GoDaddy employee caught bidding on domain name auctions

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Paul Nicks, VP & GM for GoDaddy’s Aftermarket, made a blog post tonight saying that GoDaddy identified an employee who engaged in activities in violation of its policies.

On March 11, a customer contacted GoDaddy with serious allegations against multiple employees. These allegations alluded to employees potentially participating in auctions, shill bidding (coordinating bids to drive prices higher), and providing insider information to clients.

GoDaddy started an investigation into the claims and found that employee created an account not associated with his legal name, and participated in auctions and expiry auctions as a bidder.

GoDaddy claims that the investigation uncovered NO evidence that this employee used any confidential customer information for personal gain, or that he conducted shill-bidding on auctions.

We would sure like to know the name of this GoDaddy employee and of course (since GoDaddy did NOT, according to how I read the post below, rule out that the employee provided insider information to clients) who these clients are and if they have been banned from GoDaddy.

And what happens to the GoDaddy clients that were bidding against this person? Will they get refunded for the money they lost from when the employee was the runner-up in the auction?

Here is the complete post:

Domain name aftermarket trust and transparency update

As a leader in the domain name aftermarket industry, it’s imperative for GoDaddy to run a transparent and clear platform for our customers.

With that in mind, we have some news to share with you. We identified an employee who engaged in activities in violation of our policies and counter to how we’ve conducted business in the domains industry for over 20 years.

On March 11, a GoDaddy customer contacted us with serious allegations against multiple employees. These allegations alluded to employees potentially participating in auctions, shill bidding (coordinating bids to drive prices higher), and providing insider information to clients.

We immediately started an investigation into the claims.

What we found

We started investigating the activities of three employees. We were quickly able to rule out the involvement of one employee. As we investigated and interviewed the other two employees, it became clear that only one party violated our employee Code of Conduct. After a thorough review of the circumstances, we terminated the employment of this employee.

This employee created an account not associated with his legal name, and participated in auctions and expiry auctions as a bidder, which is a conflict of interest and a direct violation of our policy.  To be clear, our investigation uncovered NO evidence that this employee used any confidential customer information for personal gain, or that he conducted shill-bidding on auctions.

While we believe the employee did not have malicious motivations, GoDaddy does not tolerate such violations of our Code of Conduct. Indeed, many provisions of our Code of Conduct are there specifically to protect our platform. We are very clear that no employee may participate in any auction that involves bidding against our customers. Employees are able to purchase buy now and closeout domains.

So what’s next?

We’re taking action and thinking about this in a few different ways:

Employees 

Following this incident, we are training all employees involved in the auctions process about our conflict of interest policy as well using this recent unfortunate situation as an example of what conduct is prohibited.

Customers 

We want to ensure no customers were harmed, and so we are reviewing every auction in which the employee participated.

We are also reviewing platform changes to make things even more transparent.

In closing, we are doing everything we can to provide you with the best and most trusted platform that you’ve come to expect from GoDaddy. While this event is unexpected and unfortunate, we’re going to learn and grow from it. Please reach out to me at Paul@godaddy.com should you have any questions.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He loves domains and building websites. He is online since 1995, learned about html in 1996 and got into domains in 2002. He started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

5 comments

  1. Was this post supposed to be released on April fools day?

  2. This is one of the many VIP perk of benefits for GD employees.

  3. To be honest after all the tricks I have had from GoDaddy I would not be at all surprised if there was an unofficial policy but that would need to be determined.

    It is hardly transparent if they do not name the employee, how else are customers supposed to deternine whether they were affected.

    I think somebidy who has had dealings with them needs to have their Lawyer write and request the real name of the individual, the fake name, access control logs for the account(s) they used at GoDaddy and to this on the basis of LEGAL DISCOVERY, failure to provide the said information will lead to a request for a Judge to compel the production of said disclosure, with legal costs sought.

    I would be asking on exactly what basis have they determined that they feel that there was no case to answer, how do customers know that no evidence was conveniently mislaid.

    Creating an account in a non legal name is a deliberate act to deceive, are GoDaddy customers supposed to believe that this was done for any other purpose?

    They should submit themselves to an independent audit to determine if any evidence has been deleted.

  4. How did this person get this information, if they are using fake accounts, how can you really audit them? Maybe they wanted bigger bonuses, what is the deal here?

    I had a Godaddy Buy Domains offer agent once tell the buyer this person is a domainer, they have lots of domains, which kind of side railed the negotiation, It didn’t close, but buyer came back a few months later, and closed directly. Was not impressed, they should not be giving any information, or indications about clients out.

  5. GoDaddy won’t release the name of the person nor the domains this person bid on. Seems they are more concerned protecting this person’s identify than being transparent to their customers.

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