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Wikipedia Wars -- Lake Express Ferry 176

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the go-jump-in-the-lake dept.
vhfer writes "Wikipedia Warfare has become the latest tool in the battle between rival lake transport systems. The Lake Express Ferry, which links Milwaukee and Michigan, bypasses Chicago traffic. The competing SS Badger runs from Manitowoc, an hour North of Milwaukee, to Ludington, Michigan. The article in the Milwaukee Journal details efforts by SS Badger supporters to highlight some of the delays and problems experienced by the Lake Express, in an apparent effort to divert some traffic to the Badger. Numerous edits to the article added links to news articles critical of the Lake Express, and some derided presidential candidate John Kerry's 2004 ride and the political value of it. The operators of the SS Badger deny responsibility for all the postings, and also say they aren't Internet savvy enough to alter a Wikipedia article."
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Wikipedia Wars -- Lake Express Ferry

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  • Gah! Link! (Score:5, Informative)

    by LincolnQ (648660) on Monday August 28, 2006 @02:39PM (#15995415)
    I hate how Slashdot rarely links to the ACTUAL THING THE ARTICLE IS ABOUT. Lake Express [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 28, 2006 @02:58PM (#15995567)
    Lake_Express [wikipedia.org]
    Lake_Express edits [wikipedia.org]

    SS Badger [wikipedia.org]
    SS Badger edits [wikipedia.org]
  • by redmerlin (560307) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:07PM (#15995618) Homepage
    The first and last time I was on the Lake Express it got a mile from shore one of the engines failed and they had to turn back. 2 hours wasted and I still had to drive through Chicago.....it can sink for all I care.
  • by PeterChenoweth (603694) on Monday August 28, 2006 @03:18PM (#15995679)
    I have taken the SS Badger several times. My sister took the Lake Express earlier this summer.

    They are very different ships for different purposes. The Lake Express is newer, faster, and more prone to breakdowns and postponed trips due to the higher speed. The SS Badger is older, slower, and more reliable due to it being an 'old fashioned' coal-burning boat that chugs slowly across the lake. The Lake Express is pretty much assigned seating, enclosed from the elements, with very limited space outside on deck. The SS Badger is completely open seating and you can spend the entire trip outside enjoying the views, the rain, and the coal soot.

    If you want to minimize your time spent on the water and travel in a new, state-of-the-art, fast boat, take the Lake Express. If you want to prolong the experience and enjoy being out on the lake, take the SS Badger.

    The two companies can compete all the want, but I think they have two different customer bases.

  • by aywwts4 (610966) on Monday August 28, 2006 @04:13PM (#15995997)
    In Manitowoc at least I know there are quite a few tourist locations that depend on car-ferry traffic to survive, when they heard about competition to the badger they many felt quite threatened, The badger represents a rush that makes up most of their visitors, My girlfriend who did tours on the USS Cobia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Cobia [wikipedia.org] Says that the Badger represents about 60% of their traffic when it was in service.

    Manitowoc is a small town, and not exactly a tourist destination in itself, But thanks to the car-ferry which dumps it's passengers right into the downtown, a few things can stay alive that keep your attention for an afternoon. (A few blocks of downtown, an old time ice cream shop, a naval museum with submarine, and an art gallery.) Before they go to Door County (A real tourist area)

    The fact that people are trying to put propaganda into wikipedia doesn't surprise me, and the fact that nobody from Milwaukee probably cares doesn't either. A few hundred people coming on a boat wont exactly make or break their economy, But here its the rush that keeps anything tourist related open.

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Monday August 28, 2006 @05:22PM (#15996374) Homepage
    "It's that there's a small set of content generators, a massive amount of wonks and twiddlers, and then a heaping amount of procedural whackjobs. And the mass of twiddlers and procedural whackjobs means that the content generators stop being so and have to become content defenders."
    This is absolutely, smack-bang on target. Wikipedia is largely complete now, and very little improvement is going to happen with most of the articles on important topics. They're as good as they're ever going to be, so if the article on gerbils gets 500 edits this year, that's 100% wasted effort, just running to stay in place. After several years of participating heavily in WP, I finally decided to give up, and only keep an eye on one biographical article I care about. Recently, the only activity on that article has been:
    • A long, time-consuming argument about whether converting US-style punctuation to British style was mandatory or optional.
    • Vandalism by someone who keeps getting his account temporarily blocked, and then as soon as it's unblocked, he systematically goes around vandalizing articles by inserting the letter "r" into words.
    • An attempt by someone to convince us on the talk page that the subject of the article was a Freemason, even though there's loads of verifiable information showing that he wasn't.
    Wikipedia these days is like the world of The Matrix -- a diabolical system to suck effort out of millions of people. The only difference is that in The Matrix, the energy isn't wasted.
  • by sbmke (998441) on Monday August 28, 2006 @07:13PM (#15996970)
    "The operators of the SS Badger deny responsibility for all the postings, and also say they aren't Internet savvy enough to alter a Wikipedia article."

    The folks at the SS Badger may not be smart enough to do it themselves, but they sure as heck thought it was a good idea to do it when they first hired their SEO/domain squatter/adwords bottom feeder "consultant" to stir up bad publicity online. This story's a good lesson on what happens when half-brains hire low-class bottom feeder "new economy" douchebags to game the online system.

    Regarding the Badger's guy, Christopher Van Oosterhout, here's his game:

    1) register mispell and keyword domains
    2) build keyword spamming websites to skim traffic of legitimate businesses/websites.
    3) sell advertising to competitors of the company whose traffic is being leached.
    4) run adwords for CPM and CPC money.
    5) if that doesn't work, run negative information and try to extort money in an effort to sell the domain/site to the company he's targeted. The Badger got in bed with Van Oosterhout (of Torresen Marine) on the promise that his 5-pronged approach would be used to damage the Lake Express and only now are feeling upset as the public at large are getting a taste of their manipulation scheme. Christopher's info will follow at the bottom of this post.

    How the SS Badger and Van Ossterhout worked in 5-point fashion here:

    1) milwaukee-muskegon.com was registered
    2) content is added to the site to build keyword relevance and pagerank - much of the content pulled from Lake Express materials or worded to reflect keyword searches. Cached at : http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&sa=G&q=site :www.milwaukee-muskegon.com [google.com]
    3) SS Badger advertising banners were featured promiently on the milwaukee-muskegon.com website, especially on pages that featured "passenger" complaints and testimonials centered around the Lake Express.
    3b) the same content was posted on Wikipedia, by "anonymous" editor 24.11.28.42 (An IP/editor that also worked on adding Wikipedia links to a Torresen marine sales site). The IP belongs to Comcast in Muskegon, MI - home of Torresen and VanOosterhaut.
    4) adwords appeared throughout the site.
    5) in the article, Van Ooosterhaut admits that he attempted to sell the site to both the Lake Express and SS Badger, although the claim of trying to sell to the Badger seems a bit far fetched as the value of Milwaukee-Muskegon.com for a company running a Manitowoc-to-Ludington route seems a bit odd. Seems like a botched cover story that directly implicates him of working for the Badger.

    A nice added touch is that Van Oosterhaut offered "free" Lake Expres photography through his keyword spam/ shakedown site. Free Lake Express photos -- all you have to do is link to this site. A pagerank and keyword spam (on "Lake Express") tactic.

    Here's hoping there's a special place in hell for these squatter-email/search spammer types and the people that hire them.

    As promised, here's my notes on the guys behind this scam/wikipedia attack:

    Domain name: TORRESEN.COM

    Registrant: Torresen Marine, Inc. 3003 Lake Shore Drive Muskegon, MI 49441 US

    Administrative Contact: VanOosterhout, Christopher domains@torresen.com 3003 Lake Shore Drive Muskegon, MI 49441 US +1.2317598596 Fax: +1.2317551522

    Domain name: MILWAUKEE-MUSKEGON.COM

    Administrative Contact: Muskegon, Milwaukee christopher@vanoosterhout.com Milwaukee Muskegon Muskegon, MI 49442 US 231-206-0551

    Don Clingan vice president of marketing for Lake Michigan Carferry lmcdon@ssbadger.com

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