of hartzer(.com), don’t use bill@hartzer(.com). If it’s a stolen domain, there will be issues recovering the domain. And you cannot gain access to the domain easily if the domain is using the same domain that has been stolen.

If the domain is stolen you won’t have access to email on that domain. So you cannot easily communicate with your registrar or with me, who is trying to recover your domain name for you.

If you use another email address in your WHOIS record, as recommended, make sure you RENEW that domain name as well. If the domain with that email address expires, then the domain thief just has to get access to that domain name with that email and they can steal your other domain name, as well as any other domain names using that email address in the WHOIS record.

That’s how AirBNB had Tilt.com stolen from them. They had an email address @customtilt.com in the WHOIS record, and someone bought customtilt.com and then stole tilt.com from AirBNB. So, don’t do that.

Finally, consider NOT using whois privacy on domains you really care about. Use a UPS Store address if you have to. But don’t use whois privacy. When it comes down to recovering the domain, when you have to prove ownership, it’s a lot easier if you have not used whois privacy on the domain.

Domain thieves will immediately turn on privacy when they gain access to the domain, then they will attempt to transfer the domain out. There are other ways to make sure that you don’t get your domain name stolen and don’t have to use DNProtect to recover your stolen domain name.

But I won’t reveal all of those since I don’t want to give any extra hints to hackers and domain name thieves on how to steal domain names. If you do the above things, you’re going to have a lot less risk than before.

And, of course, if you’re interested in protecting your domain name(s), check your DNP Score for free at DNProtect.com and get your domain risk score as high as you can.

99You, Marc Harty, Michael Stancil, and 96 others25 Comments6 SharesLikeCommentShare




Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads. He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations. You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel. You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.
I'm a member of Blitzmetrics Academy and a friend of Dennis to boot. Not only is Dennis highly intelligent and full of great and creative ideas, he's also incredibly generous with both his knowledge and his time. Success couldn't come to a better guy. Thank you for all that you do for the world, Dennis! 🙏

Michael Pacheco

Marketer

Thanks 🙏 for being shining light in this industry. Love what your building for works overseas too network for jobs so innovative. Dennis helped me navigate having bad experiences with marketing agencies and doing dollar a day marketing which has helped my personal brand tremendously. Highly recommend.

Eric Skeldon

Founder at Kingdom Broker

Working with Dennis has been a delightful experience. After meeting him in 2015 I got to collaborate with him on countless occasions. His understanding for state-of-the-art marketing, his implementation, and his leadership put him into the top 0.01% of marketers and mentors.

Jan Koch

Ihr kompetenter Partner für innovative KI-Strategien.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis for my podcast in 2021 and since then we have maintained a friendship that grows with each interaction. I have seen Dennis' devotion to his friends and clients firsthand, and our conversations often result in us talking about how we can provide more value to the people around us. He is someone whom I can ask questions on a technical level, and look to on a personal level. If you have any hesitancy about hiring him, get over yourself and do it!

Isaac Mashman

Help scaling personal brands.

Geez, where do I start recommending Dennis? First, he is an absolutely brilliant marketer who understands where marketing is today and where it's going tomorrow. He also has an incredible passion for the International Worker community. The lessons he has taught me from his almost 20 years of experience hiring International Workers have been immense. Most importantly though. Dennis Yu is someone who wants the absolute best for you and is willing to tell you the truth. Dennis sat with me at a point in my business where I was floundering but did not want to admit it. He asked some very straight forward questions to get me to admit my issues, highlighted the issues, and then helped me create a roadmap to success.

Atiba de Souza

International Keynote Speaker | Video Content Superman | Superconnector |

Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will notr regret Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will not regret

Nixon Lee

The PR Whisperer

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