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Ares Market Review

Ares is a fast growing darknet market which makes bold claims to be the fastest growing marketplace. Whilst its hard to definitely prove this claim, it certainly is growing quickly, which is evident by how many recent product reviews there are, as well as the recent influx of new vendors following the high profile exit scams of established markets such as Darkode Reborn and World Market. Drugs and fraud relating items make up the bulk of the offerings available on Ares, but there are also some listings for digital content (such as porn accounts) and counterfeit items.

Disclaimer: By using Ares Market for any form of transaction, you may be committing an illegal act in your country. The information provided here is for educational and research purposes and is not intended to promote any illegal activity. Any actions you choose to take are 100% your own responsibility.

Ares key information:
  • Ares Market Link (Primary onion URL):
    http://sn2sfdqay6cxztroslaxa36covrhoowe6a5xug6wlm6ek7nmeiujgvad.onion/
  • Online since: Mid 2021
  • Cryptos accepted: Bitcoin (BTC), Monero (XMR)
  • Multisig support? No
  • Walletless? Yes
  • Vendor bond: $1000 (bond waivers for vendors with 500+ sales and 95% positive rating)
  • Key features: PGP 2-FA, escrow
  • Categories: Drugs, Fraud, Digital, Counterfeits

When first accessing the market you are greeted by a friendly landing page where you can sign in or register a new account.

Registration / login process:
In order to view what the market has to offer, you first need to create an account. This process is incredibly quick and easy on Ares. All you need to provide is a username, password and an optional referral code if you have one. Then you're ready to login and start browsing. PGP Two Factor Authentication (2FA) is not required at this stage, but you can activate this in your profile settings later on (this is highly recommended in order to protect your account). You will see prominent reminders of this when logging in to remind you.

Ares Rules:
If you're familiar with dark web markets then you won't find any unusual rules here. Ares doesn't allow human trafficking, hitman services, child porn or anything of that nature. It does have some specific rules which vendors are expected to follow however which include having clean and well formatted listings and original pictures of your own products. Always good to see a market taking steps to improve the overall user experience.

There are also quite strict requirements for new vendors, such as requiring at least 95% or higher positive feedback and a total of at least 500 sales in order to achieve a vendor bond waiver. Vendor waiver applications are checked against the Recon database, which is generally considered to be a well trusted resource by the darknet community.

Searching for products:
Straight after logging in, you will find the search bar right at the top of the screen, just below the menu bar. Worth noting how many key features are included in this menu bar, which makes navigation pretty straightforward as a user.

If you want to carry out a more advanced search, you need to make a basic search first, and then on the results page you will have the opportunity to add additional filters. You are given the ability to filter products according to a key words, vendor name (very useful if you're looking for a specific vendor), product category and price range. You can opt to sort these according to several parameters such as newest or oldest first.

Unfortunately at this time there appears not to be any option to filter by the country a product is shipped from. Hopefully this will be added in a future update.

Results are displayed in a simple grid format containing all the basic information you need such as description, vendor name shipping to/from destination and accepted cryptocurrencies. One feature that's appreciated is the ability to add an item to your wishlist, allowing you to effectively bookmark it for later. It's amazing how many markets in this day and age still lack such a feature, so it's good to see it here.

Product information:
Once you select a product, you will come to the product information page. This contains a detailed product description, product photo, details about the vendor (including their sales history and average rating), as well as terms and conditions, price etc. The vendors PGP is made available on this screen which is a nice touch as it saves having to hunt for it on a separate page. Everything here is nicely compacted so you can see everything you need to know easily.

One notable omission from this screen is that you can't see any feedback or ratings for this specific product. This is similar to the approach markets such as White House Market took, but we would really like to see an easy way to view per product feedback, particularly as some vendors have a large number of products on sale. It should be noted that a specific product's rating rating is displayed on the initial search page, but to view feedback you must go to the vendor's page.

On this page you can see all feedback the vendor has received for all the products they sell, and ratings based upon product quality, communication and delivery time. Most recent reviews are shown at the top so you can easily monitor any trends.

Making a purchase:
Decided what you want and time to make a purchase? Ares is a walletless market, so no waiting around to deposit funds to a wallet first. If you're a first time buyer, there's something you'll need to do before you're ready to checkout though, and that's add a refund address. A refund address is where your funds can be returned to you in the event a vendor cancels your order, or you win a dispute. For most markets, any refunds would simply sit within the market's wallet, but as Ares is a walletless market, funds are sent directly back to your own personal wallet instead. You can do this in the settings area, found from the menu bar at the top.

For best security, we recommend avoiding setting a refund wallet address to anywhere like Coinbase or Binance. Instead opt for something such as Electrum or the Monero GUI wallet.

Ares supports both Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR). Vendors can choose which payment times to accept, but most appear to accept both. Monero is faster, has lower transaction fees and is much safer, so we always recommend this over Bitcoin.

Once your refund address has been set, you can proceed to add an item to your basket, provide your delivery address (we recommend PGP encrypting this yourself using the vendor's PGP key) and then proceed to the payment screen.

Before sending any funds, be sure you're not on a phishing site (check your onion link against those listed on Torhoo or another reputable source such as Dread). When you're happy, simply send the specified amount of funds to the BTC or XMR address provided. Then that's it, you're done!

As soon as this has confirmed (typically requires 10 confirmations for Monero or 2 confirmations for Bitcoin), the order will go directly to the vendor to process. Once confirmed and submitted, the order will show in the 'purchases' section found at the menu bar at the top of every page. When the vendor accepts, ships or cancels the order, it will be displayed here. A notification will be shown whenever there is an update.

Once your order has arrived, you can then mark it as received and leave feedback for the buyer. In the event of an issue, you can also raise a dispute, which will then be reviewed by market staff. We always recommend messaging a vendor first before resorting to a dispute however.

Conclusions on Ares Market:
    Positives:
  • Nice 'dark mode' layout by default
  • Product wishlist to keep track of your favourite items easily
  • Monero support
  • Market seemingly does not inflate the number of vendors, nor its userbase or number of products. This is in stark contrast so some other less honest markets.

  • Negatives:
  • Advanced search has no ability to filter by country
  • No way to view feedback per specific item
  • We're not a huge fan of the scrolling descriptions featured on many pages. We recognise however this is probably a measure designed to minimise space and keep things compact.
Overall Ares is a market that is clearly taking off at the moment, demonstrating its appeal to buyers and vendors alike. There's a few minor issues we'd like to see addressed in the future which we've highlighted above, but judging by the amount of work the admins have put into market so far, it's likely Ares will develop and improve further as time goes on. With its ever growing range of products and vendors from all around the world, the chances are you'll find what you're looking for on Ares.