For a few days last week, almost my entire Facebook newsfeed was taken over by a series of similar ads, sometimes identical except for the name of the advertiser. Indeed, there were more of these ads than posts from my friends. All of the ads offered musical instruments for sale and claimed–in the same slightly off language–that the companies were poorly run, going out of business, and thus many guitars and drumsets could be had for amazingly low, low prices.
For instance, a Taylor 818e DLX electro acoustic guitar could be yours (or mine!) for just $96. This model sells at Guitar Center for $3,499. The $97 “special offer” Fender American Precision bass retails for $1,499. Likewise, the $94 “special offer” Gibson Les Paul Classic T will set you back $1,950 in any real music store. You won’t find such deals even on eBay.
The names of the sites you were invited to click were odd, too: pxfresh.com, babalunsa.com, jiaodm.com, encarcha.com, and mutjean.com. Double-checking two others — eurekahub.info and colorpalette.vip found they had disappeared. The happy-sounding site winwinlook.com that advertised complete Alesis electronic drum sets for $84.99 (actual retail $579) is now offering golf club sets for $45 (actual retail $349). And if you hoped to pick up a Gretsch drum set for $120 (a $600-$4,000 value) at montyme.com, you’re too late, site’s gone.
The sites that remain as of Aug. 10, 2021, all look alike, using the same bland template with a grid of photos of high-end guitars and a Paypal logo. (There’s lots of chatter from 2020 on a Paypal message board from people who fell for the scam.)
The sites these ads all link to look alike because an ICANN lookup of domain registration finds that they’re all from China. Jiaodm.com is registered by eName Technology Co., Ltd, the “#1 domain name marketplace in China and the preferred platform for all Chinese domain investors.” Encharcha.com was registered through PocketDomain.com, which is located in Room 747, 7/F, Star House, 3 Salisbury Road Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Mutjean.com is registered through Alibaba Cloud Computing, Beijing.
So, yeah. We know the Chinese can make things cheaply. But not this cheap.