Netfleet Director Stoops To New Low

Bad Behaviour DFCYes, I’m a whistleblower. Just over two weeks ago on the 28th September I wrote an “Open Letter To Netfleet” which outlined some serious allegations. The “comments section” is interesting to read because it contains responses from the new General Manager of Netfleet (Jonathan Gleeson).

To summarise briefly, I alleged that a Netfleet employed telemarketer had used supposedly private information relating to other customers bids to elicit a higher bid from an enduser.

After initial denials, they fessed up with a corporate statement on the 1st October (this had Melbourne IT written all over it imo).

And did I cop it from a certain person shortly thereafter! I received an abusive text from Mark Lye at 6.07am the morning after this statement had been posted on their blog. More on this shortly.

Quick Corporate Summary

For those not aware, Netfleet is now owned by NETALLIANCE PTY LIMITED ACN 134 314 373. This is effectively a joint venture between Melbourne IT (a publicly listed company who bought out NetRegistry); and Mark Lye. There are two Directors from Melbourne IT ( Peter Findlay and Bruce Tonkin); the other two Directors are Mark Lye and Michelle Lye.

Originally, Netfleet was founded by David and Mark Lye, and they used Publishing Australia Pty Ltd as the ownership vehicle. When NetRegistry bought 50% of Netfleet, David Lye “officially and technically” stepped away from being involved with Netfleet, though new General Manager Jonathan Gleeson says he consults to the board. His wife Michelle is a Director. Mark Lye is still a 1/3rd shareholder in Publishing Australia.

Transcript Of Text Messages

2/10/15 at 06:07 – Mark Lye to me:

“I hope you’re ready for the truth Ned. Thank you anyway for trying to fuck my family business. I am relentless . * you can’t quote me on that you piece of family digging shit. My family hurts not that you would ever care”

2/10/15 at 06:38 – me to Mark Lye:

“Excuse me Mark? I simply reported a clear breach of confidentiality from your telemarketer. That was not acceptable, and makes me wonder how long that has been going on?”

2/10/15 at 11:10 – Mark Lye to me:

“You have hurt me and my family Ned and I hope you realise that. You can hide hide behind your agenda but I want you to know that there’s my family your attacking not some conspiracy. I have never dragged out anything like that. It’s hurts Ned shroud it as you like there is nothing that warrants that”

(Spelling mistakes, grammar etc are exactly his)

2/10/15 at 11:15 – me to Mark Lye:

“How have I hurt your family Mark? I presume you read my email this morning? As I said on my blog the other day, I don’t intend pursuing the matter further unless something else rears its ugly head. All I did was expose something that shouldn’t have happened. Fix the problem and let’s move on”.

Those texts from Mark Lye are extremely unprofessional and totally unacceptable to me.

He is a Director of a company that is 50% owned by Melbourne IT (a publicly listed company). To send those texts the day after a formal expression of contrition has been made on their blog diminishes the value of what was said. Imho.

Would Peter Findlay and Bruce Tonkin send texts like that? I don’t think so. Do they condone what Mark Lye said? I hope to hear from them that they don’t.

Other Threats

Over the years, I believe many people have been threatened and intimidated by David and Mark Lye. Most commonly these have been threats of banning people from the Netfleet platform (if you question their modus operandi). I am one of those.

I have been told that David and Mark hold dirt on me, and if I ever cause trouble for them, they will use it. How pathetic is that?

They are both incredibly smart guys with what they created in Netfleet. But given that Netfleet is now owned 50% by a public company, you have to play by the rules. You cannot be both a poacher (domainer) and a gamekeeper (registrar).

I hope and believe that Jonathan Gleeson is the man to bring the necessary corporate governance to Netfleet. But whilst he is still effectively controlled by Mark and David Lye, that is never going to happen imho. Unless Melbourne IT steps in.

Melbourne IT – what say you?

35 thoughts on “Netfleet Director Stoops To New Low

  • October 15, 2015 at 10:21 am
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    Surprised it was Mark that sent the texts and not David. I’m sure they have a dartboard with your face on it.

    • Ned O'Meara
      October 15, 2015 at 1:22 pm
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      Ha ha – would have had to change it a few times by now. 😉

  • October 15, 2015 at 11:21 am
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    Investigation required

  • October 15, 2015 at 12:03 pm
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    Well that was smart sending an abusive text all on record now.

     

  • October 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm
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    Express public criticism of a company action or policy within the domain industry, and the response often seems to be:

     

    (1) Smear the critic as a conspiracy theorist;

    (2) Insinuate that the critic has ulterior motives, an “agenda”, some ax to grind making him “anti-” whatever company is criticized;

    (3) Emphasize how criticism of a company affects somebody, some public face of that company, personally.

     

    All of those tactics deflect attention from the issue being criticized.  All of them were applied to me after I mildly criticized Flippa.  And all of the same ad hominem or diversionary arguments have tumbled out in these text messages from Mark Lye to Ned O’Meara.

     

    Instead of histrionics and excuses, all of this energy could be put into evaluating a problem and fixing it.  I have no prior opinion of Mark Lye whatsoever.  Whatever his objectives and legitimate self interest, with these text messages he has only shot himself in the foot.  Blunders can be apologized for.  Problems at Netfleet can be measured and fixed.

     

    Public discussion of such problems is not an attack on anybody’s family.  The domain community has a lot to learn still about how to handle public criticism fairly, objectively, and constructively.

    • Ned O'Meara
      October 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm
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      You write really well Joseph. Good grasp of the issues.

  • October 15, 2015 at 12:44 pm
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    This is alarming…

    I can can confirm I too have been the recipient of intimidation because of my concerns about David, his telemarketing and his possible knowledge of bid values.

    • Ned O'Meara
      October 15, 2015 at 1:24 pm
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      Thanks for speaking out Jono. I hope more people do – I know there are quite a few out there.

  • October 15, 2015 at 1:35 pm
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    Let’s not forget here it was Greg who was wronged in this particular instance by Netfleet. All Ned did was “report” on what happened using his popular Domainer.com.au blogging site, which happens to be about… Domaining!

    And who else could report on this issue? No other news or blog website understands the technicalities of domain name dropping, so if Ned didn’t report on it, this sort of wrongdoing could just keep happening forever.

    I’m not sure how Ned reporting on a red-handed wrongdoing that directly affects not only the Australian Domaining Community, but every Australian Business who wants to secure a premium domain name for themselves from the drop platforms, has been personally targeted by one of the Directors of Netfleet, as someone out to destroy that particular director’s family business?

    Because I have only been in this business for a year now, I had no idea that sort of person was calling the shots behind the biggest drop platform in Australia. It makes more sense now how I was just fobbed off a year ago when I claimed Netfleet were “double-dipping” on domain names they knew no one was allowed to own. Reselling them, over and over to unsuspecting victims, myself included at that point in time because I didn’t know better yet, taking the money.

    That kind of text message and aggression shown to Ned, from the main person running Netfleet and pulling the strings of the most powerful drop platform in Australia, is very worrying and there is no doubt this needs to be thoroughly investigated.

    I hate to say this, but it looks like Mark Lye is acting like a master dictator of the Australian domain dropping industry, simple as that.

    I also hate to say this to add more fuel to the fire, but if Mark is attacking Ned for exposing a factual red-handed insider-trading moment at Netfleet, that Netfleet have now admitted to – why is Ned being accused as a piece of ……. instead of Mark saying something like – I had no idea this was happening, we will do everything we can to sort this out.

    Instead of thanking Ned for exposing a weakness and wrongdoing in Netfleet, Mark’s text messages insinuate he is very angry that Netfleet has been caught red-handed and then exposed to the public. No remorse shown for the insider-trading event that shafted poor Greg out of his domain name.

    I am still bamboozled that Netfleet is just up and running with business as usual, taking money every day, paying Mark Lye a wage every day, eating toasted sandwiches for lunch and charging credit cards, after all that has been exposed.

    MelbourneIT; especially Peter Findlay and Bruce Tonkin, and Netfleet; especially Jonathon Gleeson and the mystery telemarketer, should all publicly address this situation on THIS FORUM, not in a secret section of the Netfleet website that no one ever visits or knows about (as is currently proven right now on the Netfleet website.)

    This is only going to keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and, quite frankly, this whole situation is ridiculous at this point as it could have been fixed in one week, as was suggested by a lot of people, Ned included.

    What should have happened is; Netfleet should have immediately CLOSED DOWN for a week to prove they were taking this situation seriously. Before admitting to what happened, like they did. I’m sure many people aren’t using the Netfleet Platform at present because of what is going on, and professionals like Ned obviously can’t use the platform with all this going on, which is not fair at all. Domaining businesses are obviously being affected and losing money from domains they can’t acquire, if they feel they can’t use or trust the Netfleet platform…

    I’m not sure how many times I have to say this – THE BLIND BIDDING PLATFORM is not a fair drop bidding platform and needs to be turned into a more transparent platform before Netfleet can ever be trusted again.

    Business as usual for Netfleet, with all this going on?!

    And Netfleet are okay with this?

    What?!

    Crazy.

    • Ned O'Meara
      October 15, 2015 at 2:02 pm
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      @Robert

      You and Joseph write so well. Have to get you both on as “guest bloggers”!

      Let’s not forget one very important fact in this whole unsavoury business. I’m not just a blogger – I have been one of Netfleet’s top three clients over many years. I have spent a good 6 figures with them.

      That is a truckload of money, and therefore gives me every right to question them over what has happened. I believe I (and others) potentially have a claim against them if certain past conduct is proven.

      Don’t shoot the messenger Netfleet. Take what has been said on board, and fix it for everyone’s sake. Reparations where necessary. Surely you want me to spend another 6 figures in the future?

      • October 15, 2015 at 2:57 pm
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        Would love to write an article for domainer.com.au in the future. Perhaps later in the year when my newborn lets me get more sleep!

        Thanks for the compliment. I’ll take that 🙂 Hopefully the experience of writing a few novels (australianauthor.com) in my thirties allows me to make sense when I splash my thoughts out across the great blog you’ve got going here. I sure am passionate!

        I hope Netfleet treat you and this whole saga with the respect it deserves over the next few days.

         

  • October 15, 2015 at 2:46 pm
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    How stupid are people to put comments like that in texts….

    I thought that dumbness went out with Shane Warne.

    This reflects badly on Melbourne IT as you are judged by the company you keep

  • October 15, 2015 at 3:06 pm
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    I’ve spent a good 6 figures with them as well over the years and it’s very sad that none of their team are in here talking about the problem.

    So much for their change in culture.

    And I’m sure like any good company who has any focus on reputation management, they have monitors on their brand so whenever Netfleet or Melbourne IT are mentioned anywhere, alerts would be sent.  They have to know about these posts but choose to ignore them.  It’s a clear case of head in the sand and hope the world goes by.  Not the best way to handle criticism.

    Compare this ‘silence’ to what a real company who cares about their customers looks like.  Here’s an awesome short article written by a customer of Qantas.  Now Qantas has been hit hard by it’s own set of problems in the past, but just take a look at this story.  Any company would be proud to see this kind of response from one of their customers – and how does reading it make you feel about the brand – such a difference when companies actually try to make an effort: http://bondstreetgrp.com/social-media-customer-services-qantas

    Imagine if Netfleet really did become customer focused. Wouldn’t that make an awesome change instead of … silence … ?

    • Ned O'Meara
      October 15, 2015 at 3:19 pm
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      @Rudy

      Again, thanks for a well thought out post. Loved the Qantas story.

      I had a telephone discussion with Jonathan Gleeson early this morning to give him a “heads up” that this story was going to be appearing today.

      He also said to me (and I believe him) that he had been going through outstanding questions posted on Domainer, and intended to respond tomorrow. We have agreed to summarise those questions and answers in a new article.

      That’s a positive step imho.

      Unfortunately, as some wise contributor said, Jonathan got a “hospital pass”. But he’s now leading the team, so he needs to pick himself up, dust himself off, and make a plan to get back into the game.

  • October 15, 2015 at 4:28 pm
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    “Trying to fuck my family business. …..My family hurts not that you would ever care”

    Is he for real? Did he care about Greg’s family and the hurt he caused to them? Doesn’t appear to care about ned or his family let alone worried about the pain caused to the families of others that may have overpaid or been gazumped at NetFleet?

    If a DIRECTOR of an ETHICAL entity like Qantas, Optus, BHP or even Melbourne IT threatened and abused a client (anyone actually) in such a manner, undoubtedly the DIRECTOR would be instantly dismissed / forced to resign and issue a public apology.

    Melbourne IT – what say you?

  • October 15, 2015 at 6:01 pm
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    Where is accountability for a director’s actions? I’m a client of Netregistry and Netfleet. Frankly the conduct brought to light disgusts me. Something needs to be done. Netfleet won’t do it unless forced to. MelbourneIT needs to act.

  • Luke Summers
    October 15, 2015 at 9:18 pm
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    It’s extraordinary behaviour from a company director. Things have to change.

  • October 16, 2015 at 3:45 am
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    Here’s another beautiful “I stuffed up and we’re really sorry” letter that came out just 30 minutes ago from international merchant Clickbank.

    Seriously how can anyone stay angry with a company when they put their hand up and say ‘we stuffed it’.  http://view.sys.clickbank.com/?j=fe6311707666007f7c17&m=fe68157074600d7c7412&ls=fdeb1d7870640c7b75167970&l=fe5a1679756d0c7c7316&s=fe0115707765007c7716797

      • Ned O'Meara
        October 16, 2015 at 6:16 am
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        @Rudy – “Seriously how can anyone stay angry with a company when they put their hand up and say ‘we stuffed it’”.

        Thanks for the link – what a great response by Clickbank. Not only did they acknowledge they did wrong; they they said they “had listened” to their customer base.

  • October 16, 2015 at 10:48 am
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    In 2009 I brought to attention of another “insider trading” incident and instead of dealing with the issue and addressing my concerns, i was instead smeared and abused by Mark Lye.

    INSIDER TRADING 2009: https://www.dntrade.com.au/threads/insider-trading-netfleetgate.10229/page-2#post-76433

    I have also spent 6 figures with NetFleet, yet stopped using their platform about 18 months ago as I have no trust at all in netfleet, its directors and staff, and in April I moved nearly 2,000 domains from them to another registrar.

    I want to know how many domains have been acquired via netfleet using “inside information” by Publishing Australia, Mark & David Lye and any other entities or people related or “technically unrelated” to them.

    I also want to know how much i have overpaid for my domains and how many times i have been gazumped using the NetFleet system.

    DISCLOSURE: I have used NetFleet in the last 18 months to acquire about 10 “must have” domains.

    It’s time for the truth and enough of the lyes.

  • October 17, 2015 at 11:15 am
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    Well Ned
     
    I see that Netfleet has taken up your idea of being more transparent, they have become as transparent as the Submarine races are, Melbourne IT must be so proud of their partners, let’s all see what happens next, now thy don’t even give us the auction prices straight away, mmmmm more of the Submarine races.
     

    • Ned O'Meara
      October 17, 2015 at 11:35 am
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      @Alan

      I will be writing a new article next week regarding their latest changes. And hear I thought they were listening. Obviously not.

      Also going to be listing a whole lot of unanswered questions. I was hoping Jonathan was going to be a breath of fresh air – unfortunately foul air is still prevalent.

      Given that you’re a company director, what did you think of the abusive texts from Mark Lye? Is that in the manual? 😉

      • October 17, 2015 at 11:55 am
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        It’s not in any manual that I have ever seen or read, but neither is a lot of other things that I have seen happen at Netfleet, I’m sure Melbourne It would be taking steps to clear this up as a public company you cannot afford to be associated with actions like this, being a public company is so far removed from being a private company. Kerry Stokes had problems during his transformation from private Ace to public at Channel 7
         

    • October 17, 2015 at 3:24 pm
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      Yes Gladys, I noticed this too.

      In the past week Netfleet have deliberately now made their BLIND PLATFORM even MORE BLIND!

      I can’t even say the word ridiculous anymore when talking about Netfleet’s current actions because they are 10 times more ridiculous than the standard meaning of the word ridiculous. Where Netfleet have headed this past week, they need their own brand-new word made up for what they are doing, as no one word currently exists in the English vocabulary that is adequate enough to explain their c-r-a-z-y actions and rude and disrespectful non-response.

      • Ned O'Meara
        October 17, 2015 at 3:55 pm
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        @Robert – as mentioned, already got a whole new article on the go entitled “Has Netfleet Gone To The Darkside?”.

  • October 17, 2015 at 5:28 pm
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    Ned, there’s no doubt that this kind of behaviour is shcking and inexcusable.

    But I have to ask – why did you wait nearly two weeks before posting these texts?

    • Ned O'Meara
      October 17, 2015 at 6:42 pm
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      @Andrew – the simple answer is that I was weighing up the potential retribution and consequences of posting them. I think you would understand what I mean by that.

      After taking counsel from some sensible friends both here and overseas (in the business); I ultimately decided that nothing had a chance of changing unless I did post them.

      Having said that, nothing will change unless Melbourne IT decides that their brand is being tarnished. That’s the sad reality.

      • October 17, 2015 at 7:03 pm
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        Fair enough Ned.

        I’m still shocked that Mark sent something like this – I would have imagined that it was upsetting to be on the receiving end.

        Joseph P is spot on with his post – this is not how companies should behave this this age of accountability.

        The genie is out of the bottle now and I’m not sure how Mark/Netfleet/Melbourne IT can fix the damage that has been done to the Netfleet brand…

         

  • October 18, 2015 at 8:25 am
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    David Lye rang a client of mine a few months ago trying to sell a dropping domain. Said he was from Netfleet, and told him what he had to bid to get the domain. I got domain for him on Domain Shield. Why is David representing himself as Netfleet? Did he have access to legacy system like the other telemarketer? TOTAL BS.

  • October 19, 2015 at 8:21 am
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    Mark Lye’s conduct is hardly that of a company director. Schoolyard bully perhaps?

  • October 20, 2015 at 7:26 pm
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    I consider Ned to be a friend. As Ned’s friend I was shocked and angered when he told me of the abusive text message he had received from Mark Lye.  I wish I was only writing as a friend, but I am not.

    Late last year, I decided that I would migrate a significant part of my portfolio over to NetRegistry.  Consequently, I now have over 300 domains registered with NetRegistry.

    Like many here, I have also entered bids and secured domains using Netfleet.

    Until recently, Netregistry was to continue get more of my business.  I have now put that on hold.

    The culture of any organisation is set by its leaders. A large company’s morals are reflected by its board.  I agree with many of the observations made above.  Bottom line, as a customer of both NetRegistry and Netfleet, I am very concerned about the issues leading up to Mark Lye’s text messages.

    I find the abuse levelled at Ned disgusting.  While I only do business with those I respect and trust, being Ned’s friend is reason enough for me to take my business elsewhere.

     

Comments are closed.