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Bots for domains : NameJet “shilling scandal” fizzling out

The alleged “domain shilling scandal” identifying an active group of NameJet sellers and bidders as “shillers,” shows signs of fizzling out.

Domain auction platform, NameJet, has yet to come up with an official final statement about their investigation; meanwhile, three parties involved have stated their side of the story, among more than 40 pages of related and unrelated commentary at NamePros.

Yesterday, prolific domain flipper, Oliver Hoger, asserted that his aggressive use of a “domain bot” utilizing the NameJet API to bid on domains, mistakenly included domains he owns.

Since becoming aware of the bot’s behavior, Hoger has ended the activity of its account, Winner8888.

Regarding NameJet auctions with a reserve price, Oliver Hoger said:

“We do allot of next bid wins. Most of you don’t know how this works. My auctions have a reserve price. On the last day of the auction or in the last few hours I see what the high bids are and then send namejet a list of domains ask to to set next bid wins. So it is not that someone is bidding just under reserve. “

Earlier today, domain investor, Andy Booth, shared his part of the story, regarding allegations of cross-bidding in auctions with his brother, James, and the ownership status of domains sent to NameJet auctions:

There was a misunderstanding in terms of the status of this small handful of domains. I had thought they were already sold (we had discussed a trade value, me and Oliver do this kind of thing all the time), that once again they were free game at auction, but it later became apparent that wasn’t the case. Oliver’s intentions with the domains were only to list them on my behalf. Obviously when that came to light, I knew I had screwed up.

Oliver, thinking he was just selling for me, took it upon himself to bid on the domains that he knew had parking revenue. Those turned out to be the ones he genuinely wanted (take MovieZone as a case in point). Oli wasn’t trying to inflate any value either. His understanding at this point was that he wanted to buy the good ones and his bid was not made to pump anything up, he had every intention to follow through.

I would never knowingly have sabotaged my own reputation for something like this. There was no attempt to disguise who we were (which obviously looks beyond stupid given what was come to light) in terms of bidding handles, nor was there attempt at fraud or deception. On the domains I was bidding for, I took the view that they were no longer mine, and I had as much right as anyone to buy them back. I even won one and had every intention of following through. Again, inflating the value was never the goal. There was genuine intent there.

Andy Booth said he understood his display of naiveté was out of character, and apologized for contributing to all this:

I was the one here at fault, but I hope you understand that is was a genuine mistake, not part of some elaborate conspiracy to defraud anyone. I hold my hands up and apologize to anyone that may have been affected in bidding for those domains. I am disappointed to have let down the domaining community and have learned a lot from what has happened.

James Booth, domain broker and owner of BQDN.com, stated the following:

I think many here are missing the point when it comes to me. Yes Andy is my brother. Yes I know Oliver. I have done several deals with both of them. Me and Andy are completely separate businesses. He is Booth.com, I am BQDN.com. We have our own portfolios and occasionally we will partner on a name (D8.com for example). I ask you to research MY account and see what domains I have bid on on ANY auction platform. I only bid on names I want. I bid on AirplanesForSale.com and WON it, PAID for it and SOLD it already. That’s what I do.

The fact that some people are emailing me DEATH threats and verbal abuse is beyond ridiculous. The fact that so many people have pointed fingers at me especially when this is nothing to do with me other that Andy is my brother. Anyone who ACTUALLY knows us will know we are completely separate. Regardless of who owned the domains I am still allowed to bid and win names. People asking me to explain myself. I have nothing that I need to explain. I have just sat here and seen the things people have to say about me so I now know for future reference. I have NEVER shill bidded.

The entire chaotic ordeal as it unfolded on NamePros, indicates that transparency and more auction controls are needed at NameJet. The use of an API by certain accounts, for example, should identify them visibly as “bots.”

For the record, Frank Schilling’s NameJet account, “taryn,” is one such active domain bidding bot, known as “The Robot” internally.

We will share the final results of the investigation by NameJet when they are published. For now, have a light-hearted Domain Meme and enjoy your Friday. 😀

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8 Responses to “Bots for domains : NameJet “shilling scandal” fizzling out”
  1. R P says:

    Sorry but demanding transparency and integrity is not fizzling out. Sometimes you joke sometimes not, so not sure which time this is.

    New domain investors need to be protected and this should not “fizzle out”.

  2. DomainGang says:

    R P – NameJet’s intention to transparency and integrity isn’t fizzling out. By reading the responses to accusations one can form their own opinion, and things will be sealed once NameJet finalizes their report. If nothing conclusive is found, a lot of people seeking “heads on a plate” might be disappointed. Fair warning there.

    If you wonder when a post is real vs. parody, read the “About Us” page.

  3. R P says:

    How about not allowing an API where you can bid on your own domains? Will that “seal it”?

    Im a CPA and an Auditor. How about you? Seems like you are trying to downplay the severity of HFT entering into no reserve domain auctions with the owners having the ability to bid on their own domains with apparently no internal controls.

    I like you Theo. But you are wrong on this and you are not a Certified Public Attorney so your “opinion” on what “seals” this “fizzling out” means nothing to me. With all due respect.

  4. R P says:

    Excuse me, Certified Public Accountant. Corrected.

  5. DomainGang says:

    R P – Send your suggestions to NameJet. I am not downplaying anything, but given that the “other side” finally got their chance to be heard (and among 42 pages of commentary) I am willing to listen. Are you?

    The ball is in NameJet’s court, I am waiting to find out what they have uncovered, as anxiously as anyone else.

  6. Dn Ebook says:

    My Butler is a Bot

  7. Logan says:

    I’ve got TheBots.com for sale…