Ever Wonder Who Blog “Trolls” Are?

Have you ever wondered who the anonymous people are that write hateful comments on blogs and websites around the Internet? While I’ve been able to identify a few based on IP addresses and other sources, I’ve never really had the desire to actually track them down personally or even let them know I know who they are. I guess it’s better to know who my “enemies” are without them knowing I know… ya know?

There are plenty of people that seem to find enjoyment out of putting others down. I am lucky I don’t get many trolling comments, but it’s an issue that many websites face. I guess these people live miserable lives, and they feel the need to make someone else feel miserable, too. I don’t really know why they do it, but I will leave the “psychologizing” up to my psychologist wife!

Anyway, I saw this BBC video and it was interesting.They track down an alleged Internet “troll.”

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. There’s a big difference between voicing unpopular opinion via anonymity and trolling.

    That guy was a troll (albeit a terrible one).
    Some people just realize that information lives forever on the internet and creating a permanent-record nexus between everything you say and your personal identity isn’t worth the aggravation.

    Industry bloggers (domainers or otherwise) usually all talk. In many cases, posting unproxified is enough to let them know that you personally don’t care if they know who you are, but you’d rather not it all be entered into the permanent book of Google.

    But yeah… That guy; a huuuuuuuuge douchebag troll.
    I have a cousin who was adopted from China. She posted a video of her 5th grade graduation party on Youtube, was immediately called every racial slur you can imagine, had pedophiles making perverted comments, etc.

    The uglier side to human nature comes out on the internet. It’s why some people prefer anonymity, or in the case of this post where my IP is visible because I’m allowing it to be but my screen name is anon, semi anonymity.

    • @ Anon

      I completely respect when people have a need to remain private..

      I am lucky because 99.9% of the comments here are helpful to others, insightful, funny, and or otherwise harmless. I would say it’s probably even a far greater percentage than that. Even comments where people tell me I am wrong about something are appreciated because that helps me learn and helps others get another opinion.

      However, there are some people who seem to have nothing better to do than to post rude and unhelpful comments.

      BTW, I never censor comments, although I would if they were threatening in nature to me or someone else.

  2. “Industry bloggers (domainers or otherwise) usually all talk”

    If you blog you don’t have a lot of time to do and if you do you don’t have a lot of time to talk.

  3. @ Shane

    I don’t agree with that.

    I blog as much as much or more than others, but income from my blog doesn’t match income from my domain sales. If I wasn’t “do”ing, I wouldn’t make enough money to be at this full time, especially because we have essentially been a one income family for the last 5 years with my wife just finishing grad school last summer.

    The other thing for me is that simply making domain deals wouldn’t be a full or fulfilling job to me. If my wife didn’t work or if I had friends that were retired, I would probably choose hanging out and relaxing with them over blogging.

    Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of hobbies… love outdoor sports, but NYC isn’t exactly a great place for that, especially mid-day, mid-week with people who aren’t elderly. Sadly, this is a profession and a hobby… sadly at least according to my wife 🙂

  4. @ Domains

    It’s never been bad enough that I need to do that. It pisses me off when people won’t post my comments on their site, so when that happens, I simply don’t return. Same goes when I have to sign up to comment or need to be pre-approved or some other BS.

  5. Nice job on being able to do it and support two people.
    Eating what one kills is not an easy thing to do.
    Some people at the end of the day aren’t stable/balanced and can’t let go off things or look at the big picture.

  6. @ John

    I guess it’s a good thing I enjoy doing it.

    Technically, my wife started a post-doc position a few months ago, so we’re now a two income family. We are fortunate enough to not have grad school debt (no debt in fact) and doing this has worked out quite well. I’d never be where I was financially if I continued working the corporate marketing positions.

  7. All good especially since you live on the east cost where it is more expensive (vs smaller towns in US) and health insurance for oneself tends to be costly vs group plans.

  8. I hear some pretty big numbers that some of my trader friends pay for their families per month plus out of pocket. Hasn’t been cheap for me throughout the years. So many more people would take risk and try a business for themselves I believe if Individual insurance was treated the same as Group.

  9. Unfortunately what trolls and racists and those that spout hate do not realise is that their anger stems from their own unresolved issues and feelings of inadequacy.

    It doesn’t help the situation when we live in an information age and yet the information we are presented with is so agenda slanted that it hinders rather than helps. For over a decade we have been battered with the message that Muslims are bad in the west, bolutely hmmered with it. What has now happened because everyone from politicians on down have made it acceptable to race hate in this fashion is that I have noticed an increase in all race hate especially anti semitism.

    People take their cues from their parents but they also take cues from politicians and unfortunately posturing and points scoring on important issues like immigration, terrorism etc is the norm, there are no adults in positions of authority but worse still you have someone like Murdoch who lives off of stirring up hatred of all kinds in his very influential media vehicles.

    You may not think it’s important however I believe that when you see a person in an important position “freudian slip” a racial remark about Obama or stereotype Jews or Muslims on national tv it tells people that it’s ok to to do so also in blogs etc.

    I am not saying having a truely adult society where education was put before sensationalism would be a cure all to Internet trolls however I guarentee you there would be a lot less of it.

    P.s. Sorry for the typos, iPads suck

    P.p.s. I hope you all rot in piss 🙂

  10. Elliot –

    Sorry, just to clarify are you saying you pay $600 a month for health insurance for your child?

    If you dont mind me asking what is the approx a family pays for health insurance for two adults two kids in NY?

  11. Wow.

    Its funny the perception that Americans have to “State healthcare”. If I had to pay that I would make sure all my kids became doctors!

    Congrats by the way.

  12. It’s what we do when no one will find out that determines the color of our characters.

    The best place for troll hunting is Yahoo news. Down below most (but not all) news articles are the most virulent, tangential and psychotic comments to be found anywhere.

    Its a great place to hone one’s debating skills.

  13. That was some video and to 5i.org who cares its good they exposed the idiot.

    Shane aren’t you a blogger ? Guess you should follow your own quote to Elliot.

  14. Trolls aren’t a problem for me since I don’t blog. But as a forum owner, I do have what I call a stalker. Banned in 2009 and he still contacts me and blames me/the banning for, his words “ruining my life and severe family damage and family health, which is extremely personal and terrible.” He has even threatened to sue me for damages.

  15. Elliot, unfortunately guys like you tend to report on the world through rose colored glasses. You are reticent to say anything that might offend your associates cause you dont want to burn bridges, No problem, your perogative but some may want to comment on the all to real negative aspects of the industry and the perpetrators behind the misdeeds. The fact that someone hase something negative to say is not in and of itself evidence of being a toll. Now if someone calls you a dirty kike, thats one thing but if someone says you are an idiot and provides the rational for that decision I dnt think there should be any problem with that. When negatives are reported and supported by facts then they are inconvenient truths not the musings of a troll.

    You wrote a heart felt story about Mike Mann giving back a domain to someone and how great that was. What about his registrations of facebook names, what about his udrp losses, what about his nonsensical diatribes about everyone under the sun. You don’t want to burn bridges so you right feel good stroies, fine, but that doesnt change the fact that Mann airs his laundry in a very unusiual fashion or that he is a documented cybersquatter. Is is hateful to say these things, I mean, they are true.

    You write about registrars jacking up the prices of names as a means to increase profits but you fail to mention names. I can’t imaging writing a story about someone and not reffering to them by name. To me there is no point. You on the other hand appear to want the best of both worlds, to be seen as an authority without really saying anything untoward.

    Last time I checked trolls were entitled to their opinions and enjoy the same protection under the constitution as those who feel the cup is half empty.

    Finally, as a reader of blogs I think the comments are the best part. Acro tries to be funny but for the most part comes up short. Now, the comments on Ricks blog were FANTASTIC, way better than anything that moron had to say. The only reason I read his blog was for the comments. He said the same thing everyday so what do I need to read his drivel for. Everyone knew what he was going to say before he said it (except him perhaps) so there was no need to read him but the comments made his site great. Once he washed them, populating the comments only with bootlickers, ass kissers and wanna bes there was no point in visiting anymore. The joy was gone.

    Let people have their say, they are entitled. You cant spout your diatribe and expect everyone to buy in. Someone somewhere has a very different take on the matter, regardless of what it is

    • @ Keep

      I don’t disagree with what you’ve said.

      Yes, I try to keep my articles more positive because my main business operates in this space and I am not going to burn a bridge or call someone out to drive pageviews. Writing helpful articles is more appealing to me than writing something negative, and I tend to be a positive thinking person, so there isn’t much of a reason to post something negative if there could be damaging ramifications for my business as a result. Unlike a journalist who simply covers an industry or someone like Mike Berkens who can retire today if he so chooses, I can’t afford to burn bridges. There are plenty of forums and other venues for people who want to do that.

      Regarding the registrar price increase – it’s difficult to call out the perpetrators because most companies have different pricing tiers for customers based on volume, and what I experienced may have been different for others. Perhaps a registrar had given me a 30% discount based on my volume and then conveniently adjusted it at that point in time. Calling out XYZ registrar for charging me $8.50/name when they should be charging me $8.31/name doesn’t have much impact when the average one-off customer is paying $9.25/name.

      Regarding Mike Mann – I didn’t censor any comments and people were free to write what they want. There are a lot of ways to track who posts what, especially within a small industry like ours, so if someone says something damaging or libelous, they can probably be located.

      There is a lot of shady sh*t that goes on in this business, but I am not going to judge the business models of others or call people out for the sake of driving traffic, possibly at the expense of my business. I think the content on my blog has been consistent since I started blogging in 2007.

      I am lucky to have very, very few real “trolls.” I don’t censor the comment section. If someone wants to make a stupid comment, I am more than happy to leave it to themselves to look stupid. Aside from threatening or obscene comments, the only thing I don’t post are “trolling” comments where people skip the topic of the article and just post things like “hey, I am selling somestupidcrap.eu for $5000.”

  16. @John “That was some video and to 5i.org who cares its good they exposed the idiot.”

    I totally agree regarding his behavior online, whats maybe disturbing here though is that the BBC journalists may of (or not not) pulled strings with connections to obtain things like the individuals IP/ISP address(s) and may of obtained the trolls physical address from the ISP itself!

    This is the only way I can think of that one could track down people who post online and have not regged a domain (no whois to lookup). Unless of course it was possible to obtain enough personal information to track the troll from viral media sites like YT, FB Twitter, etc.

    The British media have been in a lot of controversy lately especially with that wire tapping scandal. If it where discovered that there was info passed from ISP’s and other websites to the journo’s well that would definitely fire up a hornets nest with privacy advocates and British justice depot’s too!

  17. Elliot, you’re talking here like I talked to you personally. I post tons of articles on YOUR blog when I think you’ve posted, ummmm… maybe 1 on my blogsite.

    I imagine there are at least 5-10 other decent blog sites where YOU never post an opinion in their comment section.

    So, trolling is like your middle name, my friend. I would be surprised if you posted a comment on a blog outside those three or four TOP blogsites owned by the biggies in this industry, who I know strategically you are/have positioned yourself as “one of them”.

    Why don’t YOU step out of your strategic ass-kiss comment zone and venture out to comment on any of the 40+ domain blogs that would be honored to have you actually respond to some of their excellent blog articles?

    Sorry to be so rough on you, El, but you gotta get your head out of the “tee hee, I’m in the cool blogosphere of domainers” brown-nosing circle and start spreading around YOUR opinion on other blogs.

    So don’t complain about “anonymous” bloggers on your site, when in reality, you’re a ghost that never appears on anyone else’s blog, unless their name is Rick, Michael, Frank, Andrew. (And this same message applies to all those domainers above who think they have our attention but a lot of us domainers are going “ho hum”.)

    Still love you, ya cute guy in a suit when everyone else is in sportswear!

  18. @ Stephen

    I don’t see the point in picking a fight. especially on a very old article. My blog gets around 1,500 -2,500 visits a day on average and maybe 15-20 comments give or take. 99%+ of the people who visit don’t comment, and that’s life. I wouldn’t expect everyone to comment, and I certainly wouldn’t criticize people for not commenting. I don’t see many comments from the other bloggers who spend hours on their own blogs, and that’s not a surprise.

    Here are a few reasons why I don’t comment on many other blogs:

    1) I don’t visit many other sites daily, and when I do, it’s not fair to leave a comment and not come back for follow-up discussion. If something is important enough for me to write a comment on, chances are good I want to see a response or discuss, and I don’t have the time or want to spend the time doing that.

    2) Managing my own blog is a lot of work, and I have little desire to spend more time on other blogs/sites engaging with basically the same people.

    3) Aside from the hours I spend on my blog, I spend my time managing several websites that I own and also spend my time negotiating on deals. My life is already entrenched in the domain business, and I have no interest in spending any more time.

    4) I am a new Dad and want to spend as much time with my daughter as possible.

  19. Hi Elliot,

    I’m not picking a fight with you – and your response is well-understood.

    I might have misunderstood your article, which explains my response. I like commenting on your articles, they are well written and timely. I think my name brings in readers curious about my opinions — but that’s just ego.

    Sure, I understand you can’t read everyone’s blogs – but think about making a “day” out of the month to do so, because a lot of bloggers post on your site, and having you return the favor, even once a month or so, is appreciated.

    Maybe you should make a decision on who is important to you when they take the time to respond to YOUR articles, and consider that “once a month” duty to read up on 25 other blogs and write a quick comment. Take you a few hours maybe, but I’m just saying.

    Other domain bloggers like myself would appreciate it. Or, we’ll just respect your situation and live with it.

    Either way, still love ya!


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