I never thought I would be writing a post as… bizarre… as this one, but I guess it just goes to show how cheap access to the Internet has become, given the types of backbirths exposing their idiocy to the world on it.
This does not appear to be an issue yet (I guess I am just not that important of a gunblogger), but just to make myself clear and start this post off on the right note, neither I, Linoge, nor this webpage, "walls of the city", have any affiliation, account, membership, or association whatsoever with the new website "Smoke & Thunder" found at "smokeandthunder.com", nor will I or this site ever have such an affiliation (link intentionally omitted). Any attempt to portray me or my site having an account at that webpage is a blatant and absolute lie, and should be regarded as such.
Why is this important? Apparently the bottom-dwelling leeches running that site have taken to creating false-flag "membership" accounts of high-profile gunbloggers, personalities, and corporations, and then effectively holding them hostage:
You won’t get anywhere by emailing them. I went round and round with them a couple of weeks ago, after I got an email from them informing me of their awesome new gun site. First I asked them not to use my photo, then they told me they’d just use one from Google images. Then I told them I didn’t want a false profile in my name and they replied with this:
“Those who choose not to participate simply get a static profile, which is little more than a glorified link. The disclaimer “This profile created and maintained by Smokeandthunder.com” makes that abundantly clear. Nothing false or misleading whatsoever.”
Then I screencapped them claiming I was one of their “recently active members” which I most certainly am NOT.
So, yeah. I have a feeling this will end badly for them.
I originally heard about this site from Breda, the author of the above quote, and have since discovered that the benighted minds behind "Smoke & Thunder" have impersonated her, Mr. Completely, Tam, SayUncle, Sebastian, Bitter, Oleg Volk, Caleb, Paige Wyatt, American Guns, NSSF, SHOT Show, Nutnfancy, and The High Road Forum – I cannot get a full accounting of the fake accounts, because their membership roles are only available to those with accounts, and I refuse to provide any perceived patronage or support to that site. Even better, most of these counterfeit accounts include pictures and logos that "Smoke & Thunder" hold neither the copyright nor the trademarks for, opening them up for all kinds of legal heartache, given "impersonation" falls well outside the bounds of "fair use".
Even-even better (even better-er?), "Smoke & Thunder" either names The Truth About Guns as the "#1 Best Gun Blog of 2012", or claims TTAG bestowed upon them that honor (the graphic does not exactly make it clear which). Given that the latter appears to be false (yes, I admit, I loaded TTAG just long enough to run a few quick searches… and took a shower immediately afterwards), the former leads one to make all kinds of interesting assumptions regarding the individuals behind this cringe-worthy webpage, especially given that 2012 is not even two months old yet.
And speaking of cringing, you just have to love a site that has both of the following quotes on its front page:
Smoke & Thunder is a true social networking community and an unrivaled firearms resource directory created for people who love guns and shooting as a hobby or a sport. We aim to bring a touch of class to the would of firearms…
Seriously folks, we are talking about major gun blogs that offer stone-age commenting systems as the only way of interacting with other users and the blog itself!
Yes, because trash-talking weblogs and lashing out at other people for your lack of comprehension regarding what blogs are and what blogs are not is obviously the right way to bestow that "touch of class" on the cortex.
And just to cap off the even-better-ness, it is extremely likely that "Smoke & Thunder" is a credential-farming site, in that they are gathering up the username and password you provide to them, and storing it for… future uses. What future uses? Well, you will not exactly know, now, will you?
So let us recap from the top: impersonating persons of trust, respect, and stature in the firearm-related community; generally acting like a dick; affiliating your site with another site known for being a singularity of dickishness; and coming off sounding like one of the more blatant phishing/pharming (depending on how you look at it) attempts out there. Yeah… I have no idea who is behind this "Smoke & Thunder" site (in fact, the Whois on their domain is quite thoroughly blocked), but you have officially earned the Faragosis Sufferer of the Month Award.
Congratulations. I think.
(Easy-button totally stolen from Robb Allen. I would pay him in pants if I thought he would wear them, but he would not.)