Moving Away From Online Illicit Markets: Analyzing The Rise Of Single Vendor Shops On The Dark Net
Conference of the American Society of Criminology, New Orleans, USA
Online illicit markets have taken many forms over the past 30 years: Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), newsgroups, discussion forums and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) chat rooms. They have provided their participants with many benefits such as access to a wide pool of possible partners and customers and access to information and tools. They also however attracted the attention of law enforcement agencies who have managed to very publicly take down many online illicit markets. As a result, online illicit market participants have started to shift their activities from markets that are hosted on the open Internet to more secure platforms hosted on the dark net. In many cases, this shift has led them to cryptomarkets, websites that share the visual look and feel of merchant websites such as Amazon but that provide a more secure environment. This is achieved through the use of encryption (both for communications and connections) and the use of virtual currencies such as bitcoins.
The aim of this paper is to develop our understanding of the next wave of transformation in online illicit markets, the move away from cryptomarkets and towards single vendor shops. For a number of reasons, vendors are choosing to set up their own marketplace where they alone are offering products and services for sale. These vendors still use cryptomarkets to establish their credibility and trustworthiness but suggest to their buyers that they make purchases directly from them on their online shop rather than from their shops on cryptomarkets. This study will survey the single vendor online shops to understand the profile of vendors who set up these shops. Their online profiles and activity levels on cryptomarkets will also be analyzed to model which vendor profile can lead to the creation of a single vendor shop.
This content has been updated on 8 August 2016 at 17 h 43 min.