Internet marketing and conspiracy theories

48 replies
So, GetResponse and Aweber have both been down for a bit this morning. Instead of looking for an actual explanation, we had a bunch of people speculating about why. The guesses included hacking attempts, DDoS's, and a government takedown. One gentleman seems quite sure that a bunch of lists have been stolen in the process.

According to Jim Ducharme, of GetResponse, the real answer at the moment seems to be that the datacenter they both use was offline.

Wow. A simple mechanical problem. Whodathunkit?

It may turn out that some of the guesses and speculation were actually right. It may also turn out to be a backhoe operator not checking for the location of cables before digging, or just nasty weather. (Didn't a bad winter storm take that datacenter down a year or two ago?) Or maybe some other simple explanation that doesn't involve Evil Plans.

The thing about this that makes it worth commenting on is that it is yet another example of a tendency that's been a problem in this industry for as long as the industry has existed:

The IM field is full of paranoid conspiracy theorists!

It's natural for people to try to explain things that are outside the usual. But, if your first explanation involves shadowy figures or evil conspiracies, there's a good chance you need to stop watching so many spy movies and reading conspiracy blogs.

This isn't limited to any particular intellectual level, either. I've seen some damned smart people repeat some truly stupid ideas as though they were Gospel. Their proof? "Everyone knows it. You can see them talking about it all over the place." Well, yeah. People gossip, and gossip spreads.

Newsflash, folks: Noise is not evidence.

Sometimes smoke means fire. Sometimes it just means there's a smoke machine nearby.

Please, stop asserting baseless speculation as though it were established fact. I don't really mind if you want to make yourself look silly, but less experienced people are likely to assume you have more than wild-assed guesses or an old grudge going for you and repeat the stuff.

If you start noticing this sort of thing getting deleted here in the future, rest assured that it's not a conspiracy.

It's a decision.


Paul

PS: Some of y'all really need to get a grip...
#conspiracy #internet #marketing #theories
  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Mike,

      I've been waiting to do this particular rant for a while. Just had to have an example to use that wasn't about specific people, and that didn't seem likely to pull the extreme types into the thread too quickly. That would quickly devolve into more of the same old mindless repetition of "accepted wisdom" that's really just foolishness dressed up in "social proof."

      They'll show up eventually. And they'll scream when their unfounded slander gets deleted. In the mean time, I'll consider this a success if just one person stops to think about the difference between evidence and assertion.


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  • Profile picture of the author srdjank
    I don't think this is just limited to IM... there are conspiracy theories about everything, the internet just allows the tinfoil hatters to have a voice

    Best,
    Srdjan
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  • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
    I thought the outages were due to an alien attack. That seems much more plausible than your whole silly "data center" explanation. Unless, of course, the aliens took down the data center.

    *puts on tinfoil hat*

    Becky
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    • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
      Originally Posted by R Hagel View Post

      I thought the outages were due to an alien attack...

      (Snip)

      *puts on tinfoil hat*

      Becky
      Now, if only they'd had the foresight to put tinfoil on the roof - all this could have been avoided.

      Kindest regards,
      Karl.
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    • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
        Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

        Now I'm afraid one or more of my own servers may be struck down because I don't have any contingency plans for Alien Attacks.
        Fear not, for if they are struck down they will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
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      • Profile picture of the author VaultBoss
        I don't think that assuming a DDOS attack on these two major AR services (AW & GR) would be so strange...

        It happened a LOT in the past and many HUGE databases were hacked into, including attacks against MySpace, RockYou and others in the recent past, not to mention last but not least FaceBook.

        That being said... I don't use these companies to deliver my email newsletter as I went the self-hosted route a long time ago (4yrs+) because I always thought that it is better to keep MY assets (as in my lists) as close to my chest as possible.
        However, IF these were hacked into.. we may all expect a flood of spam in the next days, if the clever guys would have stolen all those lists...

        Scary, huh?
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        • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
          I don't think that assuming a DDOS attack on these two major AR services (AW & GR) would be so strange...
          Considering that as one of many possibilities wouldn't be strange at all. It would just show that you're aware of the fragility of systems and the value of that data. But putting it first on the list, or stating it as a likely scenario without more evidence than "they're down at the moment", would be.

          Well, not strange so much as sloppy thinking.

          If someone posted a list of possibilities, and included both the benign and the malignant, I'd consider that smart. Pointless, unless they wanted to show the theorists what they were neglecting, but smart.

          My objection isn't to considering possibilities. It's to assuming the worst and then stating it as likely or certain without anything more than conjecture to support it.


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          • Profile picture of the author VaultBoss
            Paul, all I'm saying is that it is not only possible, but also that it is not a matter of If but rather WHEN it would happen.

            Maybe it is not today... it doesn't mean won't be the case tomorrow.

            Taking measures to stay safe from such things is just good business practise in my opinion.
            Just sayin'..
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          • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
            Okay. I have a few other points I wanted to make in this thread, but one at a time.

            Here's the first one: If you spread misinformation, whether deliberately or as the result of leaping to tall conclusions in a single bound, you are pushing people toward potentially harmful decisions.

            If you believe random comments from random strangers, and those comments turn out to be wrong, you're going to make bad decisions.

            This example is pretty simple, so we'll stick with it for now. If someone reads the comments about how one or more AR services is under attack, or closing down, or whatever other fiction is presented as fact, they're going to look for alternatives. That may be a good decision and it may not. They may be better off hosting their own list software, and that may be a Really Bad Idea for them.

            Whichever is the case, being pushed into a decision by false panic is not conducive to good long term planning.


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            • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
              Paul, all I'm saying is that it is not only possible, but also that it is not a matter of If but rather WHEN it would happen.
              Maybe so. One could say the same about the alternative options as well. If you host your own list long enough, for example, you have some chance of getting hacked. If you present a big enough target, the probability increases.

              Which approach is best for which person? Hard to say. Shaun is competent to manage his own software and list hygiene, so the right solution for him may be to do just that. Many people know so little about these processes and the factors involved that they would inevitably screw the pooch if they tried.

              Panic might make them give the wrong amount of weight to the important factors...


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            • Profile picture of the author VaultBoss
              I totally agree that *some* people may rush and make wrong decisions based on panic, or on their own weak perceptional wits.

              It happens all over, in real life, whenever they read a newspaper and decide to vote (or not), or they watch a TV ad a number of times that says 'product X' is better than 'product Y', basically... etc...
              (not to mention bad financial decisions people may be lead into when watching the rise or fall of certain listed companies, don't you think? it happened all the time)

              On the other hand, getting information from a multitude of sources, watch it and filter through their own thought processes is wise - IF the thinker is wise too - or just stupid - again, IF the thinker is less than wise (to put it mildly) - and not all people are wise, are they?...

              Bottom line, for all folks reading this thread: read carefully, apply caution when making decisions.
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              • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                I totally agree that *some* people may rush and make wrong decisions based on panic, or on their own weak perceptional wits.
                Whole nations can be driven to panicked action and get it wrong. History is replete with examples of this. And smart people aren't immune to stupid decisions if they act on incorrect information.

                You'll note that I was very clear about the problem being a matter of experience and not intelligence. There's a reason for that. Think about how that fits with your argument...


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                • Profile picture of the author zerofill
                  Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                  Whole nations can be driven to panicked action and get it wrong.
                  See... now this type of panic is exactly why we can't find out what happened in Roswell!

                  @Mike Hill: Yea waiting to see the FBI sticker on the site now lol. They have a crappy graphic designer for all the money they have though.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
                    Originally Posted by zerofill View Post

                    See... now this type of panic is exactly why we can't find out what happened in Roswell!

                    @Mike Hill: Yea waiting to see the FBI sticker on the site now lol. They have a crappy graphic designer for all the money they have though.


                    LOL... they should definitely go with the flashing animation, the bouncing emoticons and the blinking border ... that will get people's attention, no joke... LOL
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                    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                      A perfect example, which I was pointed to just a few minutes ago. A comment made in a WSO thread:
                      lots critical feedback being deleted in this thread.


                      * possibly a sign of something to hide?
                      Unreal. This dude's "critical feedback" is arguments about the sales process. The whole "OTO" thing. He apparently missed the 2 or 3 notes in that thread from Ken and me about why those posts were being deleted: Debates about sales processes are not allowed in WSO threads. (It's in the rules. Really. Posted right there for everyone to see.)

                      Clearly there's something there to hide. Only 2 moderators posted explanations, after all. And who actually reads rules?


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            • Profile picture of the author Ken Strong
              Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

              Okay. [snip]I wanted to [snip]spread misinformation [snip]deliberately[snip],[snip] pushing people toward potentially harmful decisions.

              If you believe[snip] This[snip],[snip]we'll stick with it for now.

              [snip]being pushed into a decision by false panic is [snip]conducive to good long term planning.
              AHA! I knew you were part of the conspiracy.

              It's all a matter of reading between the lines.

              (No, I don't believe you've told me yet today. But it's still early.)
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              • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                Ken,

                It may be early out where you live, but here it's dinner time.

                Consider yourself told.


                Paul

                PS: Nice. The perfect paranoid editing job.
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    • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
      Originally Posted by R Hagel View Post

      I thought the outages were due to an alien attack. That seems much more plausible than your whole silly "data center" explanation. Unless, of course, the aliens took down the data center.

      *puts on tinfoil hat*

      Becky
      I agree. It was The Greys.
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  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    Their servers were hacked...

    Lists were stolen....

    They decided to shut down for the day...


    People always speculate things that they are not sure about. That is the nature of people.
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  • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
    Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

    PS: Some of y'all really need to get a grip...
    Someone more cynical than I (*dun dun dunnnnnn*) might think nothing much more than this needed to be said.
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  • Profile picture of the author davejug1
    Sorry but I go by logical thinking rather than hype & hysteria.

    There was at least 4 service providers that went down at the same time. The fact that none of them seemed to have any decent contingency plan that took makes it more likely that it was a DDOS attack rather than multiple coincidences.

    IMO
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  • Profile picture of the author marketwarrior06
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    conspiracy can occur in any part of any section of business. but yes its true that IM is badly affected by this. and its true that Internet is the main thing that accelerates this matter
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  • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
    Yep, a big problem with hitting the "panic button" is that people start accusing the company of being a bad company.

    To use your example: a backhoe operator dings a cable and an A/R service goes down. And suddenly the autoresponder service is a horrible company that doesn't know how to do business. They can't be trusted.

    (Il)logical leap: Now we must all cancel our accounts and flee, because there is no way -- NO WAY -- that a reputable, savvy, smart, honest service provider would ever, ever, ever let their website go down. Not even for a nanosecond.

    Because, apparently, this is a perfect world -- and if you're just smart enough, you're completely invincible when it comes to hackers, acts of nature, acts of construction workers, etc.

    Becky

    P.S. BIG Mike, I'll tell you about the Tinfoil Hat WSO later. Not here -- "they" will hear us in this thread.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    I figured the FBI went in and raided Get Response and Aweber because the Government secretly has iContact shares and they want to make a quick buck especially now that the new "Business Opportunity" rule is in effect.

    I also heard that the Warrior Forum is owned by the mafia and is in collusion with Anonymous.

    All joking aside, I guess people like to speculate ... makes things more interesting... LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author JimDucharme
    Thanks Paul and everyone who have been voices of common sense today! It's easy to speculate, jump to conclusions or spread rumours in situations such as this. Certainly I don't have anything to add to what Paul has already pointed out about that.

    I would like to mention that while the problem occured we continued to collect subscriptions and statistics. There should be no issues with this if you are a GetRepsonse customer.

    I also thought I might share a little anecdote from my younger days during the dot com boom....

    Back in 97 I was working for a gaming network in SF known then as TEN. One day our entire service went down, but it wasn't just us! Most of the major west coast sites went down too! From IBM to Apple, they were all down for most of that day and into the next.

    There was a lot of speculation as to why this happened.

    What caused this disaster?

    Apparently two rats had got into a shack on Stanford campus where a major router station was and chewed on some power cables. This conclusion was reached after the techs found the chewed up cables and two fried rats.

    Imagine that...two furry little rodents took down the whole west coast. While I doubt that could happen today, you can never be too sure.

    Regards,
    jim

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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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      Originally Posted by JimDucharme View Post

      Back in 97 I was working for a gaming network in SF known then as TEN. One day our entire service went down, but it wasn't just us! Most of the major west coast sites went down too! From IBM to Apple, they were all down for most of that day and into the next.

      There was a lot of speculation as to why this happened.

      What caused this disaster?

      Apparently two rats had got into a shack on Stanford campus where a major router station was and chewed on some power cables. This conclusion was reached after the techs found the chewed up cables and two fried rats.

      Imagine that...two furry little rodents took down the whole west coast. While I doubt that could happen today, you can never be too sure.

      Regards,
      jim
      But I heard that the rats were really covert, trained ninja rats sent in to destroy the entire Internet, starting with the West Coast.
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
        Suzanne,
        But I heard that the rats were really covert, trained ninja rats sent in to destroy the entire Internet, starting with the West Coast.
        It was a left-right-and-chicken wing conspiracy to rid the world of those dogless yippies.

        That's the way I heard it. I knew a guy who had a friend who overheard someone saying something he thought sounded like that, so it must be true.


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  • Profile picture of the author Marhelper
    Didya hear the one about the one armed, green leafed warrior ...
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  • Profile picture of the author JimDucharme
    This thead is going to go south faster than a Canuck in winter.

    Regards,
    jim
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Jim,
      This thead is going to go south faster than a Canuck in winter.
      If they haven't made it out of Canuckistan before winter hits, they're going nowhere without spending a week or two staring at the northern end of a team of southbound Huskies.

      Well, okay. Maybe this year they'd have gotten out after November 15, but not most years!


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  • Profile picture of the author Mary Wilhite
    Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

    It's natural for people to try to explain things that are outside the usual. But, if your first explanation involves shadowy figures or evil conspiracies, there's a good chance you need to stop watching so many spy movies and reading conspiracy blogs.


    Paul

    PS: Some of y'all really need to get a grip...
    I like that. It is difficult for most people who watch spy movies all the time to be positive.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Mary,
      It is difficult for most people who watch spy movies all the time to be positive.
      Or if they listen to political talk radio of pretty much any partisan stripe.

      There's enough serious stupidity in the world as it is, without us inventing more to scare ourselves with.


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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

    One gentleman seems quite sure that a bunch of lists have been stolen in the process.
    Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

    Whatever it is, I can bet you that a few lists have been poached.
    Yeah, what a tosser.

    By the way, its been a while since anyone called me a "gentleman", so cheers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    John,
    By the way, its been a while since anyone called me a "gentleman", so cheers.
    Gladtabeofsoivice!

    And you may turn out to be right yet. I doubt it rather strongly in this instance, but the question hasn't been fully answered. Which is sort of the point.

    I would say, though, that you're generally gentlemanly. So it wasn't an entirely misplaced choice of words.


    Paul
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    • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
      Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

      John,Gladtabeofsoivice!

      And you may turn out to be right yet. I doubt it rather strongly in this instance, but the question hasn't been fully answered. Which is sort of the point.

      I would say, though, that you're generally gentlemanly. So it wasn't an entirely misplaced choice of words.


      Paul
      You know when people panic, start screaming and all running in the same direction and well....you just kinda run with them without really knowing why youre actually running?




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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
        John,
        You know when people panic, start screaming and all running in the same direction and well....you just kinda run with them without really knowing why youre actually running?
        Sounds like a Beatles concert...

        When that stuff starts, I tend to get out away from the craziness and look around to see if there's really anything going on. If there is, I look for the best way to deal with it, which is usually not the way the crowd is dealing with it. If it's just crazy people running around screaming, I watch. And keep my feet out of the way of the stampede.


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  • Profile picture of the author Halcyon
    Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me.
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  • Profile picture of the author nickdamodda
    When will you people learn? #Illuminati
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Nick,
      When will you people learn? #Illuminati
      Why would we want to pound the college professors? Are they part of the left-right-and-chicken wing conspiracy?


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      • Profile picture of the author nickdamodda
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        Nick,Why would we want to pound the college professors? Are they part of the left-right-and-chicken wing conspiracy?


        Paul
        I was joking, and I'm really tired of all of these conspiracy's as well.
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        • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
          Nick
          I was joking,
          Me, too.
          and I'm really tired of all of these conspiracy's as well.
          Me, too.


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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelSJohn
    I know who did it, it was Kony 2012.
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  • Profile picture of the author Russel Mogul
    It's part of the game, i'm just surpirised they didn't have any backup data centers in the evnt of something like this happening.

    Maybe it's Vocus trying to get publishers and list owners to switch over ?

    Vocus Buys Email Marketing Company iContact For $169 Million | TechCrunch
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  • Profile picture of the author zoomsixx
    A little paranoid are we? lol, relax man
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  • Profile picture of the author JimDucharme
    This thread keeps popping back up like some kind of virtual crop circle!

    Conspiracies can be very tiring if you actually think about them. So I agree with both of you completely.

    Regards,
    jim
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