Bogus interest in non-existent theme park accidentsWhy are thousands of people searching for roller coaster incidents that don't exist? Is this a Facebook thing?
From Robert NilesRecently I've noticed a surge in traffic to the Theme Park Insider, but not for reasons I'd like.
Posted April 18, 2011 at 3:17 PM
Thousands of new visitors have been coming to the site over the past week and a half, referred by Google searches for theme park accidents that don't exist. At the same time, I've heard from a few readers about scam Facebook pages and posts alerting people to roller coaster crashes at parks such as Alton Towers, Canada's Wonderland and even Universal Studios Hollywood (which has just one roller coaster, and a rather small one at that).
The traffic surge began on Thursday, April 7, then really went nuts on Saturday, April 9. Things got back to normal last Wednesday, but the scam traffic surged again over the weekend.
Since April 7, here are some numbers, showing how many people have been referred to Theme Park Insider from these Google search phrases:
1. alton towers accident 5,878
For the record, there haven't been any injury accidents at these parks recently. Heck, Canada's Wonderland isn't even open for the season yet. (The park opens May 8.)
I was stumped to see the traffic influx until I heard about the Facebook stuff, but I haven't seen any of those pages or posts, so I can't confirm that is what is stirring up all this fuss.
Anyone have any insight? I have to say that I'm curious.
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
From M. Ryan TraylorThere is a facebook spam link going around about theme park accidents. Clicking it will take you someplace and repost the article on your own page.
Posted April 18, 2011 at 3:24 PM
From Robert NilesStupid question time: Is that spam link sending people to a Google search results page? And if so, why would anyone write a spam bot to do that?
Posted April 18, 2011 at 3:31 PM
Or are people seeing the link, being smart enough not to click it in case it is spam, then going to Google to search for the accident in case it is real?
That sounds more plausible to me. But, given the number of people who've ended up here... that must be one very active spam campaign!
From Terri PierceI haven't seen anything but when I see something like this I immediately go to google to check. I did notice the past couple of weekends though that the spam hits have increased a lot. I got spam IMed nearly 10 times one day but different people. I will never understand why people program bots to do such things or why its useful to them. It rattles my brain.
Posted April 18, 2011 at 5:20 PM
From Jorge ArnoldsonI've only seen the Universal Studios Hollywood one, which is totally ridiculous. The picture is of a roller coaster at a Tokyo amusement park not listed on this site, but USH's only coaster (Mummy) is completely indoors. This stuff is total nonsense.
Posted April 18, 2011 at 5:31 PM
From Robert NilesPaula Werne of Holiday World emailed me this link, which explains that this is, indeed, a Facebook virus.
Posted April 18, 2011 at 7:41 PM
The links take you to typical spam pages, so it appears that the traffic surge is from people who chose to head to Google looking for the information, rather than clicking the link.
Given the low percentage of people who act on any given FB link, multiplied by the low percentage who click through a specific search engine results link, the fact that thousands of people are finding their way to TPI suggests to me that millions of people must have seen these spam posts.
Thanks for the information, everyone. And, of course, if there ever are any actual theme park accidents in your area, Theme Park Insider will be here with the news.
From M. Ryan TraylorI've seen one like this before in the past. A few years ago. Now, I'm trained when I see anything of the sort to ignore. My morbid curiosity knows better. When dealing with Theme Park Accidents, I immediately clicked on my TPI bookmark to find out the information from here.
Posted April 19, 2011 at 5:58 PM
From Rob PJust a thought but you could take this as a back-handed compliment.
Posted April 20, 2011 at 2:34 AM
After all anyone wanting to get correct information on anything to do with theme parks would seek out Theme Park Insider which , as we all know, is a reliable source of information.
Okay choosing to ignore idiots may be a naive view. The alternative is to be disturbed by a lot of very odd nut jobs.
This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.
Stories from a Theme Park Insider
What's it like to work in a theme park? Stories from a Theme Park Insider takes you inside the famous tunnels and backstage at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom for a look at how theme parks really work, sharing the funny moments and embarrassments that can happen when your job is someone else's vacation.
Order now: Kindle | iBooks | Paperback | Kindle (UK)
Theme Park Insider Guidebooks
Top U.S. Theme Parks
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Other Top International Parks
Readers' Top Themed Rides
Top Roller Coasters
Top Theme Park Shows
Features, News and Advice
2014 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr.
2013 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2012 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2011 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2010 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2009 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2008 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2007 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2006 Blog PostsJan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
2005 Blog PostsDec.
2004-2005Staff column archive