As many of our customers would be aware there has recently been a significant amount of media attention surrounding an incident that occurred with Netfleets auction system.
A telemarketer in his first week with Netfleet inadvertently accessed limited data on existing bids in our daily expired domain auction. It appears that he used that information as a benchmark to influence a bid from a third party on a single domain.
As the auction system is a blind auction, this inferred knowledge gave an unfair advantage to the third party. This disadvantaged the existing high bidder. We have issued a formal apology to the existing high bidder and are currently in ongoing discussions.
We would like to stress that this is an isolated incident but nevertheless something we take very seriously. Auction data has been reviewed for the week since this particular staff member commenced and aside from this case no other anomalous bidding can be seen. An existing bid has never been used to influence a new bid from a prospective buyer before or since.
Apart from not being in the interests of the existing high bidder, it is clearly not in the interests of Netfleet as it means Netfleet nets less money for catching the domain and has a much greater accounts burden.
We have put in place a simple measure to prevent this from ever happening again, by removing all access to the auction database, as should have always been the case.
We sincerely regret the disadvantage that this caused our existing customer. We would also like to apologise to all Netfleet customers if this has caused any doubt in the integrity of the auction platform and would like to reassure all our valued customers that it was indeed a one-off incident.
As a result of this incident we acknowledge that many customers have re raised concerns of the integrity of the platform. Netfleet has taken the following immediate actions, in a hope that our customers immediate concerns will be removed
– The entity known as Publishing Australia has now been suspended from bidding on our auction platform.
– Netfleet telesales activities in their current form will cease and will be refocused
Additionally we are investigating options to both implement an independent auction scrutineer with the aim of reviewing future auction data should any auction come into question as well as the possibility to have an independent audit of randomly selected data from past auctions to ensure the integrity of the platform.
As a further action in the next few days Netfleet will open a forum for constructive suggestions from our clients with regard to improvements you would like to see in the whole of the Netfleet platform. We will send another communication soon with instructions on how to participate. This forum will be open for several weeks on conclusion we intend to extend an invitation to those clients to participate in a focus group regarding the suggestions put forward.
Once again Netfleet sincerely apologies to any clients affected by this incident we wish to assure our customers this is a single incident that has never before occurred and steps have been taken to insure it will not occur again.
On a more positive note, Initial scoping has been conducted on several new features we should see commence development soon. Including the re-inclusion of client domains in auctions, the ability to adjust bids, the addition of a buyer/seller communication system to help expedite sales, and a simplification of our customer portal.