Selling And Buying Drugs On The Internet: A Qualitative Analysis Of Drug Vendors And Drug Users Interactions

Drug vendors and drug users have become familiar over the past few years with a new way to buy and sell drugs: the cryptomarkets. Cryptomarkets are virtual anonymous marketplaces that look and work like other online merchant websites (Amazon, eBay) except for the fact that they specialize in the sale of illicit drugs. To protect their participants, cryptomarkets have adopted a number of technological innovations like virtual currencies and anonymous connections using the Onion Router (TOR). In order to facilitate transactions and information sharing, cryptomarket administrators have created online discussion forums that are accessible to all. Drug vendors and drug users routinely interact in these forums to talk about what they have to sell, their past experience with vendors or the drug trade in general. This project aims to study the interactions between vendors and buyers on one of these discussion forums. This forum was online during more than two years and was associated with the first cryptomarket ever launched, Silk Road. More specifically, this project will seek to understand how drug vendors build their online identity, the marketing strategies that the vendors use as well as the relationship between drug vendors and drug users. Our analysis will be using both conversational and content analysis. The results of this study will help to better design the nature of interactions (e.g. professional, friendly or hostile) between sellers and buyers of these markets, as well as issues and risks underlying them.

This content has been updated on 8 August 2016 at 17 h 50 min.