Late last year you read our report about the invasion of flatterbots in Second Life - automated avatars programmed to beg SL users for Linden Dollars with a scripted dialog of flirtation and panhandling; now, it seems, we have an interview with the flatterbot owner. Blaise Joshua of Every Second Man tracked down the person behind the flatterbots, he tells me, and conducted a great and lengthy interview with her, which you should read here. According to their conversation, the flatterbot puppeteer is a young woman living in the US, who runs 10-15 bots at the same time, and makes about $160 -- that's US dollars -- from her operation, every day:
I make roughly $40,000L per day. [i.e. around USD$160] And consistently for three months. Everybody is exploiting everyone here.
To put that in more perspective, if she averaged this amount of money every day she put her flatterbots in the field, and worked over 300 days a year, she'd be grossing close to $50,000 annually.
I was a touch skeptical with this interview at first, but after talking with Blaise, a UK blogger with a background in psychology and sociology, I'm pretty convinced this is the person behind the flatterbots. Finding and interviewing her, Blaise tell me, wasn't easy:
"When setting up the interview, I agreed with Nanyea that I wouldn't publish how I found her," he explains. "However, she spoke to me through bots that were running the scam, showed me bots working on location, and switched between three different bots while talking to me." As for why she did the interview at all: "I think she enjoyed having someone to talk to -- she said as much in the interview. Also, I think there was a genuine desire to get her side of the story out there, after all the abuse she feel she takes because of it. I think it actually bothers her, and she feels she is judged more harshly than she deserves to me. She also clearly has a grudge against SL."
Read Blaise's fascinating interview here. (And thanks to Iris for the catch!)Tweet