Ooh, an Infographic!

From: Sarah Wenger ______@gmail.com via smtp.com

Hey Dale,

I recently developed a new infographic that I thought would be a good fit for your site. I thought I’d reach out and share a graphic with you that highlights/focuses/illustrates video game addiction in young boys and how it can affect their health in the future.

If you’d like to take a look, please let me know. Thanks!

That looks vaguely familiar! This time gmail stuck in that “via smtp dot com” to directly reflect the forgery, which is interesting.

I like “highlights / focuses / illustrates”. Although the naked parallel fails a bit on “focuses”, since it really wants an “on” here, and the other two don’t.

Did I mention that I wrote back to Katherine (the one offering an infographic on Elon Musk)?

I don’t think I’m actually interested in a graphic about Elon Musk,
but I am rather interested in the broader question of who created it
and what its goal is.

I’ve now had mail from you, and “Jen R”, and Tony Shin, in extremely
similar styles, offering me infographics about (respectively) Elon
Musk, NORML, and World of Warcraft.

Are you a team of aspiring designers trying to get your work seen by a
wider audience? Or something subtler?

Wildly curious,
David M. Chess

She seems to have been somewhat baffled by this, but did eventually reply:

Hi David,

My name’s Katherine and as stated in my previous email, I am part of a
team of designers/researchers that made a graphic highlighting the
life of Elon Musk. Mainly what we are trying to do is get you to link
the graphic to the resource page of your website. It promotes both
websites equally and helps us grow as artists and young professionals.
It’s 100% free of charge. Let me know what you think.

I like the nice upfrontness of “[m]ainly what we are trying to do is get you to link the graphic to the resource page of your website”, although of course she means link to the thing from the page (kids these days!). And I don’t think my website actually has a resource page.

Maybe I will reply to her again, copying Sarah. And maybe Tony. And…


4 Comments to “Ooh, an Infographic!”

  1. I think this has something to do with feeding clicks into online schools, who are evidently paying people to feed people into their sites. There are many sites that supposedly help you find the right school for you. These are merely thin disguises for online schools; searches never result in “real” schools — only online schools, many of which are owned by the same companies (EDMC, Apollo Group). Laws supposedly prohibit online schools from paying recruiters on a per-head basis, but it looks like these outfits are looking for ways to circumvent these restrictions. Some years ago, I was offered quite a substantial commission for each student who enrolled in a school as a result of clicking on a banner ad. If that is no longer legal, perhaps if you are two or three clicks away from an enrollment page and own all the sites, you can avoid the letter of the law and still collect a commission? Please feel free to contact me about this. I would like to do an article about how and why people are creating feeder sites to online schools. I have gotten several emails from “Sarah Wenger” and “Tony Shin” myself.


  2. Boringly, they just want links from blogs to their page to increase their Google PageRank, so they can show up higher in Google searches for whatever their site is about. “Post our infographic” might mean “copy this file to your site and use an IMG tag” to some, but they provide code that includes A HREF links that they hope bloggers will use.

    *Birch/Stark average


    • Yeah, that seems most plausible. It doesn’t seem like a very efficient way to do that, but I should never be surprised by inefficiency. :) The other weird thing is that the ultimate landing pages don’t seem to have any ads on them (just sort of generic bland information), so I don’t even know why they care about the pagerank. Maybe they’re going to put the ads on later? It’s a mysterious world. :)


    • I suspect something more nefarious, since these graphics makers hide their true identities. Ultimately, these pages seem to terminate in feeder sites to online degree programs. I was once approached by a school that told me I could earn a substantial income by placing ads for schools on my sites. Some schools apparently pay a high commission if someone actually enrolls from an ad you put up. I’ll be checking in to this. It is now against the law to pay recruiters for online schools directly on a “per head” basis. Is this an attempt to do an end run on the law?



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