The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
 
The Great New York Zoo Escape Hoax, 1874
September Morn, the painting that shocked the censor, 1913
The damp spot that hoaxed a city, 1912
The worms inside your face
Jernegan's Gold Accumulator Scam, 1898
Script of Casablanca rejected, 1982
Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
The Diaphote, a television hoax, 1880
Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
The Lovely Feejee Mermaid, 1842
Outsourcing Blogging
I always feel guilty when I don't update my weblog regularly. Like when I was finishing my book and didn't have time to post, or this past week when I got the stomach flu and didn't feel like sitting at the computer. The guys at Blogoriented have an ingenious solution to this problem. They're outsourcing blogging:

We are outsourcing blogs to China. Our general business model is a two tiered effort to hire Chinese citizens to write blogs en masse for us at a valued wage... These blogs will pop up in various areas of the net and appear to the unknowing reader to be written by your standard American. Our short term goal for these original blogs is to generate a steady stream of revenue through traditional blog advertising like google adwords... The long term goal is to generate a large untraceable astroturfing mechanism for launching of various products. When a vendor needs to promote a new product to the internet demographic we will be able to create a believable buzz across hundreds of ‘reputable’ blogs and countless message boards. We can offer a legitimacy to advertisers that doesen’t exist anywhere else. The second tier of our plan is a blog vacation service where our employees fill in for established bloggers who need to take a break from regular posting.

All this smells a lot like a hoax to me. It also smells like a hoax to the author of this news.com article. If these Chinese bloggers have such a perfect command of English that they could effortlessly pass for "standard Americans," then they should blog as themselves. That would be more interesting than pretending to be American.

As for the blog vacation service, that's not a bad idea. I've thought about having guest bloggers step in when I don't have time to blog. Or I could invite readers to submit posts and pay a buck or two per post that I choose to put on the site (as a way to share the Google adsense revenue). Interesting thought.
Categories: Business/Finance, Websites
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 19, 2005
Comments (13)
In this respect the chaps at Snopes.com have an advantage over you, in that they're primarily a traditional static directory and can take breaks.

You could try stockpiling stories in advance, albeit that they would not be up-to-date; you could post old hoaxes from the past, although you'd need some way to do this automatically.

Which raises the Ray Bradbury-esque possibility that, right now, you aren't a human being at all; you're just a computer set up to scan Google news with a large library of keywoards, posting stories on pre-programmed schedule, with an Eliza program generating all the 'user comments', including my own.

More seriously, there is always the worry that any stand-in for yourself might turn the audience off, and destroy your popularity. You'd need someone entertaining, obsessed with hoaxes, someone with spare time, someone who has transcended the useless burden of social life.
Posted by Ashley Pomeroy  on  Fri Aug 19, 2005  at  02:48 PM
Outside of the entertaining part that pretty much describes most of us. smile
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Fri Aug 19, 2005  at  03:16 PM
it is a good idea but does smell rather hoaxy...for one, isnt China pretty strict regarding internet access and dont they censor it?

might be kind of difficult for your average Chinese citizen to have access to all the news/social issues that an American blogger would be blogging about.

also, i would think a bi-lingual Chinese citizen would have better opportunities.

Maybe I am wrong.
Posted by Chuck  in  Rhode Island  on  Fri Aug 19, 2005  at  03:29 PM
That does raise an interesting concept; a blogging AI.. Screw Turing, I want a 'bot that can whine like an angsty teenager *and* a tired mother of three with a Warcraft addiction.

As far as smelling a hoax, this one smells like a dead badger. It's like they're not even trying to come up with a concept that would fool people. Anyone with three ounces of computer savvy would take one look at that and roll their eyes at the absurdity..

Of course, during the .com explosion, there were equally ridiculous concepts out there generating thousands of dollars in investor cash. Some people just don't know enough about computers. Wave something that sounds like what they've heard on TV, and they'll go for it.
Posted by Bobcat  on  Fri Aug 19, 2005  at  04:19 PM
hey, I'll be your Merc Blogger, for the right price...let me show my stuff, okay? Here we go: "Hi, my name is Alex, and I'm only posting a little bit, because I'm off to see Raoul and Hairy's new art exhibit entitled 'We're There, We've Hair'...I won't be posting any new topics for a while, but Stephen and Maegan have the keys to the Museum, so I've let them take over...btw, I've written a new book called 'When Good Hoaxes Go Bad, Bad Hoaxes and The Women Who Love Them, and The Marzupan Pig"...it comes out in December, and will make a fine stocking stuffer"...how'd I do?
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri Aug 19, 2005  at  04:42 PM
Ashley, it's been suggested before that I'm some kind of AI program. I refer you to the replicant Alex thread:

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/forum/forum_comments/1934/

Specifically, I think the theory is that I was killed by the Loch Ness Monster in 2004 while vacationing in Scotland. I was then replaced by a replicant version of me.

Hairy, you do a fine version of me. But who would be you, while you were being me?
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Fri Aug 19, 2005  at  05:12 PM
I'd like Stephen to do me... wait, that didn't sound right...I'll just do myself, okay? Wait, that didn't sound right either...Hell, I'll just do everybody...oh forget it...
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri Aug 19, 2005  at  05:23 PM
Hoax?
It's a joke, for goodness' sake.
Have you ever heard of satire?

By the way, how are your Bonsai kittens.
Posted by Big Gary in Dallas  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Fri Aug 19, 2005  at  07:14 PM
Dang, I meant to say, How are your Bonsai Kittens? (note the question mark)
Posted by Big Gary in Dallas  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Fri Aug 19, 2005  at  07:15 PM
Bobcat said:

"Of course, during the .com explosion, there were equally ridiculous concepts out there generating thousands of dollars in investor cash."

THOUSANDS? Try MILLIONS. The human capacity for self-delusion knows no bounds. I got that from somewhere, but I don't remember where.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sat Aug 20, 2005  at  05:00 AM
"The human capacity for self-delusion knows no bounds. I got that from somewhere, but I don't remember where."

Sounds like something from Star Trek, eh?
Posted by Big Gary  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Sat Aug 20, 2005  at  01:07 PM
Big Gary's bang on the money... it's a pretty funny one, too.

Mind you, it's not a bad business model:)
Posted by pail in prague  in  tra vitam  on  Mon Aug 22, 2005  at  10:58 AM
Alex, feeling guilty of not updating regularly enough is wasted effort...don't worry!

We're happy to wait for your whirls of pissdom...er, pearls of wisdom. Oops....did I leave my mind in Pensylvania? Or was that my heart? Yeah, that's it, it's lying somewhere in that last campsite. D'ya think I should go back for it?

Btw, I know it's late but hope you feel better! smile
Posted by Winona  in  USA  on  Wed Aug 24, 2005  at  09:17 AM
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