Is Someone Gaming The “Rank By Bids” Sorting on Flippa Or Is It Pure Chance?

Feb 16 2014

I stand by a simple rule.  If something looks fishy once it could be chance.  If it looks fishy twice it’s very unusual.  If it happens three times in a row it’s time to look into it.  Today on Flippa I noticed the same person had four different domains listed in the top 7 ranked by number of bids.  Not unusual if the domains are some of the best at auction or have been up for auction quite a long time.  Federer also has two of the other 7 but he is probably one of the top,  if not the top, domain sellers on Flippa and has quite a following. These are the four names  (16 days left, 58 bids, $300) (16 days left, 52 bids, $255) (7 days left, 40 bids, $330)  (20 days left, 28 bids, $125)

The seller of the name is King-Flips.  Again, I am not saying that all is not fair in these auctions.  I have no proof that this is not just pure chance.  But look at the similarities.

Bestlaptops has a price of $300 and 58 bidders.  That all but two of the possible bids were $5 dollars increases.  I’ve watched hundreds of thousands of auctions and this isn’t something that happens very often.  Usually there is one person that gets tired of the raises and bumps it up quite a bit more.  In this auction there are only 3 bidders.

FreshJuice has had EVERY bid be a $5 increase.  Also only 3 bidders  Has MORE bids than $5 increments.  Meaning two people placed the same bid amount before the seller could authorize.  But none more than $5 and you guessed it, only three bidders

CurrentPopulation  This one look more legit.  Has 8 bidders and jumps by $10 in a few places. This is easily the best name in the group and in my opinion doesn’t need any “help”

To also support the seller he/she also has in the top 10 with 24 bids at $2000 which equals out to a high increment.  But again, this is a much better name.  Here’s hoping that this is all chance but if I were Flippa I would check the bidders and see the relationships between all the bidders to make sure everything is on the up and up. This domain auction thing is hard enough without extra “marketing” help.  And my apologies to King Flip if I’m wrong.  Take these free views to your auction in return


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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Isaac B

    Definitely some shill bidding going on here to raise the value and traffic to the auction. What happens is after the auction closes money transfers like usual, but the site will not be transferred. I would suggest for proof pinging the domain name now and watching the IP address of the websites. If they don’t change the site never moved to a new owner. Collect a good list of data on the user and then submit it to Flippa for review.

  2. Abdu

    I heard some people being paid $10 to bid on an auction with promises from the domain seller that he/she would not require the shill bidders to get in a sales contract. The whole purposes is to get more bids of course.

  3. Kevin

    Thanks, Shane, for pointing this out. I just today noticed it too and our Trust & Safety Team is already on the case.

    I wholeheartedly agree that it looks suspect, and want everyone to know that we take shill bidding extremely seriously; let me rephrase: we have zero tolerance for it.

    I’ll make it my mission as Domains Manager to expunge these suspicions. We’re also taking steps to curb deadbeat bidders as well. I’m happy to open-up further dialogue, in hopes we can all work together to counteract this behavior.

    Isaac, thanks for your good suggestion, and Abdu – please forward me (or Shane) more info or evidence if you have any.

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