Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Case of the Missing Blog: Momma Data Domain Swiped

It’s not every day a person’s domain name gets snatched up by someone else. The dirty deed happened here, a virtual but real and completely legal name-napping. Last month as many of you noticed, thanks for your concern (big hugs), this blog, Momma Data went missing.

The scene: Suburban New Jersey, mid-morning, early August. Kids glue to tv and assorted screens, mother half-asleep sipping a half-caf latte and plotting a day of back-to-school bargain hunting,in other words, a less than titillating afternoon of pencil cases and colored denim. 

Then it started. I clicked on MommaData.com only to find the blog was nowhere to be found. Gone, girl, gone. Replaced by gobbly-gook and an invitation to visit godaddy. Imagine the ensuing panic and profanity. And more profanity. As much as I love a good thriller, I prefer them on my Kindle and not in my kitchen.

Now I'm hardly an innocent victim here, more like a confused and disorganized one. My credit card got stolen, an auto-renewal failed and I ignored several emails from Google about a Google Wallet being cancelled, all this while I was on my media-free real-life vacation out of the country (i.e. no email). You see, I'd erroneously thought I'd purchased the domain name from godaddy but come to find out, they were the mere distributors. The site was "powered" by godaddy. I used my Google account to pay for the name (somehow, don't even remember signing up for the wallet or ever using it) and thus Google technically was the seller.  I did all this with the help of Blogger, meaning, I initiated this process through their website.

Yes I messed up. I admit it. I couldn't help but notice on Google message boards that other people had the same experience and confusion. At no point did I get an email from Blogger or godaddy about the domain name. Nor did I receive an email with "domain name" or "domain" in the subject line and like many, I get a lot of emails from Google. I assumed my husband purchased something on Google. I had no desire to see it sold off.

And indeed the domain name got bought ASAP.

How? You tell me. It happened in a wink of an eye. I have no idea how soon after my ownership ceased, godaddy has not been quick with the details. So, why the fast sale?

As much as I'd like to think this is a highly sought-after venue, nobody has been waiting around to snap up MommaData.com for it's content or commercial appeal. No one bought it for its large readership and thus potential profits. Nor was someone eager to get their hands on the name, perhaps to launch a different kind of site or continue the debunking of child health news. Nobody was keen to grab the particular words Momma and Data - not even for the supposed value of the words - 4,500 bucks according to godaddy. The market value of the words themselves. Oh I don't think so. All the other extensions, including MommaData.org were still for sale until I bought them during the aforementioned panic. I'm sorry, godaddy, but there is no market value unless there's a market and I am the market. A market of one person.

Why would anybody buy Momma Data?

Here's what I suspect happened. An unidentified buyer, the ownership is "private", counted on selling off MommaData.com to someone else, most likely the previous owner. Me! And at first, I bit. I signed up for the Buy It Back service through godaddy, how convenient. I entered my minimum and maximum bid and tried to reach my assigned agent on the phone, for a week. True I spoke to a few articulate souls there, who expressed their sympathies, oh how awful! and made all the right noises. So for a $70 fee and 10% commission from an eventual sale, my agent sent off a couple emails to the buyer. Thirty days later, the buyer has not responded. Hhhhmm.

I won't bother you with more details. Let's just say a heated phone call or two with godaddy and I chose not to sign up for another 30 days for $70.00. I would hate to pay the man in the bright red suit or at least his hench-person. Or for those who saw Book of Mormon, the person dancing in between Johnny Cochran and Jeffrey Dahmer.

As you see, I reverted back to the blogspot address. At this point I simply cannot stomach paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars for the domain name even if I were remiss in not renewing it. As I explained to Patrick, my godaddy agent and to my husband (for the umpteenth time, xoxo), I operate this site as a non-profit out of my own pocket. I'm an idealist and wish to keep Momma Data unblemished from monetary concerns of any kind. I know sites often require money and understand that people seek ad revenue and sponsors for various reasons but I've made a conscious decision not to do so and don't anticipate needing to do so because this is a small organization and I don't need to make a living wage as a blogger, thank goodness, because few do. Nor do I need to recoup any expenses. I shell out little for the site, other than my time. Sometimes I pay for access to journal articles, that's about it when it comes to my costs. I've never paid anybody to work on the site either. Clearly this is not the most visually enticing, user-friendly blog. It's clunky by today's social media standards. My apologies. Money has not entered into the Momma Data equation. I will likely soon switch over to MommaData.org.

I tell this story not only to explain the missing blog but also to prevent another such incident. Someday I hope to read an expose on the auction of domain names. I am far too unplugged to know the intricacies of these transactions but would enjoy reading how previously-owned names get sold, who buys them etc., the regulations and laws.

Enough of that.

Yesterday my oldest turned thirteen. It's official, I'm in the major leagues now. Stay tuned for talk beyond potty training and play dates.

Thanks for your patience the last month.

6 comments:

Awesome Mom said...

I am sorry that happened to you but I am glad you are still around. I have missed your posts.

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Hey Awesome, glad to see you, hope you're enjoying a smooth back-to-school.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, missed you. Would hate to see you gone from the blogosphere!

Sarah Hughes said...

Glad to see you back in cyber world and so sorry about all this BS!!
13 is a huge milestone!!!!

Julie Adams said...

You are back in action. Yay!

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Thanks, ladies! Glad to be back!