Industry Has Shady Characters | DomainInvesting.com
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Industry Has Shady Characters

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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.


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 sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (16)

    Jim

    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?

    June 6th, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Elliot Silver

    @ 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.

    June 6th, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Brad Mugford

    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.

    Brad

    June 6th, 2011 at 11:08 am

    BullS

    That why I love this BS domain game!!!

    June 6th, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    theo

    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.

    June 6th, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Larry

    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.

    June 6th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Steve M

    Thanks Elliot.

    What types of shady biz practices are we talking about?

    June 6th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Josh

    “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.

    June 6th, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Larry

    “they are just less educated and come across as rough around the edges”

    ( like Josh. )

    June 6th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ Steve

    Theft, hiding money from biz partners, stealing from clients, shill bidding, not completing projects, backing out of deals…etc.

    June 6th, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Ronj

    @ 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.

    June 6th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

      Elliot Silver

      @ Ronj

      My friend and I were specifically talking about the domain business, but I am sure it’s all over. There seems to be more risk in more regulated areas.

      June 6th, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Shane

    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.

    June 6th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Josh

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

    Thank you Larry. ???????

    June 6th, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Jason Stewart

    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!

    June 6th, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    jason

    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.

    June 7th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

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