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Music.mobi “Winner” Vows Lawsuit Against Sedo

After auction extended, former “winner” feels cheated.

Constantine Giorgio Roussos thought he was the winner of Music.mobi in yesterday’s .mobi auction at Sedo. He bid $66,000. The auction ended and he received an automated invoice from Sedo. He then received a “personal” e-mail from a Sedo employee (which also may have been automated).

But then something happened. Sedo extended the auction due to a server slowdown in the final minutes of the auction.

Instead of extending the auction for five minutes, Sedo extended it for 2 1/2 hours. A notice on the company’s site reads:

We are aware the there are some problems with the .MOBI Auction at this time. Due the down time we were not able to extend the auction before the set closing time. Some bidders may have received emails saying that they have won the auction, however because the system was down the highest bid at the time the system failed are not binding according to our terms and conditions. The auction will be up and running very shortly and will be extended by until 3:30pm EST to ensure all interested parties can place their bids. While this is unfortunate, the good news is that the problems are due to the large number of last minute bidders! This is the first time an auction has brought down our servers due to such a large amount of activity.

Roussos claims that the company’s terms of service aren’t legal. On his mobi.music.us site, he says:

Hello everyone. As you may well have heard I was one of the original winners of the .mobi domains held at SEDO. I won Music.mobi and was confirmed the winner via 2 emails and invoiced, later to find out that SEDO and the MTLD orchestrated an illegal move to maximize their revenues and advertise a second auction. They claimed this was because their servers were slow in the last few minutes of the 7-day auction claiming that they could do this according to their Terms of Service / Conditions. They can claim anything but it does not mean the TOS is legal. (emphasis added)

In an email to Domain Name Wire, Roussos wrote “I am suing personally for music.mobi and doing a class lawsuit too.”

According to a post at NamePros, Roussos is upset that he was outbid by “new” bidders who were not involved in the original auction. However, we all know that most bidders wait until the last minutes of an auction to place their bids.

I certainly understand Roussos’ frustrations. But his challenge that Sedo’s Terms of Service are not legal may be difficult to prove.

On perhaps a more controversial note, the winning bidder for over $1M of the domains in the Sedo auction claims he bought them for resale. The original .mobi auction at Sedo required buyers to create a web site at the domains within 6 months. I’m not sure if later auctions required this. Regardless, this is unwelcome news for .mobi fans — they would have preferred to hear that end users snapped up these domains at astronomical prices.

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  1. J

    Just buy music.mobi from Alvaro while you still have the chance! One or 2 premium .mobis will not break it. The extension is gaining momentum very quickly. If you have a good idea for a site and have the cash, he might just sell it to you if you’re quick. He’ll be getting offers daily from many interested buyers within the music industry, mark my words! What happens if you lose in court? You will have no chance to get the domain and it will most likely go to a mega end user such as Sony…

    I really hope you end up with the name Constantine and that your new Music.us site is a huge success.

    If you do go to court, I hope you win.

    Best of luck to you.

  2. Dale Mooney

    I have had the same experience after recieving confirmation that I was the successful bidder on the two names sportsbetting.mobi and freemusic.mobi. This is terrible business practice shown by sedo. And I will be fighting this too!

  3. Dale Mooney

    I am taking legal action against sedo as well if this is not sorted out! I won 2 names or should I say I thought I did only to wake up the next day to find that the auction had been restarted and someone had out bid me the second time round. This stinks! Heads will roll if this doesnt get sorted asap!

  4. Francesco

    Well… in the summer DotMobi will start its compliance checks on .mobi domains anyway… so regardless of whether it is required by the terms of the auction or not, DotMobi will (should?) revoke your domain if the website is not compliant.

  5. buckdomainer

    Does not matter he agreed to the terms of the sedo auction.. He will not win. That agreement was not written by a dummy.

    If they have downtime or computer mess up sedo is not liable. I hate that, and its not fair but most likly that is the way it will turn out.

    Mobi is on fire and this is just the start look at all the other .mobi selling. Gambling names are going for a mint.

  6. labrocca

    I hope he is successful in his suit. mTLD needs to be put in their place along with Sedo. The complaintant SHOULD have gotten this domain a year ago in RFP. I knew from day one the RFP was a lie. If this gentleman isn’t a candidate for RFP then who is? He was willing to pay $600k. I believe the greed between mTLD and Sedo has created a backroom of corruption that bleeds into the domainer community. There is very little transparency in domaining. There are secrets everywhere. I do not believe the additional bidders are real.

  7. my view

    Quote from SEDO’s TOS:
    ——————–

    “Sedo in no way guarantees or further warrants that the web page on which bids can be placed (“Bidding Page”) during the Auction Period is permanently accessible. If a Bidding Page is not accessible, the Seller may not, in the future refer to a potentially higher bid during this time period as a mechanism for not following through with a sale. Furthermore, a potential bidder may not argue, for the same purposes, that he would have been the highest bidder the Domain up for Auction if the webpage would have been available.”
    ————-

    IMO this paragraph Say’s just about all there is to say. This is a Direct quote from their TOS and this all by itself may very we’ll be what gets “ALL” the domain names transferred to the original high bidders before they decided to re-start the auction over 2 hours later.

    Obviously not good for Mtld’s pocketbook, but the rules are the rules, and in this case it appears they very we’ll may have to let them go at the prices recorded and the confirmation emails sent to the winners before they chose to re-open this “closed” auction as per their own TOS.

  8. what?????

    What???

    “Due the down time we were not able to extend the auction before the set closing time. Some bidders may have received emails saying that they have won the auction, however because the system was down the highest bid at the time the system failed are not binding according to our terms and conditions.”

    1- if the system was down, then how did winning emails magically be sent to the winners?

    2- they said the system went down, not screwed up. why would winning emails be sent out prior to an actual win? how does a system go down, and send out winning emails when an auction is not over?

    the auction ended, he won, they are revoking it.
    this is the ethic make up of the companies we have to deal with. nice.

  9. thekid

    I stopped bidding at Pool because they pulled this stunt. I used to buy over $100,000 a year from them. Then in November of 2005 they told me they were restarting auctions for domains caught on Nov 26 2005.

    I never used them again. They had the same excuse about server probs. So what. If you wait to the last minute to bid that’s your problem. Namewinner used to crash every other day. They didn’t restart the auctions.

    I admit $100k isn’t that much but I used to bid a lot which made them lots of money.

    Never had this prob at Snapnames but I won’t use snapnames now that they are owned by the extremely dishonest oversee.net

  10. Jazz

    I was outbid 1 second before the crash!!! What are you saying ‘thekid’, it’s tough sh1t on end users like me for not getting lucky and winning an auction 7 MINUTES before it was supposed to end???????? Jeez!
    It’s not fair on anyone. Stop being so biased.

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