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(The Atlantic)   How this one weird trick conquered the internet   (theatlantic.com) divider line 91
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12315 clicks; posted to Business » on 23 Dec 2013 at 10:45 PM (28 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-12-23 07:38:45 PM
FML
 
2013-12-23 07:48:53 PM
resplendent in a lustrous violet button-down

That's a nice shirt, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it 'resplendent'.  Even 'lustrous' is pushing it.  It's a damn shirt.  Definitely an unresplendent shirt.
 
2013-12-23 08:38:14 PM
That was a long scary read. I am thankful I learned not to click on ads waaaaay back in 1998.

TL;DR - Scumbag makes lots of money by duping people on the internet.
 
2013-12-23 08:39:19 PM
Do you know what's also hilariously ironic? Much of his money was made on Partisan hacks.

Most, not all, but most of these ads were targeted to right-wing and "conservative" news sources, like NewsMax, WND, and FoxNews' various sites. IIRC, there was a research study that made it onto FARK almost a year ago which showed people with ultra-conservative or fundamentalist doctrines were more easily scammed.

NEWSMAX was probably the most egregious and slimy of the type. Their ads targeted those on social security, the elderly and disabled, and those on government assistance by promising "One weird trick" to increase their Government income. That one weird trick was signing them up for an expensive newsletter, that was next to impossible to cancel.

If anyone deserves a kick in the nutbags, it's this guy.
 
2013-12-23 09:09:20 PM

hardinparamedic: Do you know what's also hilariously ironic? Much of his money was made on Partisan hacks.

Most, not all, but most of these ads were targeted to right-wing and "conservative" news sources, like NewsMax, WND, and FoxNews' various sites. IIRC, there was a research study that made it onto FARK almost a year ago which showed people with ultra-conservative or fundamentalist doctrines were more easily scammed.

NEWSMAX was probably the most egregious and slimy of the type. Their ads targeted those on social security, the elderly and disabled, and those on government assistance by promising "One weird trick" to increase their Government income. That one weird trick was signing them up for an expensive newsletter, that was next to impossible to cancel.

If anyone deserves a kick in the nutbags, it's this guy.


Good article about it here:

The Long Con
Mail-order conservatism
 
2013-12-23 09:38:39 PM

hardinparamedic: Do you know what's also hilariously ironic? Much of his money was made on Partisan hacks.

Most, not all, but most of these ads were targeted to right-wing and "conservative" news sources, like NewsMax, WND, and FoxNews' various sites. IIRC, there was a research study that made it onto FARK almost a year ago which showed people with ultra-conservative or fundamentalist doctrines were more easily scammed.

NEWSMAX was probably the most egregious and slimy of the type. Their ads targeted those on social security, the elderly and disabled, and those on government assistance by promising "One weird trick" to increase their Government income. That one weird trick was signing them up for an expensive newsletter, that was next to impossible to cancel.

If anyone deserves a kick in the nutbags, it's this guy.


Whatever dude. I took this poll and the results said you're full of it. It also showed me a trick electric companies hate
 
2013-12-23 10:28:18 PM

Peter von Nostrand: Whatever dude. I took this poll and the results said you're full of it. It also showed me a trick electric companies hate


Heh. You should totally click it. Free Perpetual motion machines are what Big Electric doesn't want you to know.
 
2013-12-23 10:43:20 PM
img.fark.net

Other than hanging with two girls, this is the only picture I can find of him with another person.
 
2013-12-23 11:00:36 PM
I think Cheney shot the wrong guy.
 
2013-12-23 11:05:48 PM
Didn't click.  Does it mention why the photos of people usually attached to these ads always look mentally ill or constipated?
 
2013-12-23 11:07:54 PM
Asperger's, sociopath and bipolar.
 
2013-12-23 11:26:30 PM
Sounds like he was inspired by AOL.
 
2013-12-23 11:33:33 PM
A true scum bag and an inspiration to job creators everywhere.
 
2013-12-23 11:52:45 PM
i avoided countless DUI by one trick nobody knows about but the internet.
 
2013-12-24 12:00:41 AM
Interesting read. I had no idea that one individual was responsible for so many of the scams that have perpetrated the web.
 
2013-12-24 12:01:22 AM

hardinparamedic: Do you know what's also hilariously ironic? Much of his money was made on Partisan hacks.

Most, not all, but most of these ads were targeted to right-wing and "conservative" news sources, like NewsMax, WND, and FoxNews' various sites. IIRC, there was a research study that made it onto FARK almost a year ago which showed people with ultra-conservative or fundamentalist doctrines were more easily scammed.

NEWSMAX was probably the most egregious and slimy of the type. Their ads targeted those on social security, the elderly and disabled, and those on government assistance by promising "One weird trick" to increase their Government income. That one weird trick was signing them up for an expensive newsletter, that was next to impossible to cancel.

If anyone deserves a kick in the nutbags, it's this guy.


So its funny that only people you dislike get scammed?

Its mainly old people left or right, but it just so happens that old people are most easily conned and almost all are a lot more conservative than even the far right. Even the democrats from that era are still more conservative than those who identify as republican now.

It will be nice when those republicans quit voting.
 
2013-12-24 12:04:21 AM
The really frustrating thing is, there  are great deals out there. There  are "miracle" products for some purposes, or at least awfully damn good. And, yeah, there are scams. To know which is which, you just have to exercise a little personal judgment.

LOSE WEIGHT WITH THIS ONE WEIRD OLD TRICK. Yeah, right. Click on this link, you'll be lucky if you don't end up with a mail-order bride from a former Soviet Republic you've never even heard of.

LOSE WEIGHT WITH THIS ONE WEIRD OLD TRICK DISCOVERED BY A MOM. Totally legit. Moms are smart and they wouldn't let themselves be associated with a scam.

See how easy that was? All it took was some common sense. But people are dumb.
 
2013-12-24 12:07:08 AM
Because Americans no longer have critical thinking skills because nearly half the country has spent a couple decades dismantling the education system and convincing people that learning is stupid and wasteful?
 
2013-12-24 12:11:12 AM
Doctors HATE him!

Well of course they do. They'd hate me if I recommended drinking bleach for weight loss. Doesn't make me cool and edgy.
 
2013-12-24 12:11:59 AM

semiotix: The really frustrating thing is, there  are great deals out there. There  are "miracle" products for some purposes, or at least awfully damn good. And, yeah, there are scams. To know which is which, you just have to exercise a little personal judgment.

LOSE WEIGHT WITH THIS ONE WEIRD OLD TRICK. Yeah, right. Click on this link, you'll be lucky if you don't end up with a mail-order bride from a former Soviet Republic you've never even heard of.

LOSE WEIGHT WITH THIS ONE WEIRD OLD TRICK DISCOVERED BY A MOM. Totally legit. Moms are smart and they wouldn't let themselves be associated with a scam.

See how easy that was? All it took was some common sense. But people are dumb.


Is she hot?
 
2013-12-24 12:14:29 AM

Peter von Nostrand: It also showed me a trick electric companies hate


The device pictured in the "Electric companies hate this device that generates free electricity" is actually a Netgain Warp9 series wound DC motor--a cheap traction motor for EV conversions.
 
2013-12-24 12:17:33 AM

Dingleberry Dickwad: Interesting read. I had no idea that one individual was responsible for so many of the scams that have perpetrated the web.


Learn what that word means in just one click!
 
2013-12-24 12:19:00 AM

fusillade762: hardinparamedic: Do you know what's also hilariously ironic? Much of his money was made on Partisan hacks.

Most, not all, but most of these ads were targeted to right-wing and "conservative" news sources, like NewsMax, WND, and FoxNews' various sites. IIRC, there was a research study that made it onto FARK almost a year ago which showed people with ultra-conservative or fundamentalist doctrines were more easily scammed.

NEWSMAX was probably the most egregious and slimy of the type. Their ads targeted those on social security, the elderly and disabled, and those on government assistance by promising "One weird trick" to increase their Government income. That one weird trick was signing them up for an expensive newsletter, that was next to impossible to cancel.

If anyone deserves a kick in the nutbags, it's this guy.

Good article about it here:

The Long Con
Mail-order conservatism


The proliferation of websites to cull cash from the gullible is the next iteration of the Justification Machine. It began with captive scholars who created papers to go with a position, so that publications could be cited, and from there, it sort of grew. Websites couple the popularity and ease of radio broadcasts, with the ability to re-read and study those claims, over and over again, to get the true flavor. And yeah, it's a con. Just as much as the last election cycle was a con, and putting Sarah Palin in front of a damn camera again and again, is a part of a con.

Her book made the best seller list. Mind you, it did so, because a great many copies were bought by folks to be given away as "free gifts." Join X site, or Y site, and wheedoggies, you get a free book, by that there Alaska Governor Lady! The site fulfills obligations, Sarah gets a best seller, and royalty checks, and then we get a reality show based on the "obvious" popularity of her books sales and "human interest." It's about manufacturing a "sensation" and creating "buzz" and the purpose of it, is to get rubes to pony up cash, and pay attention to the finger, and not the food.

Now then, some folks dish up servings of DERP for pay. They shill, and shill, and shill, until they can't shill any longer. Then there are those who realize that they too can get in on the feeding frenzy of stoopid. There is some crossover, between the real operatives, and the con men though.

Why in the Blue Blazes do you think that Newt "Crybaby" Gingrich would throw his hat in the ring for President? Michelle "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann? It's not because they thought they had a snowball's chance of winning, but because there was profit to be made. There was filthy lucre in the mix, and dammit, they wanted their share. Our Beamish Asshat? Just the tip of the shilloverse feeding on the gullible and congenitally stoopid, and I suppose every dollar they give some con, means less money going to even more dangerous stuff, but, yes, it's not just sad, it's now a feature, not a bug, within the Conservative press. Look at Hannity's "Freedom Concerts" which give less than 10% of their take veterans or their families. Look at Beck and his "Buy Gold!" schemes. Let's not even get into the sheer malfeasance and absolute fraud that goes into a great deal of stock market "analysis" today--especially, when it's paired with political commentary to "prove" how upright and brave and true and honest real Americans are, as opposed to those Lefty Loosy Commies, and why you should stop worrying about banks melting down and learn to love Credit Default Swaps.

It's not about politics. Not really. Most of it, at this point, is trying to get hands deeper into your wallet, and making it seem patriotic to lose your shirt, and cheer others on for ripping you off.
 
2013-12-24 12:19:06 AM

steamingpile: So its funny that only people you dislike get scammed?

Its mainly old people left or right, but it just so happens that old people are most easily conned and almost all are a lot more conservative than even the far right. Even the democrats from that era are still more conservative than those who identify as republican now.

It will be nice when those republicans quit voting.


Oh yeah, pointing out irony in the party of fiscal responsibility trying to bilk the government through "one weird trick" is the same as laughing at individual people for being taken advantage of.

Give yourself a potato for that original thought, you poor, poor persecuted man you.
 
2013-12-24 12:19:50 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: Dingleberry Dickwad: Interesting read. I had no idea that one individual was responsible for so many of the scams that have perpetrated the web.

Learn what that word means in just one click!


The 9th layer of hell is reserved for Pedants, QA.
 
2013-12-24 12:20:10 AM

gimmegimme: Because Americans no longer have critical thinking skills because nearly half the country has spent a couple decades dismantling the education system and convincing people that learning is stupid and wasteful?


...but enough about the teacher's unions.
 
2013-12-24 12:24:21 AM

SevenizGud: gimmegimme: Because Americans no longer have critical thinking skills because nearly half the country has spent a couple decades dismantling the education system and convincing people that learning is stupid and wasteful?

...but enough about the teacher's unions.


Teachers tried to teach you how to read a graph and how to think critically.  WE'VE tried to teach you how to read a graph and how to think critically.

You didn't listen...you never put the blame where it belongs...
 
2013-12-24 12:24:51 AM
Caveat Emptor and A fool and his money are soon parted. <----- Willms successful business model.
 
2013-12-24 12:29:42 AM

Quantum Apostrophe: Dingleberry Dickwad: Interesting read. I had no idea that one individual was responsible for so many of the scams that have perpetrated the web.

Learn what that word means in just one click!


It may be time for me to lay off the sauce for the night. I'm pretty sure I meant to type permeated.
 
2013-12-24 12:29:43 AM

hardinparamedic: Most, not all, but most of these ads were targeted to right-wing and "conservative" news sources, like NewsMax, WND, and FoxNews' various sites. IIRC, there was a research study that made it onto FARK almost a year ago which showed people with ultra-conservative or fundamentalist doctrines were more easily scammed.


Pretty sure I've seen his ads on Slashdot. Although if you wanted to lump Slashdot into fundamentalist sites, I'm not sure I'd disagree.
 
2013-12-24 12:30:13 AM

hardinparamedic: Quantum Apostrophe: Dingleberry Dickwad: Interesting read. I had no idea that one individual was responsible for so many of the scams that have perpetrated the web.

Learn what that word means in just one click!

The 9th layer of hell is reserved for Pedants, QA.


Leave the foot fetishists out of this.
/that is what a pedant is, right?
//Poemeter bump test complete
 
2013-12-24 12:30:49 AM

MrEricSir: Although if you wanted to lump Slashdot into fundamentalist sites, I'm not sure I'd disagree


Well, it's KIND OF like a cult. :)
 
2013-12-24 12:33:21 AM
I should start the old badger game up on the internet

/needs money
 
2013-12-24 12:34:58 AM
Does the author get paid by the word?
 
2013-12-24 12:44:38 AM

Omahawg: I should start the old badger game up on the internet

/needs money


Hehe, I would think that would be one scam that works better in person. The biggest part of why the badger con worked was the immediacy of the situation and being put on the spot in the middle of or immediately following their supposed indiscretions.
 
2013-12-24 12:46:54 AM

karmaceutical: Didn't click.  Does it mention why the photos of people usually attached to these ads always look mentally ill or constipated?


Actually, it's science.  Your brain is hard-wired to pass over the ordinary (and therefore irrelevant to survival) and direct your attention to the unusual.  There's a really good example I read about recently where the sellers of a brand of mobility scooter deliberately introduced a "tape got stretched" artifact into their jingle.  Normally, your brain would just ignore the jingle- it's the 9 millionth time the commercial is played, you don't need a scooter anyway, etc.  But then the audio goes just a tiny bit wonky, and BAM! you look up at the TV to see what's the problem.  And in doing so, your brand awareness has been increased much more than if the audio had just been playing in the background.

Those ads with the weirdly distorted faces and bodies are the visual equivalent of the deliberate audio artifact.  Normally, you'd ignore them, but when something's just a little bit "off," you notice- even if it's just out of the corner of your eye.  The cool thing about it (from an advertiser's point of view) is that it's very difficult to turn off that automatic response.  Unless you have ad-block installed, that is.
 
2013-12-24 12:47:04 AM
I'm pretty sure a link here on Fark talked about how the author clicked on all the ads he could find and they usually led to long videos. This is old news.

Did anybody get sent to the App Store? I got some kind of Safari error but I couldn't read it before the App Store opened. It didn't take me to an app, though.
 
2013-12-24 12:47:27 AM

gimmegimme: Because Americans no longer have critical thinking skills because nearly half the country has spent a couple decades dismantling the education system and convincing people that learning is stupid and wasteful?


bingo.  that is why there has never been a time when there were more fools so easily parted with their money.
 
2013-12-24 12:52:27 AM
If I were the kind of person to pull this kind of crap, I'd stop after a million and disappear, but I guess if I did stop, I wouldn't be that kind of person.
 
2013-12-24 12:56:38 AM

hardinparamedic: MrEricSir: Although if you wanted to lump Slashdot into fundamentalist sites, I'm not sure I'd disagree

Well, it's KIND OF like a cult. :)


More of a priesthood me thinks.
 
2013-12-24 01:13:13 AM
Who the fark is going to read all of that?
 
2013-12-24 01:16:19 AM

Ditto: Who the fark is going to read all of that?


The same people that read stuff like books and stuff? It's wasn't exactly a huge article and it contained a pretty good number of details and managed to stay interesting.
 
2013-12-24 01:23:46 AM
img439.imageshack.us

I wonder if that notorious "Floor Humper" ad on right wing websites was managed by this skeeve-ball?
 
2013-12-24 01:38:48 AM

tillerman35: karmaceutical: Didn't click.  Does it mention why the photos of people usually attached to these ads always look mentally ill or constipated?

Actually, it's science.  Your brain is hard-wired to pass over the ordinary (and therefore irrelevant to survival) and direct your attention to the unusual.  There's a really good example I read about recently where the sellers of a brand of mobility scooter deliberately introduced a "tape got stretched" artifact into their jingle.  Normally, your brain would just ignore the jingle- it's the 9 millionth time the commercial is played, you don't need a scooter anyway, etc.  But then the audio goes just a tiny bit wonky, and BAM! you look up at the TV to see what's the problem.  And in doing so, your brand awareness has been increased much more than if the audio had just been playing in the background.

Those ads with the weirdly distorted faces and bodies are the visual equivalent of the deliberate audio artifact.  Normally, you'd ignore them, but when something's just a little bit "off," you notice- even if it's just out of the corner of your eye.  The cool thing about it (from an advertiser's point of view) is that it's very difficult to turn off that automatic response.  Unless you have ad-block installed, that is.


I always thought it was related to the thing that teabaggers think is funny, where they darken Obama's eyes or 'shop furrowed brows or mean scowls into his face.  I've seen these ads, with the old guy who looks like he is in some kind of pain... which seems completely unrelated to the tax-saving trick the ad is trying to sell.

One weird $5 trick lets you make snarky friends on the Internet! (Featured Partner)
 
2013-12-24 01:41:48 AM

Dingleberry Dickwad: Ditto: Who the fark is going to read all of that?

The same people that read stuff like books and stuff? It's wasn't exactly a huge article and it contained a pretty good number of details and managed to stay interesting.


Having read a book or ∞, no.  That article was going out of its way to drag itself out.
 
2013-12-24 01:43:10 AM

tillerman35: karmaceutical: Didn't click.  Does it mention why the photos of people usually attached to these ads always look mentally ill or constipated?

Actually, it's science.  Your brain is hard-wired to pass over the ordinary (and therefore irrelevant to survival) and direct your attention to the unusual.  There's a really good example I read about recently where the sellers of a brand of mobility scooter deliberately introduced a "tape got stretched" artifact into their jingle.  Normally, your brain would just ignore the jingle- it's the 9 millionth time the commercial is played, you don't need a scooter anyway, etc.  But then the audio goes just a tiny bit wonky, and BAM! you look up at the TV to see what's the problem.  And in doing so, your brand awareness has been increased much more than if the audio had just been playing in the background.

Those ads with the weirdly distorted faces and bodies are the visual equivalent of the deliberate audio artifact.  Normally, you'd ignore them, but when something's just a little bit "off," you notice- even if it's just out of the corner of your eye.  The cool thing about it (from an advertiser's point of view) is that it's very difficult to turn off that automatic response.  Unless you have ad-block installed, that is.


Upside down "Laundry" sign.
 
2013-12-24 01:54:24 AM

TV's Vinnie: [img439.imageshack.us image 376x290]

I wonder if that notorious "Floor Humper" ad on right wing websites was managed by this skeeve-ball?


That guy's old, I'll bet he was in the hospital for 6 months after they took that picture. What I find equally humorous is the obvious middle-aged physique... yet hairless? I'd be far more interested in a simple way to not look like a wet chimp than whatever they're selling.
 
2013-12-24 01:57:16 AM
Meh, dupin' rubes is a well-known American tradition. I'm more interested in the leggy brunettes and statuesque the article talked about.
 
2013-12-24 02:22:47 AM
I guess I am the only one to spot the deep irony in the article. Here we have an entire article about internet fraud based upon false advertising and over-hyped products that manages to entirely overlooks the false advertising that is being perpetuated by the FTC on the American people. $359 Million settlement my ass. In fact, the FTC collected less than a million dollars. So the FTC gets to strut around like a strumpet and preen over its good works. I bet the government employees involved even got merit bonuses. If what this guy is doing is wrong it's equally wrong for the FTC to pretend it fined someone hundreds of millions of dollars when it knows damn well it cannot collect anything close to it. But a $359 million dollars settlement grabs headlines. A million dollar settlement not so much.

So when the little guys does it, its wrong. But when the government lies, it's OK. Par for the course these days.
 
2013-12-24 02:32:45 AM
This article is just a reminder of what can be gained by discarding one's moral compass.
 
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