BidTent’s Owner Allegedly Shill Bidding Against PowerBidders

We have reason to believe that the owner of penny auction, Ian Robinson, may have just been bidding against powerbidders on two auctions tonight under the username “comoestas.”  He may have even won his own auction on December 13th:

Tonight’s auctions: $50 American Express Card and  a $50 Target Gift Card

Also, user apollo13 who just took on boredncrazy, well their e-mail may also not exist:

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 No Such User Here (state 14)..

Also of interest:’s (Smart Bid, INC.) owner’s other corporation, INSIGHT COMPUTING SERVICES INC. the one they are using for PayPal, paypal bidtentThe status of Insight Computing Services, INC. with the California Secretary of State is suspended.

The information displayed here is current as of “DEC 11, 2009” and is updated weekly. It is not a complete or certified record of the Corporation.

Number: C2478031 Date Filed: 12/1/2002 Status: suspended
Jurisdiction: California
Agent for Service of Process
5225 CANYON CREST DR. 71-125

We have now moved to the red flags section in the forum.

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48 comments… add one
  • E-Shopper December 16, 2009, 4:09 am

    I don't play there but I don't understand what you mean by this:

    "Also, user apollo13 who just took on boredncrazy, well their e-mail may also not exist:

    Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:"

    How do you know their bidders email addresses? Does that show up when they bid? I'm confused.

  • Bidder December 16, 2009, 5:15 am

    So because you put up some paypal notice saying they bought bids we're supposed to believe they are "comoestas?" Whatever. You blocked out the amouts which were probably 0's and what's to say they didn't do it to test the system because someone was having issues?

    As for the other persons email address… you can't even get that information unless you are running the site. So unless your Ian Robinson trashing yourself you are full of crap.

    • auctionwatcher December 16, 2009, 8:29 am

      No, I have proof to show that the user comoestas is

  • concerned December 16, 2009, 6:45 am

    I'm the user bringiton on, and HAVE won against boredncrazy and other "heavy bidders". I'm concerned because someone from Penny Auction Watch got my email address, and sent this article directly to my inbox. I've never signed up for anything with them! How would they get my email address?!?!?!?!?! I didn't authorize them to send me anything! It was unauthorized communication. I've won and received my items, and I'm EXTREMELY happy with the site.

    • auctionwatcher December 16, 2009, 8:29 am

      If you look at the last newsletter sent to you by Bidtent, they didn't BCC the contacts that is how I got your e-mail address.

  • Patty December 16, 2009, 8:22 am

    I believe you are right on the money. I just told my husband yesterday that I thought bidtent was a sham site. I have put tons of money in to it and not won. I will see giftcards go for nothing and then when I start bidding those two drive me through the roof. I was so frustrated I had decided I wasnt going on that site anymore. Thank you for the email. I would love updates. Please catch those scammers.

  • Ian December 16, 2009, 8:42 am

    There is no user 'comoestas' in that newsleter. It also begs the question how are you are getting emails since the user apollo18 does not appear in that list either.

    • auctionwatcher December 16, 2009, 8:47 am

      Why didn't you send that e-mail to comoestas and other users? Someone brought this to my attention.

  • Ian December 16, 2009, 8:49 am

    What, the newsletter? They may have not signed up for the newsletter. Some folks get it, some don't.

  • E-Shopper December 16, 2009, 9:15 am

    "No, I have proof to show that the user comoestas is"

    I think you should post that proof because IMO, the rest of the proof seems full of holes.

    I only signed up there to get the free bids but I'm going over there right now to delete my account, don't like the fact that if I didn't uncheck the 'sign up for newsletter' box that other people are farming my email address from your newsletter. I didn't get the email from PAW so maybe I'm not signed up.

  • kimberly December 16, 2009, 11:07 am

    I am a bidder on and have also seen what goes on with other sites. I see tomorrow that "apollo16" is on as the top bidder on the wii system. Is this a shill bidder?

  • dzignr_tastz December 16, 2009, 12:10 pm

    Alright – I'm going to step in here for a moment (as I feel it necessary).

    First – PAW has UNDENIABLE proof of these specific happenings. How do I know this? I've personally seen it. In fact, I've seen it from MANY sites as of late. Rest assured, PAW is not alone in their quest to STOP these scammers.

    Now am I going to tell you what this proof is? Of course not. WHY? Have you ever played poker? You NEVER reveal your ace in the hole before it's time. A lot of people would probably like for that to happen, but unfortunately, it's not going to (until it's too late to matter for those involved).

    That being said, if you want to continue to waste your money at certain sites that have been publicly outed, so be it… but don't say you weren't forewarned. However, this is not about exposing a single site. This is about attempting to STOP the entire shill bidding practice as a whole, throughout the entire community (and prosecuting those that are partaking in it and ripping people off – day, after day, after day). And should that happen, I'm rather sure you'll be one of the people whining that you weren't on the "mailing" list to get restitution. The irony…

    Either way, I'm not going to sit idly by and have certain non-believers attempt to cast a shadow of doubt on this situation (which I can assure you is as REAL as it is widespread), nor on PAW's reputation in the process. Do you honestly think they're doing this to benefit themselves, or for YOU (meaning, the community as a whole)?

  • concerned December 16, 2009, 12:26 pm

    Ok, dzignr_tastz, I am allowed to have my own opinion, and you you're own. I've won numerous things on the site, and not had a single problem. If now isn't the right time to show your proof, then what are you waiting for??? Of course we all want to see it. Wouldn't you??? Since I don't know PAW, how do I know I can trust them??? It's my first penny auction site, and I've had no issues. I'm not worried about you forwarning. Thanks for trying to sound concerned though. And by the way…..I don't whine. The money I put into this auction site was worth it to me. Besides, it's no different from taking my money to a casino and winning or losing. There are cheaters there too! It's all a chance you take.

  • dzignr_tastz December 16, 2009, 1:10 pm

    Fair enough. Have your opinion. I never said you couldn't. But you think because you won an item or two that alone means there's nothing fishy going on? Let me assure you – that's ALWAYS part of the scam at some point. I myself won a few items on a particular shill site as well… but just enough to hook me into being yet another victim. I'm not the topic of discussion, however… and I myself still bid on legitimate sites, and win items often. Not everyone is a wannabe crook, though.

    Anyway – you've been warned (twice now). That being noted – by all means, go bid away your life savings if you want; wherever you want, as much as you want. No one is stopping you, but rather just making a friendly suggestion… as quite honestly, YOU are not who PAW is determined to "prove" anything to at the moment. However, if you have SUCH an issue with someone trying to offer some honest advice in the meantime, it's your funeral…

    That being said (again) – while penny auctions undoubtedly have an element of "chance" involved, rest assured that when the house starts playing God with the rules of the game… you're bound to be the one who loses.

  • rball December 16, 2009, 12:37 pm

    Come on people. Yes, Ian did send a notice out with everyone's email addy and then an apology email came out soon after.

    There are new bidders popping up everyday and not all names are recognizable.

    By the way, dzignr_tastz, weren't you the person who was upset with Bidcactus in a post.

    You were sure going hot and heavy on that site yesterday.

    Take it for what it's worth…bid where you want and you all decide for yourselves if a site is not for you!!

  • dzignr_tastz December 16, 2009, 2:24 pm

    Nice of you to notice, rball. You should've jumped in… 😉

    So what of it? I'm still not too hot on their once a week shipping practices with gift cards (which is nonetheless, still fact)… but then again, I haven't chosen to bid on many gift cards lately for that exact reason. I'm still at my 30 day limit, though (until just now), and have received every item.

    My decision, admittedly… but whether I agree with every little thing they do, at least they're LEGIT and up front about it.

  • Ian December 16, 2009, 1:49 pm

    The newsletter, that is…

  • Ian December 16, 2009, 2:18 pm

    Yesterday, Dec. 15, when the newsletter was sent out and apology was sent out right after. We are sorry about that. When you signed up for the account there is a checkbox for getting a newsletter. We have over 75 members that do not get the newsletter by their choice. ‘Comoestas’ is one of the members not getting a newsletter.

    Apollo13 signed up after the newsletter went out so there is no way he/she couldn’t have gotten it.

    We have contacted comoestas and they will be cancelling their name and will signup as a different name so they can keep their privacy.

  • concerned December 16, 2009, 3:39 pm

    I’m still confused. I noticed the screen shot used is from 12/12/09……not you sent the email (unsolicited) last night, and have a forum going on for bidtent. Is that from you buying bids from them??? Also…..if I look through my email, I don’t see the two emails/users in question, but why would it be fishy if they didn’t want to get the newsletter??? I sign up for a lot of websites and “opt out” from newsletters and all that other stuff. So, am I fishy because I don’t want too many emails???

    Also, if you have proof, you would think you would be willing to post it. If you’re gonna make accusations, you should be willing to share the proof. Isn’t that why you are telling the consumers? To protect them from bad things??? If you’re willing to trash the site, then you should probably post your proof for consumers OR send it directly to the owner and take it up with them.

    EShopper has a point, as well as Ian’s comment…..if the people didn’t sign up for the email, then how do you know their email addresses??? Did they magically contact you, or did you hack their system??? Just wondering how we can trust a site that won’t show people proof they claim they have.

  • E-Shopper December 17, 2009, 4:52 am

    rball – I thought the case against them was weak at first but seeing the response by bidtent told me everything I needed to know – PAW was right on the money once again.

  • Chris December 17, 2009, 10:59 am

    Ace in the hole? What are you saving it for? Personally, if I had information like that about a site, I would post it up ASAP so the people you are trying to "warn" could see for themselves. Why should we trust what you say over what the owners of Bid Tent say?

    If I think someone is doing something illegal or just wrong, and I post it on a website for the world to see, I'd be worried about a lawsuit for libel.

    • auctionwatcher December 18, 2009, 5:34 pm

      Chris: will not file suit because he knows the truth.

  • rsm508619 December 18, 2009, 4:53 pm

    Wow, I just read this, and I'm a bit confused how my sister, boredncrazy, is mixed up in all of this. I can assure you that her email address is VERY real. Someone explain or retract.

  • rsm508619 December 18, 2009, 5:06 pm

    Oh, also….. I bid against Apollo13. I lost. The other day, I looked and was surprised to see (on the closed auctions page) that his name had changed from Apollo13 to 'rightstuff'.

    Look for the last motorolla walkie-talkie auction, I was bidding against Apollo13 who had won it, and now the name is 'rightstuff'. I though it was odd, but stranger things happen…. So, just an FYI

    • auctionwatcher December 18, 2009, 5:16 pm

      Your sister, boredncrazy's e-mail address was not up for question we know she is a real user-. The user we are questioning is comoestas who was bidding against your sister on the auctions that night (their e-mail address was (the owne'rs name is also Ian Robinson…coincidence?)

      Also, Apollo13's email address was not a valid e-mail account. Was only warning people of the red flags and seemingly obvious shill bidding going on. Sorry for the confusion but you may want to re-read the post. Thanks!

    • auctionwatcher December 18, 2009, 5:17 pm

      Your sister, boredncrazy's e-mail address was not up for question we know she is a real user-. The user we are questioning is comoestas who was bidding against your sister on the auctions that night (their e-mail address was (the owne'rs name is also Ian Robinson…coincidence?)

      Also, Apollo13's email address was not a valid e-mail account. Was only warning people of the red flags and seemingly obvious shill bidding going on. Sorry for the confusion but you may want to re-read the post. Thanks!

  • watcher December 18, 2009, 5:08 pm


    Boredncrazy appeared to have been shilled on those auctions by the site ( the user comoestas) Boredncrazy's e-mail address is not in question, but the opposing bidder apollo13's is as it was not an active e-mail address.

  • Chris December 18, 2009, 5:32 pm

    Why don't you tell us how you came across this "ace in the hole". The only thing I can think of is that you or someone you know hacked the site and got the email addresses which weren't a part of the news letter.

    Speaking of coincidences, isn't there someone here involved with PAW who just happens to be opening their own penny auction site?

    • auctionwatcher December 18, 2009, 5:38 pm

      No, that is not true. There is no one involved with PAW that is opening their own penny auction site, unless you mean forum users?

  • Chris December 18, 2009, 5:49 pm

    But we're just supposed to take you on your word for that too…

  • Chris December 18, 2009, 6:05 pm

    Where are you getting these email addresses? You still haven't answered that question.

    It seems to me you have some kind of axe to grind with Bid Tent for some reason.

    You haven't shown any evidence that these addresses are what you say they are.

    I have contacted Bid Tent regarding this and they say that the emails you claim are Ian are not what you are reporting. The easiest way to clear all of this up is to show the information you have and where you got it from. Remove all doubt. I call, show your hand.

  • Chris December 18, 2009, 6:10 pm

    Bottom line, the only way you could have the information you claim to have, is if you hacked into their system. If that's the kind of stuff you do, how can I trust any accusations you make?

    BTW, your article states that Bid Tent is "allegedly" shill bidding. Other sites you have accused you have posted the proof, why not do the same here?

  • Chris December 18, 2009, 7:23 pm

    So, dzignr_tatz, have you won anything from Bid Tent? What's your user name there?

    • auctionwatcher December 19, 2009, 7:04 am

      This was not done by hacking and the proof will not be made known until the proper authorities have been notified.

      Use these penny auction sites at your own risk, if you don't like that I'm trying to warn you to protect your own interests, I have no financial interests in these auction sites other than the fact that I have been scammed out of hundreds of dollars myself and don't like to see others being ripped off, but bid as much as you want on any of these sites don't listen to what I have to say if you don't trust me, Chris and anyone else.

  • Chris December 19, 2009, 8:16 am

    Who are the proper authorities? You posted that you had this info 4 days ago, if you were really looking out for us, why have you not contacted the "proper authorities" and shut the site down.

    You have yet to prove that this is anything but causing problems with penny auction sites that you don't like for whatever reason.

    What did they do? Not advertise on your site or something?

  • dzignr_tastz December 19, 2009, 1:54 pm

    And where did YOU come from? Buddy of Ian's maybe? LOL

    For the record, I have NEVER bid on BidTent. In fact, I had never heard of them before I personally looked at the proof PAW has of the matter in question. Additionally, I have absolutely nothing against them other than the fact that they are playing "games" with their customers. If my having a problem with that is wrong, so be it.

    As for the proof… as has been said before, it is not just against BidTent. We know of a rare instance of Ian personally bidding against his customers. WHy would we waste it on something so insignificant? If you don't believe that, I really don't care. The evidence will come out when (and only when) ALL the evidence is released against the other numerous sites that have pages, upon pages, upon pages of ended auctions… ALL of which real people have wasted their money on and ALL of which shill bidders have won. We're talking hundreds upon hundreds of auctions…

    Anyway – I'm still a little confused as to how your apparent concern is about how we found out versus people are getting their money stolen. That's a little suspicious in itself, IMHO. Regardless, I can assure you his site was not hacked. WHat – PAW just managed to hack into ten plus perfectly secure servers and then figured they'd announce it? Get real. Seems like Ian just can't figure out how he got caught so he sent a henchman to try and make PAW look bad!!

    Let him "file suit". I'll gladly provide MY address – LOL!! He won't go there, though – and if he did, he wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell. Libel (and slander) are a result of false information. There's absolutely NO law against exposing the truth about fraudulent businesses practices.

  • Chris December 19, 2009, 3:08 pm

    So every other time PAW has had proof that another company was scamming it's customers, there was no hesitation to post the proof for all to see.

    I find it interesting that this time you are reserving this "proof" until all this other "evidence" is gathered from other sites. What does that have to do with BidTent? It's not like you can file a class action lawsuit against several companies in one case.

    My concern is regarding what information has been generated to falsely accuse (yes, falsely. I have evidence of this myself) BidTent and it's owner of shill bidding.

    And for everyone who said "why is he asking how, instead of denying it altogether", he is doing both at the same time.

    He has said on numerous occasions that the few bits of "evidence" that has been posted has been incorrect info such as email addresses. The "how" comes in when the "evidence" posted are email addresses that could not have been gathered unless the person was an admin on BidTent. The fact that the email addresses posted are false (as in not the registered email address for the person on BidTent) is just proof that PAW is flat out full of shit.

  • dzignr_tastz December 19, 2009, 5:04 pm

    Well you DEFINITELY sound biased (or better yet, personally involved… be it via BidTent or one of the many other sites currently under scrutiny). So PAW is full of shit, huh? Just like all the other times, right? And just how sure ARE you about that? Just HOW much are you willing to bet, poker man? I mean, seriously. What is the supposed motive if all of this is just a random, false accusation (which OBVIOUSLY wouldn't have been made public without some supporting evidence to back it up, regardless of whether or not is has yet to be revealed)?

    As for other instances of PAW posting proof about other companies, each situation has been different, and no two have been discovered the same. However, THIS particular situation (and evidence) affects MANY sites, and if you just can't get it through your thick skull that PAW isn't about to pull the trump card over a random instance of shill bidding, then keep right on grasping at straws. Either way, if there wasn't a much larger reason to keep the evidence suppressed for the moment, I can assure you it would have been handled just as every other scam exposure was.

    And while YOU say "he" is doing both (like you can speak for him in the first place… unless you ARE him), I've yet to see him do the latter as of yet. He DID try to cover his tracks by changing the email address on the comoestas user account (not that it matters at this point), but that's about it so far.

    Bottom line (as it stands) – let me HIGHLY suggest you don't "call" the bluff unless you're ABSOLUTELY sure it, in fact, is one. That being said, also be careful what you ask for… as you may just get it.

  • Chris December 19, 2009, 5:39 pm

    I am ABSOLUTELY sure. Why don't you show everyone here what you have and how you got it…

  • dzignr_tastz December 19, 2009, 5:54 pm

    I'm SURE you are. But since you are, I guess you really don't need to see non-existent proof of false allegations anyway. You must see the irony… LMAO!!

    But you'd like that, wouldn't you? It's just KILLING you to know how we found out, isn't it? Tell you what. Keep trying. This is amusing…

  • AL December 19, 2009, 5:55 pm

    Hi there, I have stumbled across this forum looking for info about another Penny Auction site that I have been researching for a while and the evidence I have gathered so far has not really come to much at this stage but one thing I have found on the different forums is that there is always someone who blatantly sticks up for a particular site no matter which one it is and seemingly for know real reason. Are they just being argumentative? possible, or are they connected to the web site being discussed? In most cases they have been connected so Chris if you not connected to BidTentin anyway or to any other Penny Auction site what are you fighting for?

    Just to let you all know it is dead easy to track email addresses and what servers they are using!

  • Chris December 20, 2009, 4:49 am

    I'm glad you're having a good time trashing an honest company with bullshit shenanigans (oh, how's that for irony). Just remember to post up again what the court decides to punish you with when you lose the lawsuit…

  • Shenanigans December 20, 2009, 5:23 am

    Chris. Are you in California? If they pursue a law suit, I and dzignr_tastz will be witnesses, and would love to meet you.

    Being a betting man, I would love to put my money where my mouth is on this situation, considering I saw it happen in real time. =)

  • dzignr_tastz December 20, 2009, 5:33 am

    I'm quivering.

    But for the record, no one is "trashing" anyone… let alone an "honest" company. PAW just reported some highly suspicious facts, as well as evidence (see above) to support the claims. If Ian's dishonest actions are coincidentally having an unexpected result, I guess he should have thought about that in advance. As if funneling money via PayPal into a suspended corporation wasn't enough, he'll be in for quite a surprise if he tries to challenge (in court, at that – LOL) the fact that he was, in fact, shill bidding on his own auctions.

    And trust me. After the amount of money I've personally been scammed out of via these same techniques, I'd be more than happy to "donate" to a legal fund (if need be) to make SURE these shady businesses are closed and their owners prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. A precedent needs to be set, and it has to start somewhere.

    I'll leave it at that for now.

  • k December 20, 2009, 5:31 pm

    anyone notice the amount of bids "samcan" has spent winning small items. I know on the 1k gift card he was way upside down as well as the 50 AE card last night. Today I noticed his user name was not in the email list. Maybe I am crazy

  • auctionwatcher December 20, 2009, 7:18 pm

    I see why you're so concerned "concerned" you're a friend of Ian's aren't you?

  • Shenanigans December 21, 2009, 9:51 pm


    Samcan was not upside down on the 1k gift card.

    (Assuming he was in it from the very beginning)

    Scenario #1

    1672 bids divided by 2 = 836

    836 x .75 (The medium bid packages) = $627.00 + $16.72 = $643.72

    Scenario #2

    836 x .60 (The largest bid packages) = $501.60 + $16.72 = $517.87

    It's unlike he bought 42 of the smallest bid packaged. =)

    Power bidding is a somewhat proven strategy.

    Which is why Ian targeted power bidders.


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