Has anyone else noticed how bored people look when photographed with dating columnist Julia Allison? As this Ken Burns-style clip reveals, the relentless egoblogger's picture companions look desperate to be somewhere else.
The Internet is relentlessly eliminating the entertainment value of fame in favor of commerce. In the old days, you'd get a publicist in L.A. or New York in the hopes of garnering the attention of some producer or director and becoming a star. The end result: You get rich by titillating the masses. Now, you hire a "social media marketer" in Malaysia to drum up mentions in blogs to increase your Google rank and thereby win more random Web searches. The end result: Increased online-advertising revenues. At least that's what we think is what Burt Goldman, an author and self-described "American monk," is after.Internet fame is not Internet fame unless it can be quantified. Goldman has 1,166 friends on Facebook. 88,390 people subscribe to his blog. And he just turned 81. (If, in fact, he exists at all.) How did I learn about Goldman? An email from Amir Ahmad, a "relationship marketing and social media strategist" from an outfit called MindValley Labs. MindValley cofounder Mike Reining wrote up how he parlayed a YouTube video by Goldman into $3,400 in sales of Goldman's home meditation product. And Reining, of course, is selling his ability to sell whatever you're selling. On the Internet! From the comfort of your home! (The pity of it all: Ahmad's pitch was so nakedly brazen that it succeeded in getting me to write about Goldman.) This is the future: Why become a celebrity and then wait until your career starts to wane before you start to cash out with infomercials? Why not just go straight to the hard sell? This is the future Google is building for us, with its search results, keyword ads, and countless videos: We will all have something to offer. And you will know us by our sales.
If you weren't live-tweeting the debate last night, you have missed out on all the hoopla concerning Joe the Plumber — the Ohio Mr. Clean doppelganger that asked Obama about his tax plans for small businesses — now being used as the archetype for American blue collar. But it's another Joe, one from Texas, who owns joetheplumber.com and is reaping the rewards.Since the debate, Texas Joe's website has reportedly garnered hundreds of thousands of pageviews, 300 requests for T-shirts, thousands of phone calls, and even a $800,000 offer for the domain name itself. Joe should get in touch with Julia Allison right now to extend the snooze button on his 15 minutes, but at least I know who I'm going to dress up as for Halloween.
The trolls will always be with us, because the Internet is full of insane sociopaths. Charming sociopaths, clever sociopaths, perhaps even magazine-profile-worthy sociopaths — but sociopaths all the same. Wired profiled a videogame-heavy set of Internet trolls in January. The New York Times Magazine hunted and nabbed bigger game this weekend — Jason Fortuny and the troll known as "Weev," who was photographed for the story (above). This photo in particular may draw fascinated stares.At one point, Weev says that he's the hacker known as Memphis Two. "Weev says he has access to hundreds of thousands of Social Security numbers," Matt Schwartz writes in the Times piece. "About a month later, he sent me mine." Now Schwartz knows how Six Apart cofounders Ben and Mena Trott feel. Their Social Security numbers, as well as those of other Six Apart executives and investors, were leaked on the Internet last year. At the time, a tipster told us he believed that Memphis Two, working in conjunction with a Six Apart employee, was responsible. While working on an unrelated story, I received a call from someone who identified themselves as Weev; the caller ID indicated the call came from Technorati, a startup located one block from Six Apart's headquarters. How can such a small world contain such a large hate? (Photo by Robbie Cooper/New York Times)
"Good news! Julia is moving to Silicon Valley for the winter!" — Valleywag intern Alaska Miller, reporting live from the TechCrunch party on notorious nontrepreneur Julia Allison's plans to move to the Bay Area from New York later this year. By "good news," I assume he means the fact that we have all fall to prepare.
Google's Wikipedia competitor, Knol, is now open to the public. Take a hint from journalist Cyrus Farivar: "Yes, I added an entry on myself to Wikipedia. Why haven't you?" Unlike Wikipedia, Knol doesn't yet have complex rules requiring you to use a sock puppet account to write about yourself. Go literally make history!
Back in San Francisco: Wired covergirl "Julia Alison," attending Facebook's F8 developers conference. Say what you want about her, just get her name right — so she can Google herself later. As tight as Allison is with Randi Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg's older sis, having attended Randi's Vegas bachelorette party, that's still not enough to get her name badge spelled correctly.
With nary a crotch-covering laptop shot among them, the latest hot blogger list distinguishes itself by rounding up ten guys. My sweaterbear editor insists this is the most important list ever — probably because it features ursine crush object Alex Blagg from VH1's Best Week Ever. I'm just waiting for when the nudity gets as gratuitous — Jason Kottke! — as the linking.
"I realized that I was and am the center, the focus of attention by millions and millions of people. My family and everyone I knew were and are actors in a script, a charade whose entire purpose is to make me the focus of the world's attention." No, it's not a new blog post by Wired cover girl Julia Allison. It's a quote from a medical patient with the newly defined Truman Show Delusion. What drives someone to believe they're the star of a reality-TV show?
Snake, meet tail. The voyeuristic ouroboros that is Julia Allison's love affair with Valleywag got even more play in her coveted Wired cover story than her own startup did. Don't let us waste your time when you could be hustling us for fame; here's the 100-word version of her "secrets" to self-promotion.
Wired's August cover, featuring Internet nobody Julia Allison, wouldn't normally be going online for another week or so, when the ink-on-dead-trees version hits subscribers' mailboxes. (How pre-postindustrial!) We asked Wired executive editor Bob Cohn why the magazine rushed it online. He told us the posting got pushed up a few days owing to "all the attention online" for the as-yet-unseen cover story — whose subject is how to stir up attention online.