I recieved a most interesting piece of mail today:
It came through the door in a handwritten envelope with the note attached. At first I was curious as to whom I know by the name of ‘J’ that might be thinking of me while browsing through their copy of the times however on surface inspection of the article found a few problems with it. It’s shamelessly uncritical, mentions the website at every possible opportunity and makes no mention of the author. A search of The Times website for that date finds no corresponding article.
In the age of a million spam e-mails a day I find this piece of real world spam rather astounding. The sheer volume of work that has gone in to crafting this is awe-inspiring: it’s printed on what seems to be newspaper print, the font, layout and style match The Times and it’s even torn at the edges as if from a real newspaper. The real selling point for authenticity is the reverse side:
Now I’m not obsessive enough to check these stocks against those from the 9th December 2009 but its certainly a nice touch. Even the inclusion of the date is a nice bit of potential authenticity, though doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
What convinced me it wasn’t real even before The Times search was the fact it mentions his website 6 times (7 if you include the note) and a photo caption would never be that long. The tone is also a little too praising, unless his dad is the editor of the paper I can’t imagine anyone getting such a shamelessly glowing report, with far too many uses of words like “acclaimed” and “genius”.
All in all a good conversation piece and a real eye opener in the lengths people will go to in order to get you to visit their website.