NameJet User's Frontrunning Email is Bogus | DomainInvesting.com

NameJet User’s Frontrunning Email is Bogus

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I was observing the conclusion of a private auction I had running at NameJet the other day, when I received the following email from what appears to be a throw away email address:

Hello,

I have a web name, <domain redacted>, you may be interested in.

Since you already own <different domain redacted>, I thought you may be interested in owning this one as well.

This is over 10-years old and is comprised of premium seo keywords, which makes it very valuable.

My asking price is $2,888 only.

I intend to sell this soon, and have mailed several parties. If you are interested, please reply back at your earliest convenience.

Thanks,
John

There are three problems I see with this type of bogus email:

1) I own this domain name that was in a private auction, and the person who sent the email did not. Misrepresenting ownership like this is borderline criminal in my opinion.

2) Should someone else have won the auction at a higher price and decided to go out and sell it, he or she may have been hampered by this person’s efforts to sell the domain name at a lower price. Put simply, an end user won’t pay $10,000 for this name if it was offered to him for $2,888 the week prior, even if the original offer wasn’t legit.

3) If the emailer found a buyer who later did not pay, he may not have paid NameJet. In the case of a private auction, the seller and NameJet would lose out.

At the time of the email, the auction was selling for somewhere around $1,000, although the reserve price was not met. I should have agreed to buy the domain name and tried to initiate a transaction at Escrow.com to see who this person is, but I didn’t want to chance ruining my auction with a potential non-paying bidder.

Have you received similar emails to this? What are your thoughts?


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and his company earns revenue from domain names. Elliot is President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Elliot is the publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Read this blog's disclaimer for information about the publisher, comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts.

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Comments (18)

    Vincent Jacques

    I have received two very similiar emails for two different domain names that I own as well! I ignored them both.

    June 14th, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    RaTHeaD

    elliot…

    i like your blog so i’m gonna share with you one of my best tips. everyone who emails you is not your friend.

    hope that helps

    June 14th, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ rathead

    Yep, but I’m going to call it out when someone does something I believe to be illicit that impacts my business.

    Incidentally, this wasn’t the first time I received an email like this, but that other email had no impact on my business so I didn’t write about it. I also thought it might have been a one-off thing, but this time it involved my domain name and it wasn’t a one off lapse in judgment.

    June 14th, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Ron

    I get these emails everyday, this is a company out of India, they use stupid names like John etc, and their whois is non matching. They mainly use gmail addresses.

    This has been going on for a year now, I get emails for my own domain names on a daily basis, has even led to sales when I renew them from the parties they contacted.

    Just an automated spammy script, and the end user just thinks all domainers are losers, as we get batched in with these fools.

    June 14th, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Shane

    The headline comes across like Namejet is doing something wrong. It’s amazing what people will do to get emails and even more amazing what they do once they have them.

    June 14th, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      Elliot Silver

      @ Shane

      Didn’t think about that… I updated the post title to avoid any confusion – thanks.

      June 14th, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Shane

    Thanks Elliot,

    Just watching out for my boy Matt. :)

    June 14th, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Adam

    I bet it’d be fairly easy for Matt to figure out which one of the users it is . . . how many were bidding on the auction ?

    June 15th, 2012 at 3:27 am

    JamesD

    On a similar note, I offered a domain on DNF and had an interested party who after a few PMs back and forth, stated that he liked the name and was going to ‘speak to a few people’.

    I asked who he intended talking to, as until he buys the name he doesn’t have the authority to approach end users…only the owner (me) or his representative has that option.

    Cutting it short, he withdrew his interest in the domain saying he is allowed to speak to whomever he likes.

    I don’t know how he approaches people, nor what his reputation is – IMO you buy a domain on your own judgement and then talk to people about selling it to them.

    June 15th, 2012 at 4:13 am

    Anthony

    What are the rules on Namejet relating to frontrunning, not the gentlemans agreement or what’s socially acceptable, what are the rules?

    June 15th, 2012 at 8:10 am

    JD

    arbitrage is arbitrage!

    June 15th, 2012 at 10:01 am

    JACK H.

    ALL ‘SCAMMERS’ DON’T ALWAYS COME FROM CHECHNYA OR PAKISTAN. SOME OF THEM MAY BE CLOSER THAN WE THINK!!!

    June 15th, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Anthony

    Ok someone just say the name already, this is annoying. :-)

    No one answered my first question.

    June 15th, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ anthony

    Why would there be a rule from NameJet? I am sure there isn’t a rule that says you can’t buy a domain name with money that was obtained from the sale of illegal narcotics, but it’s against the law to purchase things with illegal drug sale proceeds.

    The overarching thing is that trying to sell a domain name you don’t own without permission from the owner is not legal. I can’t go and try to sell my neighbor’s apartment without permission hoping that I can find a buyer willing to pay more for it than I can pay to make a profit.

    June 15th, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Adam

    you’re wrong elliot

    June 15th, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Joseph Peterson

    I agree that this practice is frustrating and should be diminished, if possible. But how? The person or persons involved have a monetary incentive and may not feel obligated to desist even if they were personally contacted and the rationale explained to them. Even if they were banned from bidding, they might circumvent the ban. But with billions of people on the planet, the incentive will cause others to take their place.

    How can this practice be de-incentivized?

    June 15th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Anthony

    Elliot,

    Your answer built up a straw man argument, something is either legal or illegal talking about drug dealing has no relevance to this.

    Also this practice of front-running is either allowed or not allowed on namejet and if it is I can only assume that the people who are engaged in the practice are contributing significant amounts of money to namejets coffers because they would have pulled out of enough deals where their buyers have renaged for namejet to know what’s going on.

    I have seen a lot of names on namejet with no bids but then someone makes the fatal error of putting a bid in giving others enough time to go through the list of what’s been backordered and the next thing you know there are 40 people on it, a handful who most can’t compete against. The reason I say this is because that’s something that annoys me but it’s perfectly legal and namejet wouldn’t change it so you can’t see what’s been backordered, where people would have to do their own work, because it would cost them money ultimately, so I accept it and move on.

    By the way I have never engaged in this activity, up until a couple of months ago I thought it was wrong on many levels but quite frankly it’s funny that if someone was to be found to be front-running they would be a pariah and yet some people who blatantly violate trademarks are industry voices. No one gives a damn until it’s their bread coming off the table, not really how an industry gains any credibility.

    This isn’t a dig at you Elliot, from what I have seen you’re a straight shooter, this is just to point out there is hypocrisy on this subject and ethical standards of behaviour when the practices of others are over looked.

    June 15th, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ Anthony

    I appreciate your commentary, but the bottom line is that someone tried to sell a domain name that I own without my permission. He had no right to try and sell my domain name to anyone, especially because he hadn’t even won the auction.

    There might be some leeway if he was the winning bidder, but the auction ended without meeting reserve, so there was no winning bidder.

    There is a difference between something being against NameJet TOS, illegal, and unethical. They are all different things, and the first two are pretty much set in stone while the last is a judgment call.

    I don’t think this is a matter of ethics. There are plenty of things that are in an ethical grey area, but this isn’t strictly unethical.

    June 15th, 2012 at 7:26 pm

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