A local real estate agent is warning other businesspeople to keep their Internet presence up to date, after her website’s domain name was purchased out from under her and filled with pornographic images.
Two months ago, Jacqollyne Tomsin inadvertently let her website’s self-titled domain name expire. When it did, it was purchased by an American individual who, she said, requested $1,000 for the return of her eponymous address.
When Tomsin balked at the asking price, the domain’s new registered owner diverted the address to a site with adult-oriented material.
“This guy just got annoyed. It’s like extortion – I was so furious,” Tomsin said.
“I found out about it when I got a call from another Realtor, who said, ‘I was just at your website, is this what you’re doing on the side now that the real-estate industry is slowing down?’”
As of Monday, the website contains the banner “Rude Space – the adults playground” and includes several hard-core pornographic images.
Tomsin originally purchased her domain name in 2009 for real-estate promotion through a company called Ubertor. After her license expired, it was then reregistered this spring through popular domain-name registry GoDaddy.com “for about $10,” Tomsin said.
According to a spokesperson for GoDaddy.com, multiple emails are sent to domain-name owners warning them that their addresses are nearing expiry unless payment is received.
Tomsin doesn’t dispute the fact she didn’t reregister in time, but doesn’t want to see others face the same problems.
“They said they sent me emails, and maybe they did, though I don’t remember seeing any,” she said, adding that she has now set up a new website – jtomsin.com – and email address.
“It’s cost me dearly. It’s been incredibly stressful, and it’s not even the money (of setting up a new site), it’s just the embarrassment of it all, having my name on a site like that.
“I want people to know that they have to really be on top of this kind of stuff.”
Tomsin said she’s gone to great lengths to get her old website shutdown – contacting IT professionals and people at Google, among others – but has had no luck, as the site’s new owner has done nothing illegal.
“There’s nothing anybody can do. It’s my name, but it’s fair game – up for grabs,” she said.
“It’s just unfortunate. Everybody’s out there looking to make a bunch of money without doing anything.”
The site is currently registered to Al Perkins of New Jersey. Perkins did not respond to emailed requests for comment.