Confusion Door

My parents used to run a garage door service company. They started it in 1986 and closed it a couple years ago when they retired.

One of their competitors was extremely unethical. They used multiple websites and phone numbers, and placed multiple full-page ads in the yellow pages as different companies. This way they could rip customers off again and again because the customers always thought they were dealing with a different company the next time they needed service repairs. (It wasn't uncommon for them to replace parts that didn't need to be replaced and charge way more than what they should have while doing it.) Lying is the name of the game for them.

Anyway, when my parents retired, we let the domain registration expire on the website that I made for their business, and they moved so the phone number they used for the business got freed too.

Someone registered my parent's old domain, put up the exact same website that I built for my parents, and is even using the same phone number that my parents used for their business! The website says it's copyrighted at the bottom, and it even still had my name on it!

Needless to say, we were extremely upset that someone so unethical is benefiting from the reputation my parents worked so hard to build.

I did a lookup on the domain name to figure out where it was being hosted. That pointed me to Cloudflare. Cloudflare is more of a CDN than a web host. I filed a DCMA infringement notice with them to have the site taken down. They responded that the content was actually hosted by 1&1 hosting. Cloudflare was just providing CDN services. So I sent a second DCMA infringement notice to 1&1 hosting's legal department. Within a few days or weeks, I heard back from them that their customer had removed the infringing content. I checked, and now the domina returns a HTTP 403 Error: Forbidden.

My guess is that Confusion Door paid a third party to host the webpage without telling them that it was stolen content. The web developers slapped the site up on the internet without any questions and continued with their day. When the third party got word of my complaint from 1&1, they took down the content in the easiest way possible: mark that content as denied for all IP addresses in their .htaccess file. It's not their battle, so why should they try to keep the content up and risk a lawsuit?

In all, this is the first step in winding down my parent's business so that their loyal customers can be sure that they actually are out of business and haven't just recently decided to start ripping them off.

Photo by Marcus Balcher