7/19/17 7:12 am Michael Posts
I did a little digging myself into the featured seller account mentioned initially. These featured pages seem to all be Oliver Hoger’s:
So I can also check which auctions run through those featured pages were bid on by “seek” which is Oliver’s known NJ alias.
Take a look at this (click for larger):
Auctioned by Oliver, bid on by Oliver above the min back order, and confirmed by WHOIS history to have been owned by him at the time.
So I dug deeper. It turns out for the first featured seller account above, user “seek” bid in 18 of those auctions and was the runner-up in three. For his second featured seller account he bid in 17 auctions and was the runner-up in four. For his third featured seller account he bid in 46 auctions and was the runner up in one. Didn’t win any though, that’s some fancy shilling! I can provide proof of all this if you need more than the above screenshot.
Here’s where it gets REALLY interesting:
IAOR.com | Ended 2016-12-13 & Re-auctioned 2017-01-17
Seek bid in the first auction which is how it got my attention. Picked up from Domain Capital around April 15, 2015. Switches to privacy a few months later as part of a move to eNom (but the NS never changes) and is then auctioned by Oliver. Then a month after the first auction WHOIS switches back to his name, is re-auctioned, and then stays in his name another four months before he sells it to another domainer. The same alias won it both times and it never changed hands.
Auction doesn’t show as cancelled, so this could be an example where he won by accident and ate the commission, and warrants further exploration. Checking “winner8888” this alias has bid in 318 of Oliver’s first featured account (a quarter of all of them!), was the winner in 6 of them, and was the runner up in 17 of them. In fact, all six of Oliver’s auctions that winner8888 won are still owned by Oliver, or were owned by him months after the auction completed successfully before being re-sold:
What are the odds that all six domains won were paid for (we know because it wasn’t cancelled and the user wasn’t banned) but the winner never once updated the WHOIS? I’m not a betting man, but I’d be willing to wager that winner8888 is (one of) Oliver’s shill account(s). So I spot checked a bunch of other domains won by this account, and all that I checked had WHOIS in Oliver’s name. Seems this account belongs to Oliver, unless I’m missing something.
So I checked Oliver’s two other featured auction pages to see what kind of damage winner8888 is doing. This account bid in 286 auctions run by his second featured account, won one, and was the runner-up in 14. And it bid in 217 auctions for his third featured account, won two, and was the runner-up in three.
In total it seems that he has bid in at least 902 of his own auctions from two different aliases, and that’s just the accounts we know about.
Anyway, it’s harder to do this kind of deep dive for the Booth brothers since they don’t have their own auction page, and they likely legitimately bid in many of Oliver’s auctions since all three guys are into short domains. But let’s check.
Bid on by “boothcom”:
6ifd5lvs: Bid on four, won one, runner-up in two.
8fyd9zfl: Bid on 0.
9rev0pcj: Bid on 0.
And for “bqdncom”:
6ifd5lvs: Bid on eight, won two, runner-up in one.
8fyd9zfl: Bid on 0.
9rev0pcj: Bid on one, runner-up in one.
I blew through all my WHOIS history queries for the month (ouch!) but if anyone wants to look into these 13 auctions to see if any were owned by the Booth brothers at the time they were bidding on them shoot me a PM and I’ll get you the list. EDIT: Someone is running this for me now, no need for further assistance. Thanks.
Time for me to be black-balled, lol These views are my own, and I’m not speaking on behalf of any company I work for and the respective company owners are not aware of this post. I have to run out for a few hours so might be slow to reply to any follow-up questions.
Unfortunately I found two more featured auction pages that appear to be Oliver:
So now here are the totals from the two accounts I’m pretty sure are him:
6ifd5lvs – Seek bid on 18, winner8888 bid on 318.
8fyd9zfl – Seek bid on 17, winner8888 bid on 286.
9rev0pcj – Seek bid on 46, winner8888 bid on 217.
2cpd2hzh – Seek bid on 25, winner8888 bid on 261.
7syi4nah – Seek bid on 42, winner8888 bid on 54.
That’s a total of 1,284 auctions that are suspect.
A few hours ago I got an interesting email from someone who wishes to remain anonymous saying that “hkdn” is suspected to be Oliver as well. I can’t find any direct link because the WHOIS is always the same (and fake) when this account wins, at least after spot checking a bunch. But then I noticed something interesting:
6ifd5lvs – HKDN bid on 935, won 84, and was the runner up in 432.
8fyd9zfl – HKDN bid on 1035, won 75, and was the runner up in 403.
9rev0pcj – HKDN bid on 1271, won 64, and was the runner up in 625.
2cpd2hzh – HKDN bid on 841, won 56, and was the runner up in 409.
7syi4nah – HKDN bid on 1115, won 100, and was the runner up in 464.
That in and of itself is not interesting other than the huge volume, 5197 auctions bid on, but where it gets interesting is that 72% of the public auctions this account has ever participated in were Oliver’s. Highly suspicious, but circumstantial.
And there were several examples of domains that were auctioned by Oliver, won by HKDN, WHOIS changed to the fake one, and then changed back to Oliver a couple of months later. Again I’m out of WHOIS history queries so I can’t independently confirm this, but the source seems solid. Plenty of potential explanations for that so still nothing definitive as far as this alias is concerned, but NJ should still look into it.
If that alias is also Oliver, this already-serious problem just got 5x worse. And this account is by far the most aggressive at pushing bidders up.