Worldwide Alumni Network (WAN) is an invitation-only online networking site, similar to LinkedIn, which requires users to submit a qualifying application in order to join.
What Is Worldwide Alumni Network?
There is little information about the individuals or the company behind WAN to be found either on the website itself or on the internet at large. The who.is database information for the website registration lists DomainsByProxy.com, a private proxy service located in Scottsdale, Arizona, which preserves the privacy – and the anonymity – of the actual registrant.
According to the WAN website, Worldwide Alumni Network “is made up of professional graduates from all major educational institutions” and was created to aid in recognizing honorable alumni as well as facilitate the connections between and create opportunities for WAN members. The site further represents itself as “the world’s premier alumni association.”
There is no other information available on the website, besides a “Join Now” button that opens up a window for prospective members to fill in their personal details such as name, email address, telephone number, Alma mater, date of graduation, and highest degree attained.
There is no fee to join or apply, according to these forms, and once submitted to WAN, an applicant can expect to be contacted within 1 to 3 business days, also according to the forms.
There is no direct opportunity to be had by joining a career networking site such as WAN. This is especially true if you are seeking out an MLM or affiliate marketing arrangement to create commission-based or residual income streams over the internet.
However, this does not necessarily mean that there are no opportunities at all from joining such an online network.
Career networking always presents opportunities to individuals looking to grow their own potential for financial success. This is why sites such as LinkedIn exist, in order to facilitate such networking, and it makes perfect sense that there would be such a networking site centered around connections forged while at institutions of higher learning.
Additionally, joining an online career network such as WAN makes it easier to leverage your personal brand and forge connections among your chosen industry with other professionals.
Before the advent of the internet, career-minded individuals had to literally attend networking events in person, often several times a year, in order to forge these sorts of connections.
While such face-to-face interactions certainly have merit, it could be (and certainly was) a distraction from conducting more directly beneficial action; with in-person networking events giving way to online networks, the time and energy demands to network yourself successfully have diminished while opportunities have grown.
That in itself is an important advantage that represents an excellent opportunity to grow your business.
Alas, WAN is unlikely to be the online career networking site of your choice for such an endeavor. This is because there is a mounting pile of evidence that, slowly but surely, seems to indicate that WAN is most assuredly a scam.
WAN and websites like it – of which there are many – are variations of the quite literally centuries-old “Who’s Who” scam, routine in which companies contact individuals interested in being included in an “exclusive” biographical directory, most often in an academic setting, either for the prestige of it, to provide networking opportunities, or both.
These companies are often more interested in harvesting cash from these individuals and then churning out a substandard product through a vanity publisher before keeping the rest for themselves. Sometimes the deal comes in the form of offering “free” membership in such a directory in an effort to harvest names, addresses, and other personal information to sell to advertisers or even attempt identity theft.
Often times the initial membership may be free, only to have a member be upselled for several hundred dollars for premium services that may or may not exist.
There is very little in the way of direct evidence that WAN is such a scam outfit. However, there is plenty of things that raise red flags to indicate that WAN is not a legitimate career networking site, the first of which being the extreme lack of any detail on the site concerning the owners/operators of the company behind WAN.
While it’s customary in many circumstances to register a website privately to secure the privacy of individual website owners, in the case of established companies, the opposite is usually true – with most legitimate companies, there is a need for a measure of transparency regarding where it is headquartered.
This provides reassurances to anyone doing business with the company that they are indeed legitimate, and one way to establish this transparency is to list a company executive and the main place of business on the website registration. Occluding this raises questions as to why WAN chose to hide its registrant information.
Secondly, there are several, similarly named websites on the internet that have already been exposed as scams. These sites include “The Worldwide Association of Notable Alumni” and “The Worldwide Network of Notable Alumni.” These two additional sites, plus WAN, bear more than a passing resemblance in names and URLs.
In fact, the registration information for these three sites all lists DomainsByProxy.com as the private registrant. Additionally, all three sites were registered within three months of one another from July through October of 2016.
Both the website address and the support email address referenced in this policy do not direct users to WAN (worldwidealumninetwork.net). Instead, they direct users to the Worldwide Association of Notable Alumni (wanaonline.com).
Following the wanaonline.com link reveals that the site is unreachable. Searching the internet for “wanaonline.com” reveals the information that the “Worldwide Association of Notable Alumni” is indeed a “Who’s Who”-style scam. Other web searches reveal that the similarly-named sites that are registered through DomainsByProxy also stand being accused of being scams as well.
To reiterate, the following websites are all linked, or seemingly linked, to one another:
- The Worldwide Alumni Network – worldwidealumninetwork.net
- The Worldwide Association of Notable Alumni – wanaonline.com
- A second site with an identical name but a different URL – wwana.com
Unless there is a basement at this preschool filled with banks of telephones and customer service representatives for WWANA, it is unlikely that the address given was legitimate.
Don’t be fooled for even a moment: WAN and its associated websites are almost certainly a complete and utter scam. Avoid interacting with this site in any way. If you are curious, you can of course submit your personal details, but you can then expect an email or a phone call in a few days from someone who will almost certainly be looking to upsell you on a premium version of this supposedly “free” service.