Sad Puppies 4 is now slot machine spam…but in Italian?

I was checking some broken links and found myself back at the Sad Puppies 4 website. People may recall that the domain name hosting had briefly expired but then the site reappeared but with the promise of a Sad Puppies 5 removed.

I’m not going to link to the website (you’ll see why) but it hasn’t changed much since my last visit. The main difference is that the last blog post (an update from March 2016) now has an initial sentence in Italian. That sentence contains a link to a new page which is an advert (in Italian) for online slot machines.

I assume spammers have bought the domain and copied the content – thus ensuring the numerous links to the site still exist, creating a site that looks less like spamverts? (Speculation welcome.)

I think it was Puppy Bysshe Shelley who said it best:

“I met a book reader in an antique shop,

Who said—“A vast and senseless blog of books

Sits on my browser. . . . Near it, in a post,

A half sunk shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its writer well those passions held

Which yet survive, stamped on some other “gate”,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;

And on the editorial, these words appear:

My name is Puppymandis, Fourth of Four;

Look on my Works, ye fandom, and despair!

Nothing beside remains round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

Except slot machine adverts in Italian.”

53 thoughts on “Sad Puppies 4 is now slot machine spam…but in Italian?

  1. This is such a perfect ending to the whole affair that if one had to make up a better one in a fictional retelling, one would fail.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It’s not really an ad, though. It’s an article. It doesn’t even seem to have affiliate links. Here’s my best shot at the first part of it:

    Link text: “The best slot machine you can play without downloading.”

    Article title: Play on the best free slot machine to win money

    Of all the online games, we are most passionate and enthusiastic about slot machines. In the casino, one finds numerous programs that permit playing the slot machine.

    Subheading: The Advantages of Playing the Slot Machine Online.

    There are innumerable advantages in choosing to play the slot machine for free, number one of which is the convenience of being able to play in your own home, at whatever hour, and in complete regard for your privacy.
    Not sure what it has to do with I Cuccioli Afflitti though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, when an “article” tells you to play slot machines online, it’s an ad, pretending to be an article.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m sure it’s meant to be. I just don’t see how it makes any money for anyone. “Failed Spam” or maybe “Spam in Progress” is the way to describe it.


      2. A lot of spam like that isn’t trying to generate positive seo movement, it’s designed to generate negative movement for a competitor

        Get the same copy on a bunch of terrible, low ranking sites and google penalizes you because your content isn’t unique anymore.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve always felt that having a numbered domain was one of the weirder parts about their campaign. There was no lack of crazy and weird statements and behaviour, but most of it still had at least some kind of internal logic to it. But regardless of how much I try to think like a mad genius, I see only disadvantages and no advantages in putting “4” in the domain name.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I assumed the more generic ‘SadPuppies’ domain had been taken but yes, investing in a domain you could only use for a year was poor thinking. Mind you, in the end they DID only need it for a year!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So he’s trying a more traditional way of making money, spam and gambling?

      I think his comic book artist buddy had the same thing happen to his domain. They left 1-2 paragraphs and pix of the original comics content and the rest of it was some kind of spam. It was in English, though.

      (I only vaguely recall it, it might have been some other comic artist.)


      1. Just as we predicted, Vox’ comics just started a new crowdsourcing campaign to raise funds.Believe it or not, he’s publishing a graphic novel for ‘Alt-Hero’ with Q-Anon as the protagonist. Can’t wait until he nominates that one for a Dragon Award…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In the noxious right-wing webcomic “Day by Day”, Q-Anon was revealed to be a friend and ally of the main cast and even visited their ranch/compound on the Texas-Mexican border.

        Yeah, none of what I just wrote was a joke. That’s what happened.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Speaking of spamming, I checked a few Q Anon forums and the ‘Dread Ilk’ have been blitzing them with announcements about ‘Alt-Hero Q’. Q’s followers aren’t even paying attention to them; most posts have only one or two upvotes and practically no positive comments except a few here and there obviously planted by Vox’ followers. Not even Q’s followers are taking the bait!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks more like somebody’s not updated their backend software. I had folks commander my admin account and stick random links in my posts.


    1. Whois says:
      Creation Date: 2015-08-29T23:24:43Z
      Registry Expiry Date: 2018-08-29T23:24:43Z

      So whoever owned it as of the end of Aug 2015 owns it through tomorrow, and it was registered from New Hampshire. So yeah, probably un-updated backend software like WordPress.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. The first thing one wants to do is look at the public ‘whois’ data to see who owns / operates the domain:

    Domain Name:
    Registry Domain ID: D177227281-LROR
    Registrar WHOIS Server:
    Registrar URL:
    Updated Date: 2017-10-14T02:51:14Z
    Creation Date: 2015-08-29T23:24:43Z
    Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2018-08-29T23:24:43Z
    Registrar:, LLC
    Registrar IANA ID: 146
    Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
    Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.4806242505
    Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
    Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited
    Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited
    Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited
    Registry Registrant ID: CR293669983
    Registrant Name: Brian Warren
    Registrant Organization:
    Registrant Street: 27-70 Constitution Ave
    Registrant City: Portsmouth
    Registrant State/Province: New Hampshire
    Registrant Postal Code: 03801
    Registrant Country: US
    Registrant Phone: +1.3024336573
    Registrant Phone Ext:
    Registrant Fax:
    Registrant Fax Ext:
    Registrant Email:
    Registry Admin ID: CR293669996
    Admin Name: Brian Warren
    Admin Organization:
    Admin Street: 27-70 Constitution Ave
    Admin City: Portsmouth
    Admin State/Province: New Hampshire
    Admin Postal Code: 03801
    Admin Country: US
    Admin Phone: +1.3024336573
    Admin Phone Ext:
    Admin Fax:
    Admin Fax Ext:
    Admin Email:
    Registry Tech ID: CR293669990
    Tech Name: Brian Warren
    Tech Organization:
    Tech Street: 27-70 Constitution Ave
    Tech City: Portsmouth
    Tech State/Province: New Hampshire
    Tech Postal Code: 03801
    Tech Country: US
    Tech Phone: +1.3024336573
    Tech Phone Ext:
    Tech Fax:
    Tech Fax Ext:
    Tech Email:
    DNSSEC: unsigned
    URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System:
    >>> Last update of WHOIS database: 2018-08-30T00:00:00Z <<<

    Note three contacts cited, Registrant, Admin Contact, and Tech Contact. The Registrant is whoever's the domain owner. The other two are supposed to be (obviously) the administrative and technical operating authorities, and it's elementary common sense to have not all three be the same person to avoid Single Point of Failure problems, so naturally this guy (one Brian Warren) did the extremely dumb thing and listed himself with a single e-mail address and telephone number for all three roles.

    Who the Gehenna is Brian Warren? No idea. Might be the incumbent custodian from the Paulk days, or might be a squatter who picked it up. (My guess is it's the incumbent custodian, not a squatter.) I note that the domain's at GoDaddy, the most bottom-dollar of all bottom-dollar domain registrars, and the owner is using the registrar's authoritative DNS servers. (GoDaddy owns/operates for that purpose.) RFC technical recommendations require minimum 3, maximum 7 authoritative DNS nameservers for any domain (mine, e.g., each have five), so naturally the owner/GoDaddy went with two.

    What can we find about the IP address?

    $ dig +short
    $ dig -x +short
    $ whois -H
    NetRange: –
    [snip again]
    OrgName: Oso Grande IP Services, LLC
    OrgId: OGISL
    Address: C/O A Small Orange LLC
    Address: 2500 Ridgepoint Dr
    City: Austin
    StateProv: TX
    [snip to end]

    So, hosted at a colo in Austin and operated by Web hosting firm A Small Orange, LLC. I don't know if this is a change since the active days, but my guess is not.

    The site is Yet Another WordPress Thing. My hunch is that they didn't keep up with the endless updating required to run WordPress, and have in due course gotten pwned, with further Italian gambling — excuse me, ulteriore gioco d'azzardo italiano, to come soon.

    Oh, also? Note the domain registration date. It's today. Might get renewed, might not.


    1. “27-70 constitution ave” in portsmouth nh is a cemetary
      70 Constitution avenue in Potsmouth is “Recharged Business Solutions”, an “internet marketing service”
      The Brian Warren name is associated with the Kennethtorresd gmail address and has other names associated with it, along with a host of registered domains, most of which look like spam havens.

      My interest was piqued by the New Hampshire location, as that is where I am AND Portsmouth and Concord are the supposed origination points for annoyance phone calls I get whenever the puppy thing heats up.


  6. Somehow, my run-through of the whois, DNS, and hosting went to nowheresviille, which perhaps is just as well since it wasn’t that revealing. I did call attention to the impending domain registration as of the end of Wednesday the 29th. (This isn’t necessarily revealing, as it’s how domains on autorenew look. Personally, I would never, ever trust autorenew, but horses for courses.) Registrant (domain owner) at least for the next few hours is one Brian Warren of Portsmouth, NH. My guess is that this is still the incumbent owner, not a squatter — but that the real problem is that WordPress wasn’t kept up with the obligatory upgrade treadmill for that software’s security meltdowns, and something in the stack has been h4x0red.

    If so, more Italian gambling — excuse me, ulteriore gioco d’azzardo italiano, to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @camestrosfelapton: Oops!

      Back in 2007, I wrote an article about the problem of accidental domain expiration (and of subsequent domain misappropriation by squatters, if/when the domain drops back into the public pool). At the same time I was writing that, I helped a couple of authors write Perl scripts that can be run (e.g., as weekly cron jobs) to monitor domains of interest to avert pending domain expirations. (FWIW, the one I recommend at the moment is the second of those, d-check.) Ever since 2007, I’ve kept an eye on various fannish and friends’ domains to make sure they don’t accidentally lose them through unnoticed expiration. And, as it turns out, one of the awkward bits is domains left on ‘auto-renew’, which always go right down to the final day and then someone’s credit card is charged and expiration gets extended a year. So, after annoying some stakeholders, I’ve learned to say to owners ‘Hey, I notice your domain is [X] days from expiration, and you possibly have that covered because of autorenew, but this is just a friendly heads-up just in case you don’t.’

      Personally, I’d never trust a valued domain to autorenew, because any little problem can (and sometimes does) cause it to become a last minute fail-to-renew mechanism. IMO, keeping any domain of ongoing interest always at least a couple of years away from expiration is basic self-protection, but Those Views, They Do Differ[tm].


    2. Look like (as of 2018-08-31 in my time zone) the domain has entered the first phases of expiration, in which the incumbent owner can pretty easily re-activate the domain if he/she so desires, basically, a grace period. As of this writing, the registrar has not de-activated the authoritative DNS, so (e.g.) the Web site still loads.


      1. They seem to have renewed it for another year on the 31st, so someone’s paying rent on this useless space till 2019-08-29. I guess GoDaddy didn’t run their credit card till then. And maybe they don’t notice the auto-renew and GD charges so little they don’t care?


  7. I suspect that most of those involved with sad puppies are tired of it now, and ready to move onto the next ideological battle ground.
    Some have speculated that this might be boardgames or an increase in comics gate, I think that young adult literature will soon come under increasing pressure from the right for being too dark.
    I read this article in the WalStreet Journal, unfortunately, you need vvva subscription to read the full thing but here is a representative excerpt
    typical Conservative handwringing, it’s still something to watch out for.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Among young conservatives, maybe. But when I was a YA, the books were always full of girls dying of leukemia, kids suffering in WWII, everyone dying in epidemics, tragic stories of runaways, druggies, and “broken families”, occasionally post-nuclear grimdark, and the ever-popular girls who were Ruined. Did I mention people dying of diseases? And all the orphans?

    It was super-grim, folks. No wonder we read as many grown-up books as we could — at least they sometimes had happy endings, or at least interesting plots. The boys read sports books, and the girls read horse books — someone could win the big game or the show jumping championship! Spies might save the day, nurses might marry handsome doctors, etc. in adult books. It’s also why we went into SF and fantasy.

    They’ve always been dark. Anybody read “improving” children’s lit of the Victorian era? Even more diseases, plus workhouses and your inheritance being stolen.

    It’s all enough to make you want to gamble in Italian.


  9. @Lurkertype: Anybody read “improving” children’s lit of the Victorian era?

    As Ghu is my witness, my very highlands-Scottish teacher in the British elementary school in 1960s Hong Kong foisted on us all Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies — and irony wasn’t in it. I swear, every syllable of that damned thing was preachy and narrow-minded in equal measure. (I don’t think Kingsley had time for ‘dark’. He was busy morally uplifting his readers whether they wanted it or not.)

    If there had been bits about diseases, workhouses, and your inheritance being stolen, I think eight-year-old me would have cheered at anything that interrupted the deadly-dull sermonising and thumping us over the head to have the right views. (I did remember being briefly cheered by the narrative’s dwelling on how awful Americans are. Go, team!)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think that the difference is that whereas those works that you listed deal with difficult topics, modern society has come to a kind of consensus view on those issues whereas modern young adult literature tackles racism, and sexual assault which some people want to minimise, and explicitly deals with social justice themes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course that’s what they object to — they’re just weasel-wording and dog-whistling to not say “we don’t care about anyone who isn’t SWM”. Although since so many people feel free to say that nowadays, I don’t know why they bother.

      I vaguely recall some (now heavy-handed, but then progressive) YA books about racism in my day. Even original Star Trek was liberal for TV at the time.


      1. Anti-racism has been out there for a long time.

        Even Mark Twain’s children’s stories tackled the issue. As for focusing on diseases, up until the 1960’s and 1970’s these were still real threats in kids’ lives.


  11. “Island of the Blue Dolphins”: Everybody dies thanks to colonialism.
    “Charlotte’s Web”: sob.
    “Old Yeller”: all the sobs.
    “Across Five Aprils”: the Civil War
    “Julie of the Wolves”: orphan, child bride, lost in the Arctic
    “Johnny Tremain”: Revolutionary War and debilitating injury.

    It was all smallpox, TB, Spanish flu, Black Plague, leukemia, polio, blizzards, floods, wars, and rabies. Also teenage drug addiction and endless dead parents.

    Looking at a list of Newbery winners, I do see some fantasy, like LeGuin (but even that’s “Tombs of Atuan”, depressing and about racism), “Wrinkle in Time” (dad’s missing and there’s Evil about), a few delightful ones like “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler”, and a whoooole lot of books about racism like “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry”, “Sounder”, etc.

    Even the 2004 book was about a yellow fever epidemic.


    1. How about “The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet?”
      Heinlein’s juveniles always had happy endings, more or less. (But you had to be a boy.)

      But, God, “Charlotte’s Web” still makes me cry. “Old Yeller” too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ack, “Red Fern” — even worse than Old Yeller to me for some reason… I think I liked the kid and the dog better, so it hurt more.

        There had to be some book where the dog died, the kid got polio, the other kid got leukemia, the oldest boy and/or dad died in the war, and everyone got scarlet fever or something between the winter blizzards and the spring floods. The mom and the remaining children then lose the farm and have to move to a tenement for the sequel about depressing, gritty big city life, where someone can get run over by a streetcar while on the way to get TB medicine…

        “Hunger Games” looks pretty darn refreshing, frankly.


      2. It was nice to grow up in a time when deadly diseases were a thing that only (almost) afflicted the elderly. Of all the kids I knew in elementary school, only two failed to live to graduation day: one who committed suicide and one who died in a car accident. Before about 1900, that definitely would not have been the common experience.

        However, it strikes me that a big difference is that when we read stories like “Old Yeller,” we knew that today it’s important to be sure dogs get their shots, but it didn’t make us feel insecure about our world. We might cry, but we’d be comforted to know we lived in a better world. You could argue that those stories hammered in a message of “be grateful you live when you do” over and over.

        YA stories about dystopic futures sort of have that same effect, but instead of making young people think, “My! How far we’ve come! When I grow up, I’m going to change the world!” they may leave kids thinking, “It’s hopeless. I’m never going get to grow up, so it doesn’t matter what I do. I should just take drugs or set things on fire or play video games all day.”

        I’m not sure I really believe that, but I could see someone making the argument.


      3. My great book trauma came from “A Separate Peace”. If you don’t recall, one of the two main characters breaks his leg, and then dies in the surgery to set his leg, because marrow from the bone got into his blood and stopped his heart.

        This was particularly traumatic because when I read this sequence? I was in the hospital, overnight, with only this book to read, awaiting surgery in the morning TO SET MY BROKEN BONE.

        Oh, yeah, that was a fun night.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. I’m not sure all RAH juvies do have happy endings. The boy in THE STAR BEAST is traded away as part of a breeding pair, the lead in CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY is fated to spend his life struggling against what seems to be a corrupt system for as long as it takes to do to him what happened to parents and of course Meade will spend her life in witness protection for testifying against her idiot brothers after they inadvertently depopulate Titan (I assume).


    1. Hmmm. I could equally argue that at the end of “The Star Beast,” the hero gets the girl (not, I’ll admit, a plus in my book, but I know that’s a minority opinion), gets to go into space with his best friend, and is never going to have to look for a real job. At the end of “Citizen of the Galaxy,” Thorby is not just the richest man in the Solar System, he’s in an excellent position to stamp out the corruption that got his parents killed. And at the end of “The Rolling Stones,” the family are headed for still more adventures out by the rings of Saturn, and I was upset that the book ended.

      As an adult, I think it’s easy to look for dark corners in these stories, but for a kid (especially a 1950s-1970s boy), these are all fun.


      1. Regular Commenter: Also: currently experimenting with a English Mature Cheddar cheese cleanse. For science.

        I wish to subscribe to your Cheese Cleanse Newsletter. 🧀


    1. I put that in the coal post — we talked about it a little there. Scroll back a couple.

      Meat Cleanse is an oxymoron, like most of the RWNJ ideas.


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