I just received an email from an Oversee media representative announcing that Snapnames has settled two lawsuits related to the “Halvarez” bidding scandal that sent shockwaves through the domain space a year ago.
It’s good to see that the company is moving on from this mess with some new regulations in place to help prevent a reoccurrence. Hopefully there is more oversight in place to ensure this type of impropriety doesn’t happen again.
One thing in the settlement of the class action litigation I like is that Snapnames “will make annual reports available to SnapNames customers regarding any reports or investigations of inappropriate bidding.” Any time “blind” auctions take place, there’s always the possibility of shill bidding. I think this transparency will be beneficial to bidders.
Press release below:
SnapNames and its parent company, Oversee.net, have reached a preliminary settlement of Resmer vs. SnapNames.com and Oversee.net, a class action filing arising from a former employee’s improper bidding activity on the SnapNames platform. The action was filed in California shortly after SnapNames announced its rebate program for affected customers last November.
Under this settlement:
· Class members (which are United States residents who were extended the rebate offer but have not yet accepted) have been or shortly will be notified of the settlement terms and amounts (which are identical to the amounts affected bidders were offered in the rebate offer we extended last November).
· Though our rebate program officially expires November 4, 2010, the deadline to make a claim as a member of the class is December 17, 2010.
· Unless a class member opts out of the settlement, that member is bound by the settlement terms, which include a release of all further claims against SnapNames and Oversee relating to the “Halvarez” matter.
· SnapNames has created and adopted a formal policy regarding inappropriate bidding activity, and will make annual reports available to SnapNames customers regarding any reports or investigations of inappropriate bidding.
· Unclaimed proceeds from the class settlement will be donated to charitable organizations and industry causes.
Class members can download instructions and a claim form at www.snapsettlement.com.
Separately, we have also resolved our outstanding claim against Nelson Brady, the former employee responsible for this activity. While terms of the settlement are not public and will not be disclosed, Oversee believes the financial penalty is appropriate considering the seriousness of the improper activity.
Statement from Jeff Kupietzky, CEO of Oversee.net
“While this has been an unfortunate situation for SnapNames and its customers and employees, we’re proud of the faith our customers have shown us in the past year. We’re pleased to have these matters settled and are moving on with our business and our focus on serving customers.”
· In October 2009, Oversee discovered an employee, Nelson Brady, using an account under the false name “Hank Alvarez,” engaged in improper bidding activities in domain name auctions on the SnapNames platform.
· Oversee and SnapNames disclosed the situation to its customers and employees in November 2009. Oversee made available to affected customers a cash rebate in the amount of the calculated overpayment, plus 5.22% interest (the highest applicable federal rate during the affected time period).
· Since November 2009, approximately 84% of the aggregate rebate amount has been claimed by impacted parties. Including the class action settlement, SnapNames will have made more than $2 million available to impacted customers.
SnapNames customers who have questions about the rebate offer and/or the class settlement can contact the SnapNames support team:
On the web: http://snapnames.custhelp.com
By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: +1 (866) 690-6279 (toll-free in the U.S.)
+1 (503) 241-8547 (outside the U.S.)