Addressing the elephant in the room

After processing the shocking allegations about Adam Dicker for two full weeks, it’s time to come up with a series of hard decisions.

As an active – and sometimes overly vocal – member of the domain community, processing dozens of pages about Adam was a very difficult task for me.

Knowing Adam for a decade through DNForum, and finally meeting him in person at TRAFFIC 2012, was a culmination of successful interaction with dozens of other domain investors.

Adam stood out for his gregarious nature, and my personal experience has always been 100% positive; whether interpersonal, or professional. I was never ‘stiffed’ on any project, and in fact Adam was always generous to me regardless of the quoted price.

Disclosure: my total compensation through the years for work commissioned by Adam was less than $1,000. At some point, I did some work for free.

After reading the news, I was promptly overwhelmed with denial and anger.

I assumed it was some stunt to emphasize the years-long antagonism between DNForum and NamePros. I reached out to the NamePros admins with my concerns, all while I continued both reading the updates and contacting some of the people that were directly affected.

I had several conversations with some on the phone, seeking their part of the story and ultimately, the truth.

The general consensus seems to be that Adam’s sizable mismanagement of his own companies led to promises and projects that were not delivered. Unfortunately, when someone screws up at such a broad scale, everything becomes the target of extreme scrutiny.

I feel very sorry for Adam, and for his apparent inability to deliver not just what was promised, but to mend the loss of trust by grabbing the bull by the horns.

I don’t really know Adam, after all, and that was another realization that I came to accept. There was never – to me – a single dark cloud hinting of what was happening behind the scenes. I am not a newcomer to the domain industry, and wasn’t ever involved in Adam’s educational projects, or any of his services.

I’ve been extremely sympathetic to those that lost not just a good chunk of money through promises made by Adam or his companies, but also wasted their time. Time is irreplaceable and there is no true monetary value that can be assigned to it.

The same goes for trust, it cannot be exchanged for money. My loss is that of an assumed friendship, and that of blind trust towards a person who was always nice to me; now, I have to deal with the flip side of things and to read embarrassing things about him.

As a long time member of both DNForum and NamePros, I sympathize with the varying levels of anger that some of the victims display. There is nothing worse than being told that you’ve been ripped off along with others, thinking all that time that you were an unfortunate exception. Frustration turns to anger and then to rage, leading to an inhumane craving for lynching the source of your pain.

I don’t plan to continue being active on DNForum, unless Adam sells it. There is no motivation to be part of an environment that isn’t pure anymore. After 723 all-positive transactions and thousands of posts, I’m closing that door for now.

I truly believe Adam needs help coping with his various inabilities to be responsible and honest. I can’t offer free psychoanalysis, as I’m no longer a friend. Adam needs professional help, and I state this for his own sake and that of his family.

Purely from a human standpoint, I feel sadness about his current situation. At the same time, I can’t pretend that I can carry on under these terms. I hope that he rebounds from this by compensating those that were affected financially. There’s no compensation for the loss of trust, unfortunately; a cracked mirror can’t become whole again.


  1. This is the truth about con men/women: they tend to be engaging and friendly, and people are drawn to them like flies to honey.

    They are consummate people persons — consequently, they can carry on a scam for years.

    This is why they are so successful with The Art of the Con.

  2. Do you think the DNFORUM data, passwords are all safe, I have heard Adam posts private info about ppl who speak out about him online.

    I will not be using DNF, even though it was a great site to do handshake type deals on larger names.

    The site seems to have dropped off a bit in the past week also, nothing really going on.

  3. Matt – My departure from DNForum has to do with Adam’s handling of his clients, and the obvious ethical issue that exists.

    I’ve nothing but great memories from DNForum and have used it extensively over the years for domain sales and acquisitions.

    While traffic isn’t possibly close to that of NamePros, the forum is far from dead, all thanks to the great recent work of (now departed) admin, Simon Byrne. Everyone needs to make an educated decision, I made mine.

  4. “The general consensus seems to be that Adam’s sizable mismanagement of his own companies led to promises and projects that were not delivered.”………………………………..If that was the case, it could be fixed. Adam was purposely deceiving or being fraudulent in his activities, far different than under performing on promises…..

  5. Aaron – Some people have no exit strategy when things go south with their business. I can only speculate about the motives behind this consistent behavior. I hope Adam snaps out of this fog-covered trance and takes responsibility. A man needs to say “I fucked up” when they truly do, and proceed with fixing it.

  6. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Theo. The scandal has been jarring. It will take the domaining community a good long time to fully absorb the impact and process the fallout of this A-bomb.

  7. I don’t see the problem. This is like a 1 on the scale of 1 to 100 for me. But then again I live/work in D.C.
    You want stories 10x worse. How about 50x worse. After 15 years of working here I went and took my skills to the texas holdum poker table and read everyone like a book and won big. Then had a huge pot with AA and the guy had KK and flopped a K and won all my money. So I am back at the web. Point…forget him and move on. You will make more money. I am.


  8. His exit strategy is simple: FOR SALE

    this should make him whole, ignoring problems do not make them go away.

    Domaining is a create industry, to be blackballed from it, when you do it 14 hours a day, there is no coming back

  9. Bill Gates says

    I know of many more stories that have yet to go public, either to fear or waiting for a resolution.

  10. The first encounter to this story was over at when Shane Bellone spoke out about it and gave some serious facts and proof against Adam. I do have a DN Forum account but I found myself never using it because there was simply no interaction at all compare to the volume of stories, posts and people over at I bought a lifetime membership I believe but if it is going no where i wonder if I can get a refund -_-

    I feel similar to you when it comes to this situation and Adam. He seemed to be such a good dude from the Sherpa reviews but even Mike from Sherpa had to take him off completely due to this.

    I found it very weird that he won the developer of the year award at the domain conference then a few weeks after this ends up happening.

    – Will

  11. As a Canadian this is very sad to see as it is not the Canadian way of doing things so many great domainers have left an awesome legacy S Pilford F Schilling K Hamm R Lau

    DNF had a real solid core, and trusted membership it is sad his sins had to break such a great marketplace

    I think Adam has taken his path, he has 35,000 names, and to go back and grab some past offer turn downs money can be raised quickly.

    He truly chose the wrong path, domainers are a fickle bunch, they don’t forget.

    For the record I think Toby Clements is still working in the industry all be it on stealth mode

  12. Acro, small suggestion…

    on the left hand side of sidebar, you kept recent posts and archives link…

    please keep the top 10 popular posts/posts which have no expiry date/10 posts which you liked most like that.

    Ex. I want to read posts related to people behaviour when the panic is at all time high (after dotcom bubble burst etc)/at 2007 peaks.

    I want to read such interested posts from experienced domainers.

  13. Well once this came out, Dicker’s own sites and statements made clear he has been doing this for ages. A bit of looking around could have exposed him and prevented a lot of loss long ago. But lets face it, the big players in the domain industry benefit from Dicker’s BS because he sucks in new blood and promotes the myth that great domains always earn money so you should pay a lot for them. He was a kind of marketing campaign for them, and their backscratching clique of awardgivers. It isn’t just about Adam, it’s about the complicity of those who knew enough to know he could not be true.

    Come on, if domain speculators really want to call themselves investors, at least they should do some research and look at numbers, not smiley faces.

  14. Domain Truth says

    I have a burning question.

    Will Dick(er) have the balls to ever attend another domain conference?

  15. He’s been doing this for years, but used to be smart enough to keep people like me quiet with NDAs. Even now, I’m reluctant to go into details as the losses I suffered at his hands weren’t criminal in my mind – but more incompetent.

    I chalked my $x,xxx loss up as a learning experience and moved on. In retrospect, I wish others in the group or I had come forward long ago.

    I really echo Acro’s position here. Don’t want to pile on. Hope he makes those he still owes whole and finds help.

  16. “I don’t plan to continue being active on DNForum, unless Adam sells it. There is no motivation to be part of an environment that isn’t pure anymore.”

    Oh boo hoo! Look bro, that environment not only “isn’t pure anymore,” but IMHO hasn’t been pure since the TDNAM bidding scandal back in 2008 and this little indicator from back in 2006

    You’ve had your head in the sand much like many other “insiders,” and now only seek to distance yourself from someone you should have known about, or worse, actually did and did nothing.

  17. It’s a sad news in Domain Industry.

    Good luck to all the victims, and hoping you get your money back.

  18. You see, this is where I differ from most of those commenting on Adam Dicker’s situation. And perhaps this is easy for me to say, because I didn’t lose anything through connecting with him. If I had been less cautious, I might have. However, to me anyone who maintains a friendship with another only when things are running smoothly is not a true friend. Fair-weather friends, my mother used to call them. You can hate the ‘sin’ and still love the ‘sinner’ (I’m using quotes here as I believe that to use the words ‘sin’ or ‘sinner’ is to make a judgement, and unless we have been in the same position as our erstwhile friend, we really can’t know what led up to the situation in which he finds himself. I don’t want to bring religion into this (which I abhor in many of the forms in which it’s found worldwide), but I think that we must try to feel some compassion for Adam. This doesn’t mean that we feel any the less sorrowful on behalf of those who have suffered loss through his actions (or inactions). We are just recognising that we are all human and prone to error, and hoping that our friend can make reparation for what has happened in a way that makes the lives of those hurt better than they were before. I’ve no doubt that if this post sees the light of day it will result in hate-mail or derisory comments. That is just something that those of us prepared to stand up for our beliefs (in this case in the ultimate goodness of all humans) must accept.

  19. @Domain Truth that’s interesting to find out.

  20. Monica – Print this “gospel” page and send it to those that gave their money and received nothing or of unequal value in return. Note: you’ll need to make many copies.

    Friendships do end, when ethics so dictate.

  21. Monica,

    True friends don’t rip off their friends.

    AD has been given more chances and passes than most people in this industry, including Toby Clements and Rick Latona.

    Evidently, he has a long track record of dodgy behaviors, e.g. Satan’s Playhouse, Go Daddy bidding while an employee, Mugshot Removal, etc., etc.

    “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

    But you go ahead and support him; just don’t trust your money with him.

  22. Speak our mind? When it doesn’t fit Acro’s narrative he deletes it, as he did my earlier post about his less-than-candid article. Another one of the same.

  23. Theo, I don’t have to print what you call my “gospel page,” as I’m sure your blog has plenty of followers. 🙂 At the same time, I would like you to understand that I am not speaking from a religious viewpoint but from a sense of human fellowship. There are many to speak out for the victims, which is only right. Who is to speak for me if I do wrong and am sorry?

    Yes, friendships do end in these circumstances, no doubt about it, but I’m questioning whether these are real friendships to begin with. Believing yourself to be a friend, have you spoken to Adam to at least hear his side of it? Or do you find the extra-judicial evidence so overwhelming you don’t even want to try?

    All that you say is true, Jen. Adam has behaved terribly (how criminally only courts can decide). He definitely appears not to have acted in friendship. But luckily everyone else has superior morals, and so is capable of behaving better. The world is safe in their hands.

    While it is the current issue that has drawn my post, I hope that I would wish to support everyone who, for one reason or another, has ruined his or her good name in this way. It should go without saying, although it probably doesn’t, that this in no way alters my support for the victims of this or any similar occurrence.

    I would find it much harder to feel compassion for a murderer. But Adam hasn’t killed anyone. He can repair the damage he has done, and I am sure that he will. It won’t remove the hurt he has caused, but it may help the victims to move on. And at least they are now aware that the domaining community is not an unfeeling one, as it sometimes seems to be.

  24. heynow – Nothing gets deleted, there’s an apparent reason your comments ended up in spam.

    Your personal negative sentiments about Adam go back to the day that he decided to ban you from DNForum.

    I only speak about my personal experience – which had no hiccups and no reason to question Adam for many years. If you want to twist my words to suit your agenda, this is not the place to carry on.

    I used DNForum extensively to transact with other domainers, and NamePros as well. It’s a matter of preference. My decision is stated here clearly, along with the reasons. Nothing more, nothing less. There are 100+ pages on NamePros on the subject, it took me 2 weeks to read it all. Not everyone had or has to have a negative experience with Adam, or any “insider knowledge” as you’re suggesting.

  25. Monica – Adam is 50 years old, not a child to hold his hand over this.

    Again, I would point you to the direction of those who have not been compensated etc. – ask them to exhibit compassion and understanding.

  26. Ah, well, Theo, I’m old enough to be his mother, so maybe that’s part of how I see things. 🙂

    You don’t have to point me to those who have been hurt through all this. As I said earlier, my compassion and understanding for Adam in no way diminishes my sorrow for what has happened to them. Nor would I expect them to feel the same way as I do, who have not been affected. That would indeed be asking too much. Perhaps with their fortunes restored and the healing distance that time brings they may feel capable of forgiveness.

  27. Monica – I suggest you re-read what I wrote and what this post is about: the loss of trust and friendship, the end of using a business forum, and expression of sympathy towards those who lost money on top of these.

    “Not my circus, not my monkeys” – Polish proverb.

  28. I’m confused, Theo. I believe I did address what you wrote, but it seems to me that you haven’t read what I wrote. What’s the circus and who does own the monkeys? I’m sorry, I don’t get the drift of what you’re saying. I’m getting your annoyance though, and am not sure how I have evoked it. Do you not want my comments? I will unsubscribe if you would prefer.

  29. Monica – You made it clear that you want me to forgive Adam. Anything else you’d like to relay?

    I’m not annoyed, I just don’t understand what is the “beef” you have in all this. Adam wasn’t your friend, he runs the forum you spend time on. And since you were not a victim as you say – financial or otherwise – I think the references to forgiveness etc. are a bit overly pedantic.

    The circus and the monkey reference: You’d have to visit NamePros, because there is no coverage of this at DNForum, naturally.