Have you ever hated someone? Wanted to make them rue the day they wronged you? The internet has the solution — ship your enemy an envelope stuffed with glitter and imagine the horror when they rip it open to find themselves coated in “the herpes of the craft world.”
That’s the premise of Ship Your Enemies Glitter — for $9.99 they will ship an envelope of glitter to anyone in the world. But just days after the site went viral, Australia-based founder Mathew Carpenter begged customers to “stop buying this horrible glitter product.” Lamenting his attempt to put a price on revenge, he tweeted that he was selling the company on auction site Flippa. Between more than a million visits and thousands of dollars worth of sales, the site sold for $85,000. Carpenter now smugly admits that he leveraged the power of social networks and digital media outlets to trick the internet into making him rich — “I knew that if the story blew up on websites like Reddit and Product Hunt it would be a success,” he told The Observer.
But what is it about Ship Your Enemies Glitter that’s so appealing? Online anonymity has birthed the phenomenon of trolling. In fact, a third of Gen Y have admitted to antagonising someone online — just for the ‘lolz’. After all, laughter forms the basis of much that goes viral — aren’t memes really just the in-jokes of the internet? Horror stories circulate about the dangers of online bullying, but not all trolling is so loaded with vicious intent.
In a digital landscape where it feels like everything online is a newer version of something offline, Ship Your Enemies Glitter is a rare example of the digital making its way back into the physical world. Why badger someone on a comment thread when you can create a real-world prank instead? As the website’s FAQ advises; “decide whose day you want to ruin and then just enter their address.”
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