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Plastic Assets Follow-Up
Status: follow-up info about a hoaxA month ago I posted about Plastic Assets, a faux credit card company offering free breast implants as a sign-up bonus. I noted that the site was an entrant in the Contagious Festival, a contest to create a high-traffic parody site. Now Plastic Assets has officially won the contest, receiving five times more visitors than its closest competitor. And the media, typically late to the party, are announcing that the site has just been revealed to be a hoax. (Even though I know I wasn't the only site to point out that this was a hoax last month.)
According to the CanWest News Service article, Plastic Assets was designed by Shari Graydon, author of In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You, and the site "attracted hundreds of female applicants and more than 130,000 visitors." Graydon concludes from this that "The degree to which our site was believed to be credible despite how over the top it was underlines the fact that people aren't bringing critical thinking skills to what they read on the Internet."
I agree that many people are too gullible about claims they encounter on the internet, but in this instance I'm skeptical about how many people really were fooled. I don't think there's any correlation between the number of visitors the site had, or even the number of applicants it received, and the amount of people who believed it to be real. I figure that most of its visitors recognized it as a joke, and probably filled out the application as a joke also.
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The Plastic Assets thing keeps reminding me of the recurring motif in "American Beauty," where the character Jane is always trying to save up enough money for "a boob job" (which she plainly doesn't need).Posted by Big Gary in Old Dime Box, Texas in Dallas, Texas, USA on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 12:53 PM
People are idiots, that's why Phil Hendrie never runs out of angry callers. But I do agree web site traffic is not an accurate indicator of how many people believed the content.Posted by Lonewatchman on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 10:34 PM
Heh, I almost filled out the application myself even thought I knew it was a hoax, just to see what would happen. Of course, if I had filled out the application, and it turned out to not be a hoax, then I'd probably now be the guy with the most impressive chest around here. . .Posted by Accipiter on Fri Apr 07, 2006 at 12:03 AM
I have a strange habit of clicking on the links of those spam mails that are telling me that my PayPal, Bank card, or whatever needs to be verified/had suspicious access/needs to be reactivated - whatever, then knowing that the info is going to be tried to rip me off, I fill in the info with stuff making fun of them, and passwords that are offensive (like "go*uckoff@sshat) It makes me chuckle.Posted by coyote in Seattle area, WA, USA on Sun Apr 09, 2006 at 03:31 AM