Kids: Please take forwarded messages with suspicion detectors at full speed, because some messages are just plain wrong...
Lies, Damn Lies & ICQ Messages is one of the most content-rich urband legend sites, and essential site for everyone interested about this "Internet culture". The site was made by Thomas R. Pasawicz, aka DiamondBack. URL: http://diamond-back.com/icqlies.html
The site lists over 100 ICQ messages that people forward around the ICQ. The messages have taken approximately 100² = 10000 trips around the globe so far, and other messages are more idiotic than others. Some common themes:
- "ICQ is nuking inactive accounts! Forward this to everyone to show that you're still an active user." (It's not like they're running out of address space, there are still a lot of numbers left...)
- "ICQ is going to start charging - forward this to show your support for free ICQ" (Now now, what would that do to MSN and Yahoo! user bases, may I ask?)
- "User XXXXXXX, UIN nnnnnnn, is an evil hacker that will send you viruses and format your hard drive. Pass the word." (Sure. And if E2 user WWWWolf adds a writeup to node that you made, you may as well kiss your rep byebye. He's so l33t.)
Some other variations included "Forward this and dog runs barking across the screen / ICQ flower turns blue / into a marijuana leaf / whatever", "System Message: We're experiencing technical difficulties, please go to your ICQ settings, change server name to icqpasswordstealer.31337.net, port 4000, and restart", "Mass Message: You're My Best Friend, Go To This Page", and so on...
The site also talks of AOL/ICQ acquisition (no, kids, it didn't mean they're going to start charging either), and some real threats the ICQ has (spoofs, flooding, and so on).
Some of my personal memories from the field:
My personal reality check happened thus: I didn't use ICQ that much, and once when I started my ICQ client after absense of about couple of months, I got one of those "We're nuking old accounts" style things. Too bad the date mentioned had come and went and I was still happily using it...
Some of these messages were sort of... strange.
Fri May 28 16:47:27 1999 You received URL message from XXXXXXXX
Description: If you want to support kosovo, please, open this URL.
Please forward this message!
Clever... I wonder if that guy really sent money the pennies he got from that campaign to charities? I doubt that... =)