"I am an attorney and I know the law. This thing is for real..."

And so begins the email letter about the generosity of Bill Gates as he conducts an email beta test with the help of a few good Americans. I just received this particular letter again today. I can't remember when I first saw it. Which of course made me wonder when it actually started. The letter has no specific dates. Instead it says things like "This took two-pages of the Tuesday USA Today-It is for real!" and "This was on the 9:00 o'clock news the other night so I'm assuming it works." So being the good little internet explorer that I am, I set out to find the origins of this particular web fossil.

First of all, the hoax began as a letter from Bill Gates himself to the good people of the internet back in 1997. He explains in his letter that if this "beta test" reaches 1000 people then all 1000 will receive $1000 and a free copy of Windows 98. (hehehe) Since that early version, the letter underwent many changes: Bill Gates was abandoned for a phony "executive" or sometimes no name at all, new testimonials cropped up including one from the writer's "brother's girlfriend" who's email address is lucklessly included in the letter as a great place to send questions, even the pay rates have gone up over the years for emails sent. This is one email hoax that keeps up with inflation and you gotta respect that.

But as this dinosaur, along with countless others that have seen the insides of countless mailboxes, roams the internet, I have to wonder how easy it would be to create my own hoax and throw it into the void of thoughtless mail forwarding... All I would need was a badly written, urgent promise of fabulous and easily gotten wealth. Maybe from Oprah.

Must. Resist.

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Blogger Worldgineer said...

I hate to encourage such behavior, but you do have a neglected newsletter just waiting for content. Perhaps a "I'm waiting for my $1,000 check from Bill Gates" t-shirt?

8/8/05 12:42  
Blogger k_sra said...

You are too good sometimes, World. Really you are... >: )

8/8/05 12:44  
Anonymous barnzenen said...

Go on, go for it. Could I be a credible source? I mean, don't divulge my email or anything, just use me as a reference. Like, "Credible source Barnzenen Inc. said this gizmo really works" sorta thing.

8/8/05 14:32  
Blogger Steve DeGroof said...

"Bill Gates promised me $1000 and all I got was this lousy t-shirt"

8/8/05 15:32  
Blogger k_sra said...

I would wear that.

8/8/05 15:37  
Blogger Diva said...

Does worldgineer like to receive greeting cards? What's his home address? I can draft a quick chain email around it and soon he'll receive greeting cards from around the world. For years...and years...and years.

8/8/05 17:28  
Blogger Worldgineer said...

Worldgineer hates greeting cards - he feels that obligitory gestures are as a rule without sentimental worth. He does, however, like donuts.

9/8/05 11:14  

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