In Search of Web Parody

Posts Tagged ‘satire

Havidol

Posted on: November 16, 2009

Havidol is for the treatment of Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder (DSACDAD).   Only there is no such thing as Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder or its treatment, Havidol. 

This parody site was created by someone who wanted to demonstrate the tactics used by the drug industry when marketing a new drug.  The website includes testimonials and promotional merchandise. 

The site uses subtle humor to achieve its objective.  So subtle, in fact, that many people believe the illness and drug are real.   Interest in the condition (and its cure) was high and the site had 5,000 hits in the first few days.   Reuters wrote an article about the Havidol website and the confusion it caused.

Havidol drug parody website

Havidol drug parody website

Clones R Us

Posted on: October 1, 2009

Do you love your first-born son so much that you’d love to have another just like him?  Or maybe you’d like your daughter to grow up one day to be your mother.   You can get a son exactly like Pierce Brosnan for $80,000.  Too much for your budget?  How about a $299 little Michael Jackson (note: price does not include plastic surgery – your Michael comes “as is”. )  

If this sounds too good to be true.  It is.  Rats.  The Clones R Us spoof site came on the scene back in 1997.   An interesting section of the site is the Guest Book, which lists user comments (for/against cloning) on the site from 1997 – 2001. 

 

 

This site can be found at http://www.d-b.net/dti/

This site can be found at http://www.d-b.net/dti/

 

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Get your Facebook profiles in order folks, a newly formed agency within the Department of Homeland Security has been tasked with ensuring the accuracy of Facebook profile information as they move toward making Facebook accounts the new National ID.

Perhaps you missed the story about the acquisition of Facebook by the US Government for the purpose of securing our homeland.   Perhaps that’s because it’s not actually true?

Take a peek into paranoia at the Facebook Investigation parody page.

Facebook Investigation parody site

Facebook Investigation parody site

Here’s a hoax site that purports to sell advertising space using tattoos on a baby. It is actually of parody of the “Million Dollar Home Page” website that offered up a million pixels of advertising space for one dollar per pixel.

The best part of the site is the adorable picture of the tattooed baby.  There is just something so utterly wrong about tattooing a baby for profit and the wide-eyed almost embarrassed look on the baby conveys it perfectly.

The home page of the site is worth a good read.  It’s clever and funny.  You can safely skip the rest of the site.  For some reason, the author takes on a grumpy nasty personality on  the inside pages that kind of ruins it for me.  It may have been an attempt at humor, but fell flat as far as I’m concerned.

million-baby

WTO Parody

Posted on: June 24, 2009

Parody websites are not always just about humor.  In 1999, RTMark.com created a parody of the World Trade Organization website at http://www.gatt.org.  The name was chosen because the WTO was originally known as the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).  The parody website went live just ten days before the big conference in Seattle.

A few days later, the WTO put this page up on their website condemning the gatt.org site.   Fast forward two years to the next WTO ministerial meeting in Qatar and the WTO puts out another press release about the gatt.org site, which was being maintained by a group called The Yes Men.  This resulted in numerous stories in the press accusing gatt.org of harvesting emails.

So much for the backstory (too bad I don’t get paid by the number of links I have in a post…).  Here is the website in its current form (which doesn’t appear to have changed since December 2006):

 

This site can be found at http://www.gatt.org

This site can be found at http://www.gatt.org

 

This is the site back in the glory days of November 1999 (thanks to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine):

www.gatt.org from November 1999

http://www.gatt.org from November 1999

 

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My previous post was about hoax websites that Google created as a joke.  I became curious about Google parody sites not associated with Google.  It’s not surprising that there are a fairly large number of them out there. 

Some of the links I came across no longer work; perhaps the work of the Google Legal Department.  I spent some time looking at the sites and picked the best ones to feature here.   

My favorite site is Toogle.  It is a parody of Google Image Search.  When you type something into the search box, you get an image of whatever you typed using the word that you typed.  For example, if you type in Obama, you get back a photo of Obama that is actually made from the word “Obama”.   Perhaps I’m easily amused, but I tried out about ten different searches and was highly impressed.  You have to try this one! 

Toogle Image Search

Toogle Image Search

  

Shmoogle uses the catchline “and if the result you were looking for was hiding in page 53?”  A Shmoogle search will return Google results in a random order.  Instead of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (based on Google’s algorithms), you might see number 487 displayed first, then 180, 342, 658, 60, etc.  Hey, it gives hope to those of us with loser websites that we might actually be on page one!

Shmoogle - all results are equal

Shmoogle - all results are equal

 

Here’s a search site you’d never use: Spam Google.   Enter any term and the only results that come back are spam.   You’ve seen those sites – – the ones that are just a list of advertisement links.   So why did this make my list of favorites?  It’s original, sort of.

Spam Google - just the noise

Spam Google - just the noise

 

 Next up is elgooG, the Google mirror site. The link I’m supplying is actually a mirror to the Google mirror. How’s that for confusing? At first, I couldn’t get this to work right. Then I discovered that you have to enter in your search query backwards (ie; type in “esuoh etihw” for “white house”). It still works if you type it in the normal way, but the search results are a little off. Be sure to read the Google Mirror FAQ while you are there.

Note: When I first posted the link to the Google Mirror, it worked fine. Ten minutes later, it stopped working.  The next day, it worked fine … If it doesn’t work for you now, try again another day.

elgooG - Google mirror

elgooG - Google mirror

 

The last site today me lads and me lassies come full o’ blarney.  Doogle is a search site that automatically adds “the luck o’ the Irish” to all of your search queries.  Actually, it adds random Irish-themed words such as gaeltacht, feck, arse, gobshite, … you  get the idea.   Needless to say, this has a noticeable effect on your search results.

Doogle - the Feckin' Search Engine of Ireland

Doogle - the Feckin' Search Engine of Ireland

April Fool’s Day brings a motherload of internet pranks and hoaxes.  As part of an almost-annual tradition since  2000, Google joins in on the fun.  In this post, I’ll cover the jokes up through 2007.    The Google hoaxes for 2008 can be viewed in a different post.

2000 – Google launches MentalPlex search.  Why be bothered typing in your search query when Google can read your mind for you?google1a

2002 – Google unveils its PigeonRank search technology.   Ingenious use of the massively parallel pecking capabilities of the common gray pigeon brings Google to the forefront of search technology.

google1

2004 – Google plans to open lunar research center.  It’s not enough to take over the Earth, Google wants to expand its reach to the moon.google2

2005 – Google Gulp   If you drink Coke just for the caffeine, you’ll love what Google Gulp will do for you.google3 

 2006 – Google Romance – Find your perfect match using the new Soulmate Search and then enjoy an all-expenses paid date (provided you agree to view contextually relevant advertising during your date).  google4
 

2007 – Gmail Paper – Know someone who likes to print out all of their emails before reading them?  This handy hard-copy delivery service is just for them!

google5

2007 – Google TiSP – Google offers a free in-home wireless broadband service that connects your wifi-enabled toilet to the internet via your plumbing system. 

google6