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Fake Kanye West startup website fools the Internet

March 30, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • New York web development company OKFocus fooled many on the Internet on Wednesday with its fake Kanye West startup, WhoDat.biz.
New York web development company OKFocus fooled many on the Internet on… (OKFocus )

A small New York web development company pulled a fast one on the Internet this week when it pretended to launch a website associated with Kanye West's yet-to-be-unveiled startup.

And as the famous West/Jay-Z song says, it got the people going.

WhoDat.biz lit up Twitter on Wednesday and was reported by a couple of credible news sites, including the Washington Post.

"Quick! Invest in @kanyewest's Donda Media. They just reinvented technology that has been around since the 80's," said one Twitter user, who likely hadn't yet realized the site was a hoax.

By the end of the night, it was obvious the site was not legitimate, especially considering it's nothing more than a simple who-is website that looks up websites' information. Gizmodo debunked WhoDat.biz after discovering the real creators behind the site, cleverly enough, by using the fake West website to look up their phone number.

OKFocus the team of web developers behind the hoax, pulls this kind of stunt once a week, said co-founder Ryder Ripps.

“We try to do one of these kind of projects a week just to keep our own spirits up and have fun," he said. "That’s the main objective, and prove to our future clients that we’re good at the Internet.”

OKFocus decided to make an interesting who-is website on Monday. They chose to go with a gangster-style who-is but decided they needed something more to make it interesting and catch people's attention.

And West's startup, named Donda after his deceased mother, presented an opportunity. The rapper announced the venture in January on Twitter, but he has yet to reveal what it is.

“It was something that didn’t have any sort of presence on the Internet yet,” Ripps said. “We could interpret it to our own liking.”

OKFocus was done building the website the next day, giving it the silly tagline of being "The Facebook of websites,” and its three staffers then shared it on their social networks, saying it was West's startup.

“A lot of it just kind had to do with first playing a prank on our friends and then it kinda just went from there,” Ripps said.

It quickly spread to the masses, and by Thursday afternoon it had already generated around 60,000 page views.

“I’d love to hear what Kanye thinks of it,” Ripps said.

And while WhoDat.biz is OKFocus' fun weekly project to receive the most media coverage, it's still not its most successful, traffic-wise. Last week they made LemmeTweetThatForYou.com, which lets you pretend to Tweet as someone else, and WheresThePixel.com, is the group's most visited site. 

So West fans, you'll have to keep waiting for Donda because WhoDat.biz was definitely just a hoax.

And speaking of hoaxes, did you hear about Tacocopter?

ALSO:

Comedy Central app highlights election humor

Start-up prints your Twitter feed on toilet paper

Tacocopter the latest in a rich tradition of Internet hoaxes

Original source: That New "Donda Media" Site Is Fake

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