Now here's a funny thing.
Regular readers of this witty and verbose column will know that I like nothing better than laughing at the ways and means of online scamsters (look here), mainly bogus fraudsters from Nigeria, who try to part an individual from his or her money in quite the most obscure, and frankly obtuse manner.
Except I'm not really laughing.
All blogs and internet sites have the capacity to vaguely trace you. Every time you or I look at a site some detail, the country, date, time, etc, is recorded so that site owners like me can see who is visiting. The global traffic for the Nationwide Blog you're reading peaks and troughs, which is quite normal, unless I mention SEX or PARIS HILTON in which case the figures take off like a frikking rocket. I have absolutely no idea who any of you are, just that you may reside in the Western - or Eastern - Hemisphere. Possibly.
However the long and detailed (and frankly tedious, for those not interested) description of my most recent Nigerian scamster has proved peculiar. For a start the traffic is phenomenal, quite breathtaking in fact. Really HUGE numbers of people have been clicking on to read this thread. I never knew there were quite so many people interested in the minutae of Nigerian online fraudsters. But there are. Serious numbers.
But here's the thing.
99% of all traffic through the Nationwide site states where the inquiry is from - vague geography, "England", "America", that kind of thing - but the traffic reading my Nigerian fraudster escapade is all anonymous. All of it. Page after page after page of visitors all reading the story at length.
Most people here are like you, a few minutes ( 2? 5?) reading a page then offski. But not the Nigerian scamster page. HUGE numbers of anonymous people reading for 20 minutes, an hour, 2 hours, quite extraordinary lengths of time. Way beyond any natural duration for websites and blogs.
Why? And who? Casual visitors who're flicking and surfing for a few seconds here, a few seconds there, and suddenly BANG! they're so smitten by my marvellous writing that they decide to read my masterpiece in the English language of Nigerian scamsters?
Mmmmm. I suspect not.
Don't tell me, no, nay! Surely the scamsters themselves in Nigeria are not giving an online masterclass in how NOT to make an absolute wazz of yourself. How not to reveal the fact that you are a stupid, ignorant, amateur fraudster. How not to let your victim know your true identity. Don't tell me they're using MY thread educationally, to explain that if you come across as a total dork, and idiot, who has no real idea what they're doing, you'll be failing in your mission.
Heaven forbid. Surely not.