Industry Has Shady Characters

I had dinner with a friend last night who is also involved in the domain industry. He is involved in a different vertical than I, but we share a number of friends and colleagues in common. Coincidentally, his wife and my wife have been pursuing the same psychology doctoral degree, so while our wives talk psych, he and I can talk business.

One of the topics that came up was the fact that there are a number of shady individuals and business practices happening all over the place in the domain business. Most of these people and companies aren’t well known and try to stay under the radar to avoid troubles. My friend and I attributed this to the “easy money” reputation of the domain business and of course the low barriers of entry. You really need nothing more than a computer and internet connection to get involved.

It seems that some people think there is easy money to be made in the business, and because it’s done virtually completely online, shady people can do things they likely wouldn’t be able to do in a more highly regulated industry. People lie, cheat, and steal in every type of business, but it seems to be a more common occurrence in domain investing. I don’t want to say it is common, but I’ve come across and heard about a number of shady people and shady dealings.

IMO, forums and blogs have helped regulate some of this shadiness because criminals like to act “in the dark.” Forums and blogs allow people to bring issues to light, and that is just what shady people want to avoid. It certainly hasn’t eliminated shady activity, but I think it helps keep it down.

Before you do business with anyone or any company, you should always do your due diligence. A person or company that made mistakes in the past may not make them in the future (most people deserve a second chance in life), but always keep vigilant and be aware. I tend to trust people at their word, but it’s not something that should be done regularly. There’s a LOT of money to be made in this business, but the most valuable asset is your reputation.

As with every post, but especially with this one, make sure your comments aren’t libelous in any way. I don’t edit comments, so posters are responsible and liable for what they write.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the 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. Good cautionary post Elliot.
    Just out of interest, however, are you not obligated in any way to take some responsibility for the comments that appear herein? Purely in your capacity as the owner, operator and administrator of this highly regarded and informative blog? In the same way that a forum administrator must, for instance?

  2. @ Jim

    I am not a lawyer and not going to post legal info. However, in my opinion, similar to Mark Z. not being responsible for content posted on FB, I don’t think I would be responsible for comments posted by people.

    If someone complains that a comment is inaccurate or libelous, I will certainly look into it.

  3. I have been involved in several industries over the years, and the domain industry is the sleaziest from top down.

    There is no regulation which opens the floodgates for scammers, squatters, shill bidding, etc.

    From the smallest domainer to large companies like Oversee (pick a scandal), to elite domainers, there is a lot of BS in this industry.


  4. Good advice. It can’t be repeated enough.

    Always follow the money and that does not only go for this industry but every industry imo.

  5. Perhaps Karen your wife could shed some light on the psychology of different groups. My years in business have shown that an industry tends to adjust to the more or less common low average point of behavior of the group. “auto repair” ; “car rental” vs. “mental health professionals” or “dentists”.

    In certain industries it’s hard to be honest if most/many are not. Because customers are gullible and they believe the bs of vendors. It’s hard to compete if you selling against someone who is lying. It’s hard to be honest if others are cheating and pulling the wool over the eyes of customers and those customers believe the lies.

    I agree with you that there are shady characters in the domain business. But maybe they are not more shady than people selling computers they are just less educated and come across as rough around the edges. Large corporations do plenty of crappy things but they are cloaked in sophisticated marketing legitimacy.

  6. “Dentist” LOL ya ripping off insurance daily because you can and thus affecting us all is ok because you wear a white coat.

    EVERY industry has it’s slim, from Priests to doctors to police etc. In fact most of them do more harm than any domainer, scammer or not.

  7. @ Elliot

    Are we talking about Wall Street, or domaining, or just overall business, anytime money, and product is involved, seems these evil variables are in play across the board.

  8. Each and every business has its problems. Adding anonymity to anything makes it worse. It may seem like there is more in domain investing but that’s only because that’s what we do. I promise every industry has people trying to lie, steal, and cheat.

  9. “they are just less educated and come across as rough around the edges ( like Josh. )”

    Thank you Larry. ???????

  10. Hi Elliot,

    I don’t really see the domain industry as any more shady then most industries. People manipulate systems everywhere, but there are still a WHOLE bunch of great people out there, and I would say I haven’t yet dealt with a shady person in the industry..hope it stays that way!

  11. In my opinion, Google follows your article’s theme. They can deindex any site to make room for higher paying competitors. People can steal your content, but you will get penalized for having duplicate content.

    In the past few weeks, Google de indexed two high traffic sites that essentially eliminated 20,000+ unique per month and half of my revenue. When you think of average domainers as bad people, dont forget about the shady online companies who control your success.


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