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ilovebees - The Axon is HOT!

ilovebees - The Axon is HOT!


Tuesday - August 24, 2004
As we reported about a month ago, the URL ilovebees.com was shown for a split second on "Halo 2" trailers in movie theaters. Upon checking out the bee site, you would have found that the site got "hacked" and displayed weird messages and a countdown clock. That countdown clock ended today, August 24. At the time, speculation was that "Halo 2" may be released early or that a playable demo might appear on that day. As we approached the 24th, the "hacked" site went through various stages, most recently updating itself with scores of GPS locations with associated times scattered throughout the US.

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Again, this led to widespread speculation on what it could mean. People mapped, plotted, cross-referenced and did everything under the sun they could think of to figure out what the GPS points meant.

Yesterday, Allison and I discovered that two of the GPS points were very close to us. We fired up the GPS receiver and headed out. [Pics] To our surprise, the first point was a McDonald's and the second point a Burger King about a half-block away. We were scratching our heads.

You see, there is an ongoing story to all of this. The aunt who ran ilovebees.com has a neice, Dana, who is in China and has her own Blog regarding the ongoing events of the "hacking". In her blog, she suggests that she is being stalked and is in fear for her life. She posts from an internet cafe, making the story all the more twisted and intriguing. We had to find out more.

Last night, we discovered that the most likely scenario was that the GPS data were locations for pay phones across the US and the time was the time that the phone would ring. This morning the ilovebees site was updated with groupings for the GPS data meaning that we were in the "guilty" group. According to this FAQ when the voice on the phone said, "who am I?," you were to respond, "Operator," and then give your grouping, "guilty," in our case. We couldn't wait.

So, sure enough, we hopped in our car and headed to the 10:47am phone at McDonald's. We got there pretty early and there was a group of 4 guys already waiting. They were nice. [Pics] Well, sure enough, the phone rang right on time and one of the guys answered. He said, "operator," and then wasn't prompted for anything else, however, he listened to some weird audio recording. Doing so made the "Axon Hot." Again, you can check out the progress of the Axons here and you can also listen to the audio that was on the phone call.

So that was it. After the phone company cut off the call with the, "to make a call please hang up..." we all smiled, said goodbye (the 4 guys were trying to hit each of the 8 Portland, OR locations) and headed home to check up on the website.

Needless to say, this is quite a phenomenon and has gone well beyond the simple association with Bungie and/or "Halo 2." There are many people out there trying to figure out this massive virtual riddle, equipped with their GPS receivers, video cams, and full-on geekdom. I love it.

So what does this all mean? Your guess is as good as mine. It isn't overtly promoting "Halo 2" but perhaps its energizing a certain base of people to be ready when it all comes out that this is a huge marketing ploy for "Halo 2." This is genius, low-cost, viral marketing at its best.

We'll keep you updated...

Here are some more links for your investigative pleasure. Some of the sites may not be working because of the huge amount of traffic.

ilovebees.com/links - updated GPS info and Hot Axon info
ilovebees.com/404 - get a 404 error to pop up...egad!
Dana's Blog - the woman in China
chat - choose #beekeepers for your channel
ilovebeer.org - also "hacked" and new countdown clock
qube.netninja.com - all sorts of info about it
Transcripts of Transmissions - by our very own Kamikaze
Comment on all of this stuff

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