If you've been on Facebook lately, odds are you saw an article by thebestcolleges.org listing Elon as the most beautiful college campus.
The list ranks Elon above Kenyon College, Sewanee: The University of the South and Pepperdine University.
Elon has been at the top of the list since 2011.
"Everyone was so excited Elon was the number one most beautiful campus," Associate Professor of Computing Sciences, Dr. Megan Squire said. "I thought wow that's really cool, what did they use to judge that?"
Dr. Squire investigated. She found that the website, thebestcolleges.org, is what she calls a link farm.
"What they do is they put up links that are designed to attract people on any number of topics and it drives traffic," Dr. Squire said. "Someone will click in and then the ads will ask you to fill in forms or different things to give up information about."
The more forms you fill out, the more cash the owner of the website earns.
"Say you go to the site and there is an ad on the side for an online degree. An innocent person will click in, fill out a form, and that school pays $40," she said.
Thebestcolleges.org domain is registered to a man named Ryan Caldwell. Caldwell didn't respond to ELN's request for comment, but he did communicate with Dr. Squire.
"The email I got from Ryan basically said I have a degree, I appreciate college and I bought this website as a profit bearing company," Dr. Squire said.
Dr. Squire has no problem with the way Caldwell makes money. Her concern is the website's methodology.
"I just don't think he should be presenting himself as a legitimate ranking methodology and he thinks its fine," she said.