'THE SHORT AND SORRY SAGA OF LOOK.COM''
This is an article of interest to anyone who owns a website, particularly if it is valuable. The idea that it can never be stolen is misplaced. The idea that justice will prevail if you do not have the financial means for a proper lawyer is also misplaced.
My brother and I originally obtained domain name Look.com on April 19, 2004 from Network Solutions $75.00. We had a fledgling antivirus business called Look Software, and who would have thought. By 1999, dot com had exploded and the name was stolen by a former associate in Look Software who promptly put it up for sale on the Internet for 15 million bucks. Not a lie.
We were tipped off in the fall of 1999 that it was up for sale on a website called Greatdomains.com. I still have the screen saves to prove it. Two BC millionaires (shiver, shiver) put up $50,000 to help get it back and earned 50% ownership. We had all been expecting a nice big juicy flip over because dot com was going crazy. However, by the time we got it back, dot com had crashed and all our grandiose ideas about nice big juicy flip overs were gone with the wind.
In the spring of 2000 I discovered it stolen again. This time by someone unknown who had hacked into Network Solution's server when they had first been taken over by Verio.com. Fortunately I discovered it before any harm was done. Network Solutions put it straight back with the caution that because Look.com was such a good name somebody would always be trying to swipe it. No kidding.
In 2001 I decided to put Look.com up as a search engine website because of the obvious ideal name usage. To help raise funds I brought in a partner in 2002 to help raise funds. Who didn't raise a penny and in desperation at the time (divorce, etc.) also went rogue near the end of 2003 and abducted control of Look.com for himself. Where abduct means to travel around in mysterious ways, usually with the property of another. Who redirected my email address to himself in order to take over the ownership of Look.com.
This time, because it was an inside job, the Registrar Company, now Bulk Register, said, "Tough luck, go sue". Thatís all fine and dandy if youíre loaded. But the problem was in my case, that when the partner took control of Look.com he also took control of the money coming in. My bother and I were completely cut off from all sources of revenue since we didn't have anything else going at the time and Old Age pension was still a year away.
Since nature abhors a vacuum and empty nostrils, we did what we had to do and immediately went out and started selling flowers in bars and restaurants around town at the tender age of sixty four. How many high end executives do you know who would hit the bars for dollars instead of drinks when the going got rough? Fortunately we pulled it off. We always had enough money for groceries and rent. But unfortunately nothing for expensive things, like lawyers.
In desperation I tried for a year in the hallowed halls of Justice as my own litigant with absolutely no previous experience in the courts whatsoever. Where Justice means ĎJust Iceí. And true to its creed I got eaten alive. The result was that I buried myself five feet out of six. The two millionaires (shiver, shiver), P. Mathews of Vancouver Canada and H. Stark of Kelowna Canada, or Peter M. and Harvey S. if you prefer, stepped back in and said they would help get it back yet again. Who then had Greydie and I sign over full ownership of Look.com to them after giving us their promises and assurances that they would never try to sell Look.com out from under us if we did.
Then sure enough, on June 4, 2007, that's exactly what they did, using the very paper work we had signed. Fool me 119 times, shame on you. Fool me 120 times shame on me. They sold Look.com to an American Company called InterSearch for around $575,000 grand. The problem was that by that time, the courts had given my brother and my Company Look Software Systems Inc. sole ownership of Look.com until 2013, and then Mathews and Stark (shiver, shiver) ostensible ownership after that because of the paperwork we had signed.
What Mathews and Stark did was use the 'after that' as though it were the 'here and nowí to trick Inter Search into making the sweet deal based on the twisted pretzel. The twisted pretzel comprised not only contempt of court because of the ruling, but also criminal theft because of the sale. And also an outright con job on everybody because of the monumental con job they had pulled on Greydie and I to sign the papers like smiling crocodiles.
The other problem was that the courts had also given the business partner the exclusive right to run the website until 2013, plus the right to sell it for our supposed mutual benefits as he saw fit. He saw fit and sold the operating rights for $275, 000 large to the same American company. The American Company therefore ended up owning the whole show. It's really hard to figure that they didn't know exactly what the score was, because they had all the paper work in front of them and aren't stupid. Everybody's basic premise was that Greydie and I were now Old Age paupers with only $1,200.00 a month each to live on. In other words we were chopped liver.
I decided to go after Mathew and Stark (shiver, shiver) though the court anyway, thinking the case was too cut and dried to be a problem. This time I dug a full six foot hole. The court hearing was definitely not one of those rare days when everything goes right. The judge opened the hearing with the statement that self litigants arenít qualified to stand before the bench. And it went downhill like a rock on a ski slope from there.
The end result was that Mathews and Stark (shiver, shiver) got away Scot free. Likewise I canít go into court now for anything without leave of the court first, and only after posting a hefty six to seven thousand dollar bond up front to boot. And you though your last divorce was awful. This kind of censorship is the very absolute most prejudicial thing a court can impose upon anyone. It was done in my case on the supposed basis that I was a sic, serial litigator against (shiver, shiver) Mathews and Stark, even though this was the first and only time I had ever been in court against them. So what was that if it wasnít a finger pointing due North.
Such an injunction is the kind of thing a court only imposes upon a relentless self litigant who constantly comes back to court time and again with a frivolous issue. It's the court room equivalent of a restraining order against a stalker. For comparison, another party, John Turmel, has self litigated in court hundreds of times during the last twenty years over the legal right to use marihuana and has never received such an injunction. The judge also awarded Mathews and Stark $7,500.00 in court costs, even knowing I was completely impecunious. Another highly unprecedented action. To say I got screwed is like saying getting mugged is fun.
I should have seen it coming though. The law firm of Men and Partners, (something like that) who handled the case for (shiver, shiver) Mathews and Stark were well known around town as a pocket full of tricksters. Where trickster means knowing exactly who to pull favours from when the going gets rough. Mathews and Starkís (shiver, shiver) lawyers took all the court cases I had issued against the rogue partner, and managed to convince the judge that it was all cases against (shiver shiver) Mathews and Stark, hence sic, serial.
All the judge had to do was look at the court record to see it was all bs. But he didn't. It wasn't that difficult to pull off. The story was all in the judge's bias. He took every word they said as gospel truth without proofs, either because of the shimmering light radiating brightly off their lawyerly robes, or because cigars had been smoked in the backroom. And he didnít listen to a single word I said with proofs either because I was a hiss, hoark, spit, self litigator, or because cigars hadnít been smoked in the back room. Either way, you now have a pretty good idea of how a King's Court must have been run in the old days.
The rogue partner, who was by now back on my side because he thought what (shiver, shiver) Mathews and Stark had done was despicable, and who had been around a courtroom or two in his own right, said afterwards that he had seen or heard of a lot of people getting screwed in court before but had never ever seen anything like this. Regrettably, therefore, I have been forced to accept the inevitable fact this dog won't hunt anymore and Iíve thrown in the towel. I've decided to use wholelook.com as the humour website I had planned to launch as the restart backbone for Look.com. Ironically enough, it is probably a better domain name for what I have eventually planned, just not as short.
The spiritual path taken calls for forgiveness. I can go with that. Besides, don't forget, 'Who laughs last thinks slowest'. The two McGillicuties, Mathews and Stark (shiver, shiver) are no doubt laughing all the way to the bank by now. Itís a pretty good guess that they haven't thought this all the through though. As everyone knows, you can't take it with you through the eye of the needle when the time comes to kick the bucket. But how you made it goes straight through. This may well turn out to be the most expensive $575,000 they ever made.
Besides, it's an ill wind that blows no one any good. I end up with a small silver lining out of all this anyway. The whole saga of the dot com era, and Look.com in particular and all its foibles, has become an integral part of my, er, ahem, seminal book of memoirs, 'The CliffR Project'. The book writes itself. The project is in six parts, all from the hilarious side of life and runs like a TV mini series. The details are now all up as website cliffr.com
Plus the obvious, I get to use this whole mal-adventure to help promote both wholelook.com and cliffr.com through the Internet as interesting fanfare, such as this article. The best laid plans of mice and men sometimes often work. Only time will tell.
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The author came into writing not by professional choice, but because life wouldn't leave him alone. He has lead a very eclectic life, never boring. He eventually wrote it all down in a hilarious six volume set of
memoirs called ĎThe CliffR Projectí, which can be viewed at website www.cliffr.com. He has just lunched an all new jokes website named www.wholelook.com, which comes off like a refreshing drink of water at the
water cooler or a quick coffee break. He has also just lunched another new site which posts articles both interesting and/or controversial under the 'tell it like it is' web name of 'www.waftit.com'.
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