Urban legends, research, snakes and internet marketing

Admit it: how many times have you gotten an email that told the story of something so outrageous you had to sit and wonder "COULD this be true?" And you chose to ignore it or pass it along to your friends and family members, right? It's human nature. Like the train wreck we hear so much about - I have to look again and I have to show other people, too.

Well, I thought of my own history with the forwarded email again this morning when my brother sent a few of us a forwarded, forwarded, forwarded story with from the guy who was driving along, heard a pop under the hood, stopped and found...a snake. No kidding. Eeeeeew, gross! And it IS gross. And a little scary and so on and so forth.

I pulled up Snopes.com to see if they'd posted this one. Not because I needed to confirm the validity, intending to forward it on via email, but because I just get curious about these things. And the people at that particular urban legend research site seem to do a pretty thorough job tracking down the origins of these stories. Sure enough, according to what I read at snopes.com, the guy really found the snake under the hood of his car. Not only did I see more photos (not necessarily my goal) than were forwarded in the email, but I read that it happened in '03 and was confirmed by Frank Leta Accura who subsequently serviced his car.

Following the link to that site, I thought of something else. Using little freebie gifts like links to your website, to your advantage.

I wonder if the folks at Frank Leta Accura actually get any business because of the link in this particular writeup. Maybe and maybe not. But most business owners want to get the word out and what if someone in the St. Louis area just started thinking about buying a car. Then they happened upon this article while they were researching some urban legend or another at snopes.com and followed the link. "Hey! That looks like a nice place; I think I'll check it out." Then they buy a nice new Accura from Frank and everybody's happy. All because some guy had a camera when the other guy stopped on the side of the road.

And now, perhaps I'll get back to work. Cheers!