Last year I was introduced to Alan November through the Building Learning Communities Conference. Now I didn’t go, but I went to iTunes and found the podcasts and vodcasts and enjoyed myself thoroughly – I still want to go. Then I ran across his Webliteracy for Educators courses. It was there that I was introduced to the Grammar of the Internet. One of the tools that I’ve learned to use finds the owner of a website, also the host company. There are two websites that provide that information: EasyWhoIs and WhoIsDomainTools.
I’ve used both of these in presentations to help teachers, college faculty, and students learn to be critical readers of the Internet. Well … last night my parents called and wanted me to help them put together a website. They needed to provide information on a business plan so that a company, that they have been told, is affiliated with The Navigators. Some of the information that they were telling me just didn’t sound right to me. So I got the URL and put it into WhoIs.
By the way, I was explaining to them that they could go online to Go Daddy and pay less than $10 a month for a site. It wouldn’t take much to get it up and running. I asked them to think about colors and my dad came up with brown, green, and another color. My mom came up with something else – I don’t remember now, I was too stunned by brown, green, and whatever the other one was. I told them I’d choose the color scheme. 🙂
Anyway, when I looked at the website info on WhoIs, where do you think the site was hosted? You’re right, Go Daddy. There was no mention anywhere on that page of The Navigators. Plus the design of the page was very unprofessional – especially when compared with The Navigator’s page.
The sadest part of this scam is how someone took advantage of my parents values. As Christians my parents wanted to trust that the person they talked with was on the up and up – I think they heard about it from another Christian friend. Once he told them that he was affiliated with a reputable Christian organization, they believed him.
Well, they’re saddened in some ways, but very grateful that they didn’t make their business plan accessible to anyone on the web. And I’m glad that I paid attention and learned how to use the tools that Alan shares.
Thanks again, Alan.
By the way, if I hear anything new I’ll let you all know. My folks will be calling The Navigator’s office and letting them know what this guy is up to.
Two final suggestions:
- Get to know how to use these tools – you can even take Alan’s courses
- Remember, as Christians we are to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.