Duncan Riley> I reported yesterday on the apparent attempt to launch a blogging celebrity magazine blogebrity, and whilst I had my doubts about it, particularly based on the owner/ owners, I read this morning that the site is fake and is part of a competition called the Contagious Media Showdown being run by Eyebeam, a non-profit center for art and technology based in New York. The crux of the competition is to create viral sites, with the most successful sites in terms of traffic and links winning prizes.
There are some interesting sites listed, and indeed it could be argued that those sites which are obviously spoof sites are worthy participants, and from a third party perspective, watching other sites gain traffic as the word of mouth spreads throughout the blogosphere is some what interesting. What does concern me however is that sites like Blogebrity, which we now know is fake, asks for subscribers. Sure, it’s a risk anywhere, but here we have a site that is fake, getting in an increasingly large amount of traffic, with apparently false registration details (which is illegal in itself I would have thought) that is asking for email addresses but is guaranteeing not to spam them. Problem: if they cant be believed on anything else how do we know our personal email addresses are safe? The people behind blogebrity also appear to be writing Gawker Media knockoffs with stolen code as well, whether this is part of the competition or not I’m not sure, but potentially what the competition is doing goes beyond promoting innocent spoof sites and provides potential encouragement of illegal, or immoral activities, and bloggers are being manipulated as part of the process. Far to many questions and concerns and not enough answers. We’d note that something that Nick Denton is seemingly involved in as well (he helped launch the competition) would not potentially deceive so many bloggers as well.