It's all about location

Two incidents this morning reinforced the old real estate adage: the three most important factors in real estate are location, location, and location.

First up, a guy was nailed for alleged DUI. That’s not really that unusual (unfortunately), but this guy really should have known better. Not only was he a driver’s education instructor, but he was arrested while going to the school to teach.

The other story is a bit more convoluted, but I think I can clarify it.

One of my duties here is to go through the unpublished comments and trackbacks. A few of them are actual valid ones that have been flagged by the filters, but the vast majority of them are spam, plain and simple. And as popular a blog as this one is, they can accumulate very, VERY quickly. I’ve gotten pretty good at sorting through them, publishing some, deleting others that are too old or too stupid, and “junking” the spam.

But every now and then, though, one of the spams will catch my eye, and I’ll look a little deeper. One of them did so this morning.

It was for a “custom writing” service. Basically, it’s plagiarism for hire; give them your topic and other guidelines, and they will write a paper that you can then put your name on and pass off as your own work. It exists in the gray area of legality, but it certainly is unethical and against any college’s rules.

They, like many online businesses, have an “affiliate” program. If you put up an ad for them and someone clicks through that ad to the main page, the affiliate gets a commission.

One of their affiliates with far more guts than brains set up his spam page on a server he probably should not have — it was hosted by Vassar College.

When I got done laughing, I sent off a quick note to Vassar with the link, the affiliate’s ID code, the web site that the link goes to, and the toll-free number of the paper-writing folks.

I am not going to include the link to the ad, because I’d rather not give the scumbags any more publicity or potential clients, but I have bookmarked it, and will be watching to see how long it takes for the page to be taken down.

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