It’s been almost 2 decades since the proverbial house of cards collapsed in what was then the largest accounting fraud scandal and Chapter 11 bankruptcy in history, since surpassed by Worldcom during 2002 and Lehman Brothers during 2008 — sparking what would become the Great Recession.
In the same year as the Lehman Brothers shuttered and ceased existing, there was also another massive fraud event that tipped the scales when Harry Markopolos famously blew the whistle on Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
Well, it’s over a decade later, and Markopolos has resurfaced again with his eyes targeted firmly on General Electric (GE).
As reporting by CNN, Markopolos said in a report released on August 15th that GE was hiding nearly $40 billion of losses in its insurance business, citing this could be the largest cast of accounting fraud he and his time have investigated.
While Markopolos claims that GE’s infractions are far more serious than either Enron or Worldcom accounting frauds, GE dismissed Markopolos’ claims as meritless.
Now you may wonder, what in the world does this have to domain names, right? Well, it appears that Mr. Markopolos and team have published a web report comparing GE to Enron using a GE-branded domain: GEFraud.com.
Upon visiting the website, visitors are invited to download the GE Whistleblower Report that highlights GE’s alleged decades-long accounting fraud by only providing top line revenue and bottom line profits for its business units while getting away with leaving out cost of goods sold in addition to various other expenses.
It’s not everyday that a company, especially GE, finds itself in the crosshairs of accounting fraud accusations.
What’s more damaging is the fact that Markopolos and team have decided to use GE’s brand against them by publishing information to GEFraud.com — garnering increasing search credibility and visibility with numerous authority sites: Nasdaq.com, WashingtonPost.com, NYTimes.com, BusinessInsider.com, FastCompany.com, CNN.com, MSN.com, USAToday.com, WSJ.com, NBCNews.com, CBSNews.com, CNBC.com, Finance.Yahoo.com, and a growing list of other influential websites.
In my humble opinion, brand protection is the very reason that companies, especially large global companies, should stockpile certain types of domains, especially domains containing the keywords “sucks”, “fraud”, “scam”, “scams”, “corrupt”, and the list goes on.
While defensively registering domains to ward off brand conspirators or dilutionists is a drop in the expense bucket for most global companies, defensive registration can be quite an expensive endeavor should one give serious thought and action towards such a strategy.
Yes, defensive domain registrations are costly, but the real question is are defensive domain registrations as costly as the competition or opposition owing and making use of such domains to tarnish your company’s brand? That’s the real question to answer.
As for GEFraud.com, only time will tell whether or not Markopolos and team are spot on about GE’s alleged fraudulent accounting practices. If they’re right, this event could be the making of yet another colossal, wide-reaching, recession eclipsing that of the Great Recession. 😳