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More Fraudulent Bidding Activity at DropCatch.com

Located in Drop Catchers and Expired Domain Services, started by Arca, Oct 28, 2017

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  1. Michael

    Michael NameBio.com NameBio Staff PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I actually like re-auctions because they are more transparent, awarding to the runner-up means only one person knows the winning bidder didn't pay and it is kind of swept under the rug. I'm a little biased though because it helps with our tracking, when our software sees a re-auction we can easily remove the data from the prior auction.

    A huge issue with the runner-up idea, which GoDaddy had very serious problems with for the better part of a year, is this: scammers create two accounts which they use to run the price up extremely high within minutes to the point nobody else will join in, and then when it gets rolled back the scammer gets a domain that is worth thousands for $69. Replace the one banned account and rinse and repeat. It wouldn't be terribly easy with DropCatch because they have one of the tightest account verification systems in the industry, but with enough family and friends you could scam them out of tens of thousands of dollars before you run out of IDs.

    For what it is worth, because we can easily see when an auction doesn't complete we have a pretty good idea of their non-paying bidder rate. For auctions $100+ it was closer to 1.2% for 2017 which is extremely low, although I don't have an exact number because sometimes I clean them up by hand before our script takes care of them. Flippa, when they were still reporting cancelled auctions to us, was 6-7x that amount at least and sometimes worse. And it's literally impossible to get it to 0% although I applaud them for that goal. Overall I think they do a great job, out of more than 6,000 auctions $100+ this year only around 75 were re-auctioned as far as I can tell.

    It's also a really tricky situation that I'm glad I don't have to deal with... how do you handle a non-paying bidder? Imagine someone bids on your site for years, spends tens of thousands of dollars, and then doesn't pay for one auction? Do you ban them immediately? Seems a little draconian even if you're very serious about preventing fraud. And I don't think it would be necessary to roll back the price of every auction they were a runner-up in since they joined the site, issuing hundreds of refunds, since clearly they were participating in good faith up until the infraction. If one infraction doesn't warrant a ban how many does? Does it depend on how many auctions you won and did pay for? Going down this road opens you up to accusations of turning a blind eye to big spenders for your own benefit.

    Obviously if someone joins, bids in hundreds of auctions, wins a few dozen, and doesn't pay for any of them all in the span of a few days you're going to owe a lot of partial refunds. I would imagine most non-paying bidders are new to the site, but I bet there are plenty of grey-area situations too.

    From what I can tell anecdotally, they tend to batch re-auctions together, which is why the OP might think it is happening more frequently than it actually is having just spotted one of the waves.
     
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  2. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I can understand you like reauctions for tracking, and data purposes, but it's not always about that...when it's your own money on the line, it's a different story.

    If you see which auctions don't complete, why do you list the cannamarket.com, goodfruits.com, amagen.com as competed sales etc... every not paid sale you have listed, as if actually sold at that price, when it didn't complete.

    All the non completed reauctions, have non completed live prices as validated, so you are not removing them, or unable to track them. Which would skew your results.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  3. Michael

    Michael NameBio.com NameBio Staff PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    The re-auction completing is what triggers us to remove the prior one. Our live site isn’t aware of what our scraping servers are seeing until the completed auctions are imported. And we’re only running the reconciliation every few months because the re-auctions are so rare.

    Those domains you mentioned only have one record in our system each, and Amagen hasn’t completed yet for the original to be removed. Not sure what is going on with the other two as far as re-auctions as I haven’t read much of the thread yet, I don’t see more auctions for them currently though.

    But we do remove an original auction when a second completed auction is detected in less than a year at DropCatch, although we only run this cleanup periodically.
     
  4. tonecas

    tonecas Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Apologies if i sounded blunt. you came with a very naive/friendly stance towards this problem and DropCatch's platform and their operators. which is similar to how many of the scams have been address over the years. "I know X and he is an honest guy". then the guy gets caught doing something wrong and there are always people trying to do damage control for their friends.

    I understand now that it was not your intention and you wrote in good faith.

    Yes I have built a business and had to deal with all the ordeal that comes with it. That doesn't led me to be complacent with incompetence or intentional bad actions. Again, I hope that Reberry brothers do the right things and do not try to hide anything.
     
  5. Arca

    Arca Top Contributor VIP

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    Over the last week they have restarted 20+ auctions for names that were caught between Oct 07-22, auctioned, won, and then not paid for. Based on the numbers you have provided, it seems that 25-30% of this years non-paid for auctions took place just over that two week period? That % may be accurate although it seems somwhat high based on how regularly auctions have been restarted throughout the year, and past years - which has given rise to a feeling that fraudulent bidding is frequently taking place - though this observation is anectodal in nature as I have not kept a database of auctions being restarted.

    There is also the 69 to-be-restarted auctions won by wittynut, so in addition to the fraudulent bidding activity covering the two week period above, the fraudulent bidding activity discussed in this thread alone numbers 90. Then there is the auctions that were restarted between Jan-Sept on top of that, minus the two week window, outlined in this thread, that makes it roughly 150 auctions being restarted or set to be restarted this year so far? But regardless of what % this amounts too, I find the number of auctions like this to be much too high.

    And wouldn’t you agree that % of auctions involving fraudulent bidding is going to be higher than the % number of auctions being restarted for the same reason? The worst thing about fraudulent bidders isn't winning against them, it's losing against them. Wittynut knew he wasn’t going to pay, and his bidding was just as fraudulent in auctions where he came in second as those he came in first. Auctions are only deemed fraudulent when the winner doesn’t pay. Similarly, golumeo was obviously a fraudulent bidder that attempted front-running the name (this has been confirmed by g o l u m e o (.) com - he was impersonating them to scare away domain investor, while at the same time trying to sell it to them), but his bidding would not have been deemed fraudulent had he stopped bidding moments earlier and let warlord win the name for $14,000. Had warlord won and paid, golumeo’s account would still have been open, and everyone would just have assumed that g o l u m e o (.) com signed up, tried to bid, but gave up, and the name was won by a domain investor over an end-user. Warlord would have to pay $14K due to this fraudulent bidder if he had won and the auction win would have been considered legitimate. In the restarted auction, the name went for $2K. This $12K discrepancy caused by fraudulent bidding in the first auction would not have come to light if warlord had won against the fraudulent bidder. Many auctions involving fraudulent bidding are not restarted, because legit accounts end up winning them. Do you agree or disagree that the true amount of auctions involving fraudulent bidding constitutes a higher % than the amount of auctions being restarted?

    My impression of this problem has not been particularly affected by spotting a wave of restarted auctions recently. Personally I have found this to be an issue since 2015, to such an extent that it has really deterred my willingness to bid on their platform (especially when bidding against unknown bid handles). I have been surprised and frustrated by the amount of restarted auctions over the past two years, and have tried voicing my concerns about this issue on numerous occasions here on NP in the past.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  6. Arca

    Arca Top Contributor VIP

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    This auction got restarted today due to a non-paying winning bidder on October 21:

    PermanentRecords.com - sold for $904
     
  7. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    So I assume an uneducated front runner thought they would flip this to: https://www.permanentrecordschicago.com/

    Not realizing it is a record and lp store, and most likely would not have the budget, $1K for this is very rich.
     
  8. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Understood, thank you for that, in the case of wittynut, his dozens of unpaid auctions remain in pending payment status. I'm
    not sure who else was, or is given payment extensions, but I would say adding wittynut would skew your percentage by a full point.
     
  9. AbdulBasit.com

    AbdulBasit.com DomainsWeb.com AbdulBasit.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I knew about it and completely agree with you on it. My main purpose of saying was to implement a way to track such behavior as well if there is some regular activity going between 2 bidders every now and then or even with bidders who win the auction regularly by being 2nd bidder (due to winning bidder being fraudulent) which should flag their system to take notice and look into the issue further manually.

    It's difficult to make such changes but there has to be some strict action to be taken since many regular bidders have paid thousands of dollars just due to fake bidders. In the end, it's DropCatch who has made the profit.
     
  10. Arca

    Arca Top Contributor VIP

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    Just a correction as I jumbled the words a bit in my post above: What I meant to say of course is that worst thing about fraudulent bidders isn't losing to them, it's winning against them after they have artificially driven up the price (i.e. in the MyMagazine.com auction, wittynut bid up to $2,855, knowing that he would not have to pay for the domain, and eventually let nameguys win the name at $2,905). Auction activity by fraudulent bidders where they don't win the auction is not considered or accounted for as fraudulent bidding, and this issue is not reflected in various percentages indicating how many auctions are restarted.

    In fraudulent bidding news, this DropCatch auction got restarted today due to a non-paying winning bidder on October 27:

    SendHome.com - sold for $181
     
  11. tonecas

    tonecas Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    that is a very important point. the fraudulent bidding consequences are bigger to clients when they bid up domains but don't win.
     
  12. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Do you happen by chance to have the bidding history for sendhome.com? Looking at these kind of domains I see them selling for $20-$79 in aftermarkets, what kind of people are bidding them to $200, then don't even bother making such a small level payment, these are people who have the same privilege to bid thousands in other auctions also.
     
  13. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    So AIRCGNT or James Park's from South Korea prior username, had a username change to XdaydreamX, and he was one of the most active bidders on dropcatch, and I can see why he is so dearly missed. His username has been reinstated from the blank box to XdaydreamX, so everyone who was wondering who outbid you, it was him I would assume.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  14. tonyk2000

    tonyk2000 Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    This username , ...gcnt, is definitely familiar. I remember it from other plaftorms, and it seems he is an active and paying customer. Never bothered to check his geo or real name though. South Korean bidder that I remember from old times is "fefe" I think, what I really enjoyed is that at some point of time fefe began dropping many good names which he previously (over)paid for. Wondering whether the same will happen with ariaran?

    More likely is that this particular bidder operates on "future profits" mode, constantly delaying payments for current auctions he won on various venues, and paying only when he elects to do so, after a new sale comes in for example. It is not too surprising that he was allowed to delay payments, why not, a big customer that finally pays. And it simply stopped working with current Drop Catch setup...
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  15. Jasonn

    Jasonn Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    he did/does a lot of bidding on snapnames.
     
  16. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/text/2017/d2017-0809.html

    I believe you are correct, often times I followed up on the whois of his purchases, and many times they were unsettled after the payment deadline, so I would assume he got extra time to make payment for his purchases.

    Giving him added incentive to bid more aggressively, and providing an unfair playing field for other bidders who had to stick to their payment schedules, and cashflow budeting. Sometimes it felt he was just pushing bids higher, when you bid enough, you tend to know when you are being pushed, and when someone really wants it.

    I am sure he will be back with a new username, given his wild west bidding patterns, shouldn't be hard to spot
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  17. Arca

    Arca Top Contributor VIP

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    No, they delete the bidding history when an auction is restarted.
    James H Park is ckrgksanrndghk on dropcatch. He is a paying bidder and still active. Can't see any problems with that handle.

    XdaydreamX is semi jung (now banned). A strange thing is that arirangcnt won names used to show the name yunkook jung and the email [email protected]. However, the domains won and paid for by XdaydreamX show the name semi jung and the email [email protected].
     
  18. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Yes, your right I mixed up the names semi jung, and james park. I am curious for the reason of the username change, any ideas why one would request one?
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  19. Arca

    Arca Top Contributor VIP

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    I have discovered one very active bidder who appears to have won numerous domains over the last month and not yet paid for any of them. Domains won by him over the past month are still held by dropcatch, just like the domains won by wittynut. Because dropcatch requires won domains to be paid for within 4 days, this means he has not yet paid for the domains. Once you pay they transfer the domain to your account.

    Why was he able to continue bidding on and winning domains for another month after the first non-payment? Shouldn't his account have been restricted upon the first non-payment? Seems like another wittynut-ish glitch. Will put together a more detailed post about it later today or tomorrow.
     
  20. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    big sale of the day was tapster.com sold for $3,001 to onthefence
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  21. tonyk2000

    tonyk2000 Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    It is very interesting. Last time I checked, my daily task list at dropcatch (pay what I owe as the result of todays drop/auctions and preorder domains for tomorrow) had to be done in this exact order. The system did not allow me to preorder anything if I did not yet pay (*you have unpaid items in a shopping cart* or similar error appeared).

    P.S. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
    - George Orwell, Animal Farm
     
  22. Arca

    Arca Top Contributor VIP

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    It looks like this bidder even won one of the recently restarted auctions. So I guess that domain will be auctioned off a third time. It's turning into a cannamarket.com situation. It's strange that he is still allowed to bid.
     
  23. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Maybe some accounts like xdaydreamx had special conditions which allowed them to bid the next day without clearing their cart first. Maybe Wittynut somehow got tasked into that same exemption. xdaydreamx made dropcatch alot of money, I would say well into 6 figures with their over zealous bidding style, if they were given special considerations for active bidding status, that money came from all other dropcatch bidders. Basically a transfer of wealth at the hands of a bidder with special considerations based on their activity. Maybe he didn't have to win them all, just as long as he kept bidding, and outbidding.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  24. Arca

    Arca Top Contributor VIP

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    There is a very active bidder with the bid handle “wnnrscrs”. It belongs to a domainer with 8000+ domains. It appears that he has not paid for any won domains over the past month. I was not able to locate anypaid for domains earlier than mid September. All names won since September 29 appear to not have been paid for yet.

    Until you pay for a domain at DropCatch WHOIS will say “This domain was caught by DropCatch.com” and “[email protected]”. All names not yet won or paid for have this WHOIS info. That’s what names won by wittynut still say this if you look up WHOIS for those names. And that’s what WHOIS for all names won by “wnnrscrs” over the past month reflect too, a DropCatch holding account. And they forward to a dropcatch page. If he had paid for them, the names would have been promptly moved to his account and WHOIS would have reflected his personal information. Or could there be another reason for this to be happning? Please let me know if there are other valid reasons for DropCatch to be holding your won and paid for domains for more than a month. I have not been able to think of any reason they would do this. I get domains into my namebright account within 60 seconds paying. But that said, I am not completely excluding the possibility that this domainer just likes DropCatch to hold his domains after he has paid for them (though that would be very counterproductive as he can't sell them when he doesn't have them in his account). So based on what I have seen I assume this is another wittynut situation where a bidder has been allowed to continue to bid without paying, but I am also open to the possibility that I am wrong too (and that's why I have left out his name in this post). Please let me know if you find any evidence that indicates that these names are paid for, or if you think these names are not paid for yet.

    Now the strange thing about these seemingly unpaid for auctions is that if I don’t pay for a domain, I can’t do anything at all. I can’t bid on domains, I can’t place backorders, nothing. My account is entirely frozen until I pay. That’s how it should be. But based on the many examples that have come to light so far, this restriction does not affect all bidders. And it does not affect “wnnrscrs” as he is still bidding on domains. Shouldn't he have lost bidding functionality on in September if he didn't pay for a domain then? Letting people continue to bid day after day when they owe money for won auctions doesn't make sense. At least freeze their accounts while you wait for the funds to be added.

    Furthermore, here are DropCatch’s terms and conditions regarding this:

    Failure to make a payment for a successful backorder within 96 hours (4 days) of that backordered domain being registered by DropCatch will result in an immediate termination of your DropCatch account and the domain will be treated as an “Unpaid Backorder" per this Agreement.

    Based on the various examples that have come to light so far, “immediate termination” of a DropCatch account upon non-payment is not applied to all users. If DropCatch followed this part of their terms and conditions, they would have suspended “wnnrscrs” on October 4. Other fraudulent bidders have also kept bidding for longer than 4 days (though if the same rules applied to them as regular users, they would not have been able to keep bidding for a single additional day until they paid). “wnnrscrs” continues to bid on domains. One of the most recent auctions won by “wnnrscrs” is the foodball.com auction (an auction that was restarted due to the prior winner being fraudulet).

    Here are some of the auctions won by “wnnrscrs”:

    foodball.com - Won for $554 on 1 November - Payment deadline: 5 November
    dutchtouch.com - Won for $505 on 26 October - Payment deadline: 30 October
    fairmeadow.com - Won for $125 on 15 October - Payment deadline: 19 October
    hoefs.com - Won for $418 on 06 October - Payment deadline: 10 October
    petitspois.com - Won for $131 on 04 October - Payment deadline: 8 October
    paget.com - Won for $1,355 on 04 October - Payment deadline: 8 October
    aerts.com - Won for $827 on 29 September - payment deadline: 3 October

    Screenshots:
    wnnrscrs 1.png wnnrscrs 2.png wnnrscrs 3.png wnnrscrs 4.png wnnrscrs 5.png wnnrscrs 6.png wnnrscrs 7.png
     
  25. Arca

    Arca Top Contributor VIP

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    These names are still held by DropCatch, indicating that they have not yet been paid for (paid for names are moved to the buyer immediately upon payment):
    WHOIS1.png WHOIS2 .png WHOIS3.png WHOIS4.png WHOIS5.png WHOIS6.png WHOIS7.png
    Please let me know your thoughts on this. Have I misinterpreted a legitimate situation or has this bidder been able to continue bidding on domains for more than a month without paying for them?
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017

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