More April Foolishness

April Fool’s Day is a big holiday at Google. This year you saw the toilet broadband service and of course the paper version of Gmail. A fun quote from that page:

“Now that I have Gmail Paper, I understand the difference between labels and
folders. I had one message with two labels, but when I tried to stick the
paper version into two filing cabinets at the same time, it just wouldn’t go.”

Mayumi M., Associate

The search industry got into April Fool’s this year. One of my favorite sites was CuttsCon, which is a fake site that announces a Matt Cutts-related search get together. Whoever made this site showed a lot more creativity and attention to detail than I did — they even get my favicon right! Some of the posts on that site are ones that I would write, like an article about “cats of SEO.” Danny alerted me to this site just before April Fool’s began, and when I looked at the site, I realized that it linked to a bunch of my posts that would show the hacked page, so the two April Fool’s Day jokes interacted in a suboptimal way. That’s why next year I want to help form a April Fool’s committee that will act as a centralized clearinghouse of search-related pranks to make sure that they don’t conflict with each other.

For other search-related April Fool’s jokes, start with Nathan Weinberg’s list of pranks. Then move on to this master list from Search Engine Land. A few other good pranks:
Jim Lanzone’s video announces that Ask is joining forces with Kevin Federline. Lanzone will now be moved to the post of “President of Keeping It Real.” Nice.
– Google Operating System reported on Google Writer, a new tool that will write most of your blog posts for you.
– DaveN got in on the holiday by pointing to a Vanessa Fox nude site. The joke, of course, is that the site presents an unvarnished (nude) peek into what Vanessa is really thinking.

There were a lot of non-search jokes this year too. Two huge lists:
– this is the biggest list I saw
– the Wikipedia list of 2007 jokes

Did anyone do fun jokes at home? (By the way, yes, I was joking about forming a centralized April Fool’s committee.)

36 Responses to More April Foolishness (Leave a comment)

  1. Great April Fool’s joke. You got me the first time. I saw the “hacked” and shut off the modem, shut down the computer, then later changed a couple passwords from a different computer, and then realized I’d better check back and see what was really up. I laughed out loud for real. Man, you really got me! Good one. Thanks for the laugh, Matt.

  2. got an early morning phone call from my Step-dad, Gary. Gary makes artificial rocks (see for his embryonic website) and waterfalls, and has been doing this very successfully for almost 20 years.

    Gary usually puts in automatic water level controllers in his ponds and waterfalls – he pays a bloke about $300 to make up the controller boxes, and installs them himself – it’s simply three wires – a low level wire, a high level wire and a common wire. If the water level drops below the low level, a pump starts, and continues until the water again reaches the high level.

    Anyway, the guy Gaz has been doing this for has gone overseas, so I had to pull my trusty soldering iron out and devise another solution. I have come up with a good one, and Gaz has been installing them out at a large project during this last week.

    Anyway, back to the phone call.. Gary rang me to tell me that his client had rung him up to complain that all the fish in his pond had been electrocuted by my cool new water level controller.

    Luckily I only stressed out for about half an hour before he let me off the hook – April Fools.. the bugger..

  3. Dockarl, nice! πŸ™‚

    When I was a kid, I once swapped the sugar and salt in my house. People got up, put sugar on their cereal, and took a bite. I didn’t get in *too* much trouble. πŸ™‚

  4. Yes i think Gaz is only getting back at me for all the wicked things I used to do to him when I was a kid..

    I once has a growing ‘caterpillar colony’ (science experiment) that had balooned from a few moths to tens of thousands of rapidly growing little caterpillars. At the beginning of the week, I only needed to throw in a few leaves a day – by the end of the week, I was cutting down big bunches of leaves and had to put my caterpillar colony in a huge open box as the writhing mass of caterpillars couldn’t fit in the terarrium.

    Day 8, I cut down about 10kg of leaves (which I thought would be heaps for the day) and headed to school. Alas, the little guys had reached a stage of exponential growth, and they must have munched their way through the 10kilos in a couple of hours, because Gary came home at lunchtime to find a marauding hoarde of angry caterpillars climbing up the walls, hanging of the light fittings, checking out the beds.. etc… there were literally millions, and it happened to be April Fools day. It was a great, if not deliberate, prank.

    20 years later and Gary still finds the occasional crysalis behind walls or under floor boards πŸ™‚


  5. OMG, I never thought this day was so important at googleplex πŸ™‚ “toilet broadband service” was really cool, kudos to all the hard work, installation pack was amazing too.

  6. Yea ajiNIMC! I thought I might have finally found that elusive broadband communications study topic I’ve been searching for πŸ˜›

  7. That’s another thing that blew it for me..

    hmmm.. adsense.. in the early stages when I was utterly fooled, I thought to myself – ‘crikey – why haven’t the bunch of cockatoos put a few adsense units / online gambling affiliate links on that page’.. with the alexa graphs of Matt, I suspect he could quit Google right now and live into a very wealthy old age if he had advertising on this site.


  8. are you sure that it was an first april stuff…cause now Matt cutt deface the darkseoteam home page lol

  9. But you agree to the fact that content is not the King eh?

  10. Your a funny guy! I was convinced that your site had been hacked considering how long it was “down” for. Well done.

  11. My wife, who is from Norway is very pro-American for what the U.S. did during world war 2, liberating her parents etc. etc., as a result she is a little more Pro Bush than I am. We get along real well, and one of the only subjects of disagreement concern foreign policy.

    We have talks about Bush, Iraq, his aproval ratings, the usual banter.

    So she wakes up, comes down the stairs blurry eyed, and I looked at her with a wild incredulous look on my face and say,
    “There is a rumor on T.V. that Bush is going to resign!!!!”

    She looked startled, her mind reeling, “Who is going to be president? Cheeney? Someone from Congress?? What happens next?

    She imediately wanted to turn on CNN, but I told her the coverage was better on channel 1. She said “one? why one?” I said “Because it is the first, April Fools!”

    She had a good laugh off it, and of course me too.


  12. I must say I was a little bit shocked about this message in your blog and the power of these SEO hackers. So I had to look today if it was real or not – well done !

    The toilet broadband service of Google was also very good concept. My kids were seeing the sketch on my PC and wanted to know what this is all about, not so easy to explain.

    I asked myself how Google come to this ideas, do you have candidates and take the best one? How do you select Google Paper versus Google Piano, Google Beach or Google Cats?

    thanks also for the 302 explanation

  13. I run an advertising website, and I made a script that turned all the banner ads upside down. People were sending me messages and asking in the forum if it got hacked. They even started to pull out their ads from rotation (I didn’t charge for impressions yesterday but they didn’t know that =P)

  14. Hi Matt & Everbody else

    I liked the Tisp alot.

    Believe it or not, the country I’m sitting in right now, my internet provider had blocked for around half hour, maybe cause they thought it was real and they would lose alot of business. πŸ™‚

    Take care

  15. lol, i was shocked when my friend told me that your site was hacked! I’m glad that it was a big joke! Good luck matts , I miss your blog πŸ™‚

  16. That was a pretty good joke Matt. I looked at the source code and saw a google analytics url along with a javascript tag. Was that a technical give away?

    On another note…IMHO, you have written a good deal of very useful information on this site. I’m waiting to hear news about your first book publishing party, and that’s no joke. Best of luck.

  17. Good one indeed. Looking forward to the April Fools Day joke next year!

  18. Here’s a site with a twist on weather prediction.


  19. Matt, please promise me that this is your last april fools in this blog. Everybody is doing it and it is not funny anymore!

  20. ohhh it’s a great joke and I read so many comments in this regardssss

  21. Yes ,I was also shocked when I saw that hacked page yesterday. Thanks the god , Just only a joke πŸ™‚

  22. i heard the news at DP and believed it to be real as Jeremy Schoemaker’s blog had been hacked few days ago πŸ˜›

  23. hi matt,
    i dont think that anyone will ever believe in whatever u do on 31stMarch-1st April anymore!!

  24. Man, you got me Matt! I even blogged about it here then about 1 minute after I hit published, realized that I had been had. haaaaa! I am a sucker, great one bro!


  25. I particularly like CuttsCon’s opening agenda item ‘Tequila Grilled Chicken Breakfast With Matt’ – I think they got confused with serving a wedding breakfast.

  26. Was this blog hacked on April Fool?

  27. One summer I told a girl I didn’t want to date that I had been hit by a car and couldn’t make our date…then later that week I actually got hit by a car!

  28. I insisted it that it was a joke.But it was too real.

  29. Another nice job on April Fools Matt …

    I’m a huge fan of these and you might enjoy reading a fun one I pulled 11 years ago when we announced that Al Gore and Bill Gates were coming to speak at the Rocky Mountain Internet Users Group – see:
    Remember they weren’t quite demi-gods yet and the Internet was in its infancy with celebs jumping on board … so while it was a stretch, it was semi-believable … the best type of hoax/prank.

    This actually caused quite a bit of stir as it got forwarded to who knows how many people … and we had finally had to come clean when the Denver mainstream media started calling Redmond about … uhhhh … Bill Gates’ visit! πŸ˜‰

  30. Lol Kudos Matt!
    I love how google really gets into the April fools day spirit. Its an awesome holiday and I think everyone should take it quite a bit more seriously. For your interest, Another seo blog and I pulled my our own little prank. haha how many blog April fools day pranks comes with its own custom utility that cleans up the mess it causes? πŸ™‚

    The Prank:
    The Aftermath:

  31. I hope that the Cutts Con will go on tour. I would love to attend a Cutts Con in Atlanta. Now that the Dead are getting and Phish broke up I’ve been looking for a new thing – this is it!

  32. yes this time lot of jokes come regarding search engines and some famous sites.

  33. amazing the amount of people who take everything so seriously.. anything with ‘april 1st’ on it, i take with a pinch of salt.

    next year will be the same.. as will the year after.. it does give you a license of creativity though.. you can basically post anything you want and then say – April Fools.

  34. One joke that went a bit out of hand was when last year, a man rang up to my work and said there was a bomb in the building. And my manager had answered the phone. Anyways we all had to leave the building for the police to arrive. Having found nothing it was classed a false alarm.
    The police traced back the call and found it belonged to a 14 year old kid who made april fools pranks to 20+ places.
    Now that was way over the top!

  35. I loved the google link…check out the FAQ

    “Why is TiSP in beta?
    When things go wrong with TiSP, they go very, very wrong. Let’s leave it at that”