Tuesday, December 11, 2012

« I'm Back from China, Where I Lunched With RMB City Artist Cao Fei | Main | Cloud Party Gets Major Update: Monetization, Attachments, Graphics Updates, Increased Concurrency & Much More »

Who Or What's Behind the Begging Bots Plaguing SL?

Flatterbot Second Life

My favorite NWN post from Iris last week is easily this one about Flatterbots, an (apparent) avatar bot programmed to (reportedly) get Linden Dollars from Second Life users with scripted flirtation and begging. Their existence generated an interesting conversation among readers who've spotted the Flatterbot in Second Life, a debate whether they're totally automated or run by a person, and so on. I asked Iris for the SL account name of a suspected Flatterbot, and tried to send them an IM, but for one reason or another, can no longer find that account in Second Life. (Banned? Suspended?)

So the mystery remains, and so I'm on the case. If you come across a suspected Flatterbot yourself, please share your tips with me in Comments or contact me directly. Mainly I'm interested in whether these are bots or not, and how they're programmed (if at all), and why someone would beg such small amounts of L$ from people, when there are probably easier ways of making Linden Dollars. The chase is on!

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bf74053ef017ee6275e52970d

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Who Or What's Behind the Begging Bots Plaguing SL?:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Adeon Writer

Personally, I have been proposing reasonable sums of L$ directly to the bots in exchange for access to copies of their programming or information about their creator, but so far none have bitten, they are quite loyal. Nevertheless, I now know there are human eyes watching those conversations and they WILL reply if properly provoked.

Dave Lowe (Gaffer)

Maybe just don't give them money? It's annoying, yes. But they are not siphoning cash from your avatar's accounts, are they? There are gizmos out there that *do*. I recently saw a warning about some affiliate vendor that you have to grant permissions, then it sucks all your cash away.

I think fighting these things would take priority over a panhandling bot. Maybe they should program it to use a squeegee on your car.

Pussycat Catnap

Several people are reporting phishing schemes with faked marketplace URLs getting sent around in groups of late.

These bots are likely -NOT- harmless, but people's stolen accounts.

http://kzkflame.tumblr.com/private/37354599394/tumblr_mempmdh1Me1rdl2cw
- One example.

aus

[2012/12/08 06:14] SunshineApplesauce: pusher!
[2012/12/08 06:15] SunshineApplesauce: I'm just kidding but we can be bumper car avatars!
[2012/12/08 06:15] SunshineApplesauce: don't be upset with me ok? I'm a prankster :P
[2012/12/08 06:15] SunshineApplesauce: holy crap you have an amazing avatar!
[2012/12/08 06:16] SunshineApplesauce: You made your shape yourself!? looks so nice!
[2012/12/08 06:16] SunshineApplesauce: I haven't been in SL in so long everything is crazy!
[2012/12/08 06:16] ********: hello you wrong im think

[2012/12/08 06:17] SunshineApplesauce: you look like you have been in SL for a long time, have you?
[2012/12/08 06:18] SunshineApplesauce: .. mesh is so crazy! and the new skins, I don't even know many of the creators anymore. Who makes the best skins now?
[2012/12/08 06:19] SunshineApplesauce: I quit because this guy I was seeing from SL asked me to stop playing :(( and I listened because I am stupid :(
[2012/12/08 06:19] *************: Do you know me?
[2012/12/08 06:19] SunshineApplesauce: he said there were too many guys in here and he got jealous.I should have thought it was weird that he was so insecure...
[2012/12/08 06:20] SunshineApplesauce: meanwhile, he would come on here and give girls his phone number, which I didn't find out until one of them messaged me and I got the offline in my email.
[2012/12/08 06:20] SunshineApplesauce: I was seeing him IRL and everything like once a month, usually I paid for the plane tickets - meanwhile he was calling girls from SL telling them he loved them.
[2012/12/08 06:21] SunshineApplesauce: have you ever dated anyone in SL?
[2012/12/08 06:22] SunshineApplesauce: sorry to treat you like you are my therapist or something :( guess I just needed to talk about it
[2012/12/08 06:22] SunshineApplesauce: then right after that because I was so angry, I wanted to message the girls and tell them how I felt, but I couldn't bring myself to do it
[2012/12/08 06:23] SunshineApplesauce: but here I am back again, starting over as a newb. Everything that I had in my inventory was so out of date anyway
[2012/12/08 06:23] SunshineApplesauce: your avatar is really nice though truly, one of the best ones I have seen since I have been back, you should be proud of it, you did an amazing job
[2012/12/08 06:24] SunshineApplesauce: mind if I ask a favor :X
[2012/12/08 06:24] SunshineApplesauce: mind if I ask a favor :X
[2012/12/08 06:25] SunshineApplesauce: I know I just randomly imed you and it's so rude of me to ask but do you think there is any way you could help me a little bit with getting started again? Maybe like 300l so I can get a hair or something

Jellyroll Woodget

I recently told one to F*** **F and it came back with a comment about profanity. So either someone is watching or they have some basic programming to recognize certain responses. I sent it $1L to see what would happen but never even got a thankyou.

I think they're working on economies of scale. If 1000 people give then $200L each, thats maybe $750ish USD - reasonable money when you consider the effort involved.

Pussycat Catnap

There's one report I've read, here or on the forums - I forget - where one of these bots was in a local chat fight arguing against people calling her a bot, while IMing the poster the whole script...

The one that got me, was on the opposite side of the sim from me. My shape is not that wide, so not sure how I bumped her from the landing point... :P

its all about scale, and cashing out before LLs shuts off the account or gives it back to the person it was stolen from...

Little Lost Linden

For a while, Vista Animations was plagued by this particular bot. The owner of Vista Animations may have some info on the problems associated with this bot and how and if they were able to mitigate the situation.

onbake

This technique bears a strong resemblance to the thing which existed a long time ago of "carrying out golden earnings by a blog."
Two or more blogs are made from one person, and the place which carries out an affiliate is increased.
Although it is my imagination, people without technology may be buying and employing "bot System".

ZZ Bottom

hehehe I got one ofd those last night! Amazing how it is exactly the same questions posted here, so its a program for sure!
Knowing how npc's scripts are developing in Open sims, if it was on OSG i would not be suprised, but on SL?
So i think somone is behind tjose bots, checking and supervising them!

val kendal

I ran into one of these 'bots' and saw through it for what it was, then a few days later ran into the other scheme Pussycat mentioned - someone in one of my Groups posting about a Group GIft available on Marketplace with a URL - I would never fall for this in RL, but I clicked the link and provided my password on the page that looked exactly like the Marketplace - seconds later I realized what a dope I had been and changed my password - but this scam is far more worrisome

CronoCloud Creeggan

Here's what the one that contacted me, with avatar name redacted, said:

#################################
[2012/11/21 06:45] Flatterbot: eeps you bumped me!
[2012/11/21 06:46] Flatterbot: I'm rezzing sortof slow so I apologize :(
[2012/11/21 06:46] Flatterbot: awww your avatar is awesome
[2012/11/21 06:47] Flatterbot: I wish I made shapes as good as that, did you make it yourself?
[2012/11/21 06:47] Flatterbot: I just got back to SL from a long break, omfg everything is so different
[2012/11/21 06:48] Flatterbot: have you been in SL for a long time?
[2012/11/21 06:48] Flatterbot: I tried to remake my shape, but I don't think I did it very good, I forget how all the sliders work :X
[2012/11/21 06:49] Flatterbot: .. mesh is so crazy! and the new skins, I don't even know many of the creators anymore. Who makes the best skins now?
[2012/11/21 06:50] Flatterbot: I quit because I decided to meet up with a guy I dated here irl UGH.... we didn't work out :(
[2012/11/21 06:50] Flatterbot: it was really creepy!I thought we were gonna be perfect because we got along so well on the phone and here.
[2012/11/21 06:51] Flatterbot: Sorry to share my personal stuff I know that's a little weird
[2012/11/21 06:52] Flatterbot: I quit right after that cause I was bummed out about the situation.
[2012/11/21 06:52] Flatterbot: but here I am back again, starting over. Everything that I had in my inventory was so out of date anyway
[2012/11/21 06:53] Flatterbot: your avatar is really good though truly, one of the best ones I have seen since I have been back, you should be proud of it.
[2012/11/21 06:53] Flatterbot: mind if I ask a favor :X
[2012/11/21 06:54] Flatterbot: I know we just met and it's so rude of me to ask but do you think there is any way you could loan me 100l so I can remake my avatar a little bit? I would like to get a hair and a skin thats not horrible
[2012/11/21 06:54] Flatterbot: I want to get a few cool things because I'd like to get a job or something and not spend tons of money on SL again, last time I was here I spent thousands of dollars :(
[2012/11/21 06:55] Flatterbot: thank you so much!!!
[2012/11/21 06:55] Flatterbot: you are so nice!!! you think we could be friends <3<3?
################################

There do seem to be minor differences in the "script" between them from what I've seen posted. Hope you find out more, Hamlet.

Paypabak

I posted a transcript on my blog and it received the most likes any of my articles have received, plus comments of similar experiences.

http://paywriter.tumblr.com/post/37187308941/muted

Ajax Manatiso

In additional to the flatterbots, my sim has been invaded by generic beggar bots. Here is something from one of my greeter logs:

[04/09/2012 12:05:46 PM GMT - ]
Beggarbot: Hi, sorry for bothering you but i'm new to sl and i was wondering if you had any spare linden i could have to help me get started?
Greeterbot: I am a scripted group joiner and not a live human. Thanks!
[04/09/2012 12:05:48 PM GMT - ]
Beggarbot: Hi, sorry for bothering you but i'm new to sl and i was wondering if you had any spare linden i could have to help me get started?
Greeterbot: I am a scripted group joiner and not a live human. Thanks!
[04/09/2012 12:06:13 PM GMT - ]
Beggarbot: Hi, sorry for bothering you but i'm new to sl and i was wondering if you had any spare linden i could have to help me get started?
Greeterbot: I am a scripted group joiner and not a live human. Thanks!

Pussycat Catnap

There are still a few very active 'bot shops' in SL. Well, at least one that I used to AR regularly, and is still there in a sim just north of Fietzo.
http://catnapkitty.wordpress.com/tag/bots/

With the loss of bots from all of the old uses we once saw for them, maybe they're owners are retooling them for this - though the place I'm thinking of has its bots all sitting in the shop everytime I pas by, so maybe not them...

Corcosman Voom

Bot or not, it's hard to take any beggar seriously. They have a computer and internet service. That ain't poverty.

Little Lost Linden

There is a live flatterbot at Vista Animation right now, and they have been there for over 3 weeks. It's been there so long now that the Vista Animations staff shout out to all the customers to ignore the flatterbot. They are unable to stop them. I'm surprised they haven't issued an AR or something.

GreenLantern Excelsior

The avatar tonight at Vista Animations was just 3 days old.

[22:16:42] KrissieAnnie: WOW!! How are you, I haven't seen you in like forever
[22:17:23] KrissieAnnie: just kiddddding we never have met before! Sl takes forever to rez and you're the only person I can see!
[22:17:28] KrissieAnnie: Happy Saturday!
[22:17:37] KrissieAnnie: don't be mad though I just wanted to talk to you haha
[22:18:19] KrissieAnnie: awww your avatar is awesome
[22:18:52] KrissieAnnie: I wish I made shapes as good as that, did you make it yourself?
[22:19:28] KrissieAnnie: I haven't been in SL in so long everything is crazy!
[22:19:46] Hal Jordan (greenlantern.excelsior): you look like you have been in SL for a long time, have you?
[22:19:59] KrissieAnnie: have you been in SL for a long time?
[22:20:13] Hal Jordan (greenlantern.excelsior): mesh is so crazy! and the new skins, I don't even know many of the creators anymore. Who makes the best skins now?
[22:20:31] KrissieAnnie: I think I need a new shape for all of this new stuff, I tried to make one but I don't think I came even close to yours
[22:20:58] KrissieAnnie: .. mesh is so crazy! and the new skins, I don't even know many of the creators anymore. Who makes the best skins now?

After asking for money to get a hair or something, it said:

[22:28:18] KrissieAnnie: I want to reinvent myself in SL, no dating unless the guy is just like so amazing that I can't resist it
[22:28:41] KrissieAnnie: thank you so much!!!

But I didn't give it any money. It is an orange cloud at the extreme southwest corner of the sim, hovering at 85 meters. Vista Animations is an island, so if the owners don't want bots there bothering their customers, they can eject and ban them.

Post a comment

This weblog only allows comments from registered users. To comment, please Sign In.