Lets start with a little background, I started a little project with another friend in May of 2013. We bought a few domains corresponding to our naming nomenclature and started our projects. We started with three, but had our eyes on the remaining four that would complete our domain pool and give us future expansion at our will. Due to the strange domains and weird use of them we decided to stray away from buying them until we needed them, and not to mention we didn't know if our projects would be successful or a complete flop.
A few months pass as development and activity increases on the sites and focus towards the other domains fade. An email from name.com offering .co domains at a discount sparks my interest to go pickup the remaining domains as they are still for sale, but due to forgetting my 2 step authentication, I had no access to my name.com account, so I let it slide.
A few days pass, and I'm at lunch with co-workers, and somehow my little side project came into discussion. We talked a bit which led to me going through the hectic procedure to get access back to my name.com account (guess it was secure :p). After the hell of recovering the account, I went back to work and lost track of time.
Later in the day, an email arrived via name.com from the whois domain protection service (so obviously someone sent an email to the email on the whois record). It was an email from someone owning the domain(s) I was interested in. He claimed to have owned the domains for some time and was interested in selling them back to me.
A little back story - I bought the .net domain of a different project 8 years ago, and a few days after I purchased it, someone not related to the project, purchased the .com of it and tried to force me into buying it back from him.
He placed ads over the website and preyed on my users who accidentally mistook .net for .com. Long story short, it is 8 years later and he still has it. He has only paid about $80 bucks holding it from me over these years, but it must be worth it to him. Point being, I hate domain squatters and have a personal experience with them. After writing this, I figured I would look as to when the domain would expire, and it was available to buy! I own it now :)
Back to the story at hand, this domain squatter (after looking at the registered date), has registered all four of my interested domains in the earlier 24 hours and flaunted an email to me in hopes that I would pay some ungodly amount of money for them.
Yes I made a mistake, I should have bought them immediately.
In our work developer chat room, I explain in my angered mood the position I'm in and how my best bet (to prevent another 8 year standoff much like my earlier encounter) is to change my domain names to something on the .io domain and buy em all up. This is of course after a solid 30 minutes of swearing, but before making an expensive decision - I instead write a very harsh email and post the email to my co-workers. I then delete that email and write a very less harsh one and fire it off to the squatter in hopes that showing no interest will maybe encourage him to sell them cheap.
What happened next, I never would have guessed. One of my co-workers came over to my desk and wanted me to track the guy down and hack the domains back. Obviously that wasn't an option so I began researching my other options.
Not much than 30 minutes later, these co-workers called me over to their desk claiming they had hacked the guy and had all four domains under their control. Immediately in my head I knew this couldn't be possible. Domains take like 10 days to switch providers and straight up jacking accounts was not a solution I saw these few pulling off.
They then logged onto name.com and showed me all 4 domains on their screen registered and active....
It all began to piece together in my brain, the coincidences of talking about the domains on the same day they were purchased, along with being the same day of email contact. These odds were too close together to be a fluke. These fellow co-workers bought the domains themselves knowing my birthday was less than a month away and wanted to surprise me. Then they had the best idea to turn it into a prank, and this is where it got bad.
They had no idea that within minutes of the email that I would begin drastic measures. I began tweeting and already picking out new domains and ideas. I thought I had lost the domain war and was destined to not lose again. They saw this happening live and intervened. Knowing my birthday was still a month away - things would have gotten a lot worst.
They came out with the story and explained it all, and damn, they got me good. They created a fake email and fake person and staged the event. Yes, I have the domains now and no one was hurt in the progress. Thanks to everyone that raged with me during these events, but I now have the extra 4 domains and all is good <3.