I’d love it if someone can explain to me the weird comments on this post. They seem too harmless and meaningful to be spam. They seem too grouped and nonsensical to be not-spam. Diagnosis?

In the last few weeks, there’s been a viral posting across liberal blogs on how to get free goods out of the Focus on Family website. Basically, Focus on Family is a right-wing conservative resource that has a donation-based online store. They sell DVDs, CDs, books, and other fun stuff. Some of it’s valuable to everyone — like the “Chronicles of Narnia” DVD. Some of it’s offensive propaganda, like “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality.” But the things is, it’s donation-based. And if you offer to donate $0, they’ll still place the order. So instructions have been spreading across the liberal blogs on the web on how to “hit these guys where it hurts” and get free stuff in the process. Today I learned that they’re no longer accepting orders that have a $0 donation. And with the onslaught of $0 orders they’ve received in the last few weeks, I’m sure they’re going to disregard most, if not all of them, anyway. So who won?After stepping back to look at it, it seems like Focus on Family won. They now have thousands of links to their website from places that don’t even like them. And even more people have *visited* their website and explored it thoroughly. They’ve received tons of bad publicity, but it’s still publicity. Their search engine rankings will absolutely benefit from this situation.And you know, it kinda makes me wonder if they were behind it all along….

This sign outside of a restaurant reads: Vegetarian Special: Buy One Vegetarian, Get One Vegetarian FREE.What a deal! I’ve always wanted my own matching set of vegetarians… And while we’re showing off found items in this great city…I’m 5’10”, but something inside me wants these sneakers.

I received a very interesting voicemail the other day. The voice sounded like an old friend of mine who had called me earlier that day, so I grinned from ear to ear when he launched into a slew of compliments: “You are so awesome. Everyone just thinks you’re great. I was just talking to someone the other day and we both agreed you’re the best person ever. And I love what you’ve done with your hair! You’re really looking sharp these days…” And so on. And so on. And so on. I was overwhelmed with the inflation of my ego. Popularity DialerAnd actually, you can listen to the whole thing in mp3 format here. Because it’s on the web. It wasn’t my friend at all. It was a prerecorded message from PopularityDialer.com. Their concept is this: You can program the site to call you at any given time with a recording of one side of a conversation, so you can look important in front of your friends. Say you’re having lunch with someone you don’t really want to spend time with — have Popularity Dialer call you 20 minutes into it with the “You’re needed right now at the office!” call, and boom, you’ve got an out. Shallow? Yes. Silly? Absolutely. Absurd? Totally. But you’ve got to give them props for being creative. Why did they call me? I’ve boiled it down to two possibilities:1) A friend of mine fed them my number to send me the affirmation call (if so, thanks, whoever you are!)2) They got my number off a list and were spamming me to get my attention (if so, it worked!)I’m actually hoping it’s #2. It’s so rare that I see invasive advertisements that actually make the target audience feel good about themselves. Marketers, take a lesson here. And if anyone else wants to call me and compliment me on how sharp I’m looking these days, hey, don’t fight the urge…