Time For Transparency

A second open letter to Jonathan Gleeson – General Manager, Netfleet


This is going to be my final article on this matter (unless of course something else major rears its head).

First and foremost, I thank you for responding to my post yesterday – and all the flow on comments. You’ve shown that you have the character to meet the challenges you face head on.

I just hope that you stand up and be counted – regardless of any other pressures brought to bear on you by others (and they must be immense).

You said this in one of your replies:

“I assure you this is a single incident and will not be repeated again in the future”.

That’s terrific – and I genuinely believe you. Whilst this did happen on your watch, I don’t hold you responsible. You are fresh in the position, and there are things that have happened in the past that you are only becoming aware of now.

Your assurances that the future is going to be better are also welcome. But imho, you are never going to be able to convince your core stakeholders (domainers that regularly spend big bucks on your platform) that there is integrity in your system unless you return to a transparent bidding process. Simple as that.

But Netfleet Has A Bigger Problem

Whilst you assure us that what happened on Friday won’t happen again, what I and many other domainers / domain investors are concerned about is what potentially happened in the past.

  • You see, many of us don’t believe this was an isolated incident.

We think this type of telemarketing has been going on for ages. Of course, that is just our considered opinion, and we might be wrong. However there have been so many suspicious “incidents” occur since the introduction of Netfleet’s “blind bidding platform” a couple of years ago.

  • Because you are new in the chair, you can’t possibly attest one way or the other to this.

In simple terms, the “Blind Bidding Platform” was introduced in order to make Netfleet more money. Nothing wrong with that – provided it was (and is) done properly and ethically.

These are the principles behind blind auctions:

  • When bidders  on a particular domain in a particular niche see their bid get beaten, the next time a domain like that comes up, the tendency is to reluctantly bid higher (and more than they may want to). They simply don’t want to lose the domain. The “house” wins.
  • Similarly, if a “market is created” on another platform for various domains i.e. early bidding on Drop – then this brings focus on these domains, and bidders generally cover themselves on Netfleet. When there are some crazily high bids on Drop, this creates panic in bidders so they consequently make much higher bids on Netfleet (more than they wanted to). If Netfleet end up “catching” these, then the “house” wins again.

There have been some “strange” bids on Drop.com.au in the past – followed by some huge disparities on bids on Netfleet. A lot of us have been very suspicious over this – but once again, have never been able to prove anything.

So This Is Where I’m At

  • I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at Netfleet over the years.
  • Since the blind bidding has been introduced, I have lost many domains by minimal amounts (generally to endusers). I don’t have a problem with this provided that they haven’t had a telemarketer in their ear first (like last Friday). If I had of acquired some of these domains, it’s fair to say that (given my business model) I could have / would have made some reasonable profits on their re-sale.
  • I’ve also “won” many domains. But based on what I said earlier, I believe I have also overpaid for many domains based on “fear of loss”.

Given what happened on Friday, I believe I may have a potential claim against Netfleet which could possibly run into many ten thousands of dollars. Others may feel the same.

I won’t debate that on here with Netfleet as it is a private matter between us.

But one thing I will say on here.

I will never bid with Netfleet again until such time as you return to a transparent bidding system.

Good luck to you Jonathan – you have a big challenge ahead.

Sincere best wishes,


21 thoughts on “Time For Transparency

  • September 29, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I too will never bid again on Netfleet until the platform is changed to a transparent bidding system.

  • September 29, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Unfortunately as long as someone still bids, Netfleet will make more money in a sealed bid format than reverting to an open format.

    • September 29, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Agreed Andrew.

      I also just saw your comment on DNT about RSS feeds. Others have raised that issue here too.

      You are so right about this being a “train wreck”. I should have raised that in my article today – some of my bids that I didn’t win were potentially because other parties had access to this feed and could potentially gazump me.

    • September 29, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      I don’t necessarily agree that they will keep making decent money, and the fact they aren’t addressing these issues and just fobbing us all off after what has been revealed, is not something we should take.

      If people like Ned, Greg and other domainers at their level stop using the platform, I think they will see a definite drop in profit.

      This is obviously the moment for people to put their hand up.

      If you don’t put your hand up now, don’t complain later when all the shady stuff is still taking place and you’re being ripped off on their Blind Bidding platform and by their telemarketers selling you out behind your back, as has just been proven.

      I’m sure Anthony is going to love the new workload and will work twice as hard to secure the drops for us all, over at his dropping service. Plus, anyone left winning the drops on Netfleet will probably appreciate being made aware of these allegations, made from this website, and I’m sure many of them will hop on board once they know what has been revealed and are left to make up their own mind.

      If you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to voice your frustration against Netfleet’s actions and platform, now is definitely the time to do it.

      A line has clearly been drawn in the sand. Don’t be scared.

      Are you going to let them get away with this?

      At the very least, you could transfer all your names away from Netfleet, like I did all of yesterday and last night.

      Are you prepared to stand up or just continue to take this sort of behaviour from them?

      It’s your call.

  • September 29, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    A little recap of Netfleet’s shady past:

    April 2013 – Eels.com.au scandal

    March 2013 – Backorder scandal

    July 2013 – Domain Exploit

    Dec 2013 – Strange bids on drop

    July 2014 – Call for declaration of self interest

    Oct 2010 – Publishing Australia selling domains on Netfleet Auctions where they can potentially see the bids

    And there is more. What do people think about this in light of recent revelations?

  • September 29, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Netfleet very quiet today. Who are the directors? Does AUDA know about this crap?

  • September 29, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    @ Jono – I think they’ve gone to ground. 😉

    According to company search, the Directors are:

    Name: PETER FINDLAY (Melb IT)
    Appointment date: 31/03/2014

    Name: BRUCE TONKIN (Melb IT)
    Appointment date: 31/03/2014

    Name: MARK LYE
    Appointment date: 01/05/2015

    Appointment date: 01/05/2015

  • September 29, 2015 at 5:08 pm


    An article was published by iTWire earlier today, but it was pulled down for some reason. Thanks to a loyal reader I have a copy, however given Luke’s comments below, we have decided not to reprint it in the interim.

    • September 29, 2015 at 6:11 pm

      A contact at iTWire has indicated that the Editor has taken down the article until NetFleet and auDA have responded. This comment was also made “The article is off-line but not forgotten” – so we can expect to see the article back online at some point; probably with a response from Netfleet (which I think is fair enough).

    • September 29, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      I can’t wait to read the article again.

      I caught a glimpse of it. It seemed like a well-written article.

      Hopefully it is still reporting the facts and hasn’t been altered too much. I just hope they spell my surname correctly this time.

      It’s two A’s in Kaay 🙂

  • September 29, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    well put ned, there just isn’t any trust, johnathan is “coming from a long way back in a very short race” now, there are ways around it, i happen to know of a domain name that is still registered but will not be renewed because of business closure, so i have contacted them and made them an offer, basically , legally, buying the domain before it goes to drop.

    a least then i know i’m not getting ripped off


    • September 29, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Oh do tell us what the domain is. Let us bid against you with the owner! After all, it’s all about the last 10 seconds of adrenalin pump right? Who cares about the domain itself. That’s where Netfleet lost their way – no adrenaline pump there anymore. 🙂

      • September 30, 2015 at 6:19 am

        I gotta say that most domainers I talk to love the adrenaline pump of a competing auction. And at least it is transparent with a bidding history – Bidder 1; Bidder 2 etc. If NF went back to that, it would solve a lot of issues imo.

  • September 29, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I have to assume poor Jonathan would have been yelled at by the directors and told under no circumstances to communicate on this site again. But that’s just wild speculation. 🙂

    • September 29, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      Certainly looks that way, but this will not be going away.

      They need to stand up and be accountable. Be “men” like the Volkswagen people.

  • October 10, 2015 at 9:54 am

    I have published the post that I pulled down on the 29th September – complete with cached image of “spiked” iTWire story.

    Given that Netfleet acknowledged formally that there was an issue, I’m surprised that iTWire didn’t run with their story.


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