An NC friend of ours received a rude awakening recently when they learned that the web designer whom they had hired to produce their web site owned the domain name. They tried to update some images on the site, and were denied access with a wrong password error. When they reached out to the designer who had set up the site originally, they were told that a 4 figure fee would be involved to redesign their site. They consulted with the company hosting the site, and were told that they did not own the domain name, and could not change the password back.

Their recourse was to change their domain name from to, but they lose all of their accumulated SEO history, and must start over from scratch building a site.

I think that you can use the whois command to see if you own your site, perhaps Jim Parker or other geeks can give us additional advice.

You need to be a member of Art Fair Insiders to add comments!

Join Art Fair Insiders

Votes: 0
Email me when people reply –


  • I was dismayed to find years ago that the domain name for my business was already taken (it is not my name, because no one can ever remember or pronounce my name, not even customers who have been buying from me for years). I had never even tried to set up a website yet, at that time, and it was already gone. I don’t know who  found out the name of my business and beat me to the punch, other than it was already done.

  • I had that happen years ago. I had to wait a year and kept searching when the domain came available again. and then I snagged it. It had a price tag of $2000.00 for that year. Then one day it was available and only cost $8.00. It was a lesson learned. I paid for as many years as I could when it became available. I was lucky that this happened really early in the internet days. Now I know I do not use my site to the best advantage, but, it is informational and I just did it myself on my mac.

    • Did your web person try to hold your name hostage or did you forget to renew it?

      I've had a few instances of artist loosing their names because they neglected to renew them. I did have an artist who forgot to renew her name and someone grabbed it and turned it into a porno site because she wouldn't pay the exorbitant fee he wanted.

      All of the names we control are set to auto renew so it never happens.

      Larry Berman

      • They were holding it hostage. It lasted a year. Every time I searched it it was for sale for two grand so I guess it was being held hostage. What happened is when I began accepting credit cards one of the credit card companies was going to design me a website and I let them begin the process. I decided not to go live with it because it was VERY expensive and backed out and canceled the deal, all within my rights as I had not agreed to anything yet. I think it was in the late 1990's so the internet was not what it is now, but, I am glad I learned and knew to watch for the release of the domain.

  • You're correct in that every artist should own their domain name but I think this is more of an issue about hiring the wrong person to build your web site. Between Chris Maher and myself, we've built web sites for over 200 artists and have registered over 500 domain names. Whenever an artist requests the keys to their web site and a transfer of domain names, we give them instructions on how to put in a request for the transfer of name and we immediately approve it.

    In all the web site stories I've heard over the past ten years or so, this is only the second time I've heard of what you're describing happening, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was the same person. Remember that it's easy to put up a web site trashing the person who ripped you off and come up just as high in the search engines.

    Do a Google search for Sidewinder Auto Alarm and see what comes up within the top few results.

    Larry Berman

This reply was deleted.