The dark web: It’s your one stop shop for illegal drugs, snuff films, hackers for hire and… coffee. Think of it as a black market with its own Starbucks.
Russian coffee roaster Chernyi Cooperative has decided to promote its Chernyi Black roast by making the beans decidedly difficult to purchase – at least for those who aren’t very tech savvy. The company’s website is the unusual URL “cherniyx23pmfane.onion,” an address that can only be accessed via the encrypted and anonymous browser Tor, meaning that the coffee brand’s online shop is part of what is called the “dark web” – sites that can’t accessed through normal public internet browsers.
Though the dark web is often used to hide illegal activity – the site Silk Road, for instance, became notorious for selling illegal street drugs online thanks to these encrypted networks – Chernyi Cooperative doesn’t have any nefarious reason for selling its beans in the netherworld of the Internet: It’s just marketing. “We faced a difficult challenge—to attract the attention of trendsetters who already have access to plenty of interesting content,” Maxim Fedorov, social media director at the agency Possible Moscow, told Adweek. “That is why we chose Tor. The target audience of ‘Black’ is familiar with anonymous marketplaces. They know how the purchase process is organized and are aware of the subtleties in attaining what they desire.”