How Will the Toby Clements Story End?

Jun 16 2014

It’s one of the more sad stories in Domain Investing since I’ve been around.  When I came on the scene the Rick Latona/Toby Clements newsletter was THE place to sell your domain.  If you got your name on the newsletter it was an honor.  I soon learned that half of the team didn’t operate in a manner I felt comfortable.  Rick sold one of my names at an auction and took three months to pay me.  Always excuses, always a reason.  Getting the name to me and transferring it to the new owner on the other hand was quick and efficient.  Payment was not as quick.

When Toby and Rick split up I didn’t know the exact reason.  I had my suspicions but wasn’t privy to the information.  But I figured that it would be good for the newsletter. At the time, people liked Toby.  He was the one that you went to if you needed answers. He seemed to be the workhorse of the team.  At the conferences he was a mover and a shaker.  Always bidding on big names and was part of some of the bigger transactions going on at the time.  But then something happened. The newsletters started going out less frequently and rumors started spreading that payouts were starting to take a bit longer.  There were even rumors of a Ponzi scheme.  Allegedly using new sales to pay out old sales.  None of this has ever been verified except the part that people were not getting paid.

On June 6th at the domain site Toronto Domainer,  Eon wrote,

I sold a name via Toby Clements’ newsletter on Jan 23, Mike Bowden, his associate, confirmed having received the payment from buyer on Feb 6. I sent him the EPP code and whois record showed that the transfer was done on Feb 13. Since then I had big difficulty connecting to Clements or Bowden for my money, actually I get only 2 replies from Toby Clements to my dozens of messages.

In a message on March 13, he said he was terribly sorry for his silence, because he had some large accounting errors and was in the process of getting a bridge loan from his bank to solve the problem, and the loan should be in place in a few days, then he could use it to pay me. (later I found out at dnforum some other victims received similar replies.

On March 25, he wrote he had made a very large sale, which was expected closed out and paid by Friday. He would then be instructing to send the funds to me directly.

After that I got nothing. These two gentlemen evaporated like ghosts.

There have been many of these types of posts and comments on the forums.  Too many for it to not be a real problem. Toby has been noticeably absent from all the domain conferences as well. In my opinion it’s not going to end well for anyone.  Toby’s reputation is already gone and I can’t imagine that all the people that are owed money will be paid. I’ve never seen good results from someone that is waiting for a big sale to come through to help pay off debt.  After dealing with many people that owe me money I’ve heard it all.  And they’ve all gone through these exact same stages.  Lack of communication and when it does come it’s always an excuse and an undefined timeline of payment.   And the only time I ever get paid is when I pay to put a lien against their personal home. I have 100% payment when I either call the police for fraud or place a lien.  But that’s for the people that are owed money to decide.

When I talk to people in the industry privately most tell me it comes as no surprise.  I find it hard to believe that someone that did millions in sales was always a scammer.  There had to be a lot of successful transactions to do as well as he did for as many years as he did.  Something went wrong. What that is we’ll never know.  We only know that someone that was at the top of mountain in our industry is now a liability.  Andrew Rosener of Media Options has since taken over the role of the top independent broker.  The man (or team) who you want to give the big name to.  And in some ways I think that only speeded up Toby’s demise.  Names started moving over to Andrew and gave Toby less inventory.  Regardless of the reasons, the results are the same.  Toby Clements has vanished. He owes people money.  And nobody really wants to talk about it publicly because it’s such a mess legally and morally. And all of it is bad for our industry

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Joe

    The one and only time that I contacted him, a few years ago, was to ask him if he could help me sell one of my names in the low $x,xxx. He promptly replied that he was busy with much higher value sales and low $x,xxx was too low for him. At the time I felt quite sad for not “making it to his newsletter”, now I can consider myself lucky for the same reason.

  2. teri

    was it really necessary to make the Melissa McCarthy comment? Ask your mom or wife if that was a nice thing to say. I am not fat, so I don’t take personal offense. Just seems unnecessary and mean.

    1. Post author

      Yes it was mean, taken out. But she is still dangerously overweight. There is a reason why overweight is not a protected class in the US. And my wife is the one who responded with the protected class quote

  3. Scott Alliy

    Three people were missing from the recent TRAFFIC conference. Toby Clements, Andrew Rosener and you. Who’s to judge why each chose not to attend.

    1. Post author


      I wasn’t using the TRAFFIC conference as an example. I was using Namescon. There were very few who didn’t attend Namescon. And although it didn’t matter, yes we wondered why certain people didn’t come. I am the first to admit I don’t know the whole story. I only know of the problems, the comments from those that are having issues. And that most have not been addressed publicly nor privately. It’s disappointing for me to see as I looked up to Toby when I started.

  4. Bob

    you don’t have to be a genius to figure out why those scammers did not show up to those conferences.
    They didn’t want people coming up to them and making a scene demanding money while trying to scam new potential marks.

  5. Alistair

    I sold a low 4 figure name via Toby in winter 2013….Took him two weeks to pay me after repeated emails. We have too many common contacts and I guess I was lucky. Like you said Shane…I probably would have called police or my legal if he had me wait too long…

  6. Big D

    Not that I ever did any business with Toby, but I stopped being interested in doing business with him after he won at DomainFest and then turned around the next day and said he thought he was bidding on another domain….another $275,000 domain.

  7. Chuck Hambling

    I’ve had a couple names on the Rick/Toby Newsletters. Toby did all the contact work with me. Sold one of the 2 and they paid me right away. That was years ago, though. Sorry to see him fall from grace.

  8. albert

    I put a few of my names with Toby and I guess I dodged a bullet since they did not sell.
    Having said that, my last communication with him was when he was trying to sell me a portfolio of domain names (I think like 350) for $300,000.
    Once I asked him for the list of names and proof of income, not only did I not get a response, but I also stopped getting his newsletters (I honestly thought he was upset at me and my feelings were hurt-NOT-my feeling were not hurt).

    At any rate, the stories started coming out and I was glad none of my domains sold (although I would have insisted that he use

    At any rate, if he had his own escrow company and it was ligitimate, he most likely would have had to have a bond.
    Maybe people can call the state that he worked out of and find out and make a claim that way.
    If it was not a ligitimate escrow company, than laws may have been broken and that state may actually investigate him.

    Given that he was working with Rick Laytona, maybe, just maybe, “Mike” was Rick Laytona and they were working together all along.

  9. Melanie


    I dealt with Toby several times over the years and he was able to sell many names for me and always received funds.

    On that note ,I cannot express the disappointment I feel towards Toby for the way he is conducting himself and treating others that are owed funds and a explanation for this behavior.

    I want to post here that if anyone is looking for a Domain Attorney, Brett Lewis @ ( 1-718-243-9323) is the man to call.
    Its free to talk with him.

    Brett represented me two years ago with a domain issue that I thought no one could help me and recoup my $$$$ , I was wrong, I do not know what I would have done with out Brett’s expertise in the legal domain industry.

    He is one of the best in the industry and comes highly recommended by many in the domain industry.

  10. Peter

    I heard about him and wrote and we agreed on a price to ask for my domain. Then nothing. Sounds like I was lucky it didn’t sell! I just found this topic today Googling to see what might have happened with him. Now I know. Not sure who to turn to now.

  11. Peter

    BTW, the one other time I sold a domain (for big bucks) it went through an escrow service. They held the payment for me until I released the domain, at which time they transferred the funds to me. This ensures you get your money!

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