Oops? Government agency allegedly lost GIBill.com rights

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which is the federal agency that oversees military veteran health care and similar military veteran issues, lost the internet domain rights to the URL www.GIBill.com.

As the Military Times reported, the VA allegedly had the domain until May 2020. The news outlet said that it was searchable through the internet archive screenshot site known as WayBack.

The department said that it had lost the rights to the domain under the previous presidential administration of Barack Obama in 2012. VA spokeswoman Christina Noel said, “VA acquired this domain as part of a court settlement in 2012.” She added, “Unfortunately, VA lost ownership of it during the Obama administration in 2015 because the person in charge of maintaining the domain left VA service and VA leaders at the time had no continuity plan in place.”

But the federal agency had won back the domain due to a lawsuit. In 2012, the agency trademarked “GI Bill” to avoid sketchy marketing advertising by companies to mislead military veterans about their products. In 2010, GIBill.com was owned by QuintStreet, an online marketing firm which served for-profit colleges. It turned the website over in 2012 and paid $2.5 million in penalties for misleading and deceptive advertising practices.

The domain’s owner is unknown at this time, having been bought by an unknown vendor in August 2020. But the uncertainty surrounding the domain ownership is due to some advocates’ assertions that student veterans will be deceived by for-profit colleges’ allegedly shady marketing practices.

Specifically, advocates claimed that some for-profit colleges provided terrible education to student veterans that led to out-of-control student loan debt, in addition to failing to meeting job placement or graduation promises.

For-profit colleges are required by law to obtain at least ten percent of their revenue outside of federal student loans or Pell grants. Student veterans count toward the ten percent rule, which is called the “90/10 loophole.”