05|13|2008 03:28 pm EDT
Domain Name News received a “press release” today from Thomas Rucker of Madunia GmbH. In the emailed article, he refers to the sunrise auctions of .asia domains as “shady” and “dubious”. Rucker’s claims that the CEO of Pool.com, Richard Schreier, is benefiting from the company’s relationship as auctioneer of the .asia domains.
[Update]: DNN has received a response via our comments from Pool.com’s CEO, Richard Schreier, which we have now quoted below.
Pool.com was contracted by the .asia registry to auction all domain names that received multiple applicants during the .asia landrush period.
Rucker points out that the CEO of the company that auctions these domains likely would have inside information on the top bids placed on these names. Rucker has discovered that Schreier is also the owner of several other companies in Europe which have acquired some of the premium keyword .asia domains including Porn.asia , Dating.asia and Insurance.asia. Rucker has documented his opinions and findings on this matter at the site dotasia-complot.org View the emailed “release” after the jump.
“Dubious auctions with .asia-Topdomains
A few weeks ago the new toplevel domain .asia get started, first with a sunrise period, in which trademark holders could announce their trademark rights.The rules said, that, if there are more than one submitter, the domain has to be auctioned. Also in the following landrush-period: More than one submission, and the domain gets into an auction. The registry dotasia in Hongkong has tasked the canadian company pool.com to be the auctioneer.
But under shady circumstances some camouflaged companies caught many valuable top-domains in these .asia-auctions. And these companies are owned by tycoon Richard Schreier, CEO of this dotasia-auctioneer pool.com.
There is a probable cause that the auctioneer pool.com and its CEO knows and exploits the maximum bids of all competitors. but this and also the fact, that these bidding parties are owned by the CEO of the auctioneer seems to be no problem for the registry dotasia. “
Today this response from Pool.com’s CEO Richard Schreier reached us via our comments:
I would like to provide a response to the false and defamatory statements posted at http://www.dotasia-complot.org by Thomas Reucker and Madunia Modellbau GmbH. It should be noted that we believe the actions taken by Thomas Reucker and Madunia Modellbau GmbH are a retaliation by Reucker/Madunia as a result of their exclusion from certain DotAsia auctions (which Reucker/Madunia itself discloses on the “notes” section of the website). This exclusion was the result of the investigation by Pool.com and the DotAsia Organisation into possible bid rigging (Ref: http://www.dotasia.org/policies/DotAsia-AdvisoryOnAuctionTampering–2008-03-24.pdf), which in Canada is a criminal act punishable by fines and imprisonment. This investigation is proper and warranted. We will resist all efforts to interfere in this investigation or otherwise undermine the integrity of the .ASIA auctions.
In regards to specific allegations made on the website, the following are irrefutable facts.
First, http://www.dotasia-complot.org contains numerous false, misleading and defamatory statements that are intended to harm the reputation and goodwill of Pool.com and Richard Schreier. Richard Schreier nor Pool.com do not have any ownership interest in Drake Domains Corporation, Drake Ventures Limited or Throne Ventures Pty. Ltd. The materials on the Website that state otherwise are factually incorrect and designed to injure Richard Schreier and Pool.com’s business relations with the DotAsia Organisation. Other statements on the Website – for example, that Mr. Schreier is a “cheat” and/or is engaged in fraudulent or improper conduct – are untrue and derogatory and malicious in the extreme. They also accuse Richard Schreier and Pool.com of criminal behavior, a statement that is patently false and highly prejudicial.
Second, it is a matter of record that Drake Ventures did submit bids in the .ASIA sunrise auctions during the Sunrise 2 phase supported by their prior rights. These prior rights were verified by an unbiased third party agent to DotAsia Organization as were all Sunrise 2 submissions. All bids were submitted in strict compliance with conflict-of-interest procedures agreed to by DotAsia Organisation. As a Pool.com customer, Drake Ventures bids were deposited with a third party attorney as a safeguard against even the appearance of impropriety.
Third, it is also a matter of record that bids were placed by Drake Ventures at the start of an auction and no further bidding was made once the pre-established bid had been placed. To act on “inside information” would suggest that bidding continues once competitive bids are known. Auction history records, publicly available to all auction participants, show that Drake Ventures one and only bid for each auction were submitted on the first day of an auction and no further bidding occurred. Indeed, Drake Ventures lost 18 of the 21 domain auctions in which they were a participant. This is hardly an indication that somehow Drake Ventures secured an unfair advantage in auction bidding.
I trust this clarifies and addresses the issues raised by Mr. Reucker. I can assure all .ASIA participants that I and Pool.com are committed to the integrity of .ASIA auctions as we are with all auctions held at Pool.com. Any individual questions or concerns may be addressed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org