Wednesday April 10, 2013
Web of fakery
By ANN MARIE CHANDY and S.INDRAMALAR
The intrepid Spudniks venture online in search of the truth, to see if it’s really out there.
I ENJOY changing my status updates on Google chat, and I like it when my friends on G-chat do the same. It’s like a sneak peek into what they are thinking at any given time.
So, when someone’s status update read “Massive Dynamics” my curiosity was piqued ...mainly because I, too, am currently watching Fringe and because I was unsure if the name of Nina Sharp and Dr William Bell’s company is Massive Dynamic or Dynamics (interestingly both versions seem to make appearances throughout the show’s five seasons).
So, like any good journalist, I googled it, and lo and behold, guess what I chanced upon? A very slick website – Massive Dynamic: What Don’t We Do? (www.massivedynamic.com). It looked so real I had to read and reread everything to make sure it was fake. Okay, I’m not the sharpest tool in the box.
Massive Dynamic’s mission? To provide the best quality products and services to improve human existence, to uphold the highest level of scientific excellence and research, and to spread the ideals of human advancement and global citizenship that the company was founded upon.
Okay that sounded a bit suspect, but the website is so cool, it even has a sitemap. And there is a career opportunities navigational bar which states there are currently vacancies for computational biologist, neuroprogrammer, senior risk analyst and kitchen operations staff. JJ Abrams, hire me please!
If you are at all unsure about the site’s credentials, check out the “leadership” button and all your questions will be answered.
I’m not sure if there are any neat “secret” features on the site, but there are several websites and forums (in all timelines, I’m sure) available so fans don’t just have to be observers, they can analyse and investigate for themselves – of course, this is all four or five years old by now and I am late to jump on the bandwagon. But, better late than never, right?
This initial find made me go in search of other fake websites. You’d be surprised how many pop up featuring Barney Stinson (go look up balloonexplorersclub.com and notafathersday.com).
There are also fake sites created in honour of specific episodes of 30 Rock, Breaking Bad and Seinfeld, all of which are funny but probably won’t hold your attention for long.
Did you know there is a dundermifflininfinity.com (The Office) and that you can read all about bestselling author Richard Castle at richardcastle.net? I bet Indra would just love that right now.
Aah, viral online advertising campaigns – what will they think of next? – AMC
RICHARD Castle’s website? Yeah, I’m on it. In fact, I go on it quite a bit.
The two best things about Castle are the writing (it’s really clever and funny) and the characters and on this website, you get to enjoy the humour and fun of the character and the show just a little more.
It’s pretty cool ...and a great marketing tool! If you keep fans happy, you get consistently good ratings, right?
Like Ann Marie, I love the How I Met Your Mother fake websites too.
The show’s creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas not only put a lot of thought into these fake sites, they even hired a webmaster (Carl MacLaren) to create and maintain them so that they are authentically fake.
Check out Robin Sparkles’ (that was Cobie Smulders’ character Robin Scherbatsky’s alter ego when she enjoyed brief fame with her pop hit – in Canada only – Let’s Go To The Mall) MySpace page, for example (www.myspace.com/robinsparkles), which not only has her music videos uploaded but photographs and comments from fake fans (and real HIMYM fans too).
Sherlock fans might be interested to know that their favourite sleuth (is that too unsophisticated a term for the great Sherlock Holmes?) and his sidekick have actual blog sites? Check out thescienceofdeduction.co.uk and johnwatsonblog.co.uk.
And I’ve saved the best for last. Fans of Dexter will be thrilled to know that the search engine which Dexter uses to search for information about his potential victims is “real”. Yup, check out www.netrangler.com.
Don’t hope to actually be able to do any snooping of your own though.
Even though it appears to be an authentic search engine, it’s a spoof.
I searched for “TV” and the top result for my search was an article entitled “Sarah Jessica Parker Is Not a Horse! She’s a Human Being!” Click on the link and you get a fake report that is quite hilarious. Silly, but hilarious.
The site also boasts testimonials from “celebrity users” like the cast of Dexter as well as random celebrities like Frodo (whose quote is “one does not simply walk into Mordor, you first have to search for it on Netrangler”).
I think it’s great that show creators go the extra mile to develop the fake websites they mention on their shows.
So the next time you hear or see a character go onto a website online, check it out yourself. Who knows what you might find. – SI