Beware Resurrected Tech Companies

by Nate Hoffelder

After a decade of running The Digital Reader, Nate is a veteran web publisher with experience in design, maintenance, recovery, and troubleshooting. What little he doesn't know, he can learn.

August 15, 2021

A few weeks back I warned you about using a branded email address on important accounts such as Amazon. One of my concerns was that scammers, hackers, or other criminal types might misuse your old domain.

A couple days ago I found the perfect example of how that can happen, and why you need to be careful.

To make a long story short, someone has re-registered the old domain for the defunct ebook company Vook, and they are fraudulently pretending that Vook is alive and well.

I discovered this a couple days ago when an old acquaintance reached out. We hadn’t spoken in years, not since before he left Vook. While we were chatting, I happened to look up Vook’s website, just to see where it went. Vook had changed its name to Pronoun in 2015 and was acquired by Macmillan in 2016, so I was curious to see how Macmillan was using the domain.

Much to my surprise, Vook.com appeared to have been revived as an ebook services company, and my friend had resumed his role as one of the managers. This was an even bigger surprise to him given that he had moved on to other endeavors years ago.

Someone has apparently loaded an 8-year-old copy of the Vook website onto a French server, and is pretending that the company is alive and well. And given that they are fraudulently claiming my friend is still involved, I have serious concerns that they are up to no good.

Old brands are revived all the time, it is true. The defunct retailer Circuit City is alive again, and the ebook retail pioneer Fictionwise.com was back in operation for a few years (the domain now belongs to a Polish Viagra blog).

Yes, brands come back under new owners, but one key difference with the Vook situation is that whoever owns it is lying to visitors. This is an ebook services company which wants you to give them money, and they are lying to us about who is in charge and where the company has its offices while at the same time making it difficult to identify the actual owner.

I do not know that this is necessarily nefarious, but it raises red flags and I had to warn you.

Beware resurrected tech companies; you don’t always know who raised the zombie, or why.

Hi, I'm Nate.

I build and fix websites for authors, and I am also a tech VA. I can build you a website that looks great and turns visitors into fans, and I can also fix your tech when it breaks. Let me fight with tech support so you don’t have to.

My blog has everything you need to know about websites and online services. Don’t see what you need. or want personalized help? Reach out.

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