Monday, September 13, 2004

Nazi Gold!

Since I am getting large amounts of unanticipated traffic I have decided to offer up for internet auction the location of a vast horde of nazi gold that I inherited from my great uncle Farnworth "The Squeaker" Love (don't ask about the nickname).

I have the latitude and longitude down to the second and references to nearby landmarks. This pile of gold is so large you can find it easy. Want proof? Look here, this may look like an ordinary cheap wedding band but it is in fact Herman Goering's nipple ring.

No, really!

Any takers? I mean were talking tons of gold here! I'd go get it myself but I have a bad back and I am allergic to sand.

You know, I've been trying to sell the location of the great Nazi Gold horde for years now but I never get any takers. I wonder why?

It's almost like selling pure information is an extremely difficult transaction to carry out in the real world. You no doubt have paranoiac fears that the twelve numbers I will give you will not lead you to Nazi Gold but to a the parking lot of an All Asian Massage Parlor in Des Moine, Iowa were as I have entirely rational concerns that the cashiers check you will give me from the "First Bank of CBS" might not be legit. I can't show you the coordinates without giving you the information I am trying to sell you. You won't give me the money without some definite proof the coordinates are legit. It's a pickle. Game theorist call this the "Prisoners Dilemma" my grandparents called it "buying a pig in a poke."

Come to think of it, this is exactly the same sort of problem that people trying to sell information on the internet face. Whether were talking about news stories or music it is very difficult to sell information because act of telling the potential customer what the information actually is, is in of itself the act of transferring the information. This is doubly true in the case of digital information because the a digital computer cannot make use of information without first copying it. Right now you are not ready my blog site but rather a copy of my blog site that your browser recreated on your local machine. With the right software you can save that copy for all eternity and I will never even know you have done it.

Even in old media formats like newspapers, once information was published anybody could republish it. The only restraint in the past was that it took a factory and millions of dollars to produce enough hardcopy to reach an audience of thousands. But with the internet those days are gone.

Now if the Nazi Gold was stored in a series of caches I could just give you the location of the first cache free of charge. Once that panned, out you would feel more confident that I actually knew where the rest of the gold was. As we interacted repeatedly, me getting a little money each time, you getting a little gold, we would learn to trust one another. Game theorist call this "The Iterated Prisoners Dilemma." My grandparents called it "don't screw over anybody you'll have to deal with later."

This system would work as long as my information on the location of the gold was always accurate. Overtime I could build a brand "Shannon Love's Nazi Gold Service!" People the world over would pay me sight unseen for the coordinates.

However, if I ever screwed up and gave out the wrong location for a cache of gold I would destroy my brand. People would not trust me. The price I could charge for information would plummet, possibly to zero. I would have to start over giving away the information for free until I re-established my customers trust.

The real bitch of the matter is that my cousin Megan "Goody Three-Shoes" Love is fanatical about returning looted treasures to their rightful owners and is willing to give the location of the great Nazi Gold horde away for free. How the hell do I compete with that?

Quick this could be your last chance to plunk down millions for the location before Megan Love gives it away to everybody on the planet for exactly nothing plus zero change!

Hell, for the first bidder I'll even through in Goebbels tongue stud!