AARP Eye Center
Beware The Online Prankster
By Dave Goldstein, May 22, 2009 10:49 AM
For all of the great things the internet has to offer, a completely open forum will always have some vulnerabilities to pranksters looking for a laugh. For one of the most recent examples of high-tech trickery, check out the recent spike in sales of a certain T-shirt featuring three wolves howling at the moon. It might not seem like the height of fashion, but it is currently the hottest selling item on amazon.com.
But why would such a random item rise to such prominence? Well, it's a prank. Multitudes of people have stormed the site with a combination of high ratings for the shirt and hilarious reviews of the product. These people were brought to the shirt by a well known comedy site that thought it would be funny to artificially jack up the sales.
Pranks on the internet aren't limited to clothes however. The state of Nebraska was duped during an online competition for a new license plate design. Also, a recent online poll by Time was fooled with, resulting in a college student beating out famous entrants including President Obama as the most influential person.
This certainly doesn't mean that active participation online should be avoided or a cause for concern. Just be aware that anything online can become a target for an ironic laugh.