Anime News Network reported that the former Go! Comi website was taken over by a group of imposters. For those who aren’t aware, Go! Comi closed its doors in 2009, and let the domain expire in May 2010. The new owners are claiming that they wish to revive the former publisher, and collecting donations via PayPal. The domain is registered under an Austrian phone number, and the PayPal account’s e-mail address is based in Germany.

Former Go! Comi creative director Audrey Taylor had nothing but sharp words on the matter. On Twitter, she released the following statement:

WARNING: MY FORMER GOCOMI.COM WEBSITE HAS BEEN TURNED INTO A SCAM. IT IS NOT REAL. DO NOT DONATE. GONNA SICK MY LAWYERS ON THEM. PLEASE RT.

No matter how one looks at it, this is a disgusting scam. To prey upon the trust and good will of others is simply despicable. However, this does reveal a number of interesting truths about anime fans as a whole.

Anime and manga fans, for all of their quirks, are intensely loyal to the companies that release content in the west. We interact with representatives on blogs, chat it up with employees at conventions, and even share thoughts and ideas over social media. Fans show genuine concern, nay, investment in the very companies they patronize. There is a genuine bond, a layer of trust between the two entities that one just doesn’t see in other hobbies.

However, while trust can be built up, it is a fragile treasure. The bonds we have grown to enjoy can easily be severed, and the situation could fall like a house of cards. The stunt by this group could have easily driven a wedge between the fans and the industry. The closeness the two groups share could have been irreparably harmed by a greedy scammer. While many would realize that this is a random act, situations like this tend to cause people to withdraw, to keep those of a similar ilk at arm’s length. After all, if one “company” could scam the fans, who is to say that it couldn’t happen again?