A prominent figure in the domain name industry has apparently hit hard times.
I’ve been writing Domain Name Wire for ten years. When I started writing, domain forums were where all of the discussion took place. Over time, blogs have become a central point of discussion in the domain name industry.
Part of the reason for a rise of the blogs is curation. Each blog has its own voice and idea of what is news, and people choose to read blogs they believe give them good information without a bunch of noise. I think a big part of my job is to decide what not to write about because it’s not newsworthy.
Sometimes there are things that are important and newsworthy but are difficult to write about. I’ve covered many of these things.
So yesterday, when someone pointed me to a thread on NamePros (that subsequently links to a blog post) about Adam Dicker, I had to consider if it was newsworthy or just gossip.
Gossip would be something like this. It’s hardly relevant to a business publication. It’s TMZ stuff.
After sleeping on the allegations raised in the post and giving it some thought, I decided it was unfortunate but newsworthy.
In a nutshell, some people say Adam Dicker, who runs Domain Name Forum and a number of other businesses, has broken promises to them and owes them money.
Dicker says part of the accusation is true. It’s clear by now that he owed money to Frank Schilling, who took the unusual step of posting on Twitter a request for Dicker to get in touch with his billing department.
As I thought about the allegations, it crystallized many thoughts I’ve had about the domain name industry over the past decade. Much of this is not specific or directly relevant to the current accusations, but I’ll make it clear when there’s a connection.
1. A lot of people in the domain business are one bad deal away from insolvency. I’m often surprised to learn that people who have generated a lot of money with domain names also have a lot of debt, and one bad year can wipe them out. Perhaps this is just a different level of risk tolerance than I’m used to.
2. People relish personal failure when the person who fails engages in puffery. I’ve made it a practice to root for people to succeed, not fail. I’ve learned this over the years after discovering my own shortcomings in business. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned to not relish in others’ failure.
Where the public seems to smirk at someone’s failure is when the person who hits hard times has boasted about their success. It’s the same reason people get excited when the “Christian family man” politician gets busted for prostitution.
Dicker has held himself out as a very successful domain name investor. Maybe this is true, maybe it’s not. I’ve never seen his finances. But people tend to relish the thought of someone who has boasted that they’re doing great hitting hard times.
It’s worth noting that we celebrate when Silicon Valley startups risk it all and fail. “At least they tried,” we tell ourselves. The difference in the domain name business is that it’s often not a company failing. Even if there’s a company behind a person, it’s the person we associate with.
3. I wish we’d stop celebrating when investors spend big on a domain. This isn’t directly relevant to Dicker but something that has always bothered me. This industry seems to place people on a pedestal if they spend a lot of money acquiring a domain name. I think we should praise people who make a lot of money selling a domain name, not the other way around.
For now, the allegations against Adam Dicker will have to play their course. After his initial comments on the NamePros thread, Dicker hasn’t commented. I don’t blame him.
And since I don’t root for failure, I hope Adam is able to work with people to leverage his domain portfolio to take care of any outstanding debts and obligations.
Thank you. I am among one of them and I have been in talks for months about get refunded and hope to get closure soon.
He(Dicker) did that to me too! He promised the world and never delivered! He promised to refund my $3,000 for FloridaLoan.com if he did not sell it at one of the Conferences. After the Conference, he said he did not say that…but I give you my promise he did!!
Domainer Extraordinaire says
The Emperor has no clothes. I sat in for one of his speeches at one of the domain name shows. He seemed to try too hard to convince people of his huge successes. I was curious about who he told us he sold a name to for mid 6 figures because I owned a similar name and checked whois 2 months later. He still owned it.
Frank Schilling says
Adam’s debt has been paid in full and his credit is good at Uniregistry. I can not speak to other allegations made in the story and hope all outstanding issues will be resolved. A man’s reputation is worth far more than money.
Andrew Allemann says
Thanks for the update, Frank.
Ray J says
Frank, that’s good to hear, but it is sad that according to your own comments on therealshane.com “This would be incredibly sad if true. I am presently waiting on a 5-figure payment for services from Adam Which has-been promised several times, but Which Continues to elude us.” that even after numerous attempts to collect the funds owed, it took a story like this for Mr. Dicker to pay his debts. I think that says all that needs to be said. I’m glad your company was finally paid for the services rendered, but it should not take allegations and a story like this for someone to pay their debts.
Thanks for posting that Mr. Dicker has paid his debts to Uniregistry. I’m sure all the other individuals and companies that are waiting on funds he “allegedly” owes them, would be happy if they were paid as well. I’m sure their sums of money, while probably not as large as what was owed to you is a lot of money to them. Also, I’m sure Mr. Frank Shilling calling out Mr. Adam Dicker has more weight and legal recourse than Mr. Joe Schmo calling out Mr. Adam Dicker.
I have nothing good or bad to say about Mr. Dicker, I just hate that any story has to come out like this before wrongs are righted.
A reputation is only a good as the person behind it.
Frank, maybe it’s a good idea to use your influence to help these other victims in this quagmire instead of just yourself. You might gain even more admirers.
Sahar Sarid says
I can only talk from my own personal business experience with Adam Dicker and it has always been flawless. I’m sure he made his fair share of mistakes over the course of two or three decades by now, but then again, who hasn’t? Adam made many a fortune, helped countless amount of people. That’s the Adam I know.
“I’m sure he made his fair share of mistakes over the course of two or three decades by now, but then again, who hasn’t”
I havent. I havent defrauded my clients. It doesnt take too much effort for me to live within the rules of doing the right thing all the time.
“I can only talk from my own personal business experience with Adam Dicker and it has always been flawless”
Well, I am sure you’d be singing a different tune if you were defrauded like the others say they were.
Go back to your cave, Sarid. No one gives a pigeon poop what you think.
This article surprises me. Adam always seemed like one of the more sensible domain investors from what I have read. For now Im not believing this rumour and hope he is doing well. The domain industry needs to come together and help each other for the sake of the industry if nothing else.
At this point I wouldnt believe any of these unsubstantiated rumours.
From all that I can see, Adam is a stand up investor. Who on this page
honestly doesnt have alittle domain related debit?
Hopefully you’ll never have to call on him to return the money you paid him that he promised he’d use to provide you the service that you could not do yourself. Otherwise you’d believe it in a NY minute.
David Gruttadaurio says
You have to respect Frank. He didn’t have to update that issue. But you know, when Frank calls you out publicly… not many would ignore him either. I too have had refund problems with Mr. Dicker. Ended up turning it over to AMEX to be resolved.
Aaron Strong says
Michael Cyger appears to be doing the right thing, until he replaces Adam with Domain Shane. A person known for disparaging new and experienced domainers. At some point you have to question the source and not the messenger…..As one cunning comment reads, “ultimately being a Sherpa was the platform for hooking all these newbies.”……………..
Shane Cultra says
I think you are confusing my extreme dislike for you for my overall treatment of new domainers. If you would kindly quit mentioning my name as peiple may think you are sane and could lead to slander. The kind of statement you made explains my dislike. What is funnier is that you probably have no idea there are two Shanes in this industry . That article was written by the other .
Aaron Strong says
I know the difference between Shane’s. There is only one: TheRealShane…”Sorry Cultra”…. you’ve been exposed….Somehow you are tied to most domain scandals.
Shane Cultra says
Huh? No. There are actually two. Thus the title. Shane Bellone is the writer. Not me.
Aaron Strong says
I was purposely referring to only one Shane, TheRealShane, as your status has been greatly diminished……
For the record :
Shane Bellone (TheRealShane) exposes domain scandals.
Shane Cultra (DomainShane) remains involved in domain scandals.
Shane Strong says
Andrew I don’t think that this Aaron guy has a clue and this last statement he made is pretty libelous. PS – Aaron Strong is not Adam Strong and Adam Strong is not Adam Dicker but Aaron Strong should be named Aaron Dickhead.
Aaron Strong says
Shane Strong – I’m your Huckleberry!
R P says
Thank you for having the guts to post this valuable information, although I think your message is entirely wrong.
How about, BE CAREFUL in the domain industry because there is a lot of shady people and practices
My biggest problem with the domain industry is that the bigger blogs/news sites like DNjournal and TheDomains never report on anything negative informing and warning domain investors about incidents like this.
Many people apparently lost money, and this perhaps couldve been prevented, had people IN THE KNOW had the guts to publicly inform new domain investors.
Think It’s always been this way, except maybe for the Domain King who wasn’t afraid to ruffle feathers.
Everything is great and all the people are great always, according to the domaining.com news feed.
If the industry wants credibility than it needs to be objective. Write about the good AND the bad so new domain investors do not get the wrong impression that there is little risk in dealing with “gurus” and “brokers”
David Gruttadaurio says
Agree completely. This is such a small, tight-knit industry. As such, I think some are reluctant to speak out in fear of repercussions to their blogs and/or reputations.
Raymond Hackney says
RP you make a valid point, but do you think Mike Berkens or Ron Jackson are following Adam Dicker or his website selling business ? From everything I have read this seems mostly to be about people who went to nichewebsites for a website. How was anyone supposed to know Adam owed Frank ? What were the terms people don’t move big portfolios from one registrar to another and not get some sort of financing. So what were the terms ? People need to tell someone they have been ripped off.
If you have 25 people say “I emailed Ron Jackson or Mike Berkens Adam Dicker ripped me off please help. And they did nothing, OK then you got a great point. But people did not know. Andrew did a podcast with Adam, I am sure he did not know or he would have asked him about this stuff. https://domainnamewire.com/2015/05/11/discussing-domain-names-with-adam-dicker-dnw-podcast-32/
R P says
Don’t recall DNjournal or TheDomains reporting on a very prominent domain broker that ran afoul a couple of years ago. Do you?
DNJournal and TheDomains often posts news that breaks other places. But never any bad news about people in the industry. Only the good news.
Mr. Schilling is now apparently OK because he was made whole. But it doesn’t appear that he cares that Adam apparently ripped off small investors
This is what it all appears like, have no facts to support
If you want more new investors than be OBJECTIVE and stop being defensive.
I’ve been a domain investor since Feb ’99. There are so many shady characters in this business but nobody with clout ever outs them. Except for the domain king who doesn’t post anymore.
Joseph Peterson says
This isn’t fair:
“Mr. Schilling is now apparently OK because he was made whole. But it doesn’t appear that he cares that Adam apparently ripped off small investors.”
Actually, Frank Schilling said in the comments above:
“I can not speak to other allegations made in the story and hope all outstanding issues will be resolved.”
That last remark is a gracious nod toward others who are owed money and a constructive suggestion.
What a brawl this has become! Domainers feel betrayed, and there’s a lot of pent-up anger (related to other issues within the industry) bubbling out of the grvund.
From what I’ve seen in the past 2 days, anybody who steps into the fray will get a bloody nose before he can say, “Wait”.
When people as amiable as Ron Jackson are being indicted for telling mainly positive stories … and I (of all people!) have to step in to defend Frank Schilling for expressing empathy … then the world is upside down.
If you learn anything from this scandal, domainers, then learn to slow down! Slowing down gives us all time to think critically, swallow an insult we might have uttered to a long-term colleague, take precautions, and ask for second opinions.
Joseph Peterson says
You said this:
“DNJournal and TheDomains often posts news that breaks other places. But never any bad news about people in the industry. Only the good news.”
Surely 1 of the biggest negative stories from last year was the .XYZ / NetSol scandal. Remember? It was covered almost everywhere. Major bloggers criticized and even condemned those involved.
Who broke the story? TheDomains:
Who wrote 1 of the most forceful condemnations of Daniel Negari and NetSol? Ron Jackson at DNJournal:
Read that opening paragraph, please, and tell me Ron Jackson never covers bad news. As scathing as I can be at times, when Ron Jackson comes forward to call Daniel Negari a liar … that eviscerates, obliterates the guy.
I was writing about the old .XYZ issue again today and wanted to circle back here to praise Ron Jackson for his integrity and guts.
Andrew Allemann says
@ R P –
One of the reasons Domain Name Wire is well respected in the industry is I write about good things and bad things. That said, every publication has its own angle. Ron has done a good job writing as a supporter of the industry at DNJournal. And I’d disagree that Berkens doesn’t write about bad stuff. He often does.
People contact me all the time with tips about bad stuff or disputes. I consider each email. Sometimes they’re silly. Sometimes they’re simple misunderstandings and I’ll offer to connect people to get it resolved. Other times it’s something people should know about, and I’ll write about it.
For the record, I don’t believe anyone has ever sent a complaint to me about Adam Dicker’s services.
Andrew, read your piece once again. Kudos to you!
I agree when some turd buys some crappy GTLD THE DOMAINS is all over it, but a scandal like this, where people are losing money, hush hush
Another angry person says
It’s good to see this is coming out now. I know of many people who’ve been negatively affected by Adam Dicker, myself being one of them.
It always surprises me to see his face and name everywhere (in a good light) only to know what goes on in the shadows to those who hand their money over to him.
Now, this could be happening with other veteran domainers in the industry but I only have personal experience with Adam so that’s all I can comment on.
He really does promise the world to many of us with very specific dates and timelines for when things will happen. Maybe if he didn’t get our hopes up with all these specific promises, things would be different. He really should have been and needs to be transparent, especially with the new domainers out there.
And seriously Adam? Takes 400+ messages to you in over a 1 year time span to actually get our money refunded since you cannot live up to what you sold us? Wow.
Adam Dicker says
It’s easy to post anonymously and make accusations. I have no issues with people coming forward and posting their stories under their real names. If you actually want things resolved though, you need to contact me.
Shane Bellone says
I posted with my real name and you threatened to sue me.
Shane, I wouldn’t worry about any lawsuits forthcoming. His lawyers are probably waiting on payments too.
You paid Frank back within hours! so do the decent thing and pay back everyone’s money that they gave you, which was for your own personal gain.
I have had nothing but good dealings with Adam over the past decade. I don’t know any details of any of what the allegations are, but Adam has consistently been a stand-up guy and honorable in ANYTHING I have done with him, and where there has been friction or misunderstandings, I have seen him own up and clean up.
I regret others may have had a different relationship with him, but I wanted to stand up for Adam here in this thread, FWIW.
Are you Adam Dicker? Stop this nonsense!
How would u be feeling if u was one of the many people he’s stolen from.
Shane Bellone says
Adam buys Fiverr comments. Just an FYI.
Raymond Hackney says
The comment is from Jothan Frakes
Moniker has just as bad support and reputation.
Adam Dicker will always be a crook!
Kaz Did it ever came up in your mind that there also are people who are not in the habit of complaining? Or who actually have good experiences with Adam?
Or should those people find a separate spot on the internet? Or should we just organize a public hanging?
Its so easy to defend the boss, eh, lest you become one of the many who have had to chase him down and heard nothing but static. But you wouldnt dare admit that what he’s done is wrong, that would affect your paycheck.
I don’t know Adam. Or I should say I’ve never met him. I’m aware he’s been a prominent person in the Industry.
It would be better to learn the facts, rather than hearsay and accusations. Indeed Adam may owe debts — this seems apparent. But rather than accusing the man as a “criminal”, as I read on one forum, it would be more prudent to let the man work with his creditors, as he did with Frank, or work on a payback plan. Or work with a mediator,
Besmirching the man’s reputation on any forum is not in the best interest of any party, and certainly not for the domain industry.
Let’s hope these issues get resolved amicably and such that Mr. Dicker can recover from his woes and his creditors can receiver their payments.
Robin Jilderda says
Adam self promoted through the mainstream domain media for a long time making unverified and what I suspected as exaggerated claims about his successes in his various online businesses. Probably since I’m a bit older than most of the audience that consumes this media I had many suspicions about these claims even though the shows and interviewers never seemed to ask what should have been obvious questions. These where fantastical claims, claims that you would expect on the Warrior Forum. He got a free ride. I disassociated from following him a while ago since history proves that these things rarely end well. I think we can all learn a lesson from what is unfolding and that is,
“the reputation that we craft will someday occupy the same space as thee reputation that we have earned”
C.S. Watch says
This comment thread has become a bit of a MASH tent, but as to the level of content professionalism on this site, I find it to be very high. For instance, if there’s a better site for practical, centrist, domain name law news (UDRP and courts), we haven’t found it.
Nor have we.
I know Adam has shared valuable, priceless information that hundreds of people have prospered from. Shame on you all. I appreciate DNW but this was not an objective post. I wish you had waited for Adam’s official reply before linking the post to a blog that uses an unfair and insulting adjective to his person. If the issue revolves on a business dispute, then I would expect trustworthy mediums, such as DNW to report on the specific business instead of feeding a battalion of links to character attacks.
Well done Mr. Schilling, well done!
and your name is ?
William T. A. Mathieson
Dreamy eyed domainer.
Yeah I doubt he is hiding anywhere, he gives out his phone number and has been around for years. Really? The truth will come out soon.
I mean my guess he probably has some disgruntled person who bought a website from them and they expected them to do everything and make them a millionaire in 30 days.
Have you actually read anything there is dozens of people not just one.
And its just the tip of the iceberg I’d bet…….
I also have problem with Adam on showcasemanager.com .
I have read this post about showcasemanager.com major problem at DNForum.
I have the similar experience.
I paid $299.95 CAD to showcasemanager.com.
One of my domain buyer emailed me that he could not pay through PayPal.
So I sent more than 3 emails and submitted two support tickets at ShowCaseManager.com since 2011.08.05.
But I got no answers yet 2 weeks passed.
So I asked a membership fee refund from PayPal.
But Adam did not agree and said it is a service and could not be refunded.
And his said he have never received my emails.
But my membership was downgraded to free level.
I could not understand why Adam dicker, as the owner of DNForum.com and former VP of Domain Aftermarket at GoDaddy, needs this $299.95 CAD so much.
First off I want to say this article was very well done Andrew.
As far as the recent events regarding Adam. I am not taking anything away from anyone who feels as though they were victims of fraud. I have been known to fight for others in the industry and feel for them. People in the business that really know me are aware of my effort to help others.
However I am also very thankful for dnforum and Adam Dicker. It was in part because of his work that I am where I am today. I am saddened to hear this has happened but believe (hope) all will be made right and we practice forgiveness. We are all human and make mistakes. As Andrew wrote it doesn’t take much to ruin a good name. I would like to think many good names have been restored once they make things right and have people around them to help pick them up. It sickens me to see people kick a man when he is down.
My heart goes out to those who feel they have been wronged but also to Adam and a hope all is made right in short order.
Very well done! And ditto!
I’ve read through the forum thread, the article/comments here, and the article by Shane. How are you standing up for someone who has taken money from people and not delivered? And from people’s comments it looks like he did a sales job to get them to hand over money with promises of what they would receive. People have said they have asked for refunds for over 12 months.
People change and facts are facts. I counted well into the teens the number of people who have said they are a victim and who knows how many more there are that haven’t posted here or in the Namepros thread.
He obviously has domain names he could have liquidated and paid people back but only now that it becomes public he is telling people to contact him, and he pays back Frank Schilling a five figure amount in a few hours. What about the little guys who have been screwed for a year? That is pathetic and it speaks to the core of a person and you stand up for that and tell people they are kicking a man when he is down? You need to read all the information and reevaluate your thought process.
Someone in a position of authority who takes advantage of newcomers like this SHOULD NOT be forgiven regardless if he pays every one of them back.
ICANN claims Dicker still owes it over $30,000 in past due accreditation fees.
wow, nothing blows up a blog like a scandal, damn.
Check out the post by LannyB. Tells the story.
Doron Vermaat says
This is extremely sad.
I agree, very sad. Where is the heart? How would Adam feel if somebody did the same thing to him? Adam, do you realize how much damage you’ve done to people? I think at this point instead of denying it and posting BS comments on NamePros to avoid discussing the situation, Adam needs to man up and admit his mistakes, pay everyone he owes, and it doesn’t stop there……stop his current ways of doing business and start acting with his heart instead of with his greed.
Leagle Eagle says
All I can recommend is all the ppl who are owed money, form a group, and start a class action suit against his company, go to domainiq, and compile his domains, and go to court, and plead your case.
Worst case scenario no cash, the domains can be seized, even conveyance of assets can be traced if that is the case in trying to transfer assets against pending judgements.
Best to get a cdn and us lawyer if you have been wronged this is the best course of action, not pointing fingers in forums.
People who keep defending Adam are going to start looking like bigger and bigger fools. You DO NOT take money from people, promise them X (because you can do it better than them as you claim), then do not deliver on that promise AND THEN you ignore their calls and emails for a refund. In many cases it wasnt that the job was done shoddy, it was that it was not done AT ALL. Sorry, its foolish to defend him at this point now.
A comment from Lanny B below…
I debated adding to these comments with my own story, I have no desire or intent to destroy Adam, but I do want to protect people in the future from what I and apparently others had to go through. While reading this post there were a few things I was surprised at, but most of it I was not shocked to hear based on my own experience working with Adam for 8 months. Looking back on everything, I should have paid much more attention to all the red flags, and I was very naïve. His actions left me quite depressed and in a bad financial position for quite a while. He forced me to chase after him for several months after avoiding me, ignoring me, promising me over and over again to pay me what I was due and then disappearing again, however I WAS finally paid in full what he owed me this past week.
Anyway my hope more than anything, is that coming forward like this will help others to not be taken advantage of and I really hope Adam will change his ways now that all this is coming to light. I would love to see him make things right for everyone that he has hurt financially and otherwise, and conduct his business in the future completely honestly and ethically. The fact that he finally paid me after I had lost all confidence that it would ever happen gives me hope that he will make things right for others as well.
I first met Adam through the DNF college fb group in October of 2014. I like many others was very impressed that someone with such success in the domain industry seemed to offer so much of his time and guidance to others, especially newbies starting out. I wanted to learn from him and to benefit from his experience so I could start flipping domains, and build out my domains into profitable sites, which were two of the main things he promoted and toted himself as the expert at.
I googled him and found countless articles and videos and interviews, and thus he seemed reputable and legit. I figured that there would be no way someone of his status in the forefront of the industry could be a sham. He was the owner of DNF, he spoke at all the major conferences, he had earned several industry awards, and everyone seemed to generally like and admire him.
When he put out a call for partners in all his various businesses, I jumped at the chance and was quite excited to be considered as I thought the opportunity to work with Adam was going to be a once in a lifetime, and from the way he talked….a goldmine.
After candidates had been narrowed down, he conducted a group call introducing ourselves to each other and Adam made huge promises about how things would be structured, the potential of all of the projects (he was talking multimillions) and generally kept everyone buzzing and excited.
One day out of the blue I was invited to come on a group call with Adam, and two others, and was told I was selected to be one of 3 Vice Presidents of this new company that adam was forming. My responsibilities would be to manage all of the chosen project managers over each of the projects he wanted to launch. I didn’t even think twice, I agreed without question and was quite happy about it. I didn’t know why he chose me, he didn’t know me personally and I didn’t have as much experience as many of the other candidates but I didn’t want to question it. I’ll admit fully looking back that I was incredibly naïve.
From that point on, I jumped in with both feet. I wanted to prove my work ethic, my passion, my worthiness to be a part of the team. I began working 60-70 hour weeks for Adam.
The idea was that he wanted to launch a few dozen businesses, as well as grow his existing businesses in just a few months and that he would pay all expenses and costs and assured us of his knowledge, and that he had made many of these were currently successful or were a grand slam success before, but just needed the manpower to staff them, run, and grow them since he didn’t have the time. He told us he would be teaching us everything we needed to learn, and all we needed to do was put in the time and be loyal.
He DID take care of expenses and costs, but the promises of wealth and success never came. Now if this had been a simple case of business ventures not working out and going south, it would be different, that happens despite people’s best efforts sometimes. It would be one thing if he were honest from the beginning and told us the truth about the projects, the financials, and the fact that he had very little knowledge of how to run these businesses, but that was not the case. He lied and led all of us to believe in nonexistent income and in non-existent expertise that would lead to success.
It was also extremely difficult working with him, as he would constantly promise that he would get things done, and then they simply wouldn’t. Either extreme delays or never at all. After awhile I took to paying for business expenses out of my own pocket for my project managers because Adam could not be relied on to get things done for them. It was quite the struggle to get reimbursed, but eventually he did pay me back.
One project in particular, he told us it already cleared 100k a month easy and that we would be making a large percentage of that. We worked out a profit share percentage for everyone in the company that we felt was fair based on the numbers Adam was giving us. But Adam was very shifty about giving us REAL numbers and real financials, he was very vague and often avoided answering questions about those things or contradicted himself. After awhile he gave us more access and responsibilities it became evident that it was barely clearing a fraction of that, and not even that sometimes.
Another project he told us profited 2-3 million per year and that we would be making a percentage of that, however months and months later it was very evident that it was also only making a tiny fraction of that.
Once I had the courage to call him out on the numbers and he was so upset that he ignored me for 2 days, and I had to grovel and apologize to get back in his good graces and I felt bad that I had questioned his integrity. However in hindsight, he never actually responded to my calling him out on those numbers on those specific businesses, probably because he knew that the numbers he claimed were completely made up.
We had daily calls because there were SO many projects he wanted to take on, it was crazy the amount we all had to try and tackle. Adam was a major bottleneck because he was completely unreliable and rarely did any of the things we needed him to in a timely manner or often never got to them at all. Simple things that only he could do like pay for things or authorize things, he constantly promise to get it done “tonight” or “by tomorrow” but then it wouldn’t happen for days, weeks, even months and all of us were left waiting….and then were often blamed for the lack of progress. This was very stressful and difficult for all involved, most of us in the company I can vouch for were working extremely long and hard hours and needed the boss to do his part, to be invested, to give us the tools we needed to do our jobs, in short to do what he said he was going to do and be reliable. Not the case.
I tried to give my opinion that launching that many businesses all at once was an exercise in insanity, and that we needed to focus on ONE or TWO and make it profitable and then move on to the next, but I was brushed aside and so I buckled down even harder to try to make things work.
Almost all of these projects (including the ones he said were already profitable but were not) have failed miserably or never made it off the ground. And this is almost a year later. One of the only projects that I know of that still functions is his web design business, but that one has the most victims.
It was months of work trying to get the business structure set up and get the hang of things before it started to become obvious to me that many things were not as Adam claimed, but (and this is where my naivety comes in) I thought that they used to be great and Adam was overwhelmed and too busy, and that he was horrible with time management and execution, so that if he would just delegate more to us than we could fix all of these problems and turn things around.
As an example, Adam’s way of bringing in sales, is to promise them the world. He will tell them he can give them an amazing site, and do all the SEO, and rank their sites, and provide lead generation, or take over the customer service aspect of it….. all just to get the sale. Always over promising and under delivering….or not delivering at all. We thought that he actually knew how to do what he promised them. He assigned me to handle his web development business after awhile because he said he thought a woman with soft mannerisms and good customer service skills would be a great asset. I quickly found out that everything in the inside was a complete mess. There was no system for orders, there was no clear process to follow, there was very poor communication with the client to know what they wanted, there were customers that had ordered months and MONTHS ago that were furious and constantly messaging and emailing wanting status updates or refunds….. it was a crazy mess. Adam didn’t seem to really care, just brushed them all off or he would say “no worries it’ll be taken care of” but then it never was.
At first I believed that it was all just because Adam was so crazy busy that he had gotten overwhelmed, and that I could swoop in and save the day and clean things up. For awhile things got a bit better, I and other employees actually got on the phone with clients and on skype and tried to clean up the backlog and mess, including clients that had been waiting for their sites for weeks and months. I tried to systematize the process, I found out exactly what they wanted and tried to communicate their needs to the designer adam had used for years. But were so many problems, one of which was this outsourced person was not able to deliver quality sites to clients in any way shape or form. And working with him was an exercise in ultimate frustration, the back and forth took days trying to help him understand small details and changes, not to mention attempting to get Adam to give us things that we needed like plugins and themes.
Adam often refused to change the processes and make positive changes that would have helped things immensely, including hiring competent design staff. And it was the blind leading the blind. After awhile of me attempting to fix and make changes that Adam did not want to make, he got tired of me and took me off the project to give to someone else. Which I will be honest, was a complete relief. I was tired of making futile efforts and getting blamed for the mess that couldn’t be fixed.
In the article, there is a portion that is about Emmet being owed 75k – that part was surprising and does make me upset if it is true because Adam told us month after month that Emmet had not paid anything at all for the work we had done for him. He told us that Emmet was going to pay a five figure amount for the work on his sites and we were supposed to get a percentage of that (it would have been quite the decent amount for me) and for months when asked he kept brushing us off telling us that he had not paid but would pay by the end of the month, and again and again and again. It appears from Shane’s post that Emmet did in fact pay and Adam was keeping that from us?? I can only assume because he wanted to keep it all for himself… why else would he lie to us about that?
Anyway, around April things were getting worse and I was beginning to really see that everything was a mess, and some serious changes needed to be made. I had still been working 60-70 hour weeks working like crazy including nights and weekends and it was having a serious impact on my family life. I thought I was doing it for the ultimate betterment of my family, because all the promises of huge financial success were still being dangled like a carrot and I still clung to the belief that all my hard work and effort to turn adam’s businesses around and make them huge successes was on the horizon. However, I had been paying for daycare for my two youngest children (I have 4 total) in order to put in the time that Adam required and it was draining my account each month…. It cost about $7k total but there was no income to back it up, other than one payment in March of $1.5k that Adam did finally pay after promising and delaying for several weeks. This was putting huge stress on me and my family, as I had believed and relied on Adam’s promises of the amounts we would be making by that time, and they weren’t coming.
So we discussed and agreed upon a monthly salary rather than a profit share agreement for all the work we were doing, and we agreed on terms and a date each month to be paid. I was very naïve not to get it in a written contract, it was just a verbal agreement…. At that point I still trusted him enough to keep his word. Especially after I explained my family situation clearly. After that I continued to work as hard as ever but the payment he promised never came, until I finally told him I would no longer be able to work without payment. He agreed and then promptly began his long stretch of ignoring all my messages and avoiding me entirely. I went through a cycle of grief in a way, at first disbelief that after all those months of loyalty and insanely hard work and what I thought of as friendship, that he could so easily cast me aside, then anger that I had been duped and strung along, then I felt a deep sense of loss and sadness that the hopes and dreams I had for this company I had worked so hard to build were –poof- gone, then embarrassment that I had allowed myself to be taken advantage of and was so naïve… and on and on.
Basically I was quite devastated for awhile, as I had put 8 months of my life into this and I thought that I was sacrificing now so that my family could have a better life. He would throw out things like “This year you will be clearing $350k EASILY” and being naïve and trusting….I believed him. I thought I could turn things around, thought I could help Adam change for the better…..but it was all doomed to failure from the start. After I stopped working for him others starting coming to me and talking to me about their stories, former partners and clients and that made me feel even worse about the whole situation. I wont speak for them, it’s their choice whether they come forward or not but I can attest that there are MANY others.
I find it interesting that Adam on this thread asks people to just “reach out” if they have a problem, when I and apparently many others tried to do just that….for weeks and months on end but were given the run around again and again. If people try to resolve things in private but are ignored, what other choice do they have? I figured something like this would happen eventually but didn’t realize it would be so soon.
Now, is Adam a criminal? I don’t know about that. I don’t think so. At least he hasn’t done anything to me personally that is criminal. I have only experienced what I have written above.
Would I ever work for him or with him again, or be a client of his? Or recommend anyone else do the same? The answer to that is a resounding NO. I hope he can learn from all this backlash, it is a harsh lesson but if he has been doing this to people for years and getting away with it, then perhaps this is the only way to make it stop and for him to change his ways. I hope everyone who is still looking for restitution can get it.
Let me spill the beans: My Experience with following Adam and enrolling in Domain College.
I really didn’t want to be forth coming like this, but as illustrated with Frank Schilling, your request to get reimbursed or refunded only happens when a public statement is made. I have frankly waited too long and am still waiting on a failed commitment and no connection to an industry insider in order for me to capitalize from a website I paid $1500 for and which the transaction took place 13 months ago.
When entering the Domain Industry I looked for guidance and followed Adam since he seemed like a “mild mannered guy who will do anything for anyone”. He displayed wisdom in the Domain Industry. He seem like he was well respected as an industry leader. He showed vulnerability. He cries out openly on a Youtube video, about his harbored feelings about how hard it was to let go of his Dads passing. He seemingly sounded genuine and trusting. I was in for a little shocker.
First: Adam’s Domain Broker Course.
Normally the course was supposed to cost 2k. It was offered on AdamDicker.com. I felt like I was going to learn how to make good domain investments by a respectable domain industry figure. Adam offered a special on DomainSherpa for 1k (50% Off) and stated to visit this link to sign up
So, wanting to learn from the Industry Expert and getting real excited on getting 12 coaching sessions by what seems to be by Adam, I signed up. Did I get even one coaching session by Adam? No. Did I get 12 coaching sessions by anyone. No. After visiting the sign up page or link, is it made clear anywhere that the coaching would be given by anyone but Adam? Not to me.
I simply got many Youtube videos, featuring Adam (which I would guess, 95% are readily available on his Youtube channel or on Youtube.com in general or other Video Sources.
In fact I believe I had watched pretty much had already watched most of them already before this course. So okay. That sucks.
Than I should get excited about learning about domaining through Adam’s group coaching. Wrong. One coaching session by someone I didn’t even know existed because I signed up with the 50% discount. (Didn’t state that on the Sign up page on AdamDicker.com. And this was the one and only thing that had some value to me, but was it worth 1k? Sorry, it wasn’t that good.)
Okay, the course was offered by Troy Rushton. However, I think transparency on his “Domain Broker Course”, on his website should have been in order. The course is laid out so you take a few courses each day. By the time I was finished and found out that what I thought I signed up for, would not be delivered, the 30 Udemy refund policy had already being surpassed.
Okay. Nothing criminal here. At this time my attitude was: I am eager to learn about domaining. Lets scratch that and move on.
Second: Failed promise on Website Development
While having one of my domains reviewed by Adam, he open stated that I can start marking large sums of money via a lead generating business by having Adam develop a website and get me connected to someone in that industry. I forked out about 1.5k and was told that I would be connected to an industry expert for which I can sell my traffic leads to and make lots $$$$$$ of money. After more than 13 months, and bi-weekly follow ups, I have yet to be connected with a source and quite frankly speaking, feel like I have been given the constant run around.
I understand the man has bigger fish to fry, but honor your current commitments. Being a Web Developer for about 10 years, I solely had Adam develop the site to get me connected and help build me the business with a business connection that I felt was out of my reach. In addition to this, I feel the website (5-7 pages) and content that was developed was okay’ish. Worth 1.5k without the industry connection? Not to me.
Okay, just a bad investment? Things were promised. Only thing delivered was a quick 5-7 page website.
In addition, it is a shocker to hear that ZipZing was only $29.99 shortly before I bought it for $299 while participating on Domain College.
Lets sum it up. 2.799k in the hole. The only thing I gained was a tiny bit more experience. A stale website that has no connection in that industry. And some okay software to filter domains.
In my opinion the entire cost to benefit ratio at this point is poor. Do I think Adam is a criminal? No, I wouldn’t call him that. Do I believe that I been treated unfairly, unethically, poorly and with no consideration of following through with his commitments. Yes. I very much feel so. 13 months of waiting and then for 4 months of me constantly asking for updates on getting my connection set up for FanExperiencePackage.com and many times getting told: Tomorrow. It gets frustrating.
Fourth: My Commitment to work on his personal projects seemingly have No Value
Pretty much I have asked Adam for a refund several times and keeping on getting empty promises and am still waiting for closure. I have repeatedly offered a way to resolve the issue and have even gone so far as to offering another domain of NicheKeywords.com in collateral for the cost of the failed commitment on delivering the connection with the website. I am new Domain Investor trying to learn the ropes and to be given the short end of the stick like this after working on one of his “Inner Circle Projects” for countless hours (60-70 hours a week) for many months and not making a notable dime due to promises and commitments that we felt were not taken as serious as anticipated, has simply being overwhelming.
To sum it up, I and a few other people in the similar situation had to battle depression (full month for me) coming to realization that a few months of my /our life(s) were wasted on a project with near zero income. On other side of the spectrum, I felt that the project(s) that we worked so hard to get off its feet, simply never received the commitment, time and resources for them to succeed in the matter that we were expecting. But that is the StartupLife for you. Some make it, some fail.
Fifth: How to Ensure that New People in the Industry are not treated the same
The main reason is that I want my request to get refunded to finally have my request to be taken serious. I have worked endless hours for a man and didn’t make nearly no money and then to also get treated in this manner on failed website project became simply too much. A Person can only take so much.
The second biggest thing about me coming clean on this, is that this cannot be swept under the rug. I do not want to see other new people entering the industry to get the same treatment as I have. To have no say and no way to stand up for themselves because of the Uber presence some of these leading Industry Experts have.
So in no sense is there any criminal activity. I just hope that the people will be compensated for non completed promises made and that any future promises / commitments will be honored. That can be done. Right, Adam?
I sincerely hope that my story is among the very few out there.
David Gruttadaurio says
You sound like a nice guy Jeff… a lot nicer than me… and I was on the hook for “only” a grand. What Deadbeat Dicker has done – if what all of the complaints say is true… and I have no reason to believe otherwise based upon my experience – is called fraud. Let’s just say the word out loud: Fraud. And I believe that is crime. It’s a dark day for the domain industry… but it will pass, just like the Toby Clements scandal did last year.
While all this is going on, Google has just bought abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz.com
Seems owning the Alphabet was always on their hit list.
BTW Adam never did wrong by me.
All the best for the future.
But he did wrong others. Thats the topic.
But he DID wrong many others, thats the topic.
Andrew Allemann says
I’ve read a lot of claims over the past 24-36 hours. I’m not sure it’s getting us anywhere. I know that Shane Bellone (the author of the original blog post that started this discussion) plans to reveal more.
I’d like to collect some good information, rather than just basic accusations. I think this will be helpful in getting the full story. With that in mind, you can email me at andrew (at) domainnamewire.com if you believe you have been cheated. However, I only want the information in this format:
1. What you bought or your business deal and relevant dates
2. How much you paid, if applicable
3. What was delivered
4. How was this deficient compared to what you were promised
5. Do you have commitments (either prior to the transaction or afterward) that are in writing?
6. Did you ask for a refund? If so, did you receive a response? Include dates/details
7. Your name
E-MAIL THESE TO ME RATHER THAN POSTING A COMMENT IF YOU WANT ME TO TAKE A LOOK. You’re welcome to post a comment, but I’ll only look at the emails.
Shane Bellone says
Thanks for seeking the truth, Andrew.
You seem like a good man.
Just curious where is this mentioned tweet from Frank Schilling requesting Adam dicker to contact Uniregistry’s billing department? Did it get deleted? I don’t see it.
Andrew Allemann says
Yes, it must have been deleted.
People are entirely too pathethic. If money could be made that easy in the domain business we would all be rich instead of having BLOGS!
It sounds like the greed factor is causing domainers to lose their
F*cking minds! and possibly their wallets as well in their get
“get rich quick” in the domainbiz mentality.
People need to stop Tripping over themselves to become fanboys
of “Sherpas” and use common sense.
Here is some good “Domain College” advice for FREE:
“If It Sounds Too Good To Be True..Then It Probably Is!”
C.S. Watch says
Well, you put quite a fine point on it, but yes.
When looking for a leg up, ask, “Is the speaker Tenzing Norgay, and is it that he is a Nepalese Buddhist?” (In the event the answer is no, maybe carry your own water.)
Domainer Extraordinaire says
Right on. They’re better off investing in a time machine.
Joseph Peterson says
Still awaiting $250 reimbursement for unused DNForum advertising, as discussed.
Joseph Peterson says
Still unpaid. This post follows 4 emails on 4 separate dates going back to September 23.
Joseph Peterson says
We discussed reimbursement on Monday. You asked to wait until Wednesday. Wednesday night I reminded you. You said I’d be paid in the morning. Now it’s Friday night. No word from you.
If you cannot raise $250, I can accept repayment in domains. If all of your domains are tied up as collateral so that you can repay others with a loan, then I can be patient and wait for cash. But I don’t have time to chase you while you stall or procrastinate.
Joseph Peterson says
8 days waiting for $250. Since speaking with Adam Dicker, that is.
Timelines proposed by Adam twice. Missed twice.
Andrew Allemann says
That’s a very bad sign.
Joseph Peterson says
Adam Dicker repaid me this afternoon.
Joseph Peterson says
Adam Dicker told me Wednesday afternoon that he would repay me $250 “probably tomorrow” but failing that by Friday.
It’s now midnight Thursday. Tomorrow will be 1 month since I first requested a refund.
Since my claim is probably the smallest debt on Adam’s list and the simplest to dispose of, that makes me a canary in this coal mine.
If Adam repays me, that doesn’t mean he will repay everybody else. But if Adam doesn’t repay me, then it’s certain he won’t repay others who are less visible and who have more substantial claims.
Some time ago, I initiated a Paypal dispute, which remains under review. I’ll recover my little sum; it’s only a question of when and how.
Good luck to everybody else!
M. Menius says
It’s difficult not to have gut level disgust at the behavior that was described in the LannyB account. Many good people in this industry have been burned over the years. And it’s better that things like this get exposed – not swept under the rug. I appreciate DNW choosing to address this story. Many people seem to have been affected, and the rest needed to be informed.
I don’t root for failure, however I do root for accountability.
Frank had you by the balls as he had your domains which forced you to pay up
Your a disgusting little man that has had a life long venture into fraud and deception which gave you a status you abused to all the people that dreamed to do what you do..but you abused there trust – while you spent the $ they lived like slaves dreaming of a better day.
you really are a Dick mate…your name serves you well Mr Adam Dicker.
Why am I not surprised by all of this? Didn’t the Godaddy fiasco put Dickers moral compass on center stage for all of us to see? Or when the Canadian Royal Police charged him with Satellite piracy? I lost respect for the guy back then, Although the Godaddy Auction deal was not illegal, it went to his character and yet some of you still chose to do business with him, Why? because he owns a puffed up, over hyped domain forum?
I agree with Andrew, many in our industry place people like Dicker on pedestals, completely discounting or ignoring the offenses they commit, These are kiss asses who believe by kissing ass it will get them places, and it usually does, but what they lose in the process is their dignity, and for that they could care less… You know who you are!