Probing a mysterious network of dropshippers, evangelicals, crapgadgets, and semi-vacant Manhattan department stores [Cory Doctorow/Boing Boing]

Writer/academic Jenny Odell has been looking into scammy businesses for years. “Now, Odell has stumbled into a much weirder, much scammier, much murkier world, when she started investigating the parents of one of her Stanford students were receiving a steady stream of mysterious packages addressed to ‘Returns Department, Valley Fountain LLC.’ The packages tie to thousands of Amazon stores selling overpriced of-brand gadgets, a network of fake bookstores that mostly sold more crappy gadgets, a religious cult that bought Newsweek – yes, that Newsweek – which was raided by police for financial hijinks revealed by its own reporters, a religious university and the International Business Times, and more than one criminal indictment.

I read Cory’s blog post and Odell’s original New York Times article and I still can’t make sense of it. Interesting story, nonetheless. As Cory notes: ” … someone is making a lot of money, somehow — giant Manahattan department stores don’t come cheap!”

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