Feb 062011

The popular Internet conspiracy discussion site, GodLikeProductions (GLP), is back up after about 24 dramatic hours of down time.

As we mentioned last night here, GLP closed operations yesterday, leaving only a vague, enigmatic statement as a farewell.

According to the site’s owner, who posts under the handle “^TrInItY^”, the outage was due to “internet stalkers” who he alleges committed “libel, defamation of character, cyber stalking, criminal harassment, hacking, ddos attacks, and other offenses…” Furthermore, ^TrInItY^ claims to have notified the police and has taken legal action against the alleged perpetrators: “I’ve got the ball rolling with the police and with civil charges against the individuals associated with this activity.”

However, the Internet adapts quickly and the 24-hour outage has impacted GLP‘s credibility and momentum. Many of the message board’s orphaned members found refuge on sites like LunaticOutPost and AboveTopSecret.

GLP is attempting to remedy this hit by offering free membership extensions and free one month trial memberships. But at least some GLP members are viewing the offers skeptically and wonder if the outage was nothing more than a marketing plot.

Will GLP survive this hit? Probably. The site is too big and the outage too short to cripple it for long. But a repeat of the last 24-hours might not turn out so well for GLP as many members have already established “refuges” on other websites in the case of future, abrupt GLP closures.

Feb 062011

One of the most popular Internet message boards in the world appears to have suddenly and unexpectedly shut down. GodLikeProductions, a nexus of Internet conspiracy discussion, has disappeared and in its place is a somewhat mysterious message:

The Kingdom of God is inside you, and all around you, not in mansions of wood and stone. Split a piece of wood and I am there; lift a stone and you will find me.

For the book has been closed, The names have been written, Judgement cometh.

And it was known to them in those days that there would come upon them the judgement of the children of God, who had lived among them as men and learned of their ways and tested their hearts.

While much of the material on “GLP,” as it is commonly called, borders on lunacy, the site has been invaluable for news because it is empowered by thousands of worried, obsessive and, ultimately, sharing people who constantly scour the Internet for substantive news, trying to find meaning and understanding within the many millions of digital voices that compose the Web.

The closure appears to be permanent because the current GLP message ends with a link to a “goodbye” recording.

If GLP is in fact gone, we lose one of the most important places on the Internet to gather and discuss current events anonymously.  GLP has been a much better place for news than CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews or any other mainstream news site.

On the other hand, the current, strange outage could be the result of hackers. GLP has built up many enemies over the years. It might even be a publicity stunt. There is no doubt that the site is crawling with paid disinformation agents including a number from within our own government.  Some critics even claim that GLP is an intelligence operation.  Nevertheless, discourse has remained mostly free and open there.

In any case, here’s hoping GLP’s farewell is only temporary.

In the meantime, it is safe to assume that thousands of paranoid GLP regulars are panicking right now.  End-of-the-world-doom was a favorite, obsessed upon topic of discussion there.

Jul 242010

Over the last week, a multipronged attack on free speech has come to light.

Leading the assault is Las Vegas-based copyright troll “Righthaven” led by Steve Gibson. On the fast track to becoming the most loathed person on the Internet, Gibson buys up copyrights to newspaper articles published in cyberspace and runs a Web crawler to locate sites that contain material from them. Gibson then sends shakedown letters to the Website owners threatening copyright violation fines up to $150,000 unless the owner pays Gibson off. Note that these malicious letters are NOT preceded by take-down requests, so site owners, several of whom run large message boards and news aggregators and therefore cannot vet all posts, are caught off guard with little apparent recourse without costly legal counsel.

Apparently possessing a death wish, Gibson has targeted bikers, patriots, gun rights advocates and Internet paranoids first. Making the job for the pitchforks and torches mob easier, Gibson, the egotistical walking enema, allowed Wired to publish a picture of his ugly, smirking mug for all to see.

A second prong of attack is led by the Reuters news agency and their paid attack dog Attributer Corporation. This pack of goons is trying a similar shakedown of sites like Godlike Productions, a very popular message board focusing on conspiracy themes. You can read about that ongoing issue here and here.

Of course, what is not discussed is that Websites dearly want to be quoted and linked to from as many sources as possible. A link from Reddit or Godlike Productions can generate tens of thousands of page views and boost a website’s visibility into another league. This is simply the most reliable way of generating traffic. No, these lawsuits are not meant to help prevent content “stealing,” but are rather insidious efforts bordering upon extortion.

Finally, the mainstream media has unleashed their hounds on bloggers and other small, independent media Websites who have become the main conduit of news in our society today. According to NewsBusters:

CNN’s two regulation-happy reporters, think the Sherrod situation can help bring attention to the “necessity” of blogging reform if she brings a defamation lawsuit against Andrew Breitbart.

According to Roberts, Sherrod has “the power now and she also has the profile to maybe bring this into a new light, so we’ll see where this goes.”

Are these efforts the beginning of a coordinated attack against Internet free speech during a dangerous time when our nation’s economy continues to degrade to depths last plumbed during the Great Depression? Time will tell.