Free hosting providers have been ordered to shut down following an alleged online scam that allegedly offered them free webhosting services for $10 a month.
Newsweek is reporting that several hosts have gone offline as a result of the scam, which has been dubbed the “Free Weekend Update” by the hosts.
The company, called “Blue Links,” claims to be a website hosting platform that will provide “the best hosting service for free”.
“You will not find any fraudulent offers here,” Blue Links said in a statement.
“Our service is fully legal and completely transparent, so we won’t be providing any false information,” it added.
Blue Links hosts are now reporting a massive drop in traffic as a response to the claims, and a spokesperson for the hosting provider confirmed that a “massive drop” was recorded on Monday.
However, the company did not say how many hosts have disappeared from the site since Monday, or whether they have been refunded.
The website also claims that hosting services are available for a fee of $5 a month, which it calls a “one-time payment” and says is for “the lifetime of your subscription”.
The website was created in 2014 by former US President Barack Obama, and it has become an unofficial White House resource.
The site is based in Washington DC and offers hosts the chance to rent a desktop computer and set up their own website for a monthly fee.
“It is a free service for hosting, so you get everything you need to create your website,” Blue Link said.
“As you browse through our site, you will see that there is a list of hosting providers that are available to you,” it said.
Blue links said it would “never” charge a fee to hosts, although it did not specify what “free” was.
“Hosting services are not paid, they are free,” the website said.
A spokesperson for Blue Links declined to comment on the claims of fraud.
However the website did offer a refund policy, which said it was not responsible for hosts who cancel their subscription.
“We are committed to providing the best hosting services to our customers, but there are a variety of ways to cancel a free offer,” the statement said.
The hosts are being contacted by several other hosting companies and Blue Links, which says it was “looking into the matter”.
“We sincerely apologize for any harm that has been caused to anyone,” the company said.