Are you interested in learning more about the G.I. Bill? If so, there is a good chance that you have found your way to GIBill.com. While this website is full of high quality information, you may not know that there is an interesting history behind it.
Recently, a California-based company was forced to turn over the domain to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. They were accused of targeting veterans who were interested in learning more about education benefits.
While this sort of thing happens all the time, this time around it was a bit more serious. When speaking about the actions of QuinStreet Inc., it is easy to see that they made a big mistake.
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway released this statement when talking about the case:
?The actions were unconscionable and purposefully drove veterans to for-profit colleges who were perhaps more interested in getting their hands on the federal benefits than in educating our soldiers and their families.?
In other words, QuinStreet was making money by sending veterans to for-profit colleges as opposed to helping them learn more about federal benefits.
Not only did QuinStreet have to turn over the website, but the company has agreed to pay $2.5 million in damages to 20 states.
Why would QuinStreet do this?
Simply put, colleges all over the country know the benefits of marketing to military veterans. This is a large group of people that is typically interested in going back to college. With the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, colleges all over the country will be paid a total of $9 billion in benefits.
In the past, as veterans searched for information pertaining to the G.I. Bill they may have been tricked into believing that GIBill.com was the official site of the military.
The states involved in the lawsuit include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
These states alleged that QuinStreet violated consumer protection laws as they attempted to generate leads for for-profit institutions while deceiving consumers along the way. By giving the appearance that the site was owned and operated by the government or military, those seeking information were given a false sense of security.
It will be interesting to see what plans the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has in store for the website in the future. They may decide to combine it with their current site, gibill.va.gov. They could also decide to simply redirect all traffic to the official site.
If nothing else, it is good to know that veterans will no longer be duped by this company. Instead, anybody searching for information on the G.I. Bill has a much better chance of obtaining legitimate advice and guidance.