Social.com Fell Victim to Social Engineering in the Biggest Theft Since Sex.com

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In a move designed to highlight the problem of domain name theft, Guided Tour Software, Inc. is publicly revealing for the first time that Social.com was stolen and then recovered in October, 2006. With appraisals in the seven to eight figure range, this theft is perhaps the largest since Sex.com was stolen in 1995. After securing the domain name, the owner has decided to divest the asset and place Social.com on sale at Sedo starting today.

Since announcing that Social.com would go on sale, I have seen strong interest from social networking companies, venture capital firms and some Fortune 500 companies.

With Social.com on sale today, Guided Tour Software, Inc. is publicly revealing the 2006 theft and recovery of the name to bring awareness to a problem that has plagued the domain name industry.

In an ironic twist, the domain Social.com fell victim to a case of social engineering on October 18, 2006 when NameSecure, the Registrar at the time, erroneously released control of the name. The Supervisor of the Transfers Department at NameSecure summarized the events in an e-mail message to the owner Scott Carter, President of Guided Tour Software, Inc. on November 13, 2006. The timeline was presented as follows:

  •     Someone posing as Scott Carter was able to gain access to Carter's account on 10/11/2006 and changed the Registrant data to another individual.
  •     On 10/18/2006 the domain name social.com was transferred out of NameSecure to GoDaddy without the authorization of Scott Carter as the Registered Name Holder.
  •     The domain name was returned to NameSecure as Registrar and to Scott Carter as the Registered Name Holder on 10/27/2006.

"The Supervisor that I worked with at NameSecure to recover Social.com took the theft very seriously and responded with a sense of urgency and professionalism," said Carter. Carter also credits the excellent domain name history available at DomainTools.com as critical to a speedy recovery of the name. While the perpetrator was never identified, Carter considers the matter closed. When asked about what eventually happened to the name, Carter responded, "I moved the domain name Social.com in December 2006 to the Registrar Moniker.com, because of their excellent reputation for domain name security."    

A hint of the extent of the theft was shown when numerous appraisals at NamePros.com, a professional domain name forum, estimated the value of Social.com in the seven to eight figure range. "The experienced members at NamePros.com saw tremendous value in a generic, recognizable name with international relevance that produces hundreds of millions of search engine results," said Carter. "Since announcing that Social.com would go on sale, I have seen strong interest from social networking companies, venture capital firms and some Fortune 500 companies."

The domain name Social.com is now on sale at Sedo, a company widely recognized as a professional global domain marketplace. Details and a link to the sales listing are available today at http://www.social.com. "The successful buyer will be purchasing a solid investment that can engage areas such as mobile social networking, video sharing, Web 2.0 applications, politics, dating or even Social Security services," says Carter. "The proliferation of sites such as MySpace and YouTube provides an opportunity for a timeless name that can stand out from a crowded space."

For additional information on the sale of Social.com, contact Scott Carter or visit http://www.social.com.

About Guided Tour Software, Inc:

Guided Tour Software, Inc. is a privately held Massachusetts corporation providing Internet consulting services.

Contact:

Scott Carter, President

Guided Tour Software, Inc.

508-283-4178

http://www.social.com

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Scott Carter
Guided Tour Software, Inc.
508-283-4178
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