This morning on AOL instant messenger, I got hit with some bizarre messages out of the blue:
kemptcoho: Let's look at the world with respect to theta.
doranchak: ok, let's do that
kemptcoho: what up
kemptcoho: so who is this?
doranchak: i was going to ask you the same thing
kemptcoho: and why am I your fellow prisoner? ha
kemptcoho: and I am Adam...
doranchak: adam who?
kemptcoho: Well now if I give everything away with nothing back then where is the fun?
kemptcoho: remember you sent me a message first...
doranchak: no, i didn't
doranchak: you did
kemptcoho: [06:36] DecayingCoho: Hello, my fellow prisoner!
[06:36] JudgeKaos: what up
What the hell???
So, I start thinking, maybe this was one of those AIM robots. This type of chat robot scrapes messages from blog posts and other online content. The robot then sends one of these messages to a person via AIM. If the person responds, the robot sends the response to some other person on AIM. When THAT person responds, the message is funneled back to the first person. And so it goes, causing all sorts of confusion.
Here’s where I start to wise up on what’s happening:
doranchak: are you a trout bot? (Ed.: A trout bot is a variation of TheGreatHatsby)
doranchak: prove it
doranchak: you're a coho bot
doranchak: my mistake
kemptcoho: and one proves they are not a bot how?
doranchak: that's a good existential question
kemptcoho: so you still haven't given me any indication as to who you are...
doranchak: my mommy told me not to talk to strangers
kemptcoho: or where I would know you from and what would prompt you to message me
doranchak: hey, whoever's on the other end of this: look up "coho bots" on wikipedia
doranchak: there's a bot funneling our responses back and forth to each other
kemptcoho: nice so we were put in touch by a bot how wonderful
doranchak: yeah, these bots are annoying, aren't they?
kemptcoho: very much so
kemptcoho: I was wondering why someone just messaged me outta the blue
doranchak: yeah, i was wondering that too
kemptcoho: I figured it was someone from the overnight forums at crackberry
doranchak: did you post "Let's look at the world with respect to theta." somewhere online?
doranchak: the bot scrapes messages like that to fool people into thinking they are talking to real people
kemptcoho: cant say that I did
doranchak: i wonder where it found that message
kemptcoho: so you are a real person?
doranchak: yeah; "kemptcoho" is the bot. it has two chats going on at once: one with me, and one with you. it's taking my messages to it and passing them along to you, and vice-versa.
kemptcoho: one word
doranchak: well, nice chatting with you anyway. have a good day!
What a waste of time. But it was interesting to experience the scam. I think a lot of people get really angry when they experience the bot since it seems like some weirdo is stalking them (this is kind of what I felt at the beginning of the conversation above).