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.