Visitors to legitscript.com might notice that the number of Internet pharmacies listed as being in our database sharply dropped this morning, from over 61,000 to just 36,198. What’s going on; did those Internet pharmacies just disappear?
Actually, this is purely an archival function. In order to make the information in our database as relevant and helpful as possible, we did a careful search for defunct Internet pharmacies that, for all practical purposes, appear to be permanently offline and not coming back. (Actually, we shut many of these down.) We think that there are about 40,000 active Internet pharmacies at any one time (excluding quick-flash spam ones), so this is a more accurate representation of what’s out there.
However, we still have those defunct websites archived. They simply won’t appear in the auto-complete function when visitors search in our “Is it Legit?” box. Additionally, we have several thousand rogue Internet pharmacies that are “unpublished” in our database pending our review, so the total count is still pretty high.
We tried to be careful in using fairly strict criteria to determine whether a website should be archived. Most of the websites we removed meet these criteria:
- The website has not had an IP address for several months.
- The website has not had an active name server for several months.
- The website is not registered to any person or entity (it has no WhoIs), and is not sponsored by any registrar.
- The website’s domain name is not one that is likely to be picked up again and used as a rogue Internet pharmacy. For example, even with a domain name like “xanaxnoprescription.net”, it’s a tempting domain name and could easily pop back up again. However, some of the “spammy” domain names like “aboutcure.com” or even “xyyszeyssj.net” were good candidates for archival.
We’ll continue to do periodic archivals every few months. However, we will keep these domains on backup status just in case they pop back up.