When Pseudomation Attacks!

Ok, I like Jason Fried just as much as the next guy, but this page on Meetup.com is a little ridiculous, no?

“Meet with local fans of Jason Fried to discuss signals, noise, better things, EK, ML, SU, JF, and 37signals’ New Album!

Whoa! What’s going on here!? Can we look forward to a compilation of Jason’s best dive-bar karaoke in the coming weeks or did Meetup.com make that all up?

What’s happening here is something I like to call “pseudomation”. A web site, in an effort to expand their offerings and encourage participation, scours the internet, scrapes data from popular web sites, and attempts to use that data to personalize their own pages. It can be done automatically, by an intern, or automatically with a human “check” performed afterwards to make sure it makes sense.

What’s weird about this one though is that I can’t really tell which method they used. It seems pretty automatic, with the initials “EK”, “ML”, “SU”, and “JF” just plastered on there fairly nonsensically, but the main “theme” of the page appears to be Jason. Furthermore, the url is “37.meetup.com” and not “jasonfried.meetup.com” which is just even weirder to me.

Anyway, just a random Friday morning finding. Anybody know of any other examples of pseudomation gone bad?

UPDATE: Based on “nomation’s” comment below, this is actually *not* pseudomation but rather a legitimate Meetup.com group! No wonder it was so confusing.
20 comments on “When Pseudomation Attacks!”. Leave your own?
  1. That rocks. What’s going to be even better is when people show up. I’d love to see that crowd. Will they all wear black smedium t-shirts?

  2. Bryan Veloso says:

    Damn, I’m dreaming, somebody get me out of this. o_O;

  3. Scott says:

    Wondering if there’s an interesting story behind how you found that…

  4. Mike D. says:

    Scott: Not that interesting really. I just searched for Jason on Google to find a quote I remember reading once and that page came up in the first 20 hits.

  5. It _is_ actually damn funny though. ;-)

  6. Jason Beaird says:

    I think the most common place for awkward pseudomation is sponsored links and adwords. Google is usually pretty good about not showing rediculous ads, but toss any random stuff into yahoo and have fun reading the sponsored links.

    A few examples:
    Toad – $14.39
    Make Overstock.com your one-stop-shop for all your media needs. Find the latest book,…www.overstock.com

    Sea Foam on eBay
    Find sea foam items at low prices. With over 5 million items for sale every day,…www.ebay.com

    Wobble – Save At NexTag
    Find and compare bargain prices for millions of products at NexTag. Find deals and…www.nextag.com

  7. Maybe for the next iPod contest you could have people record their version of a track from 37Signals’ new album.

  8. nomation says:

    Actually, your theory is fantastic and all, but the Jason Fried meetup thing started as a joke when meetup first started since 37 are friends with the meetup crew. There actualyl does exists a Jason Fried meetup, people actually belong to the group, it’s not just some random keyword meetup like you’re guessing. Sorry

  9. Jacob Reiff says:

    Have you seen Merlin Mann’s flickr set showcasing some of eBay’s (well, their affiliates) finest pseudomation via adwords – anybody need to buy a fascist?

    When will the downside to appearing sneaky and unprofessional outweigh the volume of people that fall for the ruse?

  10. DaveMo says:

    It’s “Betsimpsier“!

    I used to take pseudomation for sinus headaches but now they only sell it after extensive personal background checks in my state.


  11. John Dowdell says:

    I think Technorati has been cleansing these recently, but I like the “All the info you need about X is right here”, such as the entry against obvious search term “macromedia flash trial”:

    “All the of the information you need to know about macromedia flash trial is right here. In saying that we believe that we’ve searched the Internet high and low to provide you with the best macromedia flash trial sites available today. Our main interest is in macromedia flash trial and that’s why we spent a long time putting this site together.”
    web-hosting-sites. blogspot. com/ 2005/10/macromedia-flash-trial.html

    Of course, if they started offering a “Jason Fried Trial Version!” then I suppose we’d all have to worry…. ;-)

  12. Mike says:

    The sad thing is that I know the names attached to all of those initials lol.

  13. Frankly, even if he gets on my nerves I must admit I like Jason Fried’s Bravado.

    Thing is… I bet he loves this!

  14. Don says:

    never heard of him and doubt I care to … but should I ever get the urge after too much sugar or something … at least I’ll know where to look

  15. spk says:

    dude may be making some neat web apps – but his politics and support of george bush is a bit questionable.

  16. alex says:

    but his politics and support of george bush is a bit questionable.

    Because, after all, the freedom to support someone you disagree with is certainly questionable….

  17. Jessica says:

    That Ebay is crazy stuff man. I can not belive Ebay would post such a thing. Great find Brad

  18. If you agree with Bush or support him in my opinion you are getting paid somehow by him or making money via his ignorant policies or just one of those people who believes everything the see on t.v. either way you just as crazy as he is in my book.

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