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You've got backhoe!

Several years ago, "backhoes" became a bit of a running gag online as several incidents involving them severing critical network cables occurred. In fact, to many netizens, "backhoe" became a shorthand threat for permanently disconnecting people.

My, how things have changed.

Now AOL (whom many people would like to "backhoe") is threatening to employ a backhoe of its own against one particular individual -- or to be more precise, his property.

In one of those "who the heck do I root for?" cases, AOL went after a couple of persistent spammers/scammers -- and won. They settled with one guy (I'm ashamed to say it was a 21-year-old New Hampshire man), but they secured a $13-million-dollar settlement against the Massachusetts native. They've collected some money and assets, but want more.

And in a brilliant PR move, the spammers' money and assets seized (including a Hummer H2) were given away to its subscribers.

It seems that Davis Wolfgang Hawke (who has disappeared after losing the court case) used to buy gold, platinum, and other precious metals, and AOL thinks some might be buried in his parents' back yard in Medfield, Massachusetts. And AOL is thinking about doing some prospecting there.

I see a possible crossover promotion here. AOL should contact Fox News and arrange to have Geraldo Rivera oversee the live excavation of Hawke's parent's yard for an AOL/Fox News special. It's been 20 years since he did the Al Capone's Vault story, but I'm sure he's still got the chops...

And even though it's in (shudder) Massachusetts, I'll be glad to drive down to the scene and throw a chair in Geraldo's face, just for old time's sake.

Comments (8)

There's gold in them thar s... (Below threshold)

There's gold in them thar shills!

Hell no to Geraldo! Send in... (Below threshold)
Vegas Vic:

Hell no to Geraldo! Send in Shepard Smith. His inability to hold his water in the Katrina aftermath and his ability to project a plethora of angst in Lebanon moves him to the front of the line of pompous self-promoting "Correspondents"

AOL vs. spammer, who do I r... (Below threshold)

AOL vs. spammer, who do I root for? No contest: AOL. I think spammers should be taken out and shot, or better yet, like public executions in the old days, they should be drawn and quartered and their hearts torn out of their chests and held up before the cheering crowd.

And this should be done legal and proper, on live TV.

A year or two ago, I read a... (Below threshold)

A year or two ago, I read an account somewhere on the internet where some guy got fed up with all the spam faxes his business was getting, so he tracked down where they were coming from and sued the guy. The spammer thought he could just ignore the required court appearances and disappear, but each no-show meant that the plaintiff won each court proceeding by default. The endgame occured when he went to a city in Florida with all the necessary legal documentation, and contacted the local sheriff, who went with him to the spammers business and impounded his Jaguar, his boat, his Cessna light aircraft and his other assets.

It was a great and satisfying story of watching one of these bastards get the screws put to him. The only downside is that the impounding of his property finally got the spammers' attention and the plaintiff settled with him -- and part of the terms of the settlement was that nothing could be discussed publically.

Shoot, if I were settling, I'd make it a condition that I could broadcast the whole story far and wide all over the internet. But I suppose they wouldn't let me do that.

Hmmmm.How on earth... (Below threshold)


How on earth is AOL going to get a court to grant them legal permission to dig up someone else's backyard?

I realise it's the spammers parents, but aren't they legally separate?

If they can convince a comp... (Below threshold)

If they can convince a competent court that there is good reason to think that's where the money is, they should be able to get a court order allowing it.

For PR purposes, they should have a lawn service on standby to restore it, regardless of whether they find anything or not.

Who’s That AOL Guy Who Eeri... (Below threshold)

Who’s That AOL Guy Who Eerily Knows When You’ve Got Mail?
You can find the answer on this page.

Sending Geraldo there will ... (Below threshold)

Sending Geraldo there will guarantee that they don't find anything.






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