The tricks get tricker, but they still prey on our pride
A while ago, I was humbled to get an unsolicited email from someone trying to compile a list of top 100 teacher blogs. We exchanged a few emails, and I was genuinely pleased to see my blog listed along side so many other blogs I respect. Still, all along, the email seemed a bit fishy, and it was clear when looking at the final product, that they didn’t really do much to get to know the individual blogs (my two best posts are rather crappy, IMO).
But today, the awesome Dan Meyer recognized this effort for the scam that it is. Check it out—this post is a must read: Stop linking to Top 100 Blogs.
There are two quick lessons I can take away. First, they’re preying on my pride. How could I possibly turn down a request to be listed as a top 100 blog? Only Feynman could do something like that.
Second, as someone who considers himself pretty informed of the latest scams on the internet (snopes and I became good friends long ago), and someone who knew about the online college scam industry, I was still shocked by the twists and linkages in this scam. It occurs to me that this is a really interesting interdisciplinary problem. Could we teach out students to detect scams like this? It’s much more than simply “learning to question the authority of a source.” To pull off Dan’s feat, you’ve got to have a solid understanding of how search works, how it’s gamed, the landscape of the for-profit college industry and more. I’d love to teach the course that gets students to weave together these threads to bring an end to scams like this.