What words best describe the last 7 days?
surreal bizarre weird unreal alarming
chilling creepy worrying menacing
startling escalating menacing
Confusing Mystifying Disorienting
Menacing Petrifying Alarming Enraging
This will I hope be a condensed account of what's been the strangest week ever -
the timeline is bit fuzzy, but please accept this as the result of stress, shell shock
& far too little sleep.
As I recall I first became aware that something was a bit off on Sat 2nd June. (That
will make it 8 days - sorry). Whether that was the day that I received yet another
stupid malicious DM or whether that was a subsequent day I'm not certain - but I
had scanned, cleared history, cookies etc from my comp and whilst contemplating
whether or not I really needed half the internet bookmarked and favourited I got
At the end of February I spoke to a friend about about having just built this website.
When we next spoke I was asked again for its URL as 'theimpossibledream' seemed
to her to be a phantom. Of course, had the navigation bar been used rather than
just a search ... still, for a while I was crushed. (Ego is such a sad and needy
characteristic). I digress.
...I got curious. I did a google search for my site, saw line upon line of references
to the song 'The Imposible Dream'. No suprises there. I added my name to the
search and couldn't it. My Twitter & website names, as well as IP and home address'
in one link + a red WOT (Web of Truth) sign - all showing without having to click to
read it. I was amazed but the implications didn't start to sink in until much later.
The discovery had occured whilst I waited for the taxi to take me to a Jubilee party
at the Care Home my Mother has recently moved into. I'm not conscious of worrying
about it whilst I was out and that evening, maybe even the next day when one or
two other Twitter-based entries were showing my details, I still think I fixated more
on sitetrail.com's red fist pointing at me for reasons I couldn't and can't understand.
Then I studied the webpage. There were 455 Twitter comments made about my site,
very mixed (as it confirmed) but the negatives (about 50% and all made within a very
short period of time) consisted of allegations of promoting child abuse, porn, drugs..
The other aprox 50% of the comments were refuting those claims, and I would like to
really those people who took the time and to do that. I can't tell you how much it meant
(and does still mean) to me.
Before I go on, I have to confess - the week before last (I know, I'm well out of the
7 days now..), I was fed up with payday loans and previously even one porn site
rep leaving what could have been read as complimentary comments in the Guestbook
along with iffy URLs that I would summarily remove once or twice a day.
Anyway - that week I must have been more irritable than usual as, following the
'Please leave message below' spiel I added 'unless you are a pornsite owner, money
lender or other low life' or something along those lines. I felt guilty about being so
confrontational after a day or so, so at the end of last week I amended it to
'This website.. aims to be a Child Friendly site. Please only leave message if your site
is Child Friendly too'. (Or wording very similar to this).
After weekend passed the seriousness of the situation, and the potentially vulnerable
position I had been put in hit me head on. Every day more and more sites were
picking up what should have been private information and publicising it. By midweek
all but one line of the 1st pageof Google search showed my name, home and IP
address's. Many also showed links to my Twitter account and different tweets.
Later in the week I noticed sites in the Far East, America and elsewhere in the world
doing valuations on this site - a whole $10 on one! - actually auctioning it on another.
Each day more and more sites have picked it up and it has got wierder as it has got
Then as the week proceeded and the lunacy escalated, my moods swung chaotically
between moral indignation, trepidation and general madness (though in truth I
probably had at least one foot in that door already). The chronology is very hazy, but
quite early on I made the decision to remove the Guestbook completely from this
If that had been part of the onset of the problem, I didn't want it as part of the site
anymore. I emailed Twitter and the initial response resulted in an email equivalent to
one of those irritating automated answer machine messages, 'click on list below for
answer to irrelevant problem'. (I have since emailed back to Twitter and have been
assured that it is now being 'investigated by the appropriate dept.).
I also email sitetrail.com highlighting the fact that only they had complaints & the
counter-complaints and asked them to reaccess my website for themselves. I didn't
hear back from them but the next day there was no WOT circle, red or any other
colour. Curiously, all the other information about me was still visable though. Even
more curious, next day the red circle was back.
This time I thought that whilst waiting to hear from Twitter I'd see if I could do a bit
of damage limitation. I've been haemorrhaging Followers, which is fine if it's because
people don't like me or what I tweet. On ballance I still seem to gain on most days so
that certainly isn't an issue. What is an issue is knowing that some people are bound
to believe the lies - and that is really hard to stomach.
In theory I just needed to prove that theimpossibledream belongs to me before asking
for their advice. You have to click on the domain you want to verify. In my list was this
site and www.sitetrail.com and www.theimpossibledream.com (neither of which
I own or, had heard of before last W/E). Who made those entries and the significance of
them being there I have no idea, but at least I was able to delete them. The other
problem was and still is that, although I followed WOTs proceedures and although from
my perspective everything appeared to go as it should, they were still unable to verify
ownership. I am hoping to get around this very soon. (Somehow)
Even more than finding out who is behind this I very much want to know why?
I also accept that there will be cynics who think that this is all some kind of publicity
drive - Well I have not finished writing yet but if I had I would be hounding TV stations,
not ruining any chance I might have by being an reckless irresponsable fraud.
Sorry that this has been so long. I think writing it has been quite cathartic - at least my
hands seem to have settled down to a subtle tremor, which is a great improvement.
I just hope I don't regret ignoring my own advice by not waiting until after this has been
sorted out to openly discuss it.
Michele Burnett, until next week when I hope the content will be more mundane. X