Attention Farming

  By Shamus   Feb 26, 2008   28 comments

article_snake_oil.jpg
So Dan at Dan’s Data is having a tiff with a company that sells fuel additive pills. Dan has done a bunch of mean things to their company, like demanding they back up their fanciful claims about what their product supposedly does. He’s even gone so far as to suggest that the product in question might not actually do those things. The company’s strategy so far has been threefold:

  1. Call Dan an idiot. (No, really. They began their letter to him with the phrase “You are an idiot.”)
  2. Threaten to sue.
  3. Demand, more or less, that Dan give them back their lunch money and stop picking on them.

The most amusing thing they’ve done so far is demand that Dan stop linking to their promotional materials. I can’t find a permalink on his site, but you can see the post on his main page. (Look for the 19th February 2008 post.) This is, of course, akin to demanding people stop pointing and laughing at your billboard. This is made all the more giggle-inducing by the fact that they demanded that he publicize the thing in the first place.

Anyway, Dan has responded to this foot-stamping according to the ancient traditions: He’s made the thing available on a Torrent, where it will be seeded and shared all over the place by people who would otherwise never have taken an interest. If we’ve learned anything from people trying to sue the internet, it’s that the quickest way to get lots of links is to threaten to sue somebody for linking you. I just realized that this is a fantastic way to boost your popularity and bring new people to your site. I’m going to try it:

I am proud to announce that I have proven via a scientific study that reading Twenty-Sided encourages safe, effective weight loss after only a few visits. This is due to secret, proprietary methods of designing site layout that stimulates neuron… activators in the upper… lumbar that… enhances your Circadian Rhythm and optimizes your metabolism via your browser cache. It’s embedded in the CSS. It’s all very scientific and complicated but trust me, this site will allow you to safely lose 10-20 unwanted pounds after just a few readings, as well as helping you to regrow lost hair. And make you more attractive to the opposite sex. Or the same sex, if you prefer. Pretty much whatever you’re into, really.

Furthermore, I demand that all websites stop linking to this post, as you are infringing on my right to not be made fun of when making an ass of myself. It is forbidden to link to this post and if you do so I will be forced to take legal action within 48 hours of my lawyer sobering up after I bail him out of the drunk tank. Again.

I should have thought of this ages ago. I’m going to be famous!

20828 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.


  1. Stark says:

    OK, I am suing. Reading that resulted in coffee in my nasal cavity. While this may indeed result in weight loss you failed to mention the excruciating pain involved in the process. ;)

  2. […] Over at Twenty Sided, Shamus Young talks about an interesting fight another blogger, Dan of Dan’s Data, is having with a company selling some kind of fuel additive pills. Frankly, the whole issue of whether the pills do anything or of they’re pure snake oil doesn’t interest me in the slightest. There are all manner of bogus products out there on the net waiting to snare those with more money than sense. […]

  3. corwin says:

    I expect to year from your attorney if you can get him sober this week :)

  4. kpram says:

    It is all true! I came to TWENTYSIDEDTALE and now I am taller, smarter, thinner and more attractive. I’ve tried lots of websites with CSS, but none worked until I read TWENTYSIDEDTALE. The unique blend of upper lumbar neural stimulating CSS agents at TWENTYSIDEDTALE is great!

  5. Adalore says:

    Wheres my super enhancements of completely fictional?! >:(
    :P

  6. Froody says:

    Good start, Shamus, but there’s more to do. You’re only halfway there – what you need to do next is to upload tons of customer reviews backing up your claim :P Fake or bribe, whatever strikes your fancy :P

  7. Epizootic says:

    The date on the lab results interpretation was written before the lab results came back, according to the dates on the PDF. Oh dear XD

  8. Epizootic says:

    early morning, bad grammar. Apologies.

  9. […] serious.  Utterly unfounded claims and by golly, I’m not going to take it.  I’m gonna sue him for the unlost 20 lbs and the complete and utter lack of flocking […]

  10. Phlux says:

    You are an idiot. I have probably gained 20 pounds since I started reading Twenty Sided. This is in no way a result of poor eating, stress and lack of sleep, and is in fact a direct result of consumption of Twenty Sided reading material.

    You will be hearing from my lawyers, sir.

  11. bargamer says:

    Dear Mr. Shamus:

    This is a letter of cease and desisting of your internet hilarity. You have been found guilty of the soiling of many computer monitors, keyboards, portions of desks, and the occasional pants. There is one account of burned nasal cavities. This is in addition to the countless accounts of loss of productivity, weight gain, loss of jobs, and emotional distress brought on by not being about to stop laughing. Should you ignore us we will go all “Jack Thompson” on you, and possibly as far as “Church of Scientology,” too.

    You have until the Sun goes nova to comply, by which case it falls under the statute of limitations, and we give up in boredom.

    We are willing to settle out-of-court for the price of a lifetime supply of ramen, Mountain Dew, and pocky.

  12. […] Twenty Sided » Blog Archive » Attention Farming: “I am proud to announce that I have proven via a scientific study that reading Twenty-Sided encourages safe, effective weight loss after only a few visits. This is due to secret, proprietary methods of designing site layout that stimulates neuron… activators in the upper… lumbar that… enhances your Circadian Rhythm and optimizes your metabolism via your browser cache. It’s embedded in the CSS. It’s all very scientific and complicated but trust me, this site will allow you to safely lose 10-20 unwanted pounds after just a few readings, as well as helping you to regrow lost hair. And make you more attractive to the opposite sex.” […]

  13. Mari says:

    Want me to get all pouty and blog about it, complete with links to your unfounded claims? Sadly it won’t work. The problem is that you’re too intelligent. Attention farming like that only works if you’re stupid and unintentionally funny.

    But I still advertise for you all over the place. I’ve blogged, complete with links, no fewer than four times and you’re a permalink on my Myspace (I really hate that redundant “my”) profile.

  14. […] Shamus Young (of DM of the Rings and Wavatars notoriety) has started making the most absurd ranting claims and threats I’ve ever seen: I am proud to announce that I have proven via a scientific study that reading […]

  15. Shameless Shamus says:

    (Having failed to do the nifty trackback in the title thing that everyone else seems to have going, I quote from here):

    […]Furthermore, he claims to have discovered either a) the secret to weight loss and sexual attraction, or b) the secret to popularity on the net. I forget which, but I can see how they’d be mutually exclusive. I’m linking this as part of an empirical scientriffic test to prove whichever it was. Or wasn’t. You can trust me; I’m wearing a white lab coat! (Also, I’m suing.)

  16. Dreamer says:

    Actually, since the humorous tidbits Shamus places on his site induce laughter, which relieves stress. A good, long laugh has been proven to be the equal of roughly ten minutes of running, without the sore legs and worrying about foot and joint damage. Laughter also brings a person’s spirits up, giving them a positive benefit that could last for days.

    So, let’s see. Shamus’ site provides Stress Relief, Excercise, and Higher Spirits. So, Stress Relief = Less Lost Hair, and fewer grey ones, Excercise = Weight Loss, and Higher Spirits = More confidence in flirting.

    How can his claims not be true? :)

    (After all, it doesn’t mention the side effects, such as trouble breathing, wheezing, temporary insanity, tears of joy, spewing of liquids, loud gaffawing, and accidents occuring in the immediate area or to those within earshot.)

  17. Avaz says:

    Spam much?

    Notice how the four entries by the dude (I’ll go so far as to say bot) that posted those all have the same wavatar, which leads me to believe that they all originated from the same email, which, since all those posts copy/paste parts of the very same blog entry, leads me to further believe the presence of a botacular proliferation of botacism.

  18. Rustybadger says:

    I’m suing as well: not for making false claims about the beneficial aspects of reading TST, but rather for patent infringement. You see, my company owns the US Patent for a process we’ve dubbed “A Method For Human Enhancement Through Interaction With Browser Technologies”, which include, but are not limited to: CSS, HTML, XHTML, PHP, MySQL, Flash, Shockwave (deprecated), Java, RSS, Cache, and Cookies.

    It’s clear to all but the most acluistic of Idiots that Twenty Sided is employing many, if not all of the methods covered in our Patent for both financial, as well as emotional gain.

    You’ll be hearing from our lawyers, sir!

    Would you mind letting them know we’re waiting for them, when you go to bail your own out of that drunk tank? Thanks.

  19. neminem says:

    That is seriously one of the greatest things I have ever read. Seriously.

  20. […] at TwentySided has put up utterly absurd claims that his website encourages safe, effective weight loss after only a few […]

  21. Christian Groff says:

    I find this all hilarious, mainly because the company who threatened legal action was asking for it. The attention they will get is NEGATIVE attention, which will label them idiots and whiners. If they want decent people to buy their products, they should ignore the taunts and bullying.

    I feel sad that things like people hating YouTube enough to cancel their accounts and stuff like this gives the Internet a bad name.

    I know this is a joke, but I have a weird sense of humor. :(

  22. Conrad says:

    Darn it, I’ve totally gained ten pounds since I stared visiting your site. Obviously I’m doing something wrong, do you know what it is? Is IE a more sliming web browser than Firefox? Where does Safari fall in?

  23. Eberhard says:

    It’s not a new phenomenon, it’s called the Streisand Effect:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

    It has even been used to accuse the person you’re suing of profiting from the attention you brought him by suing him:
    http://techdirt.com/articles/20060713/0332234.shtml

  24. Eric the Baker says:

    I would like to complain. I ordered a +2 Girdle of Sveltness from this website, 9 weeks ago. My credit card was billed, and I have never received the product. I would like to have a human being, gnoll, troll or any other being from your customer service department contact me as soon as possible!

  25. Namfoodle says:

    The site with the pictures of the coast that lead to the phrase “Streisand Effect” is really cool.

    I’m looking up all the beaches I’ve taken my kids to as well as all the places I played when I was a yute.

  26. ArchU says:

    Oh, Dan updated his site…I haven’t visited in about a year! Super guy, really funny and full of useful facts with a good dose of common sense (okay, and nonsense). I’ve been reading his site since before I even picked up my first Atomic MPC magazine for which he writes articles.

    Well done for linking, Shamus – and make sure you keep up those threats =)

  27. AndrewNZachsDad says:

    Avaz, I will admit up front to my limited knowledge of things blog-y, but I think those “spam” listings are actually some sort of automated link either gathered by a bot of Shamus’s or created by some sort of automated process when another blogger links to this site. I think the term is backlinking, or something like that.
    And, bargamer, the formatting left “Mountain Dew, and pocky.” on the last line of your (hilarious) letter of intent. My brain assumed this was a signature and read it as “Mountain, Dew, and Pooky” as in “The Law Offices of”. Excellent. :)

5 Trackbacks

  1. […] Over at Twenty Sided, Shamus Young talks about an interesting fight another blogger, Dan of Dan’s Data, is having with a company selling some kind of fuel additive pills. Frankly, the whole issue of whether the pills do anything or of they’re pure snake oil doesn’t interest me in the slightest. There are all manner of bogus products out there on the net waiting to snare those with more money than sense. […]

  2. By He's not getting away with this: The Ratnest on February 26, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    […] serious.  Utterly unfounded claims and by golly, I’m not going to take it.  I’m gonna sue him for the unlost 20 lbs and the complete and utter lack of flocking […]

  3. By Mike Oldham: Attention Farming on February 26, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    […] Twenty Sided » Blog Archive » Attention Farming: “I am proud to announce that I have proven via a scientific study that reading Twenty-Sided encourages safe, effective weight loss after only a few visits. This is due to secret, proprietary methods of designing site layout that stimulates neuron… activators in the upper… lumbar that… enhances your Circadian Rhythm and optimizes your metabolism via your browser cache. It’s embedded in the CSS. It’s all very scientific and complicated but trust me, this site will allow you to safely lose 10-20 unwanted pounds after just a few readings, as well as helping you to regrow lost hair. And make you more attractive to the opposite sex.” […]

  4. […] Shamus Young (of DM of the Rings and Wavatars notoriety) has started making the most absurd ranting claims and threats I’ve ever seen: I am proud to announce that I have proven via a scientific study that reading […]

  5. […] at TwentySided has put up utterly absurd claims that his website encourages safe, effective weight loss after only a few […]

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