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Very strange

neddy

Top Contributor
As an active bidder on the drops over the years, I get puzzled when I see strange bidding behaviour.

In recent times, a person or persons have been making early bids on Drop on certain high profile domains. This has the effect of highlighting these domains, and thus potentially setting a market.

In some instances, prices have been pushed up to extraordinary levels way before the auction closes. What makes this bidding pattern unusual is that Drop has a proxy bidding system; and that serious bidders would usually wait until the last seconds to place their best bids.

Here is just one example:

On Tuesday, there were very early bids placed on bedlinen.com.au. What highlighted this for me that the bids placed on Drop were fixed bids.

As you can see from the screenshot below, Bidder 4 placed a number of fixed bids – the penultimate one of $2000 happening at UTC December 23 – 23:57.33 (that is 9.57am QLD time – or 10.57am AEDT). Auctions close at 1pm QLD time; or 2pm AEDT. So this penultimate fixed bid was placed nearly three hours before auction close.

Then, for some inexplicable reason, Bidder 4 feels the need to increase his fixed bid by the gargantuan amount of $1. He does this 5 minutes before auction end at UTC December 24 – 02:53.54 (that is 12.53.54 pm QLD time – or 1.53.54 pm AEDT).

Why would the bidder do that? This action is what has caused me to make this post.




NF apparently had a “Buy It Now” price of $1612 on this domain. A regular buyer of domains “took advantage” of this lower price late in the day – and NF were successful in catching it. Via another domainer, I understand that this buyer was not Bidder 4 on Drop.

I reported my concerns to Drop on Tuesday, and they have indicated they will investigate from their side of things. It may be totally innocent behaviour by this bidder - I am not making imputations about any person or company.

But it is certainly food for thought.

Cheers, Ned
 

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findtim

Top Contributor
Thanks ned , interesting, I'd like to know more about this as well, I've only been around for a short time but I know that looks like a silly way of bidding, very sus.

WTF a fixed bid of a $1 ?????????, if you are winning leave the bloody domain alone.

tim
 

neddy

Top Contributor
WTF a fixed bid of a $1 ?????????, if you are winning leave the bloody domain alone.

The $1 fixed bid increase with 5 minutes to go was the thing that set all my alarm bells ringing.

Why would anyone do that? What would be the motive? Was it just a mistake - or was it a "sophisticated bidder"? I hope we get to the bottom of that somehow.

I want to emphasise that my initial post was in no way critical of Drop. On the contrary, it is because they have an open and transparent platform that I was able to pick this up.
 

geodomains

Top Contributor
Makes you wonder who would benefit from early bidding to push up the price.
The only other platform don't show their bids....Hmmm

Don
 

neddy

Top Contributor
Makes you wonder who would benefit from early bidding to push up the price.
The only other platform don't show their bids....Hmmm

What puzzles me also Don is that if the winning bidder on Netfleet was not Bidder 4 on Drop, why did Bidder 4 not take up the much cheaper option of the BIN on NF? They obviously wanted the domain. I understand it was available earlier in the morning when they were placing their fixed bids on Drop.

Judging by the number of fixed bids they made (and when they initially made them), you would think this would be an automatic action.

I suppose one explanation could be that they may not have had an account with Netfleet.

But then it comes back to why did they make that extra $1 fixed bid at the death? This highlighted the domain; and extended the Drop auction by 5 minutes. Innocent mistake - or a purposeful bump? Either way, there was no other bidder anywhere near the death. The screenshot speaks for itself.

Strange.
 

neddy

Top Contributor
As an active bidder on the drops over the years, I get puzzled when I see strange bidding behaviour.

In recent times, a person or persons have been making early bids on Drop on certain high profile domains. This has the effect of highlighting these domains, and thus potentially setting a market.

Is this a case of déjà vu?

fonts.com.au is off to a good start on Drop with a fixed bid of $1000.

Could be legitimate - but to me it is strange. :confused:
 

findtim

Top Contributor
Is this a case of déjà vu?

fonts.com.au is off to a good start on Drop with a fixed bid of $1000.

Could be legitimate - but to me it is strange. :confused:

weird tactics, if they thought that would scare people off then that doesn't work, and also the 2nd bidder if you have more then $1000 don't let the other person know so farrrrrrrrrrrrrr in advance !

interesting to know if its the same people or its a new amateur hour?

tim
 

neddy

Top Contributor
weird tactics, if they thought that would scare people off then that doesn't work, and also the 2nd bidder if you have more then $1000 don't let the other person know so farrrrrrrrrrrrrr in advance !

interesting to know if its the same people or its a new amateur hour?

Not really weird tactics Tim - not if you think about the possible agenda (refer geodomains comment). And I do stress "possible".

When I saw early high bids on a couple of good domains earlier this month (on Drop), it did make me wonder a bit. But I put it down to endusers bidding on their particular niche.

But when I saw it continuing, I got suspicious (as did quite a few regular domainers). Even more so in recent times when the early bids have been FIXED BIDS (including the $1 bid!).


  • Domains cannot be highlighted on Netfleet because of the nature of their platform i.e. sealed bids. Bids are being made early on the Drop platform, and this can cause some people to panic and thus bid similarly on NF if they don't want to lose the domain.

  • Or in some instances - like the one highlighted in this thread - someone sees a lower BIN price on NF and takes advantage of it. On the face of it, a good arbitrage play.

  • If there is some "foul play" happening, I don't know who is doing it; or who is behind it. I'm not suggesting that parties associated with Drop or Netfleet are doing it. But recent bidding history shows someone possibly is - and if so, I hope we find out in time who it is. These things tend to "come out in the wash". Google "Halvarez scandal" to see what I mean.

I have reported my concerns to Drop. They are taking the matter very seriously, however as they have told me, their current position is that technically nothing illegal is happening. If the fixed bidder was to win, then they would have to pay for the domain/s. But apparently they are doing further investigations because "they don't want to be used". Nor do they want bidders to think that they are doing anything untoward.

However, it could well be that I'm totally wrong; and all these strange bidding events are simply one coincidence after another (if so I will gladly eat humble pie). And I still believe in Santa Claus; the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
 

findtim

Top Contributor
I've been watching the bidding history and times as well for a while now and it definitely has changed since the NF change of format.

your first point is the one that concerns me the most, HIGH early FIXED bids on drop are sooooooo out of character.

the NF BIM price looks like it is a "bait and switch", bait on drop.... switch on NF "as seen on tv for $99 but here its only $98 "

But apparently they are doing further investigations because "they don't want to be used". Nor do they want bidders to think that they are doing anything untoward.

that's GREAT, good to see positive action, you say
their current position is that technically nothing illegal is happening
which seems correct but at least drop are reviewing these bidding actions and potentially tracking the unusual bids.

I know if drop saw me do a $1000 fixed bid the day before the auction closed they'd probably phone me and ask " did you mean to do that tim " ?

tim
 

Simon Johnson

Top Contributor
If there is some "foul play" happening, I don't know who is doing it; or who is behind it. I'm not suggesting that parties associated with Drop or Netfleet are doing it. But recent bidding history shows someone possibly is - and if so, I hope we find out in time who it is. These things tend to "come out in the wash". Google "Halvarez scandal" to see what I mean.

A little known fact, is that I called out the Halvarez issue well in advance (you can see posts and the evidence on DNF). It took awhile for the parties involved to respond, but eventually it exploded!

I like to assume that people wake up every morning and want to do the right thing. Possible scenarios:

1. A genuine mistake. I know that I've jumped into an auction below the 5 minute mark and had names stand out like a sore thumb. Sometimes when you are running late or don't have mobile coverage, you make mistakes.

2. Incompetence. Some people simply don't know how to use an auction platform.

3. Driving up the price.

4. Highlighting specific names.

At the end of the day, its all speculation. Only Drop and NF know who the parties involved are. Given the industry is an open and free market, the people and companies involved may have already got together to discuss. Nobody really knows except them.

It will be interesting to see what happens.
 

neddy

Top Contributor
A little known fact, is that I called out the Halvarez issue well in advance (you can see posts and the evidence on DNF). It took awhile for the parties involved to respond, but eventually it exploded!

I like to assume that people wake up every morning and want to do the right thing. Possible scenarios:

1. A genuine mistake. I know that I've jumped into an auction below the 5 minute mark and had names stand out like a sore thumb. Sometimes when you are running late or don't have mobile coverage, you make mistakes.

Thanks for the post Simon. You learn something every day - I didn't know you were instrumental in calling out "Halvarez".

With regards your point 1 - there is no way this is a genuine mistake. Fixed bids were placed hours before hand - in the case of bedlinen.com.au; not once; not twice - but three times. Check the screen shot.

And here is a screen shot of the bidding on Drop yesterday for fonts.com.au - the first bid was a fixed bid of $1000 made hours before the auction end. And there were only two other proxy bids afterwards.



This fixed bid had the effect of setting the market. If it wasn't a fixed bid on Drop, it would have been a proxy; and the end price may never have got anywhere near $1000.

Interesting to note that it only went for another $101 - yet the original bidder wasn't interested in covering their fixed bid for the sake of $100 odd?

And it was won by Netfleet for exactly the same price as Drop - $1101. Very strange.
 

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sirrobin

Regular Member
it does seem a bit odd. all this bidding frenzy on drop between 7.16 and 7.57 pm.
and a price in excess of netfleet's bin
 

Ashman

Top Contributor
Seems the winner of buildinginspection.com.au for $1001 on Drop today was Roland Bleyer the Director of DTrade. So the question remains...What are you up to Roland? Isn't he buddies with the Directors at Netfleet?
 

Ashman

Top Contributor
Is what is happening here kind of like Shill Bidding? I'm not really sure... Anyway here is a general definition of shill bidding. Maybe it applies or maybe it doesn't in this instance.

Shill Bidding is the illegal act of FRAUD when dummy bidders collude with sellers to drive up the price. A shill bidder follows a certain strategy in order to be most effective for the seller. Unlike a normal bidder, a shill's goal is to drive up the price but ultimately lose an auction.

The bidding history of an auction can be analysed to determine whether a bidder exhibits this type of behaviour. The difference between a genuine bidder and a stooge may be reflected in their relationship with auctioned items, or particular sellers.

Shill bidders may also have a pattern of high bids with no wins, or of minimum outbidding. Timing of bids and their geographical location, usually near the seller, are also factors.
 

neddy

Top Contributor
If I had one domaining wish for this new year, it would be that we get back to healthy competition between the drop platforms.

By healthy, I mean the way it used to be - open and transparent bidding practices combined with fierce but fair competition.

If this current nonsense continues; and complaints start to increase, then it could well be that changes are brought about by the regulator. Seriously.
 

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