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SnapNames lawsuit: “halvarez” was chasing $1.5 million bonus

Howard Nelson Brady, the former SnapNames VP and alleged shill-bidder known as “halvarez”, was chasing a $1.5 million performance-related bonus, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday.

SnapNames and its parent, Oversee.net, have sued Brady for $33 million, claiming he used the pseudonym “Hank Alvarez” and his privileged access to SnapNames’ auction platform to artificially inflate the sale prices of auctioned domain names.

According to the complaint, Brady started his alleged shill-bidding in order to boost SnapNames’ revenues and boost his potential “earn-out” from the June 2007 acquisition of SnapNames by Oversee.

“The purchase of the SnapNames business was based almost entirely on projections extrapolated from past revenues of SnapNames, which had been artificially inflated by Defendant Brady’s shill-bidding,” the complaint says.

Oversee further claims that, following the acquisition, Brady set about embezzling money from the company by buying domains using his “halvarez” account and then refunding himself some of the purchase price.

The company alleges he made $175,000 that way, before suspicious activity was noticed on his account.

“Hank Alvarez” had a mail drop, a Paypal account, and sometimes sent emails to Brady, which were then forwarded to other members of staff, the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit is seeking a mountain of cash. Clearly, Oversee and SnapNames are not pulling any punches when it comes to attempting to restore their reputation.

The bulk of the $33 million is made up of punitive damages, but Oversee also wants Brady’s entire salary and other compensation for the period while the alleged activities were taking place.

You can read the complaint in PDF format here.

Comwired buys DNS.com for relaunch

Kevin Murphy, April 26, 2010, Domain Services

Comwired has acquired the domain name DNS.com in order to relaunch as a provider of managed enterprise DNS services.

The company announced this morning that it bought the domain, first registered in 1991 and previously parked, for an undisclosed amount.

The transaction appears to have happened at the end of last month and the site is already live.

With the acquisition, Comwired looks like it’s targeting the market for high-availability DNS resolution currently occupied by the likes of Neustar, Afilias and Dynamic Network Services.

The company was perhaps previously best-known for the geographic traffic-splitting service it offered to domainers and others.

The Whois record for DNS.com still shows a Moniker private registration, which I speculate would not be an exactly comforting sight for would-be enterprise customers.

DNS is sexy? Dyn thinks so

Kevin Murphy, April 8, 2010, Domain Services

Dynamic Network Services has launched a marketing campaign aimed at convincing people that DNS is “sexy”.

The company, which provides managed DNS services as Dyn.com, evidently has its tongue in its cheek, but has plastered the “DNS is Sexy” slogan across its web site anyway.

It has even registered DNSisSexy.com to bounce users to its corporate pages.

There’s a list of ten reasons why this frankly bizarre proposition might be true, including:

7. Standard features like DNSSEC on our Dynect Platform defend you from would be cyber criminals that want to steal your important information online. Bye bye identity theft!

Feeling sexy yet? Me neither.

How about:

9. Recursive DNS like our free Internet Guide, can protect your family and friends from unwanted Web content with customized defense plans.

Feeling sexy now? No?

Still, Go Daddy managed to mainstream domain name registration by incorporating boobs quite heavily in its TV campaigns, and everybody is interested in the ongoing sex.com and .xxx sagas, so it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that Dyn could do the same for managed DNS.

To be honest, I can’t quite visualise it.

Dyn is asking people to tweet their reasons why DNS is “sexy” including the hashtag #dnsissexy. I’ve done mine.

Bizarre domain suggestion tool

Kevin Murphy, March 23, 2010, Domain Services

There are plenty of available domain name suggestion tools out there, but BizNameWiz has to be the strangest I’ve seen.

The press release says it uses a “unique and creative algorithm”.

No kidding. I’ll let these screengrabs speak for themselves. (continue reading)

OpenDNS serves 1% of the internet

Kevin Murphy, March 23, 2010, Domain Services

OpenDNS, the free DNS resolution provider, said today it has 18 million users on its books, meaning it now provides DNS for more than 1% of the world’s internet users.

The percentage is based on the estimate that there are 1.67 billion internet users.

“One percent of all of the world’s Internet users is a momentous achievement and our growth rate indicates that number will climb at an even more rapid pace going forward,” said CEO David Ulevitch.

When OpenDNS launched in 2006, I couldn’t really see the need.

But since then, the company has added services such as URL filtering, which have become popular with the 25,000-odd schools on the company’s customer roster.

Far more useful to domain-buying adults such as me and you is the company’s CacheCheck, which enables you to manually update OpenDNS’s cache of any given domain. Over the years, this has often proven to be an invaluable time saver when meddling with my domains’ DNS records.