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Is the Tux500 racecar advertizing project a scam?

Date/Time Permalink: 04/16/07 01:20:24 am
Category: General

I don't even post a link to it, because you'd almost have to be dead not to have seen it somewhere already. If you haven't seen it yet, a simple Google of "tux500" will do. This is the project where two bloggers have started a massive campaign to raise $350,000 to put a Tux sticker on the side of a car that will be racing in the Indy 500.

It smells fishy. I have no proof. Just a gut feeling trained by street smarts. If my gut were to be wrong this time, it'd be a first.

Warning signs:

  • Very short time span to raise the money. A year-long campaign might show some credibility, as in somebody actually thought it out.
  • Questionable application. There are thousands of forms of advertising which are cheaper and more effective than a sticker on a race car. And how many racing fans even use computers?
  • Not a single commercial distro backing them. No Red Hat, Ubuntu, Mandriva, no distro with the deep pockets to make this a realistic goal is saying a peep about it. IBM did a Linux Superbowl ad in 2004, after all.
  • Most damning of all, the same two bloggers are doing plenty of racing on their own... from forums to blogs to newsgroups posting the link and hyping the venture everywhere. Google it and study it! First one posts on LXer, then the other one links to the LXer story to prove it's legit. Aliases are employed, but it's still the same two, you can tell from the writing.
  • Everybody besides the two bloggers sounds suspicious just like I do.
  • No mention is made of who gets the money if the project flops.

So, as JWZ would put it, I am asking the "Lazyweb": Do you think it's for real? Is there anybody with inside information on racing who even knows if this is possible? Are there any stories on watchdog sites flagging it?

Note that I am NOT asking those two bloggers - I'm asking everybody else. Those two bloggers should now know better then to post a *single* *word* in this thread - I'll be watching. I'm asking only people who won't be handling the money!

EDIT: Whoops, "advertizing" in the title should be "advertising" - too late to change it now because it will break the links. That's what I get for trusting over my dusty Webster's Ninth New Collegiate!

Update: 4/17/07 1:25AM Caught em! Not seven posts went by, with the rest of us having a quiet discussion, than desperate devnet just HAD to post - when I specifically mentioned for them not to! And another commenter brought up the other magic name, the maintainer of lobby4linux. devnet and helios, partners in crime; you never see one without the other, and you never see anybody else with them.

It's a scam through and through, and I urge everybody to dig like there's no tomorrow into every website that claims this set-up is legitimate. Who owns the site, who posted the comments, where are all the news sources coming from? It's all coming from these two.

It doesn't matter if they used assumed aliases in some places. IP addresses and user-agent strings are in the logs of each site they posted to.

See my next post - I am collecting the news report history everywhere a search engine leads me.

The full series on the tux500 scam:
Is the Tux500 racecar advertizing project a scam? Just asking the question...
Tux500 scam - news and links history Showing the circular links and promotion.
the tux500 scam of the Linux community A blogger cracks, more false promotion, an example of a racecar advertising scam perpetrated recently in NASCAR.
WHY the tux500 promotion is a pump-and-dump scam An in-depth analysis of driver stats, and some very serious cases of extortion, threats, slander, and intimidation on the part of the scammers.
The Final Analysis of the Tux500 Scam The source of the news story on A final summary.
Further Developments since I broke this story:
Dear Newsforge: I am not devnet. Newsforge links to devnet and says that's me. Best thing to happen to devnet and worst thing to happen to me. Other developments.
DC Parris of LXer to Linux community member: shut up! I wouldn't have half the problem with these thugs, if they didn't abuse EVERYBODY who crossed their path.
tux500 crew caught rigging Digg - with screenshots! Somehow, even documented proof of their own admission of blatant spamming fails to get them shut down. Wake up, Internet!
Are the tux500 people really all THAT bad? Or, why being on tux500's case 24/7 is one of the most important and necessary things I've ever done.

Give some consideration to chronological order. At the beginning, I was groping around, and chased a lot of dead ends before I honed in on the important facts.


Your own leader (helios) has admitted his mistake... sort of... and has moved to make amends by putting up a Democratic site to market Linux. He would probably appreciate it if you withdrew from the front lines and fell back for new orders going forward with the new plan.

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