free html hit counter Gmail: Elaborate Fraud, Or... - John Battelle's Search Blog

Gmail: Elaborate Fraud, Or…

By - April 01, 2004

gmail_logoGoogle announced GMail late yesterday, and the media, Wired News and CNet and the New York Times, bought it. So did The Register, which said that the company is using April Fools to launch the service for real. The Times’ John Markoff – no slouch he – wrote up the story totally straight citing unnamed sources “familiar with the service.” AP and Reuters moved wire stories….

But one can seriously debate whether this is a joke, folks (this is, of course, as is this Google job posting). Sure, there may be seeds of truth, like the patent application the company filed to serve email ads, or the fact that such a service makes a lot of sense for Google, and has been widely rumored. Or even the one gigabyte storage approach – never have to delete an email again – (sounds like Mirror Worlds…).Slashdotters are having a field day debating this one…turning up the fact that is registered to Google, for example…(this has been known for a while…)

But this has got to be an April Fool’s Joke. A very believable one, one that in the long run may come true, but a joke. Note an employee’s posting on his blog, under the subject “haha” and noting “I love this time of year.” And the release itself is simply too sophomoric to be anything but a joke. If indeed this is an elaborate ruse (including fake quotes and interviews from Wayne Rosing) I imagine the press will be most unhappy with the folks at the Googleplex. Journalists these days tend to have no sense of humor when it comes to their own gullibility. Unless, of course, they were all in on it…which has its own set of issues. Fun, no matter how you slice it…

UDPATE: OK, maybe this *is* for real, because Danny Sullivan of SEW is playing it straight. If it *is*, then…what’s with all the hat tips toward April Fools? Ahhhh, who knows.

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21 thoughts on “Gmail: Elaborate Fraud, Or…

  1. John Dowdell says:

    Thanks for pulling the story together, John. It’s pretty depressing, and I can only imagine what people at Google are going through this morning, but… maybe it’s for the best, as more people really realize the pack mentality in the big-budget “news” channels these days…. 🙁

  2. Well, count me a sucker, too then! I just blogged this last night, and–swear to God–thought it might be an April Fool’s joke. Then I reasoned (hah!) that I was reading the stories on March 31st, so it wasn’t a joke. Never saw the press release itself.

  3. Steve Michel says:

    Ha! Just as I was reading this, and also reading the SF Chronicle piece on it in this morning’s paper, I also heard a short report on KQED about it! But when you read the press release, it’s clear it’s a joke. “Heck, yeah?”

  4. It’s for real. See where I give a balanced review 🙂

    Genius marketing. All the web’s discussing if it’s true or not.

  5. It’d have to be an elaborate but ultimately volatile and counterproductive joke for Google to put out FAQs like this:

  6. It is in fact confirmed: This is for real…including 1 gig mail limit…Google guys say they were having fun with the April Fools’ release…more later.

  7. There are some strange inconsistencies. For instance is owned by someone else, and other countries have nothing registered.’s nameserver is also not google’s, although they’ve changed all the other info to point to google.

    Check out also.

  8. The nameservers for ARE Googles. That is, unless you think that ns[1234] don’t belong to Google. 😉

  9. I’m not getting those nameservers at all, in SBC’s DNS. I get ns[1-5] Perhaps the old info is sticking around, but I’ve gotten the changes to the MX records.

  10. Melanie Kim says:

    Hi John,

    Could you comment on camera for Tech Tv about Gmail this afternoon asap?

  11. Laura says:

    Hey John – your trusty Mac tech from the TIS days here…Gmail will be running on XServe G5s, apparently. Are you still a Mac advocate?

  12. Ian says:

    Might want to check this out. Cool logo!

    It’s either real or they really have too much free time over there….

  13. If it is true, I believe that it can be a great product for all.

  14. dragon says:

    it may be a quake god.

    hi every guy ,i am dragon ,from china ,nice to meet you

  15. Rahul says:

    If Gmail is an April fool’s day special by google, this is probably the biggest prank ever pulled off by an organization in the whole world! Anyway, lets just hope its true (‘cos the idea of having 1 gig of storage seems 2 good!)

  16. arvind says:

    i think everybody knows by NOW….

    IT IS TRUE !

  17. junk says:

    it’s true and it’s really cool.

  18. John Carver says:


    Let me introduce ourselves. We are the operators of . On the site you will see a brand new Google Gmail question and answer forum which we intend to build on with membership in the future. We wish to build a team of experts at a forum for this exciting new product.

    John Carver

  19. Jason Murphy says:

    Here we are 1 month later with Gmail and adwords are disappearing. Has anyone else noticed this? I just checked today and they are still gone.