Car Ad On Craigslist Has Hidden Paragraph On Hitler

Our commenter Zorantor discovered a weird, uh, can you call this an Easter egg?, buried at the bottom of a Craigslist post last night:

I was poking around craigslist tonight, to see if I could find a gift for a friend of mine who’s interested in World War II. I didn’t find much that caught my eye. That is, until I tried searching “Hitler.”

This is the very first post that came up: http://worcester.craigslist.org/ctd/1179587946.html”

It’s an advertisement for an Internet-based car dealership. It wasn’t immediately apparent to me what a 2009 Toyota Corolla had to do with the führer, I did a ctrl-F to search for the term.

What I discovered is that at the bottom of the page, beneath the ad and in white text (so as to be invisible until highlighted) was an incomplete paragraph about Hitler’s rise to power, written in such a way that it could be praise depending on how the paragraph ends.

I thought it was traditional to use George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to sell cars, but I guess in this economy people are willing to try anything.

Comments

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  1. Meathamper says:

    I don’t think this seller can be trusted. At all.

  2. jrlcopy says:

    Those are generated by mass listing programs so that each auction is ‘unique’ which will allow CL to post it.

    • Amish Undercover says:

      @jrlcopy: it also makes it easier to find the listing by unrelated searches. i suspect there was nothing malicious by posting this, just some deception to increase the number of visits and, like you said, ensure the post was unique.

  3. ekzachtly says:

    I’d know that style of writing anywhere. It’s the first paragraph of Hitler’s wikipedia article. I still don’t really understand what that has to do with cars, though.

  4. notsogreatsatan says:

    they use clips from wikipedia at the end to get past the CL spam filters.

  5. WorldHarmony says:

    I’ve seen these things on CL job postings. Sometimes the articles are about porn or other topics that made me worry about the legitimacy of the ad. And in fact, I found most of these paragraphs at the bottom of junk ads that presented themselves as legitimate jobs but really weren’t.

  6. Brazell says:

    Worcester on the consumerist. Too bad it’s about our secret Hitlerophilia.

  7. WiZZLa says:

    This might make sense if the car was Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle or Porsche 60 (KdF-Wagen).

  8. LostAngeles says:

    I’ve seen these on rental ads. Sometimes it’ll look like they just took a paragraph from a random book. Sometimes I’ll even recognize the book too.

    It’s really weird.

  9. thelushie says:

    And the listing has been flagged for removal…thank goodness.

  10. Mariushm says:

    They add paragraphs from legitimate websites so that it’s either unique ad or to contain keywords often searched so that it appears in search engines in a better position.

  11. Trai_Dep says:

    I sure hope some enterprising soul is currently scouring the CL ads for gang-shower enclosures.

  12. Cupajo says:

    “It wasn’t immediately apparent to me what a 2009 Toyota Corolla had to do with the führer”

    Ugh, have you ever driven one?

    • Zorantor says:

      @Cupajo: I haven’t, but I have driven my friend’s Tercel a couple times. Driving it does remind me a little of Mussolini.

  13. JollyJumjuck says:

    At least the poster was consistent with *white* text on a *white* background. This shows other neo-Nazi’s that he’s a true believer, not just some wannabe.

  14. piratealice says:

    Thanks for alerting me to another way to recognize fake job posts etc on CL. I’d have never thought about white text on the white background.

  15. Charity Froggenhall says:

    Is this some sign to Nazis looking for a car? “Runs well, in good condition, little old lady drove it only on Sundays to the local Klan rally”?

  16. bcsus83 says:

    I help out a lot on the CL help forums, and this is a tactic spammers use to get by the spam filters that prevent you from posting duplicate ads. They copy the ad they want to post (usually all HTML, which is also absolute flag bait on craigslist), and then they copy a few random sentences off of wikipedia or some other place at the bottom so the ad is just different enough to get through the spam filter and post. Using this tactic, spammers manage to post dozens, sometimes hundreds of ads all over the country. All of which are equally prohibited for spamming and should be flagged accordingly.

    I see it a lot in cars/trucks, pets, real estate (RE agents/brokers are some of the worst offenders, actually), jobs, jewelry, electronics, etc. Pretty much all over the site.

    • econobiker says:

      @bcsus83: Yup, alot of hidden text in the spam-istic listings for dating too. Fun to read in the the smaller craiglist cities which do not have an active flagging community or are only now understanding how it works…

  17. Greg Argendeli says:

    Interesting post. I just did a quick check on CL and found over 100 Hitler postings. Guess he is just a popular guy in the eyes of phishers and scammers.

  18. technogirl says:

    The reason you see those odd bits of text at the bottom of postings is that spammers (and scammers) use automated programs which post thousands and thousands of ads to Craigslist at a time. The text at the bottom is a couple sentences of random text taken from a larger storage that is appended in an effort to defeat Craigslist multiple post detection. Same reason why you see ads with pictures of text rather then just text.

    When a post gets flagged for deletion and then removed – the automated program just puts it back up again. Whenever you see such a Craigslist add with the odd text appended to it at the bottom you can be assurred that it is a scam being run by a shady person – run away.

    Some Commentary – these sorts of things did not happen when Craig Newmark (the founder) was running the show down there. As many of you know he sold a large percentage of Craigslist to eBay and then moved on to other things – as is his right.

    Craigslist used to be a little haven on the web – after the eBay takeover …well we all know that Craig’s is increasingly less useful due to spams and scams. Oh …and who is (or was ) Craigslist the biggest of? That’s right, eBay.

    Bye bye Craigslist – you were nice while you lasted. :(

  19. Trai_Dep says:

    I’d never buy a Toyota from a person who pasted Hitler text in their ad.
    I mean, c’MON, what DOES Tojo have to do to get some recognition?!

  20. Trai_Dep says:

    Of the millions of ads placed, a couple crappy ones show up. Out of the billions of responses generated, a couple hail from Niger. (shrug)
    To be fair, CL has grown a bit as well. It’s no longer something even a staff of people could easily manage.
    That said, I hope they get some programming wizzes, or social networking (perhaps on a Wiki model, with “blessed” admins w/ insta-kill privs) to nip this in the bud.
    There was a time when eBay could have been saved as well. And Craig’s people are like a gajillion times smarter than Meg and her people.

    • WorldHarmony says:

      @Trai_Dep: “Of the millions of ads placed, a couple crappy ones show up. Out of the billions of responses generated, a couple hail from Niger.”

      Perhaps you are not hunting for a job! If you are, you would see quickly that “crappy” is not nearly a strong enough word to describe the number fraudulent job ads one must wade through.

      Not sure what you mean by the “Niger” remark. Are you referring to Nigerian scams? I have yet to come across anything from Nigeria while looking for jobs, let alone Niger. Doesn’t surprise me if Nigerian scammers have found a home on Craigslist, though. I don’t even use Craigslist any more for job hunting- got tired of weeding through the junk ads.

    • econobiker says:

      @Trai_Dep: You’ve never sold anything on craigslist if you say a couple of responses in a billion hail from Nigeria/et al. Just ONE car for sale ad alone will generate a couple of scam responses from the “over pay you and send me the rest” fake check scammers …

  21. edrebber says:

    If you’re going to buy this car, then my advice is not to show up wearing a yarmakule. The seller will probably insist on meeting between sundown Friday and Saturday.

  22. Audiyoda says:

    Did anyone think that maybe, just maybe their page had been hacked? It happened to my church’s web page a few months ago – everything looked normal but in a search on any major search engine some rather pornographic phrases popped up in the search results. Someone had gotten access to our page through our providers shared server – they kept the page in tact but left rather nasty and raunchy bits that we would have otherwise missed.

    • stands2reason says:

      @Audiyoda:

      How do you hack craigslist? Not likely. Especially considering that these texts are known ways to circumvent spam filters, and that they usually show up on spam/overpost listings.

  23. PunditGuy says:

    Who the hell sees a search bar and thinks to himself, “I gotta type in ‘Hitler’ to see what comes up”?

  24. veg-o-matic says:

    @MichaelBrazell: Would you rather it be about Turtle Boy?

  25. synergy says:

    I thought I’d mention that the link to the ad now gives a “flagged for content” message only.

  26. almightytora says:

    Bawwwwleted.

    “This posting has been flagged for removal”