Readers of the news aggregation site Fark.com — whose “Farkers” are dedicated to re-purposing each day’s news with hysterical headlines — seem to have already solved the flash of mystery surrounding OctSurprise.com.
It’s probably a “Rick Roll.”
Political observers were intrigued quickly as news of the site and its dramatic countdown timer splashed across Twitter Thursday.
“One of your presidential candidates isn’t being honest with you. Stay tuned to find out which one it is,” promises the site, where the constantly ticking timer is set to expire at 5:30 p.m. EST on Monday, October 22, 2012.
The site’s Twitter feed slowly dribbled out supposed hints about the content starting Wednesday, and several blurry-looking tax documents were posted by a community contributor named “Wiowsa” to BuzzFeed.com.
After being reached by The Daily Caller, BuzzFeed’s editor, Ben Smith, took the post down and deleted the user, explaining that he didn’t want the liability of a potentially damaging flop come Monday.
“They were really just using us to promote their own site,” explained Smith.
Smith told TheDC he had no knowledge of the alleged documents’ contents.
Meanwhile, over at Fark, a user under the name “spelletrader” seems to have broken down the logical conclusion using a series of search techniques to track down the history of the site’s secretive owners:
Ok for anyone new to the thread I’ll re-consolidate all the info that was used to trackback and expose these guys.
First everyone did a whois on octsurprise.com, naturally. Of course that is privately registered so we had to find connecting sites to try to dig into.
Fark user MrEricSir ran a reverse search on the IP itself to find the link to pausetime.com (that site brings up AV alerts, surf at your own risk), which in turn led to Anthony Maro and this address.
I took a different route when I googled and came across the wiowsa connection and did a whois for whatisoccupywallstreetabout.
No name available but it did have an email address which is also associated with a site named scatterfamily.com, a quick whois of that site led to Jeffery Hopwood and is registered to this address two blocks from the other.
It’s fairly simple after that to google the names and find the http://www.linkedin.com/in/anthonymaroLinkedin info on Anthony as well as on Jeffery to see that they not only live near each other, but also work together at Discovery.
Then Fark user elchip googled the two names together and found a reference to “The Greatest Rickroll Ever” having been done by these two guys. Of course they soon deleted that post when they saw we were on to them , but of course they couldn’t edit the google cache.
“The Greatest Rickroll Ever” that they refer to is a site they launched in 2007 called “radioheadlp7” which had a countdown timer and promised the latest Radiohead album info when the timer ran out.The band denied all knowledge, but still over 20,000 people signed up and got Rickrolled when the timer finally ran out.
This is the same thing, just a lot sloppier.
I sent Tweets with all of this info to their Twitter account and they promptly blocked me and removed the Tweets from their feed.
Feel free to use any of this info to educate and alert people.
The speedy, thorough sleuthing impressed the Fark community.
“Why didn’t they get Farkers looking for OBL. Probably could have cleared up that shiat in weeks,” a user named “mrshowrules” wrote.
Neither Anthony Maro nor Jeffrey Hopwood could be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
So for now, the conventional wisdom — as delivered by the unconventional denizens of Fark.com — is that this is all just one big hoax.
Perhaps the joke will be on us.
For now, take a look at what you’ll probably be treated to on Monday.
The Farkers got it right.
Farkers … you could have waited about a day or two, no? Well played, Internet, well played.
— October Surprise (@OctSurprise) October 18, 2012
And BuzzFeed discovers that while the guys wanted to prank the world again, they hadn’t decided on the method yet.