In the more than five years of working at GeekWire, I often wondered how I could get Jeff Bezos’ attention and how I would react if the founder of Amazon told me one of my stories via email. I never thought that this would be a random story about his buying a soft ice cream machine, or that the person who sent the email would be his mother.
In the huge amount of publicity and press releases I received from public relations staff, Jackie Bezos, president and co-founder of the Bezos Family Foundation, clearly stated (above) that it is easy to stand out this week.
“Impossible,” I thought. “It’s not true.”
But the email signature with the foundation logo and address looked so good that I couldn’t help but paste the notes and express my excitement about Slack, the GeekWire team. It won a few “Wow!” responses, and before thinking more or doing any investigation—you know, journalism—I just wrote back “Jackie”.
I thank her for emailing and telling her that I like soft ice cream and my kids like Dippin Dots. If Jeff wants to talk about ice cream or anything else, she knows how to contact me. The next answer said: “Of course!” — Jeff Bezos was added to the thread via his real Amazon email address.
It suddenly occurred to me that a car would pick me up and take me to a private jet. I will fly to Beverly Hills, and that night I will eat handmade soft service in Jeff Bezos’ kitchen, talking about Amazon, space, chocolate and vanilla, and anything else that the richest man in the world talks about. I can already see my name on Seattle’s new GeekWire News Center of Excellence funded by the Bezos Family Foundation.
But this time I did not reply. And, thank goodness, I didn’t touch my story, adding fake Jackie Bezos’ fake comment about her son’s love of ice cream. I just sleep in it all.
The next morning, after hearing from a reporter from Amazon PR and the New York Post, I learned that I had been cheated.
Looking for response
“The purpose is not to provoke you,” Ben Palmer Said to me after calling from his home in Colorado on Thursday morning.
After finding out that he was a fake Jackie, I wrote to Palmer, and he kept sharing replies related to the fake emails he ran on Facebook, which was later deleted Hope this helpsThe other news media’s other explanation went further than the one he sent me, saying that Bezos’ new ice cream machine was broken.
“When you respond, I feel guilty; I don’t want you to get too excited, like,’Gosh, we might get an interview with Jeff Bezos!” Palmer said. “Our goal is for the people representing Jeff Bezos to get their response, because it’s difficult to get a response from the superior.”
Palmer has been trying for a while.
The 35-year-old Air Force veteran has attracted 2 million fans online Tik Tok With his internet trolling and comedy brands.Finish YouTube, His video mixes his gimmicks, whether he is talking about fake screenshots of his social media, or is actually filing a lawsuit for a fake case on court TV.
Palmer lives in Atlanta and Los Angeles, and he earns income from the content he creates online and his comedy tours.He was actually scheduled Performing in Seattle October 15th at The Rendezvous in Belltown, just a few blocks from the Amazon headquarters. I told him I was going to show up and questioned him for an hour to see if he liked it.
Palmer was an Uber and Lyft driver and a former odd job providing food. He targeted companies, business leaders, and corporate customers via email or social media. He is most interested in trolling in the name of workers’ rights and social justice.
“You will feel the anger of being treated as rubbish by big companies,” he said.
He created memes with false quotations from Bezos or SpaceX founder Elon Musk, and he would contact their representatives to seek comment on the legitimacy of the quotations. He often pretends to be a reporter for a non-existent newspaper in Colorado, or as a reporter for a fake CBS branch in Akron, Ohio. Getting a response is part of the comedy Palmer hopes to convey to his followers.
He also pretended to be a company account and tracked users on social media who complained about gay couples or Ben & Jerry ice cream politics in advertisements. He posted the news in 2016 Pretend to be Home Deport Guest Relations on Facebook and tear up Fox News in the comments on the post. He became popular last year When he pretended to be Costco in response to a customer complaining about the wholesaler’s in-store mask policy during the pandemic.
Palmer aimed at Bezos in a variety of ways, trying to elicit a reaction. He tried to book Bezos’ vacation at Donald Trump’s Sea Lake Manor. Or he would reach out to a random place and say that Bezos plans to visit his exotic animals and needs accommodation. Usually, if Bezos’ email is attached, Amazon Communications will block the letter.
Bezos’ huge wealth, the failure of Amazon’s warehouse union efforts, and Amazon’s new mission to become “the best employer on earth” all made Palmer eager for a response.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “Apart from joining a union, when you work there, you really can’t do anything. So I will do my best to do something on comedy to annoy them.”
Palmer said he avoided impersonating a real person and said that sending emails as Jackie Bezos was an exception. But this is not a phishing plan. He is not looking for money. He was just looking for an answer. But if the Bezos Family Foundation were to sue, he thought it would only be more publicity.
“The billionaire sued the poor comedian… Maybe I don’t understand how the lawsuit works, but what do you want, my 2014 Nissan Sentra?” Palmer joked.
Fast, fake friend
I laughed for half an hour while talking to Palmer on the phone. He said he was going to send me some ice cream to solve my troubles, and I suggested maybe an Amazon gift card.
I think we have established a connection and I have not really gotten rid of the fake Jackie Bezos.
But I did not waste the time of reporters or corporate public relations representatives in the name of comedy. I asked Palmer if he was worried about the scourge of misinformation that is causing real harm on the Internet and the real world.
“Yes, I try not to make companies that actually provide good services look bad,” he said.
Palmer obviously has some reservations about who has been affected in his efforts to climb to the top, as well as dealing with Bezos, Musk, or Mark Zuckerberg.
“I feel bad sometimes,” he said. “This is a learning experience. I try to see how far I can go. Is it worth it? Who do you use to do this in the process?”
I asked if this applies to reporters who only want to report on billionaires buying ice cream machines, and Palmer smiled.
“I’m sorry, Kurt,” he said. “This is my official apology to you. This should be the headline news.”