On Thursday, Drop.com.au gave possession of their Terrific server connection to someone they have a commercial relationship with, so he could buy Company.com.au for $6.50. This domain had verified bids of $17,777 on Wednesday and $27,777 on Thursday with Drop’s competitor, Netfleet.
Now, we follow up from last night’s story: Funny Business Going On At Drop.com.au
We reached out to Patrick Donaldson, Manager of Afilias Australia (The .AU Domain Database Registry Operator) and he agreed to read this article, consider, and provide feedback.
We have also reached out to auDA and they confirm they are aware of the situation and we are awaiting their feedback.
So, let’s lay out all the facts as they currently stand…
Since July 1st, 2018, Afilias have been given the responsibility of running the .AU Domain Registry Database. The only two drop-catching platforms since that time have been Netfleet and Drop.com.au(.)
In recent months, Domainer has been receiving various complaints about the Drop.com.au platform. We have been studying various drop-catching situations that have caused us to question the reliability and reputation of the Drop.com.au platform.
Unfortunately, on Wednesday, our worst fears came true. We caught Drop.com.au manipulating the drop platform process with a premium domain name. We witnessed “technical trickery” with the domain name Company.com.au that caused our jaws to drop.
We know this, because, we, the Domainer team, were watching.
And I personally know this, because I was the winning bidder on both platforms.
We all know that no one was able to win the domain name that day, because, just like Land.com.au a few weeks ago, something caused Company.com.au NOT to drop.
I will now lay out, in layman’s terms, exactly how Drop.com.au stopped Company.com.au from dropping and the wrong reasoning, in my opinion, behind why they did it.
Anthony Peake from Drop.com.au registered a new domain name DS-UniquePPP.com.au around the 30th April, 2019. If not on this exact date, then at least after Company.com.au first appeared on the drop list.
You will note the above screenshot was taken on Wednesday, in the morning, a few hours before Company.com.au was due to drop.
You will also notice:
- The Registrar for this domain name was: Drop.com.au Pty Ltd
- The Registrant for this domain name was: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Name Servers are set to NS1.COMPANY.COM.AU and NS2.COMPANY.COM.AU
By creating this domain name and setting it’s DNS to point to Company.com.au(,) Anthony independently and deliberately gained complete control over when the domain name would drop, once he had seen the bids placed on his own Drop platform. One would say he became the “master” of the domain name at that moment, on the drop system, with the power to stop it from dropping at will, and allowing it to be able to be dropped another day, by simply changing the nameservers.
There are various reasons one could choose to do this… including “buying time” for all sorts of reasons…
The technical “manipulation” explanation as to how he did this is he pointed the DNS of DS-UniquePPP.com.au at the Company.com.au domain name. By doing that, he made the new DS-UniquePPP.com.au “reliant” on Company.com.au and this told the Afilias Registry database that “there’s a domain name reliant on Company.com.au(,) so “IT CAN’T BE DROPPED TODAY”.
Although you could never do this when AusRegistry was running the Registry Database, in theory, right now that this is public information, we can all go out and do this ourselves!
After we saw, first-hand, that what Anthony had done was systematically and deliberately stop the domain name from dropping, I contacted Anthony to get his story on it.
“Sounds like one of my testing domains…”
.. he said, insinuating he was only “testing” the Afilias system for “bugs”. Yet for some reason, seemed to be doing this often and never telling anyone about it.
But what possible reason could he have been choosing to stop this particularCompany.com.au domain name from dropping?
Well, in this case we find the owner of Company.com.au is Jonathan Horne from DomainProtector.com.au, and his Registrar has been, and continues to be Terrific.com.au Pty Ltd.
Terrific Servers have been controlling and still control the Company.com.au domain name.
If we next look at who owns the Terrific.com.au Pty Ltd business, we see the co-owners are:
- Anthony Peake
- Dina Horne
Drop.com.au appears to have been using, leasing and has a commercial relationship with the Terrific.com.au Pty Ltd servers to catch domain names. I know that I’ve seen that Registrar name pop up every now and then when I’ve caught a domain name in the past through the Drop system.
Even Blind Freddy can see the relationship between Mr Horne and Anthony Peake above.
Domainer believes Anthony deliberately stopped the Company.com.au domain name from dropping yesterday, because Jonathan Horne, Anthony Peake’s colleague, and (some would say) co-owner of Terrific.com.au Pty Ltd, wasn’t going to win his own domain name back. Anthony could see the bids rising on his own Drop.com.au platform.
We believe he did this because of “conflicts of interest” and his own personal commercial relationship with the owner of the domain name Company.com.au, which is Jonathan Horne.
Company Records of Terrific.com.au Pty Ltd show “Dina Horne” owns this business with Anthony Peake – however, as shown on yesterday’s Domainer article; David Warmuz sent a text message explaining that it was actually “Jonathan Horne” who controlled the Terrific Server Connections when he stated:
“Jono took back his Registrar connection and somehow managed to catch the name”.
Anthony and Drop.com.au broke a number of auDA Registrar Policy agreements when he chose to manipulate the premium domain name from dropping. We will be going into all of these shortly, because there are quite a number of them.
Jonathan Horne allowed his domain name to lapse. He was going to lose his domain name yesterday on the drop platform system, but Anthony Peake and Drop.com.au made a decision to stop that from happening.
What they did next, was even more diabolical…
As mentioned above, I, like a lot of people, was bidding to win the domain.
On the Wednesday, when the domain was first dropping, I happened to have the highest bid on Netfleet and I was also the highest bid on the Drop.com.au platform at $25,000 – but on speaking to both Anthony and David Warmuz at Drop.com.au they won’t “deny or approve” that claim.
Because I raised all of the above with Anthony Peake and David Warmuz on Wednesday, I was BANNED from using the Drop.com.au system at that point.
The next day, I was told that auDA and Afilias were “stepping in” and forcing the domain to drop on Thursday.
On Thursday, I again had the highest bid at Netfleet, to win the domain name that day, but miraculously, Drop.com.au won the domain name instead. Or more specifically, the Terrific.com.au Pty Ltd server that Drop controls, won the domain name.
And this is where the story gets even more interesting…
I know FOR A FACT how much Drop.com.au would have had to publicly disclose the domain name going for.
We have evidence that a Drop.com.au client successfully placed a $25,000 bid on the Drop.com.au system on Thursday. But they were not successful in winning, even though the Drop.com.au platform won the domain that day.
This can only mean one thing…
In the past, Anthony Peake has stated any domain name that has had a bid on a domain name, that has not “dropped” for “some reason”… that bid amount will remain and will be carried on to the next day. That is exactly what happened with Land.com.au(.) He carried on the $50k and $100k bids day after day and didn’t “reset” them between days.
On Thursday, Anthony Peake decided to change those rules.
I was banned and my $25,000 bid was cancelled.
All because I tried to buy a domain name on Wednesday that was dropping.
So, someone else was instead allowed to place a $25,000 BID on Thursday, that said EXCELLENT! (we have screenshots and testimony) and they were LOCKED IN to win the domain for $25,000.
So, this means, the only way Jonathan Horne could have won his own domain name back, would have been to bid $50,000 on the Drop.com.au platform on the day it won.
However, David Warmuz, the owner of Drop.com.au sent me a text message moments after the drop process ended on Thursday, miraculously showing Mr Horne winning his own domain name back.
In that text message, David Warmuz wrote:
“Interesting twist to this saga. Jono TOOK BACK his Registrar connection and somehow managed to catch this name”
In my own words, and in my own opinion, I personally translate this into meaning:
“Jono doesn’t have to pay the $50,000, because even though Drop.com.au runs 7 servers and Netfleet runs 8 servers all trying to catch dropping domain names, “somehow“, this morning, I gave Jono Horne full control of the Terrific Registrar service (technically owned by Anthony and Jono’s Wife) when he “took back his Registrar connection” and “somehow” he managed to win the Company.com.au domain name back for himself for the $6.50 registration fee.
I’m sorry, but at this point I have to swear…
What a crock of bullshit.
And this is how you treat your customers? And one of your top, highest-paying customers, after all these years?!
Absolutely discraceful Anthony and David.
I don’t care if I’m banned from Drop.com.au forever, all for simply trying to buy a domain name fairly and squarely off the drop platform system.
I believe Drop.com.au is a corrupt platform from this moment forward, manipulating domain names on the drop platform for their own desired outcomes.
I believe their drop catching license should be revoked and ANY domain names that have been manipulated in this way since July 2018 should be investigated and FULLY REFUNDED and placed BACK ON THE DROPS in the interest of fair play.
This story is only just getting started.
Technically this means that any domain that has not dropped on the day it was due, since 1st July 2018 (when Afilias took over the Registry Database), and has been won by Drop.com.au is now in question. This includes Land.com.au(.)
And with that, let’s flat-out ask that question:
Is this what happened to Land.com.au(,) which is still owned and controlled by Anthony Peake’s Domain Shield according to the WHOIS (screenshot available) after all this time?
Here are the big questions that need answering:
1. Have Drop.com.au done this before with any other domains? One that comes to mind that’s currently affected is Land.com.au(.)
2. Are Afilias aware of what’s been going on? Are they aware there may be potential breaches of their Registry Agreement?
3. Is Jonathan Horne going to pay the $50,000 for the domain name, the only possible bid he could have made on the Drop Platform on either day, or is he going to publicly go along with David Warmuz’s unbelievable story that David gave him back the Terrific Servers on Thursday morning, in the nick of time, and Jonathan caught his own name back a few hours later against all of Netfleet’s and Drop’s 15 servers, for $6.50?
We all await the answers to these questions.
Company.com.au just sold for $6.50 on the drops, according to David Warmuz.