When Imitation is NOT Flattering…

My undergraduate alma mater, Reed College, is struggling with an unusual problem.  A scammer in China thinks so well of the college that they created the University of Redwood out of whole cloth by repurposing much of the data and images from the Reed College web site.  The only problem is that the University of Redwood does not exist, neither Torrance, California (the address provided on the web site) nor anywhere else.  The web site exists to trick overseas students into sending money to enroll.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Reed College has already had this scam web site taken down once by its host and domain registrar, GoDaddy, only to have GoDaddy reinstate the web site, claiming that the infringing material had been removed.  I looked at both web sites: perhaps some infringing material was removed, but the University of Redwood web site is still a slightly-modified but blatant copy of much of the Reed College web site.

GoDaddy is not normally considered a friend of spammers or scammers; that’s why I use them.  So what is going on?  Did the scammer threaten to sue GoDaddy if they didn’t restore the web site, or did some GoDaddy underling do so automatically, without fully investigating the circumstances?

I really don’t like the smell of this. :(  Scamming overseas students eager to receive a good education in the United States of money that they cannot afford to lose is really scummy.  Reed College naturally wants nothing to do with this, even as a victim of the same scammers.

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