Rik Riel Trolls – Unwary New Media Expert Bites

by Pixeleen Mistral on 13/12/06 at 7:14 pm

Viral marketing experts may not be immune to viral blogging

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

When Rik Riel cast a bogus blog entry into the metaverse blog-o-sphere last night claiming the Internet naming authority ICANN would be regulating names and addresses within virtual worlds – was he hoping to catch a marketing/new media expert? If so, December 13th was Rik’s lucky day as Daniel Davenport of THINK Inc – an interactive marketing agency – took the bait with this post at his “think d2c media: direct to consumer” blog.

Rule one for aspiring Second Life pundits burnishing their credentials by linking and quoting exciting new metaverse developments in the blob-o-sphere — read the comments on the blog posts you quote – on the chance that someone is trolling for the uncritical.

The perils of punditry are clear after visiting Rik Riel’s blog where the headline screams “ICANN announces it now controls the virtual world as well as the web” and a faux press release – complete with a picture of internet saint Vint Cerf proclaims that the group managing web address/names will now be registering addresses and names for objects and avatars in WoW, Second Life, and other games. *cough* *cough* *cough*. Of course, the comments lead one to believe that things may not be so simple – or perhaps April 1 came twice this year.

When the Herald contacted Rik Riel and complimented him on a fine parody, we asked who the author was, and Mr. Riel replied, “Glad you liked it. I was just goofing around, but glad that others found it amusing. I totally fabricated the whole thing myself”. Fair enough. Rik threw out the bait to see who might bite.

While we are impressed that Mr. Davenport’s THINK firm won a Silver Award in MarketingSherpa’s E-Mail Awards in the Viral E-mail Campaign Category, we are slightly concerned that at least a little critical thought be given to breathless press releases – lest he fail victim to someone else’s viral blog campaign.

Based on our reading of Mr. Davenport’s blog about a different internet viral marketing ploy – the Lonelygirl15 scam we believe he understands that this is all in good fun – in fact, its art. Mr. Davenport’s blog says, “i absolutely love the way people are using all of these new social technologies to create cultural experiments. To me, this signifies the importance of social media”. We couldn’t agree more. So no hard feelings then, since Rik Riel must just be working in a new art form.

Daniel, we think if you ask Rik nicely he will probably give you one of those t-shirts of his you admire so much. Maybe stop by the Herald offices in Hyperborea next time you are in-world and we’ll give you a Herald newspaper vendor as well.

5 Responses to “Rik Riel Trolls – Unwary New Media Expert Bites”

  1. rikomatic

    Dec 13th, 2006

    Wow, thanks. I was just writing a spoof press release that I assumed would immediately be exposed as a fake since it doesn’t have a verifiable source and frankly is just ludicrous. It wasn’t even my first spoof press release (http://www.rikomatic.com/blog/2006/10/castronova_anno.html) and certainly won’t be my last.

    Here’s the real story, in case folks are interested: http://www.rikomatic.com/blog/2006/12/the_real_skinny.html

  2. daniel

    Dec 14th, 2006

    So does that mean that Vint Cerf didn’t really comment on my blog? I am crushed, simply crushed. Goodbye cruel worlds!

  3. daniel

    Dec 14th, 2006

    One small correction – looking back at the Lonleygirl post, that quote is not from me its from danah. I thought it sounded way too smart for something I said.

    I am even starting to think Bill Taylor may not be a real person either.

  4. urizenus

    Dec 14th, 2006

    Or maybe you aren’t Daniel! In the hall of mirrors that is Web 2.0 (and now 3.D) we may never know.

  5. daniel

    Dec 14th, 2006

    “The reality is in *this* head. Mine. I’m the projector at the planetarium, all the closed little universe visible in the circle of that stage is coming out of my mouth, eyes, and sometimes other orifices also.” tp

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