RateMyCop.com Acquisition Failed Thanks to DropCatch.com Scams?

Blast Zone No. 3284 - 1 Comment
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RateMyCop.com should have been acquired by CopBlaster.com this week. Unfortunately DropCatch.com has so many hurdles in place that anyone looking to bid that is not already a member has no reasonable chance of bidding on any domain name that they wish to bid on. We found this out when noticing that RateMyCop.com was being auctioned off and that there was less than 24 hours left in the auction. This was nothing any reasonable person would have panicked over but we would have panicked had we known that DropCatch requires anyone looking to participate in their auctions to undergo a rigorous verification process that is impossible to complete in time for most people to participate in auctions that they notice for the first time on DropCatch.

When CopBlaster.com tried to bid on RateMyCop.com we had to create a NameBright account. That was easy and should have been all we had to do to then sign into DropCatch and place a bid. Unfortunately after signing into DropCatch we could not place a bid because it said that verification was required. We then added a credit card number even though we were going to use an online service to pay for domain. That was not enough. They asked the owner of CopBlaster.com to send them a copy of his photo identification and after he submitted that, the page said that verification could take up to 72 hours. Then with less than an hour to go in the auction the founder of CopBlaster.com found an email from DropCatch asking him to then provide a photo of himself holding the ID card.

CopBlaster.com responded by saying that their request was "fucking bullshit" because due to monitoring restrictions imposed by the district court in his case, the owner of CopBlaster.com cannot own a mobile phone at this time and therefore it is completely unreasonable to ask him to take a selfie. This is a completely unreasonable request that assumes the person looking to bid on the site has a mobile phone or a web cam. First, nobody in their right mind owns a web cam for security reasons. Second, not everyone owns or needs a mobile phone and it is not reasonable to expect someone to acquire one just to take a picture of him or herself to send to DropCatch.

We have no idea if that would have been sufficient. Remember that DropCatch had given notice of a 72 hour timeline to complete verification and the selfie request came in an email and was not listed on the site as a verification requirement. They probably would have asked for something more like a video of him holding the ID card at the bank that issued credit card followed by an interview with the bank manager vouching for the identity of the cardholder and a signed statement from someone at the bank's corporate headquarters vouching for the manager. Then they probably would have asked for a criminal background check, credit check, SAT scores, fingerprints, and finally a CT scan to make sure that the applicant had no brain damage.

Long story short, do not use DropCatch if you are trying to auction off a domain. There are many better places to host domain auctions where interested buyers can actually bid on the domain. Whoever owned RateMyCop.com lost money by choosing DropCatch. Any good auctioneer accepts bids from anyone, only asks for payment information if they win the auction, and if for any reason payment is not made, awards the auctioned item to the runner up.

Some might not agree with that last statement. A Google search for DropCatch results is lots of people accusing the site of being involved with fraudulent bidding scams. That might explain the verification process. A process that surely reduces bids but not in a good way as far as we are concerned. If you spoke to someone at DropCatch they would probably say that their verification process has reduced bidding fraud and therefore is better than letting anyone create an account and place a bid. They would then probably explain their selfie request as being something that 99% of their customers could comply with in a short period of time and blame anyone without a mobile phone for not keeping up with the times or acquiring a conviction that prohibits them from keeping up with the times. Still, a picture of a photo ID is good enough for Facebook, so it should be good enough for DropCatch.

This incident was quite damaging for this website. We had already backordered RateMyCop.com through Network Solutions last summer but it was renewed and we did not get it. RMC was a pioneer in police accountability with a publishing service kind of like ours. It still gets organic direct traffic from people that wish it were still online and it gets organic Google traffic from people looking for it. We were even thinking of adding a rating feature to CopBlaster and possibly moving CopBlaster to the RateMyCop.com domain. So much for that idea. We surely lost traffic due to this.

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