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OpenDNS Offers Blocking of Degree and Diploma Mill Websites

Yesterday OpenDNS added a new category to their web content filtering system labeled Academic Fraud.  As they announced in their press release, academic fraud covers “plagiarism, the buying and selling of papers and reports and other forms of cheating”.  However, a follow-up email discussion with OpenDNS Director of Marketing Allison Rhodes revealed that they consider degree and diploma mills part of this category and would enable users to block them as well.


OpenDNS is a domain name resolution service which also features content filtering and security services and is available in both free and fee-based plans.  The content filtering service is based on a system called Domain Tagging where community members can submit sites for content categorization and then other folks vote on the accuracy of these category tags.  (Basically crowdsourcing meets filtering.)  Once these tags are approved, subscribers to the OpenDNS service can choose whether they want categories blocked for computers on their network.  It should be noted that OpenDNS isn’t actually touching the academic fraud websites; rather its service enables network administrators, parents, and others to voluntarily restrict access to such sites, just as they might do for pornography or other content categories. 

I checked a few websites against the OpenDNS Domain Tagging database and it seems that the current database is better with term paper stores than sites that sell diplomas, but this remains a significant step to help educate and inform educational consumers.  Allison noted “The Academic Fraud category is new, but will get better and more comprehensive over time as community members submit and verify web sites.”

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