I have no way of knowing what really happened with the Snapnames employee bidding scandal, but I do have a theory, and unlike other theories I’ve read, this doesn’t involve any real conspiracies. Maybe this happened, and maybe it didn’t, but at least this is what I hope happened, since the implications would be far less reaching across the Oversee.net brands and the domain industry:
“Halvarez” was a domain auction bidding script that placed bids based on a variety of factors set up by its creator, a Snapnames employee. Since the creator worked for the company, he may have had access to domain data (I really don’t know here just guessing), giving him an advantage when buying domain names, as he could justify paying more than others based on assumed PPC revenues. In addition, perhaps there were revenue goals on the line or future compensation tied to company revenue that would have been directly impacted by a bidder of this magnitude, hence the reason he bid in so many auctions but didn’t win.
The creator of “Halvarez” could have established a company and separate bank accounts and credit cards in the company’s name to look more authentic. “Halvarez” probably always paid Snapnames on time, $xx,xxx (or more) per month, further avoiding suspicion. Because of this, Snapnames looked at this mysterious bidder as one of their top customers, and as a courtesy, the company gave refunds on some names for whatever reason (or maybe they didn’t even know about the refunds). This may sound shady, but if they are like most companies, the top tier of customers get special treatment when they ask, like returns, favorable payment terms, dinners, event invitations, and other benefits for bidding so much.
Since “Halvarez” was so private, Oversee.net executives would never get a hold of him (assuming they tried to meet with this VIP), but the guy paid on time so they left him alone. There has been at least one extremely private individual who was active in our business for a long time, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that nobody knows who “Halvarez” really is. In addition, the trusted person who was fired may have told company officials that he had communicated with “Halvarez” in the past, and since the guy was trusted, they took him at his word.
“Halvarez” reached out to iREIT to sell a portfolio of names, and the prices were right for them. Since he was able to score good deals, he could also sell the names at great prices, recouping some of his investment. iREIT paid “Halvarez’s” company, knowing that Snapnames has confirmed that “Halvarez” is a real bidder while not thinking it was any different than any other deal.
I really have no idea if my theory happened, but I am hoping that it is what happened. Things seem so obvious now that this has been revealed, but at the time, there wasn’t much that could have been done. Perhaps someone did do something, and that caused the investigation that revealed the bidding. Only a few people probably know that, and we may find out in time.
I feel badly for the people who lost out on great domain names to “Halvarez,” and I don’t think the rebate offer does anything to compensate them. I think it would be impossible to remunerate them fairly for these potential losses.