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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

SnapNames Shill Bidding Scandal Leads to Another Class Action Lawsuit Against Oversee.net

The insider shill bidding scandal at SnapNames.com has resulted in a second class action lawsuit being filed against SnapName's current owner, Oversee.net. The shill bidding activity 

allegedly conducted by former SnapNames VP Nelson Brady began a couple of years before Oversee bought SnapNames in 2007 and it was Oversee who discovered it and made it public earlier this month. Even so, as the company left holding the extremely hot SnapNames potato when the scheme was uncovered, Oversee now has to deal with the legal aftermath. 

Though they have extended a restitution offer to those victimized by the shill bidding activity, the offer has not satisfied some customers and they have instituted class actions lawsuits as a result. The first one was filed in Florida on November 9th with the second one (PDF file), as reported by Andrew Allemann this morning, following this past Tuesday (November 18th) in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, California. Both the plaintiff in the California action, Stewart Resmer, and Oversee.net are located in Los Angeles. Resmer is being represented by the law firm of KamberEdelson LLC.

 

Nelson Brady
The former SnapNames VP who allegedly
operated a massive shill-bidding scheme.

After citing a number of laws allegedly violated during the class action period from 2005-2009, the suit closes by asking for unspecified damages and reimbursement of legal expenses and, in what would be an especially big financial blow to Oversee if awarded,  a request that the court "disgorge Defendants of all revenue earned from SnapNames.com Internet domain name auctions during the Class period."

The SnapNames imbroglio won't stop Oversee from proceeding with its 4th annual DOMAINfest Global conference, coming up January 26-28 in Santa Monica, California. On Friday show organizers announced a couple of new contests for this year's show: PITCHfest and LAUNCHfest

PITCHfest aims to uncover new, innovative products or services designed to enhance the value of parked or developed domain names by driving increased traffic and/or revenue. Up to five finalists will present a five-minute summary of their offering to the DOMAINfest audience and a panel of expert judges (you can apply to present here). The DOMAINfest Global 2010 PITCHfest Service Innovator trophy will be awarded for "the idea with the most creativity, viability, originality, and revenue potential." 

The LAUNCHfest contest will reward the most innovative and viable plan for building an online business around one of ten undeveloped, premium domain names that will be made available by Oversee.net. Contestants will select one name, as listed on the contest site, and submit an online application with key business plan elements. Up to five entries will be selected as LAUNCHfest finalists and the finalists will present a five-minute summary of their business plans to the DOMAINfest audience and a panel of expert judges. Judging will be based on creativity, viability, originality, and revenue potential.

The LAUNCHfest winner will have the opportunity to develop their business on the domain, subject to a pre-determined lease arrangement. Oversee.net will waive the first year of the lease payments to help the winner focus his/her cash flow on launching and growing the business. 

The winner has the right to lease the chosen domain name for five years for the annual rate shown on the contest site. At any point during the five-year lease, the winner will be able to purchase the domain name for a pre-determined price. Entries are restricted to U.S. residents, and must be received by January 15, 2010.

(L to R) Michael Castello, Extravaganza owner Alan
Shayne
and David Castello in Santa Monica Friday night.

In some other news from Santa Monica (where DOMAINfest Global will be held) a couple of guys who have a lot of experience in launching successful websites, brothers Michael and David Castello, were in the beautiful oceanfront city Friday night promoting one of their biggest developments - Whisky.com

The Castellos attended the 16th Annual Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.

The Castello Brothers (from Castello Cities Internet Network) may be best known for their geodomain sites like PalmSprings.com, Nashville.com and Acapulco.com, but they also operate sites on several top notch generic domains including Whisky.com and Daycare.com. The Castellos treat each of their sites as a full-blown business and put in the hours necessary to promote their properties and make key contacts in the industries served by their sites. As owners of the category killing Whisky.com website, they have received a warm welcome among whisky producers and aficionados around the world.

Elsewhere, Steve Morales, who operates the geodomain informational websites at SimplyGeo.com and GeoDomainer.com is making potential advertisers an offer they can't refuse. Free ads from now until January 31, 2010.

Morales laid out the no strings attached offer in a post at SimplyGeo.com today. He wrote, "This is a first come, first served promotion." You have until Friday of this week (November 27) to secure your position by sending an email to info @ simplygeo.com. Eight spots are being made available on SimplyGeo.com and ten on GeoDomainer.com. Morales said, "it is the time of year to give thanks and additionally 

Steve Morales
SimplyGeo.com & GeoDomainer.com

Give. So we want to give and say Thank You to our readers and business owners for all the support throughout the years by giving away free advertising."

While some like Morales have gotten into the spirit of giving as this holiday season begins, others feel no shame in taking, stooping to outright theft of property belonging to others. Andrew Rosener of MediaOptions.com reports that someone stole CFJ.com from his registrar account this morning. Rosener wants to alert others in case the thief tries to sell them the stolen asset before he recovers it. Another reader, Nasser Himed, says three domains were taken from his account at another registrar last month (33Z.com, 8RB.com and Ksacam.com) and he is still trying to recover them. 

One final note today, Rick Latona has announced a change of dates for the June 2010 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference that his company will be staging in Vancouver, Canada. Latona, who will produce five of next year's six T.R.A.F.F.I.C. shows, had originally 

announced that the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. event in Vancouver would be held June 15-18. In his latest newsletter, Latona said the dates have been moved up one week and the Vancouver show will now run June 8-10.

(Posted Nov. 23, 2009)

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