Okay, so maybe the Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates ads were designed to soften up the market by letting people get out all their pent-up anti-Microsoft emotions, so that the newer ads would seem better by comparison (sort of a scapegoat strategy). Or maybe they were just a total screwup and someone thought better of them. Whatever the case may be, the new one I just watched is light-years better (and I was one of the few who actually liked the Seinfeld ones, along with Mike Masnick at Techdirt). It’s understated, it’s human, it’s international in flavour and it has some touching moments as well. All in all, pretty well done, I think.
So another ad on Craigslist has resulted in a man’s house being ransacked and many of his belongings — including his horse and his porch swing — being stolen. Robert Salisbury of Jacksonville, Oregon apparently came home to find people rummaging through his home, after an ad on Craigslist said that he was giving away his possessions. The ad, of course, was a hoax — just like the one that ran about a year ago that resulted in a woman’s house being vandalized. In that case, they even took the woman’s refrigerator, the kitchen sink and the front door.
As Mike Arrington notes in his post at TechCrunch, this shouldn’t be that surprising really. Craigslist is simply a mirror that reflects human behaviour at its best and possibly at its worst. Why does that have anything to do with the site itself? If someone arranges for a hitman to take out their spouse, and the medium of communication happens to be a newspaper ad, should the newspaper be liable? Hardly. If I call someone and arrange a bank robbery, is the phone company to blame for that?
Craigslist is simply an instrument. Obviously, if it publishes an ad that it knows to be fake or illegal — like the listings on eBay for human kidneys and so on — then it is potentially at fault. But it has no way of knowing whether Robert Salisbury of Jacksonville actually wants to give away all of his possessions, nor should it be expected to.
I can’t tell whether the incredible soccer tricks in this video are real, or whether they’re computer-generated, but they are pretty damn cool regardless. Note: It appears to be a “viral” ad for this video game about street soccer, which suggests that at least some of it is fake. According to a comment I found, it may involve some of these guys, and is similar to a Chinese comedy called Shaolin Soccer.
From Cory at Lost Remote comes a link to what has to be one of the most creative — and elaborate — classified ads ever, which the Roanoke Times newspaper from Roanoke, Virginia put up as part of its search for an editor. If you have even a few minutes to spare, you really should check it out. And be sure to click on all the links in the toolbar at the bottom — it’s worth it. In fact, it makes me want to work there.