My thoughts on people bidding on their own NameJet auctions


As most of you probably know by now, I try to stay away from blogging about controversies in the domain name world. That being said, it’s hard for me to stay out of this one so I thought I would share my thoughts, and keep it short and sweet since in my humble opinion this is pretty cut and dry.

You should not be allowed to bid on your own auctions, period. If you do this, you are, whether you mean to or not, increasing the price of your own domain names. If you did this in an art auction, car auction, home auction, or just about any other type of auction you could go to jail.

It’s always disappointing to see the domain industry become even more divided but let’s be honest, there’s not much grey area here. If you bid on your own auctions and drive up the price (which last time I checked is what happens when you bid on your own auctions) you should be banned, period, end of story.

That’s my two cents, what do you think?

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Bob McGough July 21, 2017, 1:55 am

    No doubt about it, Morgan. Does any entity have responsibility to investigate and authority to prosecute?

    • Nick July 21, 2017, 6:11 pm

      FBI would love to get their teeth into their logs…

  • Joe July 21, 2017, 2:54 am

    Hello to the fake bids on auctions of premium domains you write a place but there are many, I do not bid on my same domain was a system from another website in the end I could save my domain name premium than have won the buyer for $ 1 of these Millions and we do not know.

  • Mark Thorpe July 21, 2017, 10:31 am

    The domain Industry needs to shed it’s wild west, cowboy hat, hustler image and it starts with a third party Investigation at NameJet. Ban the rule breakers, fine them and bring in the law enforcement. It’s really the only way the domain Industry will get cleaned up. Everything has been swept under the mat for too long.
    We all already know who are the shady domainers and businesses are, so lets do something about it for once.

  • Joseph Peterson July 21, 2017, 10:26 pm

    If NameJet wants an independent audit, I could do that – probably with more credibility and accuracy than anyone else. Only saying that because

    (1) I’ve written an exposé on shill bidding before (January 2015 on Flippa);
    (2) I wrote about NameJet auctions at least once a week for 2 years at – and was paid by DNW not NameJet;
    (3) I know how to derive meaningful stats from large databases – especially domain-related data.

    However, I doubt NameJet will want any independent oversight. Most companies jealously guard their proprietary data. Why share info about their back-end systems, sellers, buyers? Doing so can mean giving up a competitive edge, divulging IP, or violating customer privacy.

    Even companies who are 100% ethical with nothing to hide might say No to that. And, of course, if there is any chance of uncovering seller fraud by lifting up the rug, then it’s easy to argue against looking too closely – especially in public.

    Then, of course, there’s the cost of bothering. Arguably there’s an upside that comes from exonerating innocent customers, improving marketplace integrity, winning back public goodwill, etc. But there’s also the cost of the work. Many of these controversies blow over on their own after a week. Consumers have short memories.

    And would domainers believe any report generated by anybody? For years and years, I went against the grain, trying to build a reputation for integrity. Recently, however, domainers have become so paranoid that they’ve been willing to accuse me of sacrificing babies to Beelzebub, if I merely defend any large company or seller. So it’s debatable whether ANYBODY could deliver a report, however accurate, that would be believed by the public.

    Think about this: Any person commissioned to conduct such an investigation or write such a monitoring algorithm would be paid by whom? By NameJet. Would the public accept the outcome? Who else would foot the bill? I can tell you point blank: Anybody working for free would do a sloppy job; and I wouldn’t trust any of their conclusions.

    Paradoxically, 1 reason why few companies bother to self-regulate is because domainers are so paranoid that there’s just no point! Skepticism can become so extreme that there is no longer any incentive for companies to go the extra mile or do the right thing.

    Yeah, it sounds nice to urge the domain industry to stop being the wild, wild west. But the only alternative is regulation. Regulation takes regulators. Who are the regulators? Who pays the regulators? Domainers? Fat chance! ICANN? Keep dreaming! Only the company being regulated could possibly justify paying for the oversight. And, while it’s possible to produce an objective report that way if the right person does the job, there’s no point in bothering if the public is too paranoid to accept that outcome.

    There are plenty of honest domainers and domain companies, large and small. But oversight? Who’s going to be the sherif? Are you all going to start paying taxes to hire a sherif? That’ll be the day! This whole industry can barely generate enough advertising income to sustain 2 full time blogs and 3 or 4 part-time ones. How many domainers voluntarily contribute to the ICA, for example?

    Sorry to say it, guys. This industry might well remain the wild wild west forever. Until the whole domain name system itself ceases to be.

    • Mark Thorpe July 22, 2017, 8:44 am

      ICANN needs to regulate the Industry better, instead of saying “it’s not our problem” or “it has nothing to do with us” all the time.

      • Joseph Peterson July 22, 2017, 5:51 pm

        @Mark Thorpe,

        I’m not sure that ICANN’s mandate would allow them to intervene legally in disputes about sales negotiations (including auction bids) for domains that have already been registered. Registry policies and trademark rights – those are what ICANN normally deals with. If they began meddling in processes between buyers and sellers, the overall results would be disastrous for the aftermarket.

        Domainers ought to stop looking to ICANN for aftermarket regulation because (A) that’ll never happen; and (B) ICANN isn’t necessarily a beacon of ethics, competence, or efficiency. Remember when the ICANN CEO referred to domainers as squatters? Domainers forget too quickly.

  • Eric Lyon July 22, 2017, 2:38 pm

    I agree @Morgan – Shill bidding should not be allowed anywhere at anytime. Once evidence is gathered (Regardless of platform), immediate actions should be taken on any accounts involved.


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