The story of my stolen logo!
Way, way back at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I was pretty insistent that I DIDN’T need a website. The work was coming in organically, in the desired quantity.
Within a few years, however, I had a domain (a few, actually) purchased and a sparkling new website. I had decided it would just be a nice place to host my personal portfolio of projects. And maybe it could be a place where I could share a little bit about my work philosophies and the information about what it looks like to work with me.
I even got fancy enough to pay for a professionally-designed logo, full branding package, and oh-so butter soft, velvety business cards to boot.
I was finally ‘legit.’
Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about marketing and sales. My part-time tech VA and I would tweak it here and there - we’d add a button or another tab at the top.
One day, at the end of 2022, I took what I thought would be another inquiry call. The stranger on the other end asked a few odd questions like, “Is your business Domani Home Design or is it Domani Home?”
That’s strange, I thought.
After a few more similarly probing questions, she came to the conclusion that there was a duplicitous website out there using my logo. She pointed me to the fraudulent website and wished me good luck.
My mind was reeling. I didn’t even have the wherewithal to get her name and contact information.
She had piqued my curiosity.
A few hours later, after a lot of Google searches, investigating other ‘linked’ websites, going down online rabbit holes, and emailing my attorney, I had a few facts in place:
My logo had been stolen and was being used illegally
The fraudulent website had a non-existent physical address listed
Said fraudulent website seemed to be linked to a few other websites that appeared to all be phishing fronts
Another legitimate business had some of their products listed on said fraudulent website
Everything was a dead-end
All linked websites were ranked as ‘suspicious’ and likely hosted in foreign countries
So, what did I learn?
I learned that there is likely NOTHING I can do about my logo being stolen.
Literally, all I can do is wait and watch.
It is frustrating and maddening and eye-opening, all at the same time.
I’m not really sure I even have a good life lesson here. Trademarking my logo and business name may not have even been a saving factor in this situation.
If anyone has a similar experience, or information about possible recourse, or even protective measures a small business can take to help avoid a similar situation, I’d love to hear from you!
In the meantime, I still encourage anyone yearning to start their own business or side-hustle to GO FOR IT! We let the dishonest folks in the world win when we let them keep us from living our dreams. You were meant to do great things! Don’t let a potential bad situation keep you from sharing your gift with the world!
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