I beat Halvarez at Snapnames and all I got was this lousy rebate

We all know the “lousy t-shirt” motto; it applies to almost anything that fails to deliver. In the case of the on-going “halvarez” scandal, it’s a bittersweet reference to an overall failure to proactively identify the fraudulent activity of a former VP of Snapnames.

Yesterday, like many other holders of Snapnames accounts I received an email from Rust Consultingthe forensics and mediation company hired by Snapnames – which contained the detailed breakdown of their findings for my account.

Over the course of 4+ years I bid on and won 49 domains through Snapnames. The bidding alias “halvarez” was a co-bidder in 23 of them. That’s 46% of all the auctions that I won, against the notorious Halvarez. A single auction went for $2,300 after Halvarez – a.k.a. Nelson Brady – tested my bidding limits to that range.

Now, keep in mind that 46% on a sample of 49 domains is not a firm indication of the activity volume  of that individual, who clearly violated the trust of the company he worked for. However, after communicating with a domainer with a larger sample of domains won at Snapnames – 850 – I concluded that Halvarez had a nice little business running in the back room of the Snapnames facility.

That 850-strong auction sample had a 40% participation by Halvarez. This means that in 4 out of 10 domains someone bid on at Snapnames, Mr. Nelson Brady was actively engaging in shill bidding. Considering the sheer number of auctions at Snapnames, the affected auctions are in the tens of thousands.

After perusing the PDF of the rebate breakdown, I could not help but shake my head in disbelief over the domains that Halvarez competed with me over; mostly dictionary generics or domains with established traffic. I recalled the agonizing moments seeing this invisible enemy bid up, the adrenaline rush of hoping that I could beat him.

The only problem was, that Halvarez knew it as well.

Nelson Brady’s little software script or echelon of computerized vultures preyed on domainers, inching its way up to the point that they either made a dramatic bid with a high reserve, or completely pulled out. The one that cost me $2,300 was clearly a domain that had been tagged by Nelson Brady’s homegrown software as “valuable”; indeed, it had traffic, and it was a dictionary .com

How is it possible that Snapnames – eventually taken over by Oversee – could not have known, after all the noise surrounding the “halvarez” moniker never ceased to create frustration among auction bidders?

How is it possible that fellow Snapnames employees publicly described “Halvarez” as a “high-volume” bidder and publicly defended his activity without examining the amount of evidence presented?

How is it possible for Nelson Brady to pull this off acting alone, all while maintaining a full time job as VP of Engineering and as an active member of other corporate boards?

These are questions that deserve solid answers – not just a lousy rebate.

Comments

  1. I remember when we used to bid on more than a hundred domains a day and we knew who all of the big guys were who were bidding against us, except for Halvarez. I remember asking one of the snapnames employees before Oversee purchased them if they knew who 2 different people were, one was vaxis, at we all know who that is now and the other was halvarez. The employee told me who vaxis was, but had no idea who halvarez was. And the person was not Nelson Brady. Hopefully they all didn’t know about it.

  2. Donny, the email exchange published by Denny at http://startseek.com/halvarez.html is a huge eye-opener. Denny hammered down on this individual over the years; Nelson Brady definitely felt that he was untouchable. Hopefully he and anyone else involved in this scam will be prosecuted once Oversee totals the expenses, both financial and otherwise, caused by the “halvarez” scandal. I hope your rebate covered all your monetary losses and that it was in the $xx,xxx+ range.

  3. Do you think that if Shady Brady used a bot it would just use one bidding name for so many years ?

    I doubt it!

  4. Spook – the bidding pattern and volume of halvarez resembles that of a bot. Brady most likely used one alias, simply because it was tied to real accounts and a full alternate identity which managed refunds etc. It would be very difficult to do the same with multiple accounts without standing out, just like “halvarez” did.

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