In the past few days I have been receiving more front-running emails for domain names currently in auction.
It was a coincidence (or not so much) that I was already watching a couple of these domains and was already in the auction (or had them backordered). When I got the first email for the first domain I replied to the front-runner and told him to go away and that I was already in the auction. I didn’t research who that idiot was.
That was a Namejet auction for symphonyhall.com. Of course I didn’t bid as much as I would have. The domain went for a quite low price and Namejet lost some money. See below for more on that. See the last bidder id on the screenshot below…
When I received the 2nd front-running email from the same guy for a different domain, advocacy.org, on DropCatch (ending today), I could not just sit there and watch. I did my research (Using DomainTools, Namepros and a few other websites) and found that Steen Hof is behind this front-running.
Steen Hof uses the bidder id MarkMon on Namejet and he is a known front-runner for years now. Namejet knows about him and does nothing. He is even using that MarkMon bidder id to scare people off by pretending to be MarkMonitor Inc. (a brand protection agency).
I did a search in my mailbox and found 5 more emails from this Steen guy about other domains in auction since September.
So let’s see the 2 emails I got in the past week:
We received an offer to buy our domain Symphonyhall.com and wanted to check if you would be interested in making an offer on this domain before it is sold. Please let me know.
+1 (213) 534 6555
We received an offer to buy our domain Advocacy.org and wanted to check if you would be interested in making an offer on this domain before it is sold. Please let me know.
+1 (213) 534 6555
I did some research about mf-media.com and it is owned by level2.com that is Steen Hof’s company.
A raving review on Google by Monte Cahn on Level2 LLC helped me further confirm that Steen Hof is behind all this.
Obviously Sam Ricks is a fake name. This is Steen Hof operating his front-running business.
He has used other domains and aliases in the past like cloud-group.com and Jason Martin.
I found a post about Steen Hof and Level2 on Namepros that is as old as 2016: Faheem ChapNames & Level2 Scam
And this post from 2019: Negotiating with Front runners | Namejet user: markmon
As you can see in these posts Steen Hof and all the other front-runners are doing a disservice to the community as they ruin many potential sales.
They are also might be causing various legal problems. Read some of the comments here: Sold for 6 Figures, UDRP Filed Against DAE.com (Update)
Also, as you can see many people have reported Steen Hof to Namejet and all reports have been ignored. Namejet is a very bad company. Let’s see what Dropcatch will do now.
I will not be bidding on these domains (advocacy.org ends today at Dropcatch) and probably many others. I bid on domains less and less after these incidents so Namejet and Dropcatch are actually losing money because of this in the long run. I have heard of many other domainers that are not bidding at all at Namejet.
I see me and Steen have some mutual friends on Facebook. I wonder what they will say about all this front-running. Probably nothing and that is domaining at its worst.
I will say it once again. If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.
Why does this jerk continue to get a pass, he has been doing this for years, and don’t forget Godaddy, he front runs there hard also. I actually received an email on a domain I bought from godaddy auctions, and I quoted it, and the lady goes well you were asking $1,000 before, and sure enough it was Steen Hof behind the prior email even though he didn’t own the domain, he must have reached out prior, and not heard anything back, and not pursued it.
SHUT HIM DOWN
Symphonyhall.com shows Mike Mann as the registrant. Why would this Steen Hoff guy call it his domain?
And Advocacy.org is clearly in a DropCatch auction.
Mike probably won the auction a few days back. I got the email before the auction ended.
What’s amusing is that he also seeks out trademark owners. I was bidding on an expired and long-dormant name with no real value other than to the client for whom I was picking up, and he wrote them to say “We are about to sell the domain and wanted to check with you”.
What Steen Hof does not seem to understand is that using interstate electronic communications to make false statements for the purpose of making money is a federal crime in the United States.
“What Steen Hof does not seem to understand is that using interstate electronic communications to make false statements for the purpose of making money is a federal crime in the United States.:
Like any laws, they are not enforced, no teeth. This is a very very very minute small fish to fry.
It is not very amusing to the person that wins the auction and then learns about what that dumb person did…
Domainers suffer from a bad reputation partly through public misunderstanding but ALSO due to unscrupulous, unethical fellows who lie to sell.
Front runners hurt our reputation as an industry. They meddle in auctions where we’re bidding in good faith. And the emails they send confuse negotiations with real owners. For all 3 of those reasons, we need to shut them down.
Interesting point. Can you cite the specific law? Honestly, it’s news to me. Figured deceitful profiteering emails were part of the Bill of Rights.
Maybe if more people knew its illegality, the community could deter bad actors by quoting them chapter and verse of the law or even reporting the abuse to authorities.
Incredibly important and eye opening info. I follow one front runner on Twitter just to see the names they’re involved with. Of course any of these names I avoid completely.
Like you mentioned Namejet, Snapnames, Dropcatch and GoDaddy are losing good money for bad by turning a blind eye to this.
18 U.S. Code § 1343. Fraud by wire, radio, or television
Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.
Thanks, John. Useful.
Also commonly known as wire fraud…
I think Steen Hof needs to review Michael Gilmore’s “Life Principles” video:https://youtu.be/b_0ZoA6i-_o
Hopefully, he will learn that life isn’t all about money.
I lost my domain to auction, and he is holding my domain at ransom now. I owned the domain from 1995 until I let it lapse by mistake in 2017. I have an entire history with this loser for years. Give me a call and I can provide details…. TJ aka TomJackson.Com