|Founder(s):||Raymond King and Ron Wiener|
SnapNames is an online marketplace for resale of domain names. The company offers a platform for buyers and sellers of domain names to transact business in a secure, transparent environment. The company is located at Portland, Oregon, USA. SnapNames is a 100% subsidiary of Oversee.net, a Los Angeles company that also owns other well-known brands such as DomainSponsor.com, Moniker.com and LowFares.com.
SnapNames was co-founded in 2000 by Raymond King and Ron Wiener . The company is a genesis of an idea that Raymond King, while tracking a domain name which he wanted for himself, and whose registration expiry date was nearing. King wrote a programming script that enabled him to know the moment the domain name expired, so that he could quickly move in and re-register it in his name. His success led him to the founding of SnapNames, with the objective of providing its services to corporate clients who wanted to guard their domain names from accidental deletion from the domain registry. The company later expanded into offering its services to individual buyers who wanted to buy domain names which were being deleted from the registry.
SnapNames was acquired by Oversee.net in the year 2007. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company's then CEO, Mr. Sudhir Bhagwan, continued to operate the company as a standalone business unit until 2008.
The company operates the buying and selling of domain names through online auctions. The company offers three major facilities to its clients:
- Daily auctions: Interested buyers have the facility to visit the site and browse through a daily listing of the registered domain names that are available for sale, and bid for them.
- Monthly Showcase auctions: The site prepares and publishes a list of domain names which in its opinion has good potential.
- Live Auction events: The company organizes and conducts live auctions at various places in the United States, which interested buyers and sellers attend in person. These events also allow online, telephone and proxy bidding. The facility of live streaming video is provided, too.
The company has profit-sharing arrangement with a number of registrars to make names available to the public.
In May 2007, SnapNames filed for and obtained a patent (No 7,472,160 B2) , titled "Domain name management system and method". The patent is filed under the names of Raymond King, Ron Weiner, and Len Bayles. This system makes it possible to identify a registered domain name which has received a threshold level of interest from potential buyers, thus rendering it auctionable.
The "halvarez" Scandal
On 11 April 2009, SnapNames announced that the company has discovered that one of its own employees participated in the auctions conducted by the company under the handle of "halvarez" . The employee was found to be Mr. Nelson Brady, VP (Engineering). According to the company release, Mr. Brady would bid "irrationally high" in the auctions under the "halvarez" handle, leading to a full-blown bidding war amongst bidders for what was otherwise a straightforward backorder transaction. Bids placed by "halvarez" would invariably turn out to be the second-highest after the auction was closed. According to the company release, the activity had been going on since March 2005, before being finally discovered in 2009. About 5% of all auctions conducted by SnapNames were affected because of this.
In order to contain the damage, SnapNames terminated the employment of Mr. Nelson Brady in 2009. The company also offered a rebate - with 5.22% interest (the highest applicable federal rate during the affected time period), to affected customers for the difference between the prices they actually paid and the prices they would have paid, had the employee not bid in the auctions. An independent forensics firm, Rust Consulting, was hired to estimate the refund amount.
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