The Buzz - 16

Data Resellers

Peddling Social Security numbers

Just how hard is it to purchase a Social Security number? The Government Accountability Offices answer: Its not easy.

The GAO found 154 Internet information sellers with SSN services. Many of these sites offered a range of data including date of birth, drivers license information and telephone records.

According to a report released May 17, investigators attempted to purchase SSNs from 21 of the 53 resellers advertising personal information. "We received 1 full SSN, 4 truncated SSNs displaying only the first five digits and no SSNs from the remaining 16," said the GAO.

One take-away: There are no standards on truncated SSNs. Some Internet resellers gave the first five digits of an SSN, while others provided only the last four digits. Another takeaway: Its unclear whether any of this SSN peddling is in violation of federal law.

The GAO is recommending that Congress at least set a standard for truncating SSNs and then give the Social Security Administration the power to administer the standard.

Web Sites

15 minutes of fame

Everyone can get his or her moment in the sun on the Web. And now its BadJocks.coms turn. The formula for success: a video of the Atlanta Hawks mascot riding to work on a motorcycle in costume and tales of driving-range managers being attacked for errant golf balls., whose tag line is "Where COPS Meets Sportscenter," has seen a traffic bonanza, according to Web traffic tracker On a recent day, its traffic rank was 1,199.

Its hard to argue with the masses. Among the recent gems directly quoted from the site:

Incident at Prom Results in Reprimand for Winning Georgia HS Football Coach Students at Parkview High School say that their head football coach was being loud and drawing attention to himself [at] this years prom and spent part of the night dancing with female students. That is, until his wife allegedly had to pull him away from them, according to one of the students.

Driving Range Manager Attacked Over Errant Balls What would you do if golf balls from a nearby driving range kept landing in your yard?


AOL Spaces: Great idea, five years too late

Its safe to say former Merrill Lynch Internet analyst Henry Blodget ( isnt a big fan of AOLs plan to catch MySpace. Heres a Blodget blog post:

"No, I havent checked out the new AOL MySpace killer, and, yes, I suspect this admission will prompt a dozen comment bombs railing about how analysts dont even bother to use the products of the companies they are analyzing. So be it.

"My prediction: Even if the AOL product is ten times as good as MySpace (whatever that means), it is going to bomb. Why? For the same reason that AOL instant messenger still dominates instant messaging: its where the people are. MySpace is about community, and MySpace has the community. Unless MySpace suddenly unplugs itself or sells out, the community isnt going anywhere."

—Compiled by Larry Dignan