Shane Cultra and Aaron Strong

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I know some of you have been following the unfortunate posting on some of the blogs. In the interest of transparency I am stating CLEARLY, if you want to post a comment with allegations of criminal activity, bad practices or abuse, have the proof!

I will be moderating comments. Instead of spreading this even further on the blogs, I have responded to a sampling of the posts here:
It started when Shane Cultra violated the rules in DomainBoardroom.com. He agreed to the rule when he applied and acknowledged that he was aware that rule.

The rule was that what was said on Domainboardroom.com is confidential. The rule is there so people speak freely as Shane acknowledged on his own blog.

ShaneCultra
April 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm:    

MikeS,

it is agreed upon not to discuss things on DBR. And I understand why. It keeps it open and free. I just didn’t realize I couldn’t generalize or link to. I actually thought I was helping by linking. I guess that was foolish

He knew the link wasn’t the problem. It was his out of context use of our discussion. And that he let stand.This isn’t “secret information” It’s “private information”. Since he did it publicly, I addressed it publicly.He had posted information then twisted it to fit his business model. So not only did he break the confidentiality rule, he twisted it and out right lied. You all need to wonder if he’ll do this to YOU! It’s unethical and bad business. He decided to play victim because I called him out publicly on what he did publicly. Seems fair to me. You can do as you please, but grownups accept the consequences. Shane then continued to fuel the fire.

Shane then goes on the next day to say this:

And it turns out Tia and I have something in common. We’ve both been kicked out of Domain Board Room.  I can’t imagine what she could have possibly done to get kicked out,  but like me, it was probably terrible and forever damaging.  Like spelling a word wrong, saying something that the supreme leader didn’t like

She knows exactly why she was banned and she and I have come to terms a long time ago, concerning this issue. Thanks to Shane, the members of DBR have gone looking for the long buried dead thread. Shame on you Shane. Did you think of the consequences of your comment?  Tia deserved better than that from you.

Shane goes on to say:

Thank you for all the kind comments, emails, and texts.  I was surprised how many from the forum actually sent emails.  And I completely understand why many wanted to stay out of it.  When two people you like fight,t it’s best to just stand aside and let it finish

So, in this statement with no proof of fact, I can claim people spoke against you too. You call contacting you letting it finish and yet here you are..keeping it going.

On another blog Shane Cultra show his paranoia and lack of class as a gentleman:

Aaron,

I promise your comment is published. We’re having issues with comments coming and going. Especially when you go through the home page. Every comment is published. And thanks for not joining in and blasting me to hell. It’s hard having an entire secret society of domainers hating controversy is draining.  Especially when an old lady scolds you and she’s not even your mother.

This point is especially interesting because here is what Shane had to say about Aaron on Domain Investing on April 20,

Shane goes on to say:

Aaron Strong. Ask anyone in the industry who has met me at a domain conference. I am one of the happiest people you’ll meet. I have nothing but positivity with and towards almost everyone I meet. I smile all the time. I like the people in this industry and who I am within, that I bring my family and even my own mother to conferences. It says a lot about a person if I have negativity towards someone. And I very much dislike you. You are such a piriah that Adam Strong has asked you to change your name to Billy or something different to avoid soiling his name. I try and forget that you are even involved in this industry and yet you pop up on our “opening day” to try and soil it in the comments.”

Yes, I’m 64 and way beyond playground games. A little food for thought for those of you who actually  think instead of looking for troll space. If I ran DomainBoardroom so poorly and it was such an awful place…why would it thrive. I don’t chain people in you know. They can leave. But by your own admission, they protect their memberships. They pay me to be there. Think about it.Aaron Strong has proceeded to make totally unfounded accusations of criminal activity. He refuses to show proof and some folks give him credibility. This may end up in legal action by him or myself. DomainBoardroom.com can stand up to the closest scrutiny by any law enforcement agency so I have no fear of this.Here is a selection of his drivel. In spite of being asked for proof, he continues spewing unfounded accusations of criminal activity. That’s actionable libelous activity my friend. Not just against me but a few hundred others. And I will be happy to turn over records. The truth shall set you free and I have seven years of provable unaltered FACTS. Here are some of Aaron Strong’s statements. Your buddies can run over and delete as they please but their logs will
show the deletions.
Aaron Strong stated:

Is Alan Shiflett part of the “Secret Domain Society” run by DomainBoardroom? Are you, Elliot, a member of this group?……This group is under scrutiny for a handful of unethical business practices, including auction manipulation at all auction platforms. Industry insiders involved in this group needs to become transparent in order for investors not to be a victim of the fraud and manipulation….So I ask you again Elliot, are you a member of the DBR Secret Domain Society?
and after Elliot asked if he was serious:
Aaron StrongContinues:

No…All serious. Are you unaware of the developments that have come forward regarding the DBR “Secret Domain Society”?…There are some serious accusations that could become criminal regarding this society…Manipulating auctions is no small crime……..Are you a member? Do you support Shane or the Secret Domain Society?

….. The development of the Secret Domain Society has astonishing ripple effects on the whole domain industry. I for one will no longer purchase domains at auction, as the prices are manipulated by the Secret Domain Society…
Elliot and Brad, Please don’t discredit my seriousness….I asked some serious questions. If you can’t answer the questions just take the fifth…..As far as the ill intentions of the Secret Domain Society,there has already been some admitting of wrongdoing…Now we are trying to find out how manipulative this society is and what the effects have been….Can you answer or address the concerns?
And: on DomainPicks.com:

Mark – Hat tip to you for making it clear you are not involved with the DBR Secret Domain Society….Distancing yourself from a possible criminal organization is always worthy of recognition. I am working with the GD/Afternic legal team for clarification on the developments of the Secret Domain Society….

Aaron Strong says:    
April 26, 2014 at 3:42 pm    

Mark, Please remove my family from the comments. I had no idea it would come to this. Sorry…
Reply    

    Mark replies:    
    April 26, 2014 at 5:11 pm    

    Removed at your request, and thanks, finally I get some controversy going 😎Cool Mark, page views matter, not truth, right?
    Reply    
       
Aaron Strong replies:    
        April 26, 2014 at 6:36 pm    

        Thanks Mark!

These accusations of a secret society have been expressed on  JasonThompson.co

The Secret Domain Society has all of the auctions rigged. The Secret Domain Society has planted insiders at aftermarket platforms resulting in a system of favoritism…..This is why the growth of “domaining” does not keep up with population growth……….I love domains but I despise the corruption in the industry

Aaron Strong has shown no proof of this.

Now let’s talk about “secret domain society” vs “private forum” Secret…can you use Google? Now anybody who can read knows what’s in the future for these two. And maybe the forum, hosting and registrars. Rumor has it that Godaddy assesses some serious fines if even a claim is made. Check out your rights and find out where you stand. I have! I most always give second chances…Right Shane?? Now I’m off to spend my time on more important things…positive things for the industry. The DomainersChoiceAwards.com and Domainer’s Choice Scholarship Fund. And yes, we are a government sanctioned charity.

 

33 Responses to Shane Cultra and Aaron Strong

  1. The "secret domain name society" is as fictional as that of the "Stonecutters" on The Simpsons.



    Back in the real world, Donna does a wonderful job operating the private DomainBoardRoom.

  2. I know how much you care about everyone in our DBR family. It is a shame that innuendo and lies have come to the need for these actions.

  3. Charlie says:

    “What man ever openly apologizes for slander? It is not so much a feeling of slander as it is that of a massive lie, a misdeed not only to the slandered but also to those manipulated in the process. He has made them all, every one, his enemies, thereupon he is so overwhelmed with guilt that he will deny it until his grave.” ― Criss Jami

  4. Chip says:

    Baseless and blanket accusations of fraud and collusion are serious threats to the integrity and reputation of all the members of the Domain Boardroom. The Domain Boardroom is an organization–steered selflessly by Donna–that prides itself on open and honest discussions. I want to applaud Donna and the Domain Boardroom Members for setting the standard in how the domain industry should operate.

  5. Josh Sexton says:

    As a member of DomainBoardroom for going on 3 years, I can say it is a friendly place, and calling it a "secret society" is ridiculous. It is more like an oasis in what can sometimes be a pretty shady industry.

    Making unsubstantiated generalized accusations that there are criminal activities going on at DBR is reckless and libelous behavior. The fact is, I would venture to guess that there is absolutely no criminal element on DBR. In fact, the rules seem designed to prevent any such shenanigans.

    To Arron or anyone else who attacks the reputation of DBR:

    Regarding crime, you are absolutely wrong, and it would be a good idea to think twice before making false accusations. It is my understanding that making false accusations forms a very good basis for legal action against the accusing party.

    Also, I don't know you at all, but I would venture to guess that you are a real person with real feelings and and a life beyond domaining. It would be nice if you could take a moment to think about the effects that your words have on other people. Donna is a real person with real feelings, too, and has done nothing wrong here. Making false accusations (AKA guessing poorly) hurts both her and DBR.

    My advice to you would be to step away from the computer for a few hours and spend time with someone you love, and then come back and call a truce. Life's much too short to waste making blog comments, anyway. There are much more valuable activities to be doing, especially in the domain world where opportunity is everywhere.

  6. Derek says:

    Comments on recent blog posts and the massive trolling highlight perfectly why DBR needs to exist. It has nothing to do with trying to "control" anything, it is about getting away from the playground so the grown ups can communicate without all that noise. Everyone now and then one of the toddlers wanders up to the adult table and has to be put back in the nursery, then goes back to the nursery and screams about it, loudly.

    DBR is a great resource and Donna is stern but fair. If you got kicked out of DBR you deserved it and in over 7 years on that board I have yet to see a case where that is not true. The rule about not sharing information off the board is there to protect members who share far more information than they would on a public forum, not to "cover up" any illicit activity.

    Haven't these noobs learned by now that nobody can keep a secret for 5 minutes in the domain business, if there really were anything more "interesting" happening at DBR, the world would know about it.

  7. Bill Fish says:

    I'm a member of this "super secret society" and I'm also definitely small potatoes. I scrape around for Godaddy discount codes like everyone else.

    Being a member of DBR is a privilege. Even paying the annual fee is a privilege, as it is way less that the value provided – and I'm sure it doesn't come near compensating Donna for all the work she puts in every day. It's obviously a labor of love. It's insulting when people refuse to pay, or act like they deserve something for that paltry sum. It's completely missing the point of the group.

    So imagine having to hear the ridiculous allegations in blogs. That in itself shows why a private forum is needed. It's disheartening to get involved in public forum spats where nobody is interested in learning or helping – but rather just in scoring points for their own vanity, trying to "enhance" their reputation among the masses, or just being generally loonie.

    DBR is like sitting in a room with a lot of smart people, all trying to help each other, and all speaking as freely as they would if we were, say, having dinner somewhere. That conversation doesn't work at public forums, because of the sniping and games, but also because there are times we don't want our words to be forever public. Even the public forums have private sections, though they are less private than they could be.

    If I am going to sit at a table and talk about my ideas, thoughts and strategies, I don't want someone to print them in a blog or reveal them on a forum the next day. DBR has a spirit of sharing that no place else online can offer. My hats off to Donna for making it last as long as it has. And she does that by enforcing the rules equally among all members, top domainers or not, well-known or not. Members don't have to be a big shot or an insider to get in. I'm a piker, and I'm there – even if I have less to contribute at times. (Maybe that's why I haven't been shown the secret handshake:))

    I understand the feelings of those who were kicked out. I would feel hurt as well. So I try to stay on my best behavior, as do all members – and that make the place work. It's a great place to learn, and DBR does quite a lot behind the scenes to help improve things for all domainers. The ethical standards are high. Even nice guys can cross the line. Rather than whine about it, maybe people should take an honest look at their behavior. Nobody's perfect. But nobody can improve while blaming others for their misfortunes.

    So thanks, Donna, for all the hard work!

  8. charles christopher says:

    thank you for all you do donna! 🙂

  9. Warren Royal says:

    I've been a member of DBR for 6 years and I'm proud that they will have me. I was referred by a friend who told me that it was a great resource for serious domain industry professionals- and that has proven to be exactly the case. Donna runs a tight ship and because of that, the community benefits tremendously.

    Like Derek, I've never seen anyone in all that time who was banned unfairly- including Shane. He knows he was wrong.

    His actions clearly justified his removal and his subsequent dismissive remarks (i.e. "when an old lady scolds you") were unwarranted and unprofessional and a complete embarrassment for those of us who previously respected his work. They were childish at best and were not worthy of a leading industry figure.

    Thank you Donna, for everything you have done- and continue to do- for DBR and for the industry as a whole.

  10. Marcia Lynn says:

    Very sad to see that a few people actually accept the unsubstantiated rumors of one bitter person – Aaron Strong – seriously. Shame on every one of you supposed domain industry bloggers and commenters who think there's one ounce of merit to what Aaron Strong has been posting on a couple of sites. He's been asked repeatedly for evidence of his claims, and can provide none.

    Your tolerance (and even support) for idiotic, unsubstantiated, libelous posts such as the ones Aaron's been making against Donna and DBR is being closely watched by many of us in this business, and will likely come back to bite you in the long run.

  11. Raymond Hackney says:

    I am lost my the notion of a secret society, Rick Schwartz had a private board years ago, was that a secret society ? No it was not, is Domain Boardroom ? No, again.

    Let me ask is Augusta National a secret society ? No its is private club that can pick and choose which members it allows into their club.

    Anyone can apply to Domain Boardroom, Aaron Strong certainly could have applied before this rant. everyone is not accepted, but there are people of all races, backgrounds, domain experience. It is not a secret society built around certain religious or socio – economic classes.

    It is certainly permissible for anyone to think there is something fishy going on at auction platforms, but without any proof, someone cannot make unsubstantiated claims that a certain group is doing that without having some semblance of proof.

    On top of that, it is an over reaching comment as it is being directed at a whole forum and not all members of a forum may even participate in domain auctions.

    Donna does a lot of work for all the members to keep the place running in the manner for why it was created. because there are some people that don't want to share everything on a public forum. They might not want to reveal their strategies at a place where they feel they won't get equal value back.

    If Donna did not hold up those standards she could face repercussions by members who thought they were speaking in private but Donna was lax.

    Again when someone says this "The Secret Domain Society has all of the auctions rigged. The Secret Domain Society has planted insiders at aftermarket platforms resulting in a system of favoritism"

    You kind of need to be able to prove it and give details and facts.

  12. Gregoire says:

    At this time I thought it had already gone much too far and I wasn't sure it was the best solution to make any further comments. However, this post has the merit to put the facts straight, let's hope that it will also put an end to all this.

    I’m a member of DBR. Thank you for the hard work Donna, there is no other place like DBR.

  13. Not Aaron Strongs Fa says:

    Aaron

    Thanks for mentioning the secret domain society

    I checked and the domain was available at reg fee!

    Who knew domaining was this ez

    Me and C—n are going to follow in your footsteps and register some Hillary names ourselves

    I still can’t believe you had the foresight to register Hillaryclinton.net and mittromney.net and I hope you don't plan to embarrass them and extort money from them in exchange for their names works

    A—y asked me to ask you

    Did u register Romneycare.com in error

    She says it’s obamacare

    Anyway I like thenudgeinitiative.com and like you think it’s worth a million but

    petraeusscandal.com to me seems to have a limited shelf live

    Sometimes when I see your names I’m not sure whether congratulations or condolences are in order

    After seeing your names congratulations are definitely in order

    To your registrar

    PS your new gtld registrations are great examples of what not to register if you want to be part of the super elite domain underground

  14. Bob Olea says:

    It's good to see the chronology of all of this drama in one place. Some of the allegations made have been pretty ridiculous and funny at best, libelous at worst.

    DomainBoardroom is a very unique and PRIVATE (not secret) place. There's nowhere else quite like it. I highly value my membership there, since 2008, and I do my best to give back to the DBR community more than I take. The resources and talents of the members would knock the socks off of most outsiders. Truly remarkable!

    Part of the reason that DBR members share so freely is because it's a collaborative community that supports each other, and there's a strict rule of PRIVACY, as well as standards of behavior!

    We also look outward, and that's why you see events like http://www.DomainersChoiceAwards.com. A non-profit event started by Donna, meant to benefit ALL of the domain community with scholarships for it's children! I'm a supporter, and will continue to help in those efforts.

    Donna should be applauded for all of her hard work – not attacked with baseless and libelous lies! Hopefully this controversy will die soon, now that the FACTS have been laid out.

  15. Jeff says:

    I am also a DBR member and I am proud to be in here. Donna has done a wonderful job in working hard for the domain industry all these years! She is a true leader. The members are great and I am happy I am in DBR as a full time domainer. If it was not for DBR I would not be where I am right now, all part of the journey. Have some fun, learn from great domainers and avoid the fools..

    DBR is true community. A family.

    Moving along and true colors were shown..

  16. Russ says:

    Donna runs an great ship. It's sad to see the allegations leveled against someone who respects the industry as much as she does. She has said enough, and now the chips are falling into place. Drama only deserves to be addressed when it's gone too far, and this has gone too far.

    Thank you, Donna, for all the work you put in to running YOUR site.

  17. Phil says:

    I just want to publicly say thank you to Donna for providing a place for everyone involved with dbr a safe drama free and family environment where we can share thoughts ideas and questions to one another. It's a wonderful group of people with varying interests and knowledge , it's the farthest thing from a secret society .. So thank you Donna and fellow board members for giving me a place to talk about domains , tech, family.

  18. I started in the domain name industry in 1996, and have been a member of DBR since 2008.

    I have seen zero evidence of any "colluding" behaviour, be that auction-related or otherwise, in any DBR thread at any time during my time as a member (I am a frequent visitor and poster, with over 2,000 posts on DBR, so it would have been impossible for me to miss such a "momentous" issue).

    One of the great things about having a private board and a trusted, tight-knit community in which to discuss domain name industry issues is that the signal to noise ratio tends to be exponentially higher than on "public" forums.

    That's not to say that the latter don't have their place, or their value – for example, I keep a daily eye on AcornDomains.co.uk where I have made over 6,000 posts – but they simply can't replicate the average level of professionalism that can be found on a discussion forum such as DBR, where everyone knows who everyone else is, membership is gently but firmly pre-screened, and where all members are subject to a few simple, easy to follow rules, for the betterment of the community experience as a whole.

    I can understand that there may be a certain amount of resentment felt by a small number of people who have been excluded from participating on DBR, either by having their membership revoked or by seeing their membership application declined. It's never pleasant to be on the outside of something and unable to join in.

    However, that does not excuse, for one second, the fabrication and propagation of scurrilous and damaging allegations that have no basis in reality.

    On the web, it's very easy to feel safe and cozy behind your browser. The sense of anonymity, of distance, of separation makes the bold bolder. It makes the angry more furious. It encourages those prone to gossip and scuttlebut to inflate their "fish stories" until each one references a whale.

    But at the end of the day, we are all responsible for our own behaviour. Whether it's face to face, or from the "safety" of your keyboard, if you make up false statements about a person or group of people, YOU are liable for your words – nobody else put them up on the screen. And that makes you equally liable for the consequences of those words.

    Take that responsibility seriously.

  19. Tim Davids says:

    No way to improve on the above comments only to say it would be a privilege for any one to be a member of "the boardroom".

    You'll never see people chipping in to pay for and hold names dropping that a friend accidentally dropped on a public forum. That type of thing happens all the time on the private forum.

    Keep up the good work Donna and fellow members.

  20. Deepak says:

    I am a proud member of DBR for the past few years and consider it my second home.

    Words once used can be twisted and turned as one pleases but a true gentleman is one who realizes his mistakes and makes amend to rectify them rather than resorting to name calling.

    Doesn't reflect highly on the person or his ethics in life.

    Somethings are meant to be cherished and DBR is such a place and Donna is one of the nicest person I have met in the Domain space.

    I just have respect for what she does for DBR, making it a place for people to come share their fears, sorrow, happiness, ideas, experiences and vision without the slightest fear of any repercussions.

  21. Pat Quinn says:

    Thank goodness for Donna and DBR. It's really fantastic to have a place where folks with a common interest can have a discussion, debate, or even a passionate, but civil, argument without the constant noise of trolls who didn't get enough attention when they were little spouting nonsensical drivel.

    Thanks Donna! Keep up the great work you do! I know it isn't easy.

  22. Ed says:

    I have not commented on any blogs about this "situation" and have not consistently read up on them, but have read enough to make a few comments.

    1. Mr. Cultra: I feel bad you violated one of DBR rules, as I am sure you are also. You are not the only one who has, unfortunately. The others are no longer members either. I am sure if things could be undone, you would also take a different path.

    2. Mr. Strong (Aaron S.): I feel bad for you that you took one sided info and turned it into such a whirlwind. I hope you can take some time with your family, relax and recommit to the domaining community to make it a better place. I am sure if things could be undone, you also would also take a different path.

    3. Mr. Thompson (Jason): I feel bad for you. Giving up an IP address to expose someone is a new low. I have not noticed that done before… ever. I am sure if things could be undone, you also would also take a different path.

    4. Ms. Mahoney: I feel bad for you. I know this hit you hard. You did not deserve all this "noise" that occurred. Yet, you and DBR will continue, and continue in integrity. You give DBR members a place to bounce off ideas, discuss business concerns without fear of repercussions, and chastisement as we consistently police our own members comments.

    5. My DBR Members. I know I speak for a lot of the membership. Thank you ALL for making DBR a special place, and you Donna for sacrifices made time and time again. Yes, Donna has the final say, but it is not without input from the membership and a typically cool head, any decision is made. DBR is not a secret, many people have heard of DBR. It is not a cult, we have members of all faiths. Can anyone be accepted? No. Anyone can apply. Certain policies exist to ensure that DBR remains one of the highest ethically based groups in the domain world. We do police our own, and the need to go to the woodshed exists from time to time as well as member expulsion. It's not hard to stay a member, common sense, respect, concern and a willingness to participate and an appetite to learn. DBR encompasses some of the brightest minds in the domain world, not all, but a surprising amount. I am proud to be a member.

    – Ed Lehmann

  23. Jonathan says:

    Donna, you cannot win a game of "willy waving", little men have years of practice : )

  24. Brendan says:

    Upon hearing about a character named Aaron S. making accusations that DBR is a “secret domain society” collectively involved with “auction manipulation at all auction platforms” – I found it disgusting & shameful that someone would make such baseless & irresponsible accusations about DBR. I am glad to see this blog post documenting the chronology of events and hope that any misconceptions caused by these factless ramblings are corrected.

    Donna selflessly runs the best forum on the internet and that is no secret….I also find it disgusting that any knowledgable person in this industry (former DBR member or not) would not correct the misconceptions potentially caused by Aaron S – it is really Domain Shame-ful.

  25. toozi says:

    Secret Domain Society? I've been a member at DBR since day one and it's never been a secret as far as I've known. I've made some great friends and business associates there and I haven't seen anything that could be interpreted as illegal or conspiratorial there. How hard is it to understand the simple rule of "what said on the board … stays on the board"? If people speak with expectations that it will remain in this one place what's wrong with that? All the accusations being made about DBR are baseless … people should act professional, grow up and stop acting out like children.

  26. DonnasBlog says:

    Thank you for your comments everyone. Now it's perfectly clear that there is nothing secret about us. Here we are! We're just a few people who like to be in a noise free environment.

  27. David Harrison says:

    I count myself as very fortunate to be a member of DBR. It's a very open and instructive environment, thanks to Donna and the members. Proud to be a part of it!

  28. PaulC says:

    I've been a member of DBR since 2007 and want to add my voice to the fact that DBR is not some secretive meeting place for those manipulating the domain industry. It is simply a great place for discussion of all aspects of the domain industry, without having to listen to the inane ramblings of the idiotic fringe, so exemplified by some of the baseless postings on domain blogs. Edwin got it spot on when he talked about signal-to-noise ratio.

    Putting aside the hurt feelings of those that are excluded from DBR, it should be obvious to any objective observer that the make-up of the membership means that they would not stand idly by if there were any nefarious activity taking place – DBR boasts some of the strongest proponents for fairness in the domain industry as its members.

    Donna does a great job – but it is often a thankless and difficult one, as she is the buffer between the site and those with hurt feelings, warped imaginations and who can't play nice with others.

    Thanks Donna – and I'm sorry you have to put up with this nonsense.

  29. Tom says:

    It is telling Cultra who has the biggest mouth and ego in this business did not post here. Guess he only posts on his own blog to spew the jokes.

  30. Martin says:

    I really enjoy my DBR membership. I like pretty much everything about it, especially the atmosphere and great concentration of experience. Rules are simple, and some people, who don't understand the inner environment may find em too strict… but actually the rules in combination with great people there make the board more than just a board. Thanks for the opportunity to be a member, Donna (and DBR).

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