Will DarkList Website Become The Yelp For Online Drug Dealers?

By McCarton Ackerman 01/29/14

Though not a marketplace that administers sales, DarkList aims to reconnect drug users with their dealers.

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Surprising as it may seem, the world of online drug dealing didn’t stop when Silk Road was shut down.

A new website called DarkList is advertising itself as a Yelp-style resource for online drug dealers and relaunched last week after a month-long hiatus. The website reconnects drug users with their online dealers of choice once a website like Silk Road has been shut down, but has no involvement in the actual drug trading itself. The tagline on the DarkList homepage states that “buying and selling anonymously on the Dark Web is currently in a volatile state. We built this directory so that you can always have a way to stay in contact with those you love.”

DarkList already has competitors in the world of online drug dealer directories; a user named El Presidente created another site that calls itself the “All Markets Vendor Directory.” But DarkList goes a few steps further by allowing users to message dealers directly and send them Bitcoin payments, which the site takes a 2.5% fee on. “I can tell you that we have limited our functionality, as well as monetization opportunities, to mitigate the interest of those wishing to enforce their laws,” said the DarkList administrator in an e-mail. “A marketplace goes down, and everyone scrambles to connect with each other. That’s where DarkList really shines (in a dark way).”

Silk Road creator Ross Ulbrecht was arrested last October for running the black market drug site, which initially launched in February 2011. At its peak, the site made $1 million per month in profit. Last month, Ulbrecht asked a judge to have the government return the $30 million in Bitcoins that were seized from his computer. The site has since relaunched, but has dealt with numerous attacks from hackers that have taken the site down for days and weeks at a time.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.