Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Internet Lesson from 2001


When going through my email today, I came across the following note I send to friends and family in June 2001, which I copy below.

Rule number 1 of internet web cruising and emails:
Believe Nothing. Assume a hoax until proven otherwise.

I ran across this story today that is revealing:,7558,497418,00.html

[Note: you have to register to see this -- free]

This reminds me of one of the great business scams of
the modern era -- another case of someone taking
advantage of the gullible:

[Alas, this was an article from the Industry Standard -- that venerable guide of the Internet Bubble Era. It is no longer available. See below.]

Both articles are enlightening. It is unfortunate that
some people choose to dupe others, or just plain lie.
The internet makes it much easier for people with
these tendencies to ply their trade, so to speak.

I guess the guiding principle is: "Caveat Web-tor"



The first article is about a website dedicated to a girl, Kaycee Nicole, who was dying of Leukemia. The website was updated by her mother and captured the pain of childhood cancer. Eventually, Kaycee died. Many, many readers and well-wishers read the site, offering gifts and sympathy. Except, the site was a hoax! Kaycee did not exist. The writer was a Kansas woman whose site and story got away from her. She wanted to be a voice for cancer victims, and ended up creating the personna of Kaycee, and it steamrolled.

The second article was an article in the Industry Standard that tells of an "Internet Technology" company that had a product that sped up internet downloads by 100-fold. Except that there was no product -- it was all vapor. The company CEO got millions in funding from unsuspecting (and internet-greed-crazed) dupes -- mostly doctors in Southern California. Turns out the "CEO" was a small time con who saw big-time opportunity in the bubble. The article was written in 1998, and was the cover story for that week's Industry Standard. I have it in "hard copy" (computer-dude speak for "on paper") somewhere in my boxes.

So, "Caveat Web-Tor!"