I have an unsolveable problem and I'm posting about it in the hope that knowing what happened to me might help other authors avoid this kind of thing. Let me start off by saying that I'm not currently writing or having published any books under my own name. My last one was published in 2002 in hardcover and 2003 in pb. But after spending a few years away from this business entirely, I decided to come back and to see what's happening, and I'm glad I did. On the internet especially, things have exploded in exciting ways, Crimespace being an excellent example of that. A couple of weeks ago an old acquaintance emailed that she'd been trying to figure out what had happened to me and she found a website, avadianneday.com. She recognized that the photo on the site was not me, though my books are there and one old interview. I used to have a rather extensive website with that domain name (Ava is my first name and I used it on my standalone), but I asked the person who designed and maintained it for me to take it down after the book seemed to have run its course. I can't remember if I asked him to be notified when the domain name needed to be renewed, but I assume I did. And then promptly forgot about it.
So anyway I went to the bogus website myself, and there's nothing malicious to it, but there's a Contact Me link that certainly doesn 't link to me. I asked a friend who is more cybersavvy than I what I should do, and she got some research done on my behalf, for which I thank her and the researcher very much. As a result I now have a name and physical address in NYC for the website owner but the email address is Russian. And the domain expires in August 2007. Meanwhile my first domain name, dianneday.com, which at one time had been grabbed by a porn site (don't ask -- I no longer remember the exact details of all that happened but it was unpleasant), is available again.
I do not any longer plan to be publishing under my own name, but still I'm wondering if maybe I should buy the right to dianneday.com and keep renewing it until I die, just so nobody else can get it. What would you do if you were me?
The big moral here for us authors is, purchase your own domain name and renew it yourself, don't leave it to the person who creates and maintains your website. With all the good will in the world something could go wrong. Take care of your own name, your own self. And PLEASE if anyone does go to that avadianneday.com site, know that it is NOT done by me or by anyone known to me.
-- Dianne Day