Alright everybody. I have been challenged to review a handful of websites that may or may not be hoaxes and distinguish between the real ones and weed out the fake.
How am I going to go about completing this task, you ask? Well, I’m going to post the link to the website, and after reviewing it I will put my initial reaction, then I’ll do some research then provide my final answer with feedback. Basically, you’ll be reading my reaction in real time. Sounds weird, I’m sure, but it’s happening.
First website is (http://www.fema.gov/blog/2011-05-19/cdc-preparedness-101-zombie-apocalypse).
Initial reaction/impression: First of all, I love zombies, the idea of them, and honestly I hope the apocalypse happens someday because I know I will be a survivor. Also, right off the bat I’m going to assume this is a legit website based on the fact that the URL is addressed to .gov. Although I’m not actually familiar with the regulations regarding who is allowed to have a .gov address, perhaps it is only government agencies, because that seems only logical, but you never know these days.
Conclusion: Alright, so at first glance, before reading any of the material and simply skimming the topics in the article, it seemed like it could have been just a hoax, but after reading just the first paragraph it becomes evident that it is a legit website created for fun, but to evoke awareness for disaster situations. Another good clue as to why I believe this is legit is because there are links to the original blog post on the CDC website that this article was played off of. Typically if a website is a fake there wont be any links or information leading to anything that may validate the website as real. On a side note, I think it was really creative for the CDC to use zombies as a means to raise awareness for necessary supplies in case of an actual disaster or emergency.
Initial reaction/impression: For starters, I have never heard of RYT Hospital. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but going off the advertisement on the homepage that states they have cutting edge technology I have a hard time believing that if this organization is as advanced as they project themselves, why haven’t I seen them on the news, or in a ted talk or something? Moving along, I noticed they at least have a “contact us” link. This leads me to think that they might actually be legit. I’ll click on it and find out what information they provide.
Conclusion: Well, that was interesting. This is what every link on their homepage defers to.
The requested URL /index.php was not found on this server.
Apache Servehttp://r at http://www.rythospital.com Port 80
I think it is safe to say that this website is a hoax. My reasoning for that you ask? Well, any real website typically has links that WORK! Also, I tried clicking on the “read more” links at the bottom of the page, and it just shoots you back to the top, which ironically isn’t very far so it looks like the page is glitching out. Although, for the sake of being generous, we can give them the benefit of the doubt and assume their website is under maintenance. NEXT!
Initial reaction/impression: Here is to hoping that this is a real island because I’m sure my 17 year old dog would love to visit before he passes away. Perhaps I could consider it similar to putting an old person in a retirement home. Moving on though, I see a set of links at the top that I hope work better than the RYT Hospital ones. Other than that, they have a nifty little “dog statistics” blurb on the left that shows what size dogs have visited. I think now I’ll try to open some links and read more.
Conclusion: As entertaining as this was, with a special acknowledgement to the creativity put into the categories “Send Us Your Dog” and “Facilities”, I enjoyed reading the vague descriptions of the “complex islands” and how complex they are. The real kicker was when I tried to look at the rates. Typically when a website has a link like rates is shows prices, or perhaps package deals, but all there was to be shown was a description of the “Normal Route” which is free stay for dogs that plan to retire there and “Vacation Island” which I quote is “very very expensive.” Now, I would honestly love to send my dog here, but if I’m going to make this happen I’m going to need my thinking cap. Ready? Critical thinking, ACTIVATE! Superficially, this is very cute, but evidently provides no means of legitimacy what-so-ever. First of all, to pick apart this page, nothing is free. Once anyone these days understands that, they wont be fooled as easily by advertisements that claim their product is free. It would take a lot of money to simply maintain of run such a facility, also accounting for liability, insurance, payroll, inventory, taxes on simply owning the Islands or even renting them, etc. Furthermore, organizations and businesses don’t operate at all, at least successfully, providing “free” services. After all the time, energy, and money it would take just to set up a resort like this for dogs, I can guarantee someone running the business is looking for a FAT gross turnout to match, if not surpass, their overhead/investment. Unless we are talking about Disney. They make so much damn money that I can actually see them setting up something similar as a promotional event, perhaps to raise awareness for underprivileged or abused dogs. Even then it would probably only last a week, if not just one day, and have it be considered a fundraiser. In addition to all that, no company trying to make a real dollar would advertise their vacation island as “very very expensive.” That’s just silly. Evidently, I’m going to claim this site as a hoax. If I’m wrong, I pledge to donate my left lung.
Initial reaction/impression: At first glance this website seems very plain. It is addressed to the most common URL, a .com which indicates someone anywhere could have just created it for fun. Although, at the bottom I see information regarding the address, and it seems real. I’ll navigate now.
Conclusion: This website is legit. Not only is it legit but now I want to visit the museum it is for. I checked the visitor information link, and it had admission prices, days and times the museum is open, regulations on photography, and a real address/phone number. Also, the gift shop link worked. There is a multitude of different items for sale ranging from jewelry to apparel, museum publications, and DVD’s and CD’s. Furthermore, the museum events are real. Craig Ventresco, a musician just recently played on November 20th. I went as so far as to look him up and see if he was even a real person, and he is. What a pleasant surprise!
Initial reaction/impression: I can’t even begin to describe how ridiculous this site looks and feels. My critical thinking insides are screaming, RUN IT’S A TRAP! The website has an odd amount of well.. odd pieces of equipment that all seem to be powered by the telephone line. I don’t even want to bother debunking this site, but for the sake of the challenge I will.
Conclusion: About us. That’s what I clicked first. They apparently don’t have a store that a customer can walk into but they have a will-call facility located in Roselle, IL. No actual address which is the first clue this is crap. They do have a phone number posted everywhere, but I’m hesitant to call. I’m afraid my phone will catch a virus or something. I checked the contact us page and there is the same phone number with instructions to call when they are open, or to e-mail them by clicking the, e-mail us, link which in turn is an inactive link. Furthermore, this website is riddled with random links that aren’t useful or helpful to selling products or gaining any relevant contact information. I therefore declare this website a hoax.
Initial reaction/impression: This seems like a really strange excerpt. I will navigate and evaluate.
Conclusion: After reading the passage, I only became more concerned than convinced. Hiccups can be difficult to get rid of in some cases I guess. At any rate, I looked through the webpage and found that it was addressed to a .gov and its the NCBI. Both of these things are promising. I clicked, log in, to the NCBI website and there were familiar passages that exclaimed my logging in would involve information of mine being used, which is normal. I also found working links in the top left corner that direct you to the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Also, I couldn’t find any signs of the site being fake, it was just strange. I declare this site valid because of this.
Initial reaction/impression: Right off the bat, this is all about Bigfoot. My initial reaction to that alone is that this is a hoax. But we shall see. The layout seems interesting and relatively thought out. It doesn’t look like a Bigfoot obsessed teenager put it together. Also, there is a link at the bottom of the home page that says, about the bfro. I’ll start by navigating there.
Conclusion: After reading several of the passages it seems pretty clear that this has potential to be a real organization. They seem sincere and committed to the cause of studying Bigfoot. They aren’t an organization based on making any sort of revenue. It is an organization for fanatics and individuals interested in Bigfoot. All of the links are usable and redirect you to more information about findings, records, and statistics. With all of this I’d think it is safe to assume the legitimacy of this group.
Initial reaction/impression: This a campaign website. It seems legit. The information provided about Ms. Kirkpatrick doesn’t appear to be farfetched. Perhaps some research is necessary.
Conclusion: I plugged Ann Kirkpatrick into google and got nothing but information regarding her political activism. This is definitely a legitimate website.
Initial reaction/impression: “It is the Foundation’s primary objective to continue to build a body of scientific evidence that will shed light on the egg-and-chicken controversy, that most basic of conundrums. The Foundation’s long and exciting history began in 1865 when Craigorn Shippen discovered the first scientific evidence that the egg came first.” This was the first paragraph of the website. (Person A: I must say, an organization dedicated to such a cause really cracks me up. Person B: Oh person A, you sure know how to crack a joke at the right time.”) Ok, I’m done being silly. Honestly though, this website looks like it could represent an actual organization, despite how silly and strange it looks.
Conclusion: This website is unfortunately representing a fake organization. Many of the links worked and redirected the site to more information regarding the organization’s cause, but obviously is not enough to support it’s validity. The education portion seemed promising until it let me down with lessons about “which actually came first”, the chicken or the egg. No actual course plan was laid out and the prerequisite for lesson 2 was to basically complete reading the 4 sentences in lesson 1. It was entertaining, but to top it all off, the contact us page was once again an unusable link. I therefore declare this organization a hoax.
Initial reaction/impression: This historic location of the torchwood house looks really interesting. Although I’m sure it may actually be a real place, it doesn’t appear to be a museum or an organization trying to make money off of it.
Conclusion: I take that back, they very well may be trying to make money. Unfortunately I can tell this website is a hoax based on the fact that the information provided about the Wedding services is limited and doesn’t supply enough tangible information in order to actually schedule a wedding ceremony, let alone even contact information to a wedding director/manager. Not even an e-mail address. Furthermore, there is no actual address to the facility itself. Simply vague descriptions of the facility itself and where it is next to, if it even exists. All of this leads me to believe that even the information provided in the “history” subcategory is all falsified and also a hoax.
Initial reaction/impression: Dead duck day? That is so awful. I love ducks. My passion aside, though, this site is linked to a blog page. That makes me think that this isn’t a real holiday for those with a sick sense of humor. I think the only way to actually find out if this is real or not is to research it.
Conclusion. Unfortunately I can’t prove that it is not a legitimate holiday because the only information I could find was all linked to Mr. Moeliker. Perhaps he was the one to start this holiday and that is why his name shows up everywhere, but this doesn’t appear to be a holiday celebrated by many. In my search though I did see a link to ted.com where Moeliker gave a talk regarding Dead Duck Day. This leads me to conclude that this holiday is plausible but hopefully fake.
Initial reaction/impression AND conclusion: This is absolutely hilarious, but so fake. A peanut could tell this was fake if it were given half the chance to have a brain.
Initial reaction/impression: This seems like an interesting site, being dedicated to providing information about every explorer in history. It appears like it could be useful as a source to get an idea of who to research, but when thinking critically it also seems like it would be a good idea to double check the information found on this website with other sources. Lets click on some links and see what happens.
Conclusion: There is an actual list of explorers with functional links to information about them, there are also functional links to educational services for teachers. It appears that this website can be used by teachers to help students remember facts, or just learn facts, about specific explorers in history. I’m going to claim this site as real, but only under the condition that I would try my best to validate the information provided. Questioning the credibility of sites like this is important when reviewing factual information.
Initial reaction/impression: This site looks fake from the start. It looks like some random person just decided to make a random website that would randomly be found by random people with random motivations to randomly fail at life. Perhaps that was harsh, yes perhaps, but can you honestly say this site looks promising? Didn’t think so. Moving on. I doubt any of the links will work. I doubt any of the contact information is accurate, or even existing for that matter. We shall see.
Conclusion: Just as I suspected, this site isn’t very credible. Although it may not actually be fake based on the fact that the random person we talked about two seconds ago is actually maintaining this site, but I highly doubt it. Just for Pete’s sake, I’m declaring this site obnoxiously fake.
Initial reaction/impression AND conclusion: This link wouldn’t even open for me. If you get it open, I challenge you to tell me if it is a hoax or not, but as for my judgement about it, I think it is fake. It wont even open.
Finally, we have reached the end of our challenge. We navigated through multiple websites and stripped them raw to uncover their legitimacy and credibility. Hopefully this will help others be able to distinguish between a real website and hoaxes.
Until next time!