The webcomics blog about webcomics

Really, Cybercrooks? This Is What We’re Doing?

A fake message from the IRS to my Fleen email, telling me I need to answer all your questions to settle my unpaid taxes, and you can’t be arsed to hide the fact that your email came from Brazil? Actually, this correlates neatly to other sorts of spam, junk (physical) mail, and cold calls I get; somebody, somewhere, has decided that I’m older than I actually am¹, and thus more vulnerable to transparent ruses, or receptive to certain come-ons² that in fact hold no interest for me. Want me to read your scam attempt? At least pretend you’re linking me to a spectacular new instance of Strong Female Poses by Yuko Ota.

  • I was going to say, Huh, I must have missed Zach Weiner’s new book announcement when I saw a link tweeted to his store, but then it turned out it hadn’t been announced yet. The store link tweet went live approximately 34 minutes before the announcement tweet. Anyways, here’s the announcement, and here’s the store page.
  • Noted at the Twitter of Scott McCloud, a link to a new social-network-exchange-dealy that treats time as money. Here’s why I hate it already: go look at the page that explains what the hell is going on here, and read. It seems to me that it’s a very clever means of harvesting contact information on a lot of people, which is fine if you want to give all of that info away. Be my guest. My hackles start to rise on slide 2 of 7 [no direct link] where there’s an emphasis about how you can trade (technically, it’s an obligation for 10 minutes of time, but really it’s contact info) on anybody:

    Even if they aren’t on allthis yet.

    Exact quote. They felt it was important enough to call it out. Why? Because they want to plant that idea in your head in preparation for slide 5 of 7 [no direct link]:

    Not only is it possible to buy the token of someone who isn’t on allthis already, it’s actually rewarded! [emphasis original]

    They are enticing you, setting a bounty system for all intents and purposes, to find somebody that doesn’t want to be in their metadata farm³ and rat ’em out. It’s bad enough that when I get an invite to join Facebook (I’ve never had an account) from my nearly 70 year old aunt, it somehow figures out that “other people I might know on Facebook” includes, say, Kazu Kibuishi4; this is equivalent to Mark Zuckerberg5 offering a reward to drag me kicking and screaming in whether I want to be there or not.

    Somebody at allthis (extra strike: stupid name) might come up with an explanation to convince me that this isn’t the single creepiest business model on the internet, but I doubt it. So on the off chance anybody wanted 10 minutes of my time, talk to me face to face. Tell me that I’m being traded against my will to benefit All This, All That, Inc.6 in their attempt to claim proprietary rights over the fact that I exist and I will punch you in the neck.

  • With any luck, that neck will be nice and tender and hurty because you got visited by Bulimic Dracula (click forward). The digression today into the lyrics of the worst song of the 21st century was a moment of sublime genius by Jeff Rowland.

¹ I started getting invites to join the AARP before I turned 35, so somebody thinks I’m approaching retirement age by now.

² Including leases on Mercedes-Benz convertibles, wealth-preservation and estate-planning services, and the Republican party.

³ Hi. How the hell are ya?

4 Not an exaggeration, that actually happened to me.

5 He’s the CEO, bitch.

6 Somebody was (or will be) paid to have thought up that name. Jesus Tapdancing Christ.

Re: Footnote No. 1 – by quitting my day job and going full-time with comics, I essentially “retired.” Even cashed out my IRA so that I wouldn’t forget about its existence 30 years from now. And all that action has the AARP and tons of old-folky stuff swirling around me.

RSS feed for comments on this post.