Sign up for weekly recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
Jeff Goldblum Is NOT Dead (Despite What Google Says)
I can’t believe I’m writing this post. But on a day when both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson have died, people are clearly ready to believe anything. And a rumor that Jeff Goldblum has passed away is making the rounds, unable to be squashed because all the sites talking about it keep crashing under the load.
Here’s the scoop as best I understand. Apparently there’s some spoof site that allows you to generate a story about anyone’s death. As @copyblogger writes:
Don’t be suckered people… Jeff Goldblum is not dead. The site is an autogenerated spoof that’s been around for years.
Once a year some idiot celeb blogger will run that story. I’ve seen it happen year after year, same site, same NZ death.
The current “story” about his “death” is still showing right now in Google News for a search jeff goldblum dead, making it seem real to those trying to check. The story won’t load, probably because it’s been now pulled or is crashing under the attention. Here’s a cached copy, and it says:
Today is a dismal day for bad news. There is NO online confirmation but New Zealand Police are reporting that Jeff Goldblum has fallen to his death on the set of his new movie according to Mediafetcher.com.
I am unable to find any confirmation on any major news sites. He apparently died at 4:30am after falling 60 feet while shooting his new film. Jeff starred in the classic remake of the Fly, Jurassic Park and MANY other hit films. RIP Jeff Goldblum.
It’s now hours after that 4:30am New Zealand time listed in the story, and no major New Zealand paper confirms the death. Even as behind as papers can be, they’re not THAT far behind.
So let’s put it to rest — Jeff Goldblum’s not dead.
In related news, Search Engine Journal has a nice set of screenshots showing how Google & Yahoo did a good job in getting news of Michael Jackson’s death in the top search results but on Bing, these were lost at the bottom. And TechCrunch highlights a joke made on the official Google Maps API Twitter account about Jackson’s and Fawcett’s death. It says:
Sad about MJ & FF? Cheer up by watching some Geo I/O talks: http://bit.ly/11aXr3
Google’s since apologized:
Sorry about that last tweet — it was in bad taste and we apologize.
Overall, it’s an interesting day where “real time” channels such as Twitter quickly got word out about Jackson’s death before news search had stories, since major news sites were hesitant to post without confirmation. But the same real time channel helped spread a rumor about Goldblum’s death which got helped along by Google including more than the usual mainstream sources (over at Yahoo, so far there are no “Jeff Goldblum dead” story, probably because they are less inclusive of news source.
Postscript: Wow, we even get confirmation on Twitter from Kevin Spacey that Jeff Goldblum is fine:
Jeff Goldblum is alive and well. I just spoke to his manager. Stop these stupid rumors.
Postscript 2: Wow, here’s the West Australian newspaper printing the Goldblum rumor as true (remember, it’s not]. And Yahoo’s now listing that. And via Portable Planet, an explanation of how this hoax has happened for other actors. You’ll find the hoax generating site, “Fake A Wish – Celeb Fake News Generator,” here. Enter the first and last name of an actor (or anyone), and it makes a fake story.
Postscript 3: News.com notes a confirmation from Google that due to demand, for about 1/2 hour, some Google News users had problems getting queries back for “michael jackson.”
Postscript 4: See Stephen Colbert Does Send-Up Of Twitter & Jeff Goldblum Death Rumor.