Hey, It COULD Happen, Right?

Or, how to create a fake business and fake news.

Cost? Two dollars. Time investment? Six hours, but you can do it in less.

  1. Register your domain. Travelcation.info cost me 1.98.  With tax. No joke. I already had hosting.
  2. Throw up an instant website. I fussed with this over a period of about two days, but the site was live and good to go in about 20 minutes. Hey, I’ve been writing for software companies for over 10 years, I know what software marketing copy looks like. For polish, I had my friend Kevin do a quick edit pass. (He’s looking for work and he’s an excellent editor. Hiring? Let me know if you want to get in touch with him. PS: I need work too. Clearly, I have a LOT of time on my hands.)
  3. Snap up a cross promotional opportunity. Say the editor of Gadling happens to ask (via Twitter) if anyone has an April Fools Day story they’re working on. Say that happens and you happen to be online to see it. Say you don’t miss that. Alternatively, just ask someone with a credible site to run your fake story.
  4. Scribble up a post and send it off. Yeah, *I* wrote that post. It’s under Grant Martin’s byline, but it’s written by… me. This was an unexpected double funny as I received email saying, “Uh, did you know you’re one of Gadling’s April Fools Day jokes?” Yeah, I did. Just a few days before you did. Heh.
  5. Giggle to yourself. Just a little.

I figured, why not invent what I wish was true, publish it, and see what happens? The results? Some people really wanted the Travelcation acquisition of Nerd’s Eye View to be true —  and I love that. Other sharp-eyed folks read the fine print and got to the part where it says it’s all “completely fictional with absolutely no basis in real life.” Still more people snapped into focus when they realized that pretty much everything on the web on April 1 is a joke.

A few backstory notes:

  • I was recently a guest on This Week in Travel. Jen Leo, Chris Christiansen, Gary Arndt and I could not stop making dash-cation jokes.
  • The penguin I saw the most of in Antarctica was the Gentoo. Travelcation is underwritten by “Gentoo Venture Capital.” When the husband previewed that part of the text he looked up and said, “Gentoo Venture Capital? REALLY?!?”
  • Rocket Singh is the name of a Bollywood movie about computer nerds. Kind of.
  • The University of Mumbai (Bangalore) really does have a computer science program.
  • The Google re-ranking mentioned in the FAQ is real. Travel was hit hard.
  • I really have always hoped I’d find a gig that respected my tech chops and let me to travel writing. All I’ve seen are low ball content jobs. I created my own. Okay, it’s imaginary. But still.
  • This is probably the finest cartoon ever written about how the internet gives credibility to things that otherwise, would just be laughed at.
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6 thoughts on “Hey, It COULD Happen, Right?

  1. Thank you Pam for a wonderfully funny and engaging 4/1 joke. It just lacked fish. I’m not French, but I hear their April Fool’s Day jokes have something to do with fish…

    I have pulled off one perfect April Fool’s Day joke in my entire life, and I have to say it was mighty satisfying. I sincerely hope yours was too!

    Angela

    P.S. Sorry about the .75M 🙁

  2. Dang – and I was hoping for free cupcakes (supplied by newly minted near-millionaire) for life 🙂

    Love the joke and it was a great gotcha for all. I think you got all of us, at least for a little while.

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