NameSilo

Freemarket is spamming Flippa's failures

Located in Warnings and Alerts started by Joseph Green, Mar 25, 2015.

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  1. Joseph Green

    Joseph Green Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Freemarket.com is sending spam to members of Flippa.com who have failed to sell their domains on Flippa.


    Why do some companies think it's okay to send unsolicited email to the registrant on WHOIS records? It's completely unacceptable and an abuse of the system.

    Please put a stop to this practice immediately. Freemarket has violated CAN-SPAM laws and the WHOIS terms of use:
    Freemarket.com is owned by Freelancer.com so I expect more from a reputable company.

    I receive enough spam as it is from dishonorable companies abusing the WHOIS database. The last thing we need is big companies adding to the problem.

    Warning about Freemarket: View Thread.


    @Stefan Hogan
    @FlippaDomains
     
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
  2. iowadawg

    iowadawg WHO CARES? VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    WOW!~!!
    They are doing just what every domainer does!!!!
    ANd you say it is spam and wrong?
     
  3. tomcarl

    tomcarl Active Member VIP

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    I'm sure with the fraction of time to post this, you could've responded with 3 words "remove from list" and I doubt you'd ever get another single email again.

    With the dozens of emails probably in your spam folder (like mine) for SEO services, website design, etc, you call for the pitchforks on a legitimate company offering to list your domain for sale for free? I'd get more upset about the other valueless [email protected] offers. Can understand your frustration, no one likes spam, but I sold a couple of names on FreeMarket, the offer actually has value imo.
     
  4. Joseph Green

    Joseph Green Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    So you want to endorse this behavior?

    If so, then it wouldn't take long before we had thousands of these emails in our inbox from large companies. Then, we'll have to spend all day replying with "remove me from your list" or clicking "Unsubscribe" links. I don't know about you, but I have better things to do with my time. I rather my inbox not be flooded with unsolicited emails.

    We shouldn't have to unsubscribe from something that we never subscribed to in the first place.
     
  5. tomcarl

    tomcarl Active Member VIP

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    No, but I don't endorse ignorance.

    You talk as if nearly every marketplace doesn't have Brokers that practice sending cold emails and making phone calls, yet you single out just one company (for whatever reason) in your call-to-action rant, meanwhile it's no secret that nearly every professional in this industry makes outbound contacts regarding propositions, acquisitions, etc.

    Right now if you inquire about a broker on any domain marketplace for one of your domains, you don't think any of them are sending emails?

    I support people in my industry and people who contact me regarding domains or offers that may be beneficial to me and are relating to what I do and I don't look for reasons to single-out anyone without giving them the opportunity to refrain from contacting me further.

    But that's just me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  6. Joseph Green

    Joseph Green Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    @tomcarl

    You may not endorse it, but you sure are preaching it.

    I have thousands of domains, and Freemarket is the first notable company to send me unsolicited email. If Flippa, Sedo, Aftermarket, Bido, Afternic, DNX, GoDaddy, or any other well-known domain company spammed me to use their services, I would report them as well.

    But guess what? In all my years in this industry, they never have. Not once.
     
  7. tomcarl

    tomcarl Active Member VIP

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    @Joseph Green

    Preaching? No, simply stating the facts.

    And a member of NP since 2007. You've never sent a single (1) email to anyone regarding any of your thousands of domains in 8 years? And if you haven't - Have you ever hired broker?

    Are you calling all brokers and professionals in this industry who send emails spammers?

    Are you calling every company that has a broker that sends an unsolicited email about a domain an endorser of spam?
     
  8. Joseph Green

    Joseph Green Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    @tomcarl

    There is a big difference between:

    "Hey, I heard you're in the market for a home. I have a beautiful beachfront property that I'd love to show you to see if you're interested."

    And:

    "Hello, we are a real estate company and would like to sell your house. Press 1 to be connected to a live agent, or Press 2 to be removed from our calling list."

    The former is domainers and brokers.

    The latter is Freemarket.
     
  9. N-A

    N-A Account Closed

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    There is a fine line that may have been crossed here.

    However, they are gathering the email addresses by scraping the whois record of the domain name.
    How Freemarket is doing it is abiding by CAN-SPAM, but breaking the policy of ICANN (or whichever agency made it).

    A lot of domainers have found end users by reaching out to the owner of the lesser quality domain names, but in most cases tailoring it to that company and also sending to any other person related to that company which will read their message to buy the domain name in question. Is that mass solicitation as well when adding [email protected] along with the administrator on record? Those are 2 emails sent then. There is no real definition or number for mass, so if 2 emails are sent to a company of 4 people, is that mass solicitation?

    This is one method to sell domains, as seen in many threads, ebooks and blogs. Spoken from the mouths of the best of the best as well.

    A simple fix to this: remove domain contact information from public whois.

    However, some domainers want their info public so that they can be contacted from a buyer, but complain when it's a seller. I on the other hand keep privacy on all domains I can, so I know that when I receive an email, it is coming from scraped info as they're sending it to the @privacy-link.com email. That B2B contact is something in which I can respond to or not. Responding to such breaks the privacy as it comes to my email (I've suggested to @Sevan that there should be a system in place to reply through the same @privacy-link.com email).

    So, the real problem lies with domain owners not enforcing the removal of contact information from the whois record, as you can still receive spam under privacy.

    The line they crossed is mass unsolicited emails, but then again, what constitutes mass? One a day? Ten thousand a day? One hundred thousand a day?

    Other than that, it's been preached by many to contact the person on the whois record as one method of contact. Now, more and more are leaning towards social networks. I have gotten unsolicited messages over Facebook for domain names because they've figured out some are mine (how, I don't know).

    With regards to ccTLD's such as .US, Neustar requires privacy to be lifted. So, I had to comply with them and lift the privacy on those domains.

    So, who is in the right and who is in the wrong? Prominent domainers who taught this method, or people continuing to use it (and teach it)?

    How can Freemarket be in the wrong? I've gotten an unsolicited email from Rookmedia, but that was probably because I agreed to terms of being emailed to the email on another forum. I however took them up on their invitation and joined. Had I not received that email, I wouldn't have known about a parking platform.

    It's not just Freemarket doing this, it's all of us. The buck stops when the laws or policies are modified though (which would anger some as they can't be easily contacted anymore).
     
  10. NameOmnia

    NameOmnia alea iacta est VIP

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    It's an interesting thread.

    My view is, though, that it shouldn't be up to domainers to protect themselves but it should be to market places / sellers / brokers to act " correctly ".

    In the real world I want to be free to choose what bakery I enter , what bread I buy and , if I am happy or not with their muffins it should ONLY be my business, not anyone else's. So I expect not to have bakeries knocking at my door saying " I saw that you didn't like the muffins you bought at bakery ABC why not give us a try? ".

    No one would tolerate this behaviour in real life but it seems that when it's about internet, domains, seo etc people are really quick at labeling things as " well..it's normal..everyone does that..." That's the main reason why this industry is indeed the ruleless messy jungle we deal with every single day.

    If it's " normal " just because ( unfortunately ) many people do that it doesn't mean it's correct and it certainly doesn't mean it should be condoned or endorsed. Just think about the bakery.
     
  11. N-A

    N-A Account Closed

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    What would be interesting to know is, did they send the email to the email on record of example.com or to the email on record for the domain name in the public profile of Flippa?

    In the case of the latter, it may be a problem with Flippa displaying social media information as well as your company URL which has information on its own.

    Additionally, if Freemarket is scraping the auction data, Flippa may want to look into making it non-machine readable, somewhat like what Efty does on their landing pages with their nospam.min.js script that has an addition of algorithm that changes each time. However, This poses an SEO problem for Flippa though as Google may not be able to read this either, so they would be worthless pages to index.
     
  12. jamesosix

    jamesosix Established Member

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    Not really though.
    A general domainer may attempt to contact a specific person regarding a potential sale with a particular name. This being targeted and limited. Freemarket have sent probably thousands of emails to flippa sellers who have failed selling a name on a service, trying to sell their own service. There is a massive difference imo.
     
  13. timestamp

    timestamp Established Member

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    That's targeted and limited. They are contacting domainers who list domains on one marketplace, to try another marketplace. Spot on.

    If you don't want to be contacted by whois email, just put email filters in place. It's that easy.

    But this is a fail on freemarkets side. They need to get winners not losers. By getting winners to list there, they will attract losers too. So simple.
     
  14. jamesosix

    jamesosix Established Member

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    i hardly call sending thousands of emails to thousands of people in one swoop as "limited".

    My point being if I send somebody an email about a domain, its specific to that person. What freemarket have done is basically send the same email to lots of different people with the odd change (such as the domain name in question). Thats not targeted. Thats spamming.
     
  15. N-A

    N-A Account Closed

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    I see in your signature that you sell drone domains. I may own drone domains that I feel you're interested in. If I contact you through NamePros with the list, I am conversation spamming due to NamePros rules.

    However, if I run a whois on your .co.uk name, I may now have an email that I can target to you.

    But wait, this is a .co.uk domain and doesn't include an email address. So is this Verisign's fault for not following the same type of whois data protection provided by Nominet?

    Now, I have to surf over your page and find a good email, with no ado as your contact form is broken. Thus, you've made it much harder (even if your form did work, it may flag me for spam anyway). But, I found a method of contact: your email is public on Facebook.

    Having painstakingly found that information, can I now email you and you not get a little agitated? I'm sure you would, and report it as spam... as we all do, but take this action to find end users too.

    Would you like this email? Probably not. Is it spam? Not at all under CAN-SPAM. Nor did I break the policy of harvesting your email address manually. Did I break policies under European Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications? Maybe, as it's vague and can vary by country. Though, I believe jurisdiction falls under the law of where it was sent from and not the recipient.

    It's just an infinite loop that can't be solved without angering someone, or everyone just has to follow good business ethics, which cannot be defined either as it would just be an opinion as well. Even if the governing body (ICANN) declares that Nominet's way is the way to go so no email can be sent as easily as just scraping the whois database, you can see that a problem still exists: and it's within us.

    It took more work to find your email and bots could be written to do the same, but since it could be all over the place and hidden, it made it harder where a human had to do it.
     
  16. jamesosix

    jamesosix Established Member

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    But the page has a link to flippa. You could contact me there if you was so interested in buying a name from me, even the co.uk ones. All it would take is a simply message to initiate the process. If somebody contacted me wanting to buy a name im selling I wouldnt consider it spam as I am actively looking to sell....

    Likewise, if I was to send a lot of emails all saying the same thing, just changing the name of the receiver, selling my domains, that (IMO) is spamming.

    Likewise, if somebody messaged me on here interested in buying, I wouldnt report that...If somebody contacted me, interested in selling me a domain, then I would agree, that could be considered by some as spam.

    Thanks for the info about the contact form. Ill get it fixed now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  17. N-A

    N-A Account Closed

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    No problem, but re-read my second sentence. I want to sell my drone names to you and now have your email address.

    Would you consider that spam, B2B or tailoring and okay in your opinion?
     
  18. Eric Lyon

    Eric Lyon Member Services, NamePros Super Moderator PRO Gold Account VIP Trusted Contest Holder

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    My personal opinion is that it's more of an "Ethics" issue than anything else. Whilst it's unprofessional and unethical to harvest email addresses from a marketplace for the sole purpose of a targeted email campaign that directly engages customers of said marketplace to intentionally get them to switch marketplaces, it's not technically illegal or breaks any federal laws.

    From what I understand, the domains that didn't sell were actually harvested in a data list and then whois for said domains was filtered and sorted for emails to contact the owners of each related domain.

    Data harvesting / lead generation techniques such as this have been used by Telemarketers trying to convince us to switch our phone service providers for over 2 decades. The email addresses (as others pointed out) are publicly available via whois on most domains, minus ones with privacy settings. Looking more at "Ethics", many would agree that it's ethical to use whois information to contact potential end users, whilst others may still consider it a violation of the CAN-SPAM act.

    We can argue the federal CAN-SPAM act all day which would flag not only this unethical email campaign, but also domain reseller campaigns looking for end users. The CAN-SPAM act blankets all email communication that is unsolicited, plays no favorites, and takes no prisoners.

    Ethical or unethical, that is the real question IMO. :) - I Vote for "Unethical".

    Potential Solution: Scripted Bot / Harvesting protection. Basically a script that can detect harvesters gathering data (In particular: Contact / Domain data) on a site and auto block them. This at least makes it harder to build large lists fast and forces them to manually extract each one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  19. jamesosix

    jamesosix Established Member

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    if it was customised to me, then i wouldnt consider it a problem.

    ie "i see you are selling drone related domains via your link at NP forums"....etc.
     
  20. RU

    RU I'm out of domaining. ~Russel VIP

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    I hate emails from domainers selling crap domains, much more crappy than mine.
     
  21. jamesosix

    jamesosix Established Member

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    I hate large corporations sending me emails when I'm not even on their mailing list.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  22. Asfas1000

    Asfas1000 Active Member VIP

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    I wouldn't mind domainers pitching me better domains than I own, but it's usually a doubly hyphenated .net version of my .com...
     
  23. RU

    RU I'm out of domaining. ~Russel VIP

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    Who are these guys? Please, stop send me spam.

    28254_58a72a3676d5137402821947311b20ba.jpg

    sorry for offtop
     
  24. Nattydomain

    Nattydomain Reuse Domains VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Really this is all so simple. click the check box in your email and hit delete. BOOM problem done. To me I dont care as again I just delete and it is gone. What is so hard? You act like it is something that is permanent or going to cause you some sort of trojan. It wont do either if you just delete!
     
  25. DigitalDeepak.com

    DigitalDeepak.com Established Member

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    I agree with Joseph. This is just spam and a cheap way to do marketing.
     

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