What Is This Creepy Site Advertising? A book, perhaps? May 27, 2012 8:26 PM   Subscribe

Upon revisiting the classic Ask thread What Is This Creepy Site Advertising? (a.k.a., the thread where tons of Mefites congregated for weeks to solve the puzzle behind an unusual viral marketing website), I discovered something intriguing about the site in question.

"thepurification dot org" was once home to a bizarre countdown that captured the imagination and research skills of MetaFilter users, only to lead to a disappointing conclusion: this strange website that had caused so much controversy ended up being a shill for a ski resort in Taos, NM.

Lately, if you visit the website in question, you'll find something very different -- namely, a plug for a novel entitled The Purification. The author of said novel? None other than Bart Cleveland, one of the original designers of the viral marketing website. (The bio on his blog even mentions that he "created a story for an online alternative reality game that featured a mysterious clock counting down to zero".)

This seems to lend an even more interesting twist to the initial saga. Was Bart inspired to write the novel based on his experience with the viral website? Did he just use it as a title since he was hanging onto the domain name? Or was this a case of viral marketing for his novel set up years in advance?

[Disclaimer: I have no affiliation whatsoever with Bart Cleveland and no interest in selling or promoting his book.]
posted by jeudi to MetaFilter-Related at 8:26 PM (33 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

That was the thread that brought me to Metafilter
posted by jpdoane at 8:49 PM on May 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is no way a real human is named Bart Cleveland.
posted by latkes at 9:04 PM on May 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


jeudi is Bart Cleveland's sock poppet, it all makes so much sense now..
posted by doctor_negative at 9:11 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This makes me want to ski while reading a novel. Or just go to bed.
posted by trip and a half at 9:22 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The exciting story of an intrepid marketing manager...
posted by XMLicious at 9:25 PM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am literally not Bart Cleveland.
posted by unliteral at 9:33 PM on May 27, 2012


I'm not Bart Cleveland, but I play one on teevee.
posted by carsonb at 9:39 PM on May 27, 2012


Metafilter: None other than Bart Cleveland
posted by ericost at 9:52 PM on May 27, 2012


I'm Bart Cleveland, and so is my wife.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:33 PM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


His son is working for a ski resort, it’s a steady job but he wants to be a paperback writer.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:21 PM on May 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


The exciting story of an intrepid marketing manager...

... who decides to follow Bill Hicks advice, and the count down is to the moment he kills himself?
posted by DreamerFi at 2:30 AM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am not Bort Cleversocks either.
posted by flabdablet at 5:28 AM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Are we sure it's not Brad Storch? Or Betty Symington?
posted by Gator at 5:50 AM on May 28, 2012


His real name is Homer Cincinnati.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:58 AM on May 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Countdown to MetaFilter's own Bart Cleveland...
posted by arcticseal at 6:23 AM on May 28, 2012


he's part swedish and part spanish - his name - ole toledo
posted by pyramid termite at 6:43 AM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


That was the thread that brought me to Metafilter


Me too! I was pretty much Barbelith-only as my source of smart online conversation, but the writing was already on the wall over there and I'd been keeping an eye out, without even really knowing I was doing it, for an escape hatch. Somebody over yonder linked to that thread as a Really Cool Thing That Happened, and reading it I realized that these were my kind of people.

Thanks, The Purification Guy!
posted by Shepherd at 7:27 AM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


...that being said, I just read/heard (!!) the novel's synopsis on the main site, and I think I will be confining my thanks to a sincere expression of gratitude on this thread, with no intent, explicit or implied, to buy or read this book.
posted by Shepherd at 7:30 AM on May 28, 2012


Did I mention the upcoming launch party for my next release "The meta Filter" ?
posted by infini at 7:57 AM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Otherwise known as the Extremely Social Network.
posted by arcticseal at 8:21 AM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


latkes: "There is no way a real human is named Bart Cleveland."

There was once a guy named Grover Cleveland. Isn't that nuts?
posted by brundlefly at 2:15 PM on May 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I bet his real name is Family Guy American Dad.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:20 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Homer Cincinnati...

That reminds me somehow of the story my mom once witnessed in a bookstore where some lady wanted to buy a famous novel for a friend. The title was "Pastor Chicago" but she had forgotten the author... (Bookseller knew where to look and didn't grin).
posted by Namlit at 3:56 PM on May 28, 2012


I am virtually not Bart Cleveland.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:03 PM on May 28, 2012


Bart Cleveland is Ron Mexico.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:35 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is the thread that brought me to Metafilter as well. I was actually the guy who found this on The Ulitmate Insult and sent it to my friend Sportbucket. He posted it here and showed me the link, and I followed along, in complete thrall to the ingenuity of the community for all 747 comments. I had absolutely no insight to offer, and as a skint college student didn't pony up the five bucks to join, but the investigation was fucking awesome. I had actually totally forgotten about this thread, and it is extremely bizarre to see it on MetaTalk, but awesome! Anyways, though, I've read Metafilter pretty much daily since I was directed here for this, and it has honestly played a fairly large role in shaping the person I've become. This is an interesting development, but I sadly have nothing new to add except my little anecdote. This is an awesome community! Keep on keepin' on, and maybe see you around.
posted by Dr. Christ at 9:32 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


brundlefly: "There was once a guy named Grover Cleveland. Isn't that nuts?"

Twice.
posted by Plutor at 4:18 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is the book set in Taos?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:58 AM on May 29, 2012


Is the book set in Taos?

No, Times New Roman.
posted by tommasz at 7:20 AM on May 29, 2012 [15 favorites]


Did someone say tacos?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:16 AM on May 29, 2012


Yeah, these guys.
posted by owtytrof at 1:39 PM on May 29, 2012


That was the thread that brought me to Metafilter
posted by jpdoane at 8:49 PM on May 27 [4 favorites +] [!]


Me too!
posted by in the methow at 4:05 PM on June 1, 2012


1. Create mysterious viral website.
2. Collect lots of links from people wondering wtf it is, passing on delicious Google Juice.
3. Time passes, remember you have a perfectly good domain to use as the title of your novel.

He knows about us
posted by Gordafarin at 1:21 PM on June 2, 2012


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