Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bigfoot Press Conference Promises DNA

By Paul McDougall (InformationWeek, August 15, 2008)


The rush to view purported pictures of Bigfoot on Thursday was so intense that the Web site went offline.

A group of self-described "Bigfoot hunters" that claim to have found the dead body of one of the legendary bipeds said they plan to hold a press conference Friday at which they will present DNA evidence to prove the creature's existence.

The press conference is scheduled for noon Pacific time at a hotel in Palo Alto, Calif. "DNA evidence and photo evidence of the creature will be presented," said the Bigfoot hunters, in a statement on their Web site. Internet records show that the site was registered to the California-based company in 2006 by Robert Schmalzbach, a Java programmer and Bigfoot enthusiast from the Silicon Valley area.

The rush to view purported pictures of Bigfoot on Thursday was so intense that the site went offline. Queries to were returned with an error message that said "Bandwidth Limit Exceeded."

On Friday, the site appeared to be up and running again, and offered descriptions of the supposed Sasquatch. The body "weighs over five hundred pounds" and "is male," the group claimed. "The feet are flat and similar to human feet," the description continued. "The creature is seven feet, seven inches tall."

In failing to anticipate the publicity spike's impact on their Web operations, the Bigfoot hunters are not alone.

The New York Jets' online store was offline for parts of last week as fans rushed to be among the first to purchase a jersey bearing quarterback Brett Favre's famously difficult-to-pronounce last name and No. 4 player number.

Demand for the jerseys was such that was either offline completely, or had slowed to a crawl, for much of last Thursday.

New York Magazine's Web site earlier this year went dark for a time after thousands of people attempted to view the publication's nude Lindsay Lohan photos online.

Also this year, Oprah Winfrey was forced to apologize to the millions of fans whose efforts to log in to the self-empowerment guru's widely hyped Webcast were thwarted by overwhelmed Internet servers. The Webcast featured Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle, whose new age bestseller A New Earth was an Oprah Book Club selection.

In 1999, a Webcast of the Victoria's Secret fashion show in New York City famously crashed, leaving millions of viewers frustrated.

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