TRAFFIC is out, but auction house still plans to auction domain names.
After TRAFFIC organizers said they wouldn’t let a collection of domains previously registered to John Zuccarini be auctioned at their show, Rick Latona’s auction house has decided to auction the domains on its own, according to a court filing.
The domains are part of a cybersquatting judgment originally won by Office Depot but later transferred to DS Holdings.
The receiver in the case planned to auction the domain names at next month’s TRAFFIC auction run by Latona. But Zuccarini pointed out that TRAFFIC co-founder Howard Neu had once represented him in the lawsuit that led to the domain names being seized and cried foul.
TRAFFIC organizers then said they wanted nothing to do with the domain names. According to the plaintiff’s attorney:
With his multiple threats, Judgment Debtor John Zuccarini has scared Howard Neu and the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference from getting involved in the auction of the domain holdings.
So the receiver amended his plans to drop the TRAFFIC show but still use Latona’s auction house to auction the domain names. The court has just approved this plan.
But this may not be the end of it. Zuccarini continues to warn Latona that he may be sued if he moves forward with the auction. Zuccarini still argues that the domain names were wrongfully seized from him as he says there was no court order to transfer the domains. He just responded to an argument from VeriSign in an ongoing lawsuit claiming the same (pdf).
What’s interesting to me is the sudden urgency of the judgment holder and receiver to auction the domain names. The domains are earning parking revenue, so they aren’t dead weight. (Although the receiver has some big headaches since he forgot to renew some of the domains). In justifying auctioning the domains in October, the receiver argued that TRAFFIC would be the best venue to sell the domains over the next two years. With TRAFFIC out, the plaintiff now is willing to do an auction without the TRAFFIC umbrella. The plaintiff is arguing to the court that Zuccarini will do whatever he can to stall an auction. But it’s still a mystery why there’s a sudden push to auction the domains.