Human Cookie?: The Blockshopper Scam

Posted by & filed under Rant, Social Media, Write a Letter.

This is something that came up not too long after I may or may not have bought a house a while ago.  Thought it was worth posting as there are still a large number of frustrated people on the internet.  When googling myself I found an interesting “article” about a home purchase titled:

“Media technology specialist buys in Maple Leaf”

Now, I am in the “Internet” industry, so I can appreciate a good service, hack, etc…  This one is obviously interesting and clever: data mining from public records, and joining to the “public” internet.  This guy would probably have made a shit ton more money if he focused on something other than such a sensitive topic as real estate, home purchases, and public records.  Instead he spent his time building a public-records scraper, that then joins to LinkedIn — and that’s it as far as I can tell.  Hopefully he doesn’t pay actual people to make the connections and write the stories… god forbid.

It was a pretty blatant connection as most of these “stories” have a direct link to the person’s LinkedIn profile.  It was very comprehensive as well, listing a current job, prior positions, previous employment and education information – everything that might have been on a LinkedIn profile.

The Catch

Long story short, I don’t like other people joining my public information together for others; that’s what I do to you when you piss me off – It’s an art.

After scouring through consumer complaints and stories of how to get it removed I found nothing concrete.  Then it dawned on me: They have NO right to assume that the same named person on LinkedIn was the same named person that bought the house! I work with data all day long, so I felt accomplished figuring this out: I call it an “erroneous join”.

So I sent them an email to which I received no reply:

Please remove my name, link to my LinkedIn profile, and the associated job information pulled from LinkedIn from this webpage:

http://seattle.blockshopper.com/news/story/700028494-Media_technology_specialist_buys_in_Maple_Leaf

I do not own the home shown on this page.

The information to be removed from this home listing is as follows:

In the title:

“Media technology specialist buys in Maple Leaf”

In the content:

“[name] has been the media technology specialist…[all LinkedIn info]”

Thank you,

I sent another email about two weeks later to follow up, still no response.  But magically, the article changed to remove ALL that information, leaving one full name of the purchaser: which is ALL they can really be sure about.  Unfortunately, then as the ethical business people they are, they just reversed the story and made up shit about the seller.

Thankfully there is no human-cookie readily available on the internet (like fingerprints and DNA).  Maybe I rent to a guy with the same name?  Still no proof for or against that fact, I WIN.  I say, you can find out everything about everyone online if you know where to go – It’s all out there.  But the second you start publishing or telling other people this compiled information as if its FACT?  Then you’ve crossed the line, and the burden of proof is on YOU to prove it.

I hope this post might be of help to others, let me know if you have any positive experiences from this tactic.

Other related links:

http://stopblockshopper.wordpress.com/

http://blockshopper.blogspot.com

http://www.optoutmovement.org/

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/online/blockshopper.html

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