Last week I posted ‘virus, what virus?‘ and received a like from another wordpresser called ‘anjelicaalim93’ — likes are always nice, but neither necessary nor noteworthy. I’m not growing this blog with the goal of eventual monetisation so I can retire to Tristan da Cunha, or anything like that. In fact, I am so not following the ‘rules’ of social media that I’ve been likened to somebody that ‘talks at, rather than with, people‘ which is harsh, perceptive and true. Like the lairs of the right-wing fanatics I troll, this is an echo-chamber. Here I write for me alone. So the odd, unexpected like always prompts a return-click.

Anjelica Alim ’93, apparently

For starters, there’s Anjelica’s Gravatar. I’d enlarge it more, but it loses that clickbaitiness. In fairness, most of my own images online are not headshots of yours truly but cropped images of Beaker from The Muppet Show (to which I bear no resemblance!) — hardly clickbait, though. Anjelica’s charming profile leads you to https://quarantinned.com which appears to be a news aggregator of coronavirus-related statistics and stories. But, like Anjelica, the site is just a hollow shell. A click farm.

If you can be bothered to look, you’re warned the site may contain affiliate links designed to “provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties.” So I went looking for the sell. Click on an article (“Invasive Lizards Threaten Wildlife In Georgia!”) and see that the writer ‘AngieMari’ scraped it direct from The New York Post. Twenty more ‘stories’ and the exact same result. Author = ‘AngieMari’ / affiliate link = New York Post. No sign of human activity, let alone Anjelica Alim. The site exists purely to drive you to the NY Post. And there’s money in this? I know, let’s ask another real internet person:

The only other revenue source is the direct marketing of an e-book titled ‘QuaranTinned Survival Solutions’ which appears to be a mash-up of articles (probably also from the New York Post) which, for only $12.95, provide “creative and practical ideas that will bring hope, joy and inspiration in such dire times” and “fifteen high-quality video tutorials“. Screams value to me! There’s an odd, curiously sulky link at the bottom of the sales page — No thanks. I don’t want to know HOW TO better quarantine and how to reconnect to neglected or forgotten traditional family values — which dumps you back to Google.

Family values? In reality, nobody called Anjelica stumbled across my blog. She didn’t read a post and think, “Hey! This is good stuff!” and award me a like. A faceless bot crawling WordPress randomly attached itself to me like a lamprey and began sucking. And of the multitude (…) likes I’ve received in my time, what portion were also parasites? Even those with actual humans (let’s be kind and call them ‘administrators’) behind them were odds-on likely motivated by the same purpose: entice a return-click to ensnare you in some banal marketing ploy.

So I don’t want your shitty book ‘Anjelica’. And the New York Post is line-ball with the National Enquirer for journalistic credibility, so jam that up your ass. I don’t covet likes and never will — simply because half of the people out there aren’t actually people. And if this rubs a living reader against the grain, then take this version of the Voight-Kampff Test. See if you’re human enough to resist a pretty face — click here — and no, I’m not getting paid for this. Maybe it’s proof of my humanness that I can no longer tell the difference between a real person, a fake person, or a real-fake person. It’s also lucky that I don’t mind talking to an empty room.

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