Thursday, December 03, 2009

Here's a warning for you all...

My website,, was designed and registered for me by a friend, who very sadly died last year. She was beautiful, helpful and wonderful in every way.

When she did the website, she registered the ownership of the domain name under her account, and never officially transferred it legally to me from the domain host, Freeola.

And now, it seems there's nothing I can do to get it back, short of them sending an email to my friend's address - which is no longer operating - and her, miraculously replying.

I am not making a joke. This is what it seems they need. I have provided customer support with emails from just before she died in which she states that she tried to transfer the domain ownership but she clicked on the appropriate button a few days too late and it had run out. She writes that she's happy to transfer though.

But apparently this isn't good enough as a gesture of intent.

I have emails on record from her talking about how she's going to set me up with taking it all over, but boy is she feeling bad from chemotherapy.

Apparently this also isn't good enough to be taking into account.

But hey, I've told Freeola - it's my name. I can prove it. I can prove that I've written the books it advertises too. And that's me in the pictures. It's a personal website.

Nope, this isn't good enough either.

What can I do?

Nothing it seems.


If anyone can help me at all, I'd be very grateful. It's a strange thing not to own or have any rights over your own name.


Cornflower said...

Did the name revert to Freeola on your friend's death, Sarah? If not, who has rights to it now? If the answer is they have it back or - could this be the case? - it formed part of your friend's estate to be disposed of according to her will or the laws of intestacy, then as a piece of intellectual property (not sure it's classed as that, but it could be argued, and given it's the name you use professionally and are 'known' by to the reading public that would strengthen it) there should be some means of passing it on.
Must stress that I know nothing about this and I'm just guessing, but surely there's some common sense solution to this?
Deeply sad and frustrating for you nonetheless.

Chris Routledge said...

The domain is owned by someone called Francesca Klaschka (that's public information by the way) and currently redirects to which is where your website lives. Presumably that means your friend's estate still owns the lease on the domain and her executors can transfer it to you. The lease will eventually expire and may be snapped up by someone else so it's worth moving swiftly. Are you using the .com domain for email? If so this is even more urgent.

Sarah Salway said...

Thank you both. Yes, I was hoping for some common sense solution but that doesn't seem to be possible. The latest response says: "Please be advised that it is not our choice to provide you with property which appears not to be yours, legally we cannot do so" I'm not sure I know what that means. And yes, thanks Chris. I will have to find out the executors and get them to transfer the lease - I'm sure they dont even know about it! I'm waiting to hear now what sort of evidence Freeola need.

Vanessa Gebbie said...

Gosh Sarah, how furstrating, but how sad too. I'm so sorry to hear, and hope it can be sorted relatively easily via your friends executors. Meanwhile, delighted to be seeing you on 15th!! vx

Sarah Salway said...

Thanks, Vanessa. Frustration is the right word. I just can't believe that everything has to go through such rigid rules when it's clear that the domain is mine - I even supplied an email saying that she'd tried to transfer the domain but there was some technical hitch!