This week I’ve been dealing with a truly infuriating experience. I recently noticed that my old website URL (neuroconscience.com) was no longer redirecting to my new website, micahallen.org. For obvious reasons, I’d been doing a redesign away from the .com address, to incorporate my blog within an overall rebranded professional website. When I started to dig into why neuroconscience.com had suddenly stopped redirecting, but instead showing old posts (some of which I’d actually marked private since publishing), what I found startled me.
In essence, sometime in 2017 my domain registration for neuroconscience.com lapsed due to a billing error of which I was not aware. This was my fault; the emails were arriving (bizarrely) in Danish, to an old email address I use for spam and hence do not frequently check. It seems that once the domain lapsed, a domain squatter scooped it up. Worse, they somehow scraped/stole/mirrored a substantial amount of my old content – my tweets, many of my blog posts, and even my professional CV! From what I can tell, the only pay off here is squatting on my high google search results so they can point users to a scammy/nonsense medical website:
Obviously, this is extremely irritating and unacceptable. Thanks to my social media activity, ‘neuroconscience.com’ is the number #1 google hit for “neuroconscience”, followed by my actual website, twitter account, and blog. This is annoying first of all because it removes my ability to control my online presence, and makes it look as if I’ve monetized my blog to support a scummy medical spam website. Worse, if at some point this person wants to further impersonate me, there is little I can do to stop it. A whois lookup reveals the domain is privately registered with godaddy and hosted by pacific host:
Now, in the past two days since finding this out, I’ve done just about everything I can imagine. I’ve filled out a DMCA takedown notice for the google search results:
I’ve also submitted form-letter DMCA notices to abuse@godaddy, abuse@pacifichost, networkviolations@godaddy, and to the only listed email address for the medical scam website, firstname.lastname@example.org. So far, I’ve received absolutely zero response from any of these contact addresses. I spent an hour on the phone with godaddy, who first said that this violates their TOS and I should contact abuse@godaddy. Of course, after pinging their twitter page I got a more in-depth response, which basically washed their hands of the entire scenario:
At this point, i’m not sure what else I can do. GoDaddy is happy to validate the registration of a website which is blatantly stealing my intellectual property, public image, and other content. Pacifichost is currently not responding to any of my complaints. I’m still hoping that my google DMCA will be successful; this would at least remove neuroconscience.com from the search rankings.
So, I’m coming to you, my amazing followers for help. I’m not sure what else we can do; does anyone have any suggestions? Perhaps if we share and like this post enough, we can get it to beat neuroconscience.com in the search rankings for neuroconscience? Please feel free to contact godaddy and pacifichost on my behalf; they don’t seem to care about me complaints, but perhaps a wave of negative publicity might get them to actually enforce their terms of service.
Help me neuro-twitter, you are my only hope!