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11|19|2009 12:42 pm EDT

SnapNames Revises Terms of Rebate Offer

by Frank Michlick in Categories: News

According to an email from Snapnames regarding the “halvarez” scandal that just reached us, the company has amended the terms for accepting their rebate offer, to now only limit future claims regarding auctions on SnapNames that “halvarez” was a bidder in. The email goes on to say that company has no way to return or compensate participants in auctions where “halvarez” was the winning bidder. The note also says “Although it cannot discuss the details of any ongoing legal issues, SnapNames intends to pursue the legal remedies it may have with respect to this matter.”

See the full text of the email after the jump.

I’m contacting you with an update on the situation regarding inappropriate bidding in SnapNames auctions by a former employee.

Update to Rebate Offer Acceptance Agreement

On November 6, 2009, SnapNames (via Rust Consulting) communicated an offer to provide a rebate to customers with accounts impacted by inappropriate bidding activity from one of its former employees.

Included with that communication was a Rebate Offer Acceptance Agreement for customers to complete and return to Rust Consulting, the third-party administrator managing the rebate offer.

Several SnapNames customers expressed concerns about the agreement’s language.  After considering these comments, we concluded that a section of the original agreement, addressing the scope of release of potential claims, could be interpreted as too broad and not what the company intended, and therefore should be clarified.

Accordingly, the revised copy states precisely that the agreement addresses only the SnapNames auctions in which there was bidding activity from the user name “halvarez.”  Please see the marked relevant paragraph below.

Customers who have already communicated their acceptance of the rebate do not need to take further action at this point—their rebates are already being processed for payment.  However, if they prefer the revised language, they can print, sign and return the updated document.  In that event, we will destroy the original acceptance agreement.

Calculation of rebate amounts

As discussed in the November 6 communication from Rust Consulting, to determine the rebate offer amount, SnapNames hired an independent, third-party forensic accounting firm to perform a thorough review of these auctions and calculate the rebate.

The firm reviewed data regarding all of the bidders in an affected auction, including the bids each bidder placed in the auction and the maximum bids the bidders indicated they were willing to place in the auction; from this data, it was determined what the winning bid would have been had halvarez never placed a bid in the auction.  This amount was then subtracted from the actual price paid for the domain name to determine the amount of the rebate for that auction.

Upon further review of this data, SnapNames has learned that for a small number of accounts (less than 5% of the auctions impacted by halvarez), calculations failed to account for changes in our bidding system over time.  In those cases, there will be a resulting upward adjustment of between $1 and $5 per auction.  Affected customers do not need to take any action—they automatically will be paid the higher amount.  If a payment has already been processed, the customer will be issued an additional check for the difference (or credit will be added to the customer’s SnapNames account, according to the customer’s decision).

Bidders and domain names in auctions won by halvarez

Customers and selected bloggers have asked SnapNames to offer compensation to bidders who competed in auctions won by the halvarez user name.

Regrettably, SnapNames does not own these names and cannot unwind the sale of these names or otherwise offer them up for auction again.  SnapNames is not offering any rebate or other compensation to bidders who lost names to halvarez.

Although it cannot discuss the details of any ongoing legal issues, SnapNames intends to pursue the legal remedies it may have with respect to this matter.

Additional options for sending your rebate acceptance

As detailed previously, customers electing to accept the rebate offer can execute and return the Rebate Offer Acceptance Agreement to:

SnapNames Rebate Administrator

P.O. Box 98

Minneapolis, MN  55440-0098

We have made additional options available for returning the agreement.  Customers may:

I, the undersigned, individually and jointly, for myself and my successors, assigns, trustees, partners, joint venturers, directors, officers, affiliates, associates, managers, licensees, and for any other claiming through or under each or all of them and for any person or entity with or for whom I may have purchased the above mentioned names (collectively, the “Releasors”) hereby release and forever discharge, acquit, covenant not to sue and acknowledge complete satisfaction from, SnapNames, and its past and present parent companies (including Oversee.net), affiliates, successors, assigns, agents, attorneys, servants, representatives, employees, independent contractors, trustees, administrators, predecessors-in-interest, insurers, partners, joint venturers, stockholders, members, directors, officers, parent companies, associated companies, holding companies, subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, associates, managers, licensees, accountants and consultants of any of the foregoing (collectively, the “Releasees”) for any and all claims, actions, arbitrations, charges, complaints, grievances, hearings, causes of action, actions, suits, damages, costs, expenses, judgments, liabilities, demands, inquiries, investigations, proceedings or suits of every kind and nature whatsoever, whether known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, previously existing, or now existing, or hereafter arising, in law or in equity (collectively, the “Claims”), which the Releasors or any of them had, may have had, or now has, from the beginning of time to today’s date against the Releasees, collectively, or any of the Releasees, individually, for or by reason of any matter whatsoever relating to the auctions for and acquisition of the Domains, including without limitation, any Claims relating in whole or in part to the bidding activity of the SnapNames user associated with the user name “halvarez” (the “Released Matters”) for damages, restitution, disgorgement, unjust enrichment, civil penalties, statutory penalties, injunctive and/or declaratory relief, whether class, individual, representative, or otherwise in nature, including costs, expenses, penalties, and attorneys fees.

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5 Comments

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"The Dude"

November 20, 2009 @ 4:15 am EDT

Hi Frank and Atom-B,

I am compiling information and opinions on the biggest domain industry scandals for an article. I invite your readers to submit their opinions and stories on my blog for the next week while I gather details. It will be a very revealing article, to say the least. They can also send an email of their thoughts to [ SUCCESSCLICK #at# Gmail . com ]

Thanks guys.

[…] See the article here: SnapNames Revises Terms of Rebate Offer | Domain Name News […]

pitbullstew

November 22, 2009 @ 10:25 am EDT

seems snapnames isnt so special after all huh?
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