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Fake ‘Modern Warfare 4 Beta’ website taken down after news of scam spreads [UPDATED]

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4

As of today, a website that promised users beta codes to the yet-to-be-announced “Modern Warfare 4” has been taken down.

The website went offline only after news of the scam, which operated on the domain name, spread across the internet in the past 24 hours.

A YouTube video apology posted earlier by Sn4gamers “claims” they hired a third-party to help grow their Facebook page, but were unknowingly victims of a scam themselves.

Being a victim seems somewhat questionable, since the Facebook message stayed online for days before being deleted.

Facebook Mw4 Beta code message

The good news is, the site is now offline.

The scam involved promising beta codes to “Modern Warfare 4” if users posted a link to the site to other game pages on Facebook, including the official Call of Duty Facebook page, which has more than 1 million likes.

You can see screenshots of the fake beta site here and get an idea of what unsuspecting people encountered when visiting the page, now that nothing but an error page appears online.

Sn4gamers also deleted a Facebook post encouraging users to visit the site and download the MW4 beta code.

This isn’t the first time and won’t be the last time a fake beta website crops up online.

Just last year, Microsoft took control of the domain names and, after filing complaints against their owners.

In January 2013, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc, filed several domain complaints against the owners of Grand Theft Auto V beta domain names.

The domain has already been ordered transferred to Take-Two, while three other cases are pending that involve, and

UPDATE 2 – March 5, 2013 – The WHOIS record has been updated from this to this.

UPDATE 1 – March 4, 2013 – The home page of now displays the video explanation that was uploaded to YouTube.

Talking about this story: VG247 and

News Video Games domain no longer hostage to ZiiP community [Updated]

Modern Warfare 4

The domain name which grabbed headlines in 2009 seems to have a new home. 

The story of started years ago with a threat to hurt a clown if the game development studio behind Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward, didn’t play ball with the ransom demands of the owner of — a domain name owned by James Galland (aka Jester) of the ZiiP gaming community. 

It ended, with the website (pictured here) featuring the clown and a poll on what to do with the domain finally being taken down earlier this month.

As of August 6, 2011, the web address is no longer registered to James Galland, and now is hidden behind Whois Privacy Protection Services at ENOM. 

Here’s a look at the Whois record:

Domain name:

Registrant Contact:
   Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
   Whois Agent ()
   PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St – F1
   Bellevue, WA 98007

Administrative Contact:
   Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
   Whois Agent ()
   PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St – F1
   Bellevue, WA 98007

Just because the registrant information changed, doesn’t mean the owner changed since the domain is behind Whois privacy.

However, it’s entirely possible that James Galland got spooked by the saga of  Activision has a dispute filed with the National Arbitration Forum seeking ownership of the domain

It’s also possible Activision acquired the domain by offering money.

I’ve reached out to James to learn more, and will update the story if I hear back.

Updated August 27, 2011:  I received a response from James who still owns the domain name.  The website has been updated since this story was published.  James wrote:

Hi there JB.

Oh my god.. shhh… don’t tell anyone. I went to feed the clown the other night – and I might (I stress might) have left the door unlocked. I came back in the morning and he had gone. All that was left was a note saying “Screw you guys, I’ve had it being a clown – I’ve gone to re-train as a plumber”. I guess the promotion prospects of being a tortured-clown prisoner aren’t enough for some people. Sheesh. His name was Mario though.. go figure.

On a slightly more serious note…

I can happily report that we still own the domain. We have no real interest in profiting from it – was all the clown’s idea.  We’re not freaked out at all by the MW3 site saga as there are worst things happening in the world. Actually: Thanks for highlighting the site being down.. I was playing around with my webserver and must have hit the “turn off joke sites” button by accident.

As for the WHOIS thingy changing, that was ment to be done when I purchased the domain – but someone forgot to turn it on. Not really fussed, but I don’t like paying for something and then not getting it : )

Happy Days,