Thursday, February 9, 2012

You mean I won?

I’ve often wondered what happens if you click on one of those Twitter spam links. You know, where you get a tweet from a complete stranger that goes, “@rewboss”. You look at the person’s profile and discover that their profile is full of these tweets, so you report them for spam and retire in the certain knowledge that you have, in a small way, contributed to the sum total of happiness.

Well, emboldened by the fact that I happened to be working with my Chromebook (which Google assures us is completely immune to any kind of malware), I decided to try one of these links, just to see what would happen. The good news is that I am still working with my Chromebook and nothing seems to have blown up just yet.

I suppose I shouldn’t have expected much. If you’re going to click on a spammy link like that, you’d probably fall for almost anything, so the creators of the site I ended up at hadn’t really put a great deal of effort into making it look even slightly plausible, which was faintly disappointing — like watching a movie with half-hearted special effects: you know it’s all CGI, you just want to be able to make believe it isn’t.

Basically, I won an iPad. Or I won the chance to test an iPad — it wasn’t entirely clear which. A JavaScript counter informed me I had five minutes to sign up. No — four minutes fifty. Four minutes forty-five. And so on. If I didn’t sign up fast enough, my iPad would go to somebody else in Berlin, which is only about three hundred miles out.

The best thing was the testimonials. There were three, all in English (the entire page was in English), all raving about how they thought it was a joke but filled out the forms and now have shiny new iPads to play with, and all accompanied by pictures of the proud owners holding their iPads to the camera. There was Miss Vaguely-Mexican-Name from Berlin, Mr Anglo-Saxon-Name from Hamburg and Mr Probably-Scandinavian-Name from Munich.

Ah no, my mistake: “Muenchen”, not “Munich”. Very easily confused; after all, “Muenchen” is the German name for Munich, although normally spelled with an umlaut: “München”. Helpfully, Mr Probably-Scandinavian-Name had supplied a photo taken outside his home, which revealed that his home town was not, as you might imagine knowing that the offer was specifically for Germans, Munich, Upper Bavaria; but Muenchen, California.

Unbelievably, the well-known metropolis of Muenchen, California has been completely left out of the Google Maps database. Such an oversight is not the kind of thing Google is usually prone to, but I’m sure the good citizens of Muenchen will launch an appeal to get their city back on the map.

Anyhow, I decided not to take up the offer. I already have a Chromebook; I really don’t need an iPad as well.

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