During the past year, a few people have mentioned that they received emails from other bidders competing on domain auctions, although primarily involving drop auctions. The competing bidders reached out in an attempt to thwart their bidding, to keep their own acquisition cost down. Judging by the fact that I was told about this, it’s obviously not something that’s appreciated.
There are a number of reasons people reach out, most of which seem to BS. Sometimes it may be to ask the other bidder(s) to stop bidding since it’s a domain name they really want for “personal” reasons. Others may threaten that they are prepared to bid very high, so they may offer their competitor a cut to step aside – or consideration on a future auction. Some may even ask to stop competing and make a joint bid – to be partners in the domain name (a humorous idea considering the situation).
Whether these actions are illegal or just unethical aren’t for me to decide since it probably differs in each jurisdiction and to each person’s values, but there is one thing I can say for certain. It makes some people very uncomfortable to receive emails with requests such as these. Although some recipients may be too polite or politically correct to call someone out in public, it bothered a couple of people enough to mention it to me.
So… if you are involved in an auction, don’t reach out to other bidders. You may think the other guy doesn’t mind or won’t care, but I bet you are probably wrong.