Having a day to reflect on the revelation about the Snapnames bidding scandal, I put together a list of the 5 most surprising things we learned yesterday:
1. Who It Was:
The most surprising part of the story was the identity of the person involved in shill bidding, Nelson Brady.
Not only was Nelson an employee of Oversee, but he was a former officer (VP) and a shareholder of the company that sold Snapnames.com to Oversee.
Oversee paid reported $25M or more for Snapnames.com and since he was a shareholder, Mr. Brady should have had a rather large payday when Oversee bought it. So its even more surprising that he would “risk it all” and continue to engage in this activity long after getting paid on the purchase.
2. The Company Came Clean.
In the corporate culture that exists, especially in the US, its extremely rare that we see a company stand up, come forward first with an admission of a problem and offering a solution at the same time.
This is a culture where we all have become used to seeing corporations burying the truth, paying people off to keep quite, deny any wrongdoing, errors or problems and almost always forcing people to spend years and tons of money to seek any compensation and usually years of appeals after that.
We have seen our corporate culture in action over the years in many ways; During the financial meltdown where companies leveraged assets well beyond any acceptable risk levels their investors we willing to accept; we have seen tobacco companies going decades withholding information that their products could kill their customers; car manufactures continued to produce cars they knew had defects, for many years after they knew that such defects could cause severe injury or death to their customers; insurance companies ordered employees to simply deny every claim, valid or not, to save money.
Unfortunately we now expect this type of conduct from corporate America and every “big” and rich company in America.
How refreshing was it to see a company stand up and say “We have a problem, and we are going to make it right, as best as we can.
I know their are those out there that believe there was a “reason” the company came forward, other than what it seems on its face, trying to do the right thing.
At some point we may get information that indicates otherwise, but for now, until and unless we find out differently, I’m satisfied that Oversee is trying to do the right thing to their credit.
3. The shear numbers of it.
You have to admit the numbers were simply astounding.
1,000,000 auctions held by SnapNames over the years.
50,000 auctions in which Mr. Brady allegedly was involved in.
If everyone of the auctions Mr. Brady was involved in sold just for the minimum of $60, that would be $3 million dollars.
However we know that was not the case.
If the average selling price of an auction on Snapnames Mr. Brady was involved in was $300your talking about $15,000,000.
If the average was $500 the number becomes $25 Million.
If the average was $1,000 your looking at $50 Million.
That a lot of money.
Huge numbers all around.
4. The arrogance of NameJet.com
Yesterday’s announcement by NameJet.com, which I’m sure was sent out to assure its customers that there was no shill bidding taking place on their system, came across to me as a reaffirmation of the mentality that caused SnapNames.com to fail to find this problem for years.
When a company thinks that their own employees can’t get around the checks and double checks they have in place, even when they know those same employees created the checks and double checks, its troubling.
I would have rather seen a statement worded to the effect that NameJet.com monitors every transaction and constantly on alert for shill bidding or other improprieties, be it from employees, customers, networks of bidders, etc., rather than to say simply it “can’t happen here”.
5. SnapNames gave refunds?
Over the years I have made plenty of mistakes; bid and won domains that were not spelled correctly (if you don’t know yet, I’m a horrible speller) or otherwise domains I did not really want to own.
I never thought for a second of asking for a refund.
If I made a mistake I just ate it.
I sure never knew bidders had an option of undoing an auction on Snapnames and getting a credit back.
The least surprising thing that came out of the Scandal?
That’s easy, its the same as the most surprising;
Who is was.
Forums for years have been discussing the bidder “Halvarez”
People have complained to SnapNames.
SnapNames was therefore alerted by its own customers as to the questionable bidding patterns and history of this bidder.
As shocking at it was to find out that Mr. Brady was the former employee alleged engaged in this shill bidding, logically he could have been the only employee who could have done it.
Mr. Brady probably knew the backend of the SnapNames.com bidding system better than anyone on earth.
Any check, double check or triple check that was built into the system, he either built or was involved in building.
Therefore he was probably the only employee who knew enough about the system to use it for his personal benefit, how to cover his tracks, how not to set off any of the “alarms” built into the system.
It really couldn’t have been anyone else.