Correction to Christmas Light Hoax Article
Paul McLellan, Service Lighting General Manager, was interviewed on 12/27/2004 to comment on the Christmas Light hoax at Komar.org. His response was quoted in many publications on 12/28/2004. The original story is printed below followed with some critical corrections to the story.
CONTENTS OF ORIGINAL ARTICLE:
Alek Komarnitsky, a computer specialist, said he started the site two years ago to see if he could use computer tricks to make it look as if the thousands of lights adorning his house in Lafayette, Colo., were blinking on command. This year, he went even farther: at one point, with a TV station helicopter hovering overhead, his wife was inside, turning the lights off and on herself.
The website was featured in numerous holiday stories, including one by The Associated Press, and Komarnitsky said he decided to announce his scam to the Wall Street Journal newspaper because it had become "a little out of hand."
"For the overwhelming majority of people who read about this, it will continue to provide a little Christmas chuckle," Komarnitsky said after the Journal posted a story on its website Monday.
Komarnitsky made money from advertisements posted on the site. He said it amounted to only "pennies" for each hit on the ads. He said he couldn't disclose the amount because of a deal with Google.
Paul McLellan, general manager of Minneapolis, Minn.-based ServiceLighting.com, which had an ad on the site, said Komarnitsky's actions were unethical.
"Finding out he's making a buck off of something that costs us a buck, it's not very cool," McLellan said.
A spokesman for Google declined comment until officials could look into the matter further.
ARTICLE CORRECTION FROM PAUL MCLELLAN:
"I was interviewed yesterday to give my opinion on the situation at Komar.org, due to one of our ads being displayed on the site.
>>Paul McLellan, general manager of Minneapolis, Minn.-based ServiceLighting.com, which had an ad on the site, said Komarnitsky's actions were unethical.
I was initially asked if we were sponsoring his hoax, due to one of our ads being on his site with the text, "Sponsored Listing". The invidual interviewing me thought we were financially supporting his hoax endeavor. I had no idea that one of our PPC ads made it on his site, so I quickly confirmed the fact that our business was not involved in a "hoax".
>>"Finding out he's making a buck off of something that costs us a buck, it's not very cool," McLellan said.
I then started discussing internet advertising with the interviewer, indicating how it is difficult to track legit hits from any source on the internet. I told her that some people use ads just to earn money with irrelevant massive-quanity clicks, all the while charging the company who is paying per click for the ad. I did not in any way indicate that Alek was doing this.
It seems as though my words were misconstrued to mean something entirely different than what I was actually saying.
I have absolutely no hard feelings at all against Alek. I sincerely appreciate his intent of spreading Christmas cheer! I have since been in discussion with Alek and we have mutually come to the conclusion that this whole thing has been blown out of proportion."