Badly timed viral "It could happen to all of us" backfires due to recent events

Earlier this week a cryptic message appeared on the spookily named domain Say what? It could happen to all of U.S.!? Woah! Scarier still, there was a major U.S. city listed, namely Chicago, and......... *gulp* ... a timer that was counting down to something. Dum .. dum DUM....! And the scary music swells!

Better still, the cryptic code was spelled out with symbols for chemical hazard, biohazard, radioactivity, and a slew of religions for good measure. With exploding cookers, fertilizer factories, and mailed ricin bouncing about, people in the US might be just a tad edgy right now. Just a tad.

Thus: Cue internet panic!

The site spread like wildfire, as viral as a viral can get, but it was ending up in forums names conspiracy, cryptography, homeland security watch and all even in /r/WTF.

With such an onslaught of worried people hitting the site and calling the cops, the business wised up and let the cat out of the bag.

Due to the recent events that took place during the Boston Marathon and the subsequent current state of fear that has spread across America, we are terminating this strategic business promotion.

The purpose of “” was never intended to spread fear or promote terrorism, but rather to create awareness to all forms of potential disasters; including natural, economic, pandemic, etc…

The message was intended to be that truthfully, we never know what could happen next, ie: it could happen to all of us. Our goal, at Blan-Kits Family Defense was and still is to “Prepare America for Disaster; One Family at a Time”.

As far as the, quote, “cryptic messages” on our website…

These were simply puzzles, designed to intrigue those who stumbled across our website. Our thought was, people like to solve puzzles, let’s give them a reason to keep “checking in”.

We chose Latin phrases to make the “code” harder to crack and to add more mystery.

The Latin phrases are as follows,

Ab Epistiulis (this was intended to be a clue to look in the letters). It loosly translates to “from the letters” or “having to do with correspondence”.

Abundans cautela non nocet (this was meant to reference, disaster preparation, which is what we do) it translates to, one can never be too careful.

Caetera Desunt (this was intended to elude that there is still more puzzles to solve) it translates to the rest is missing.

Ad utrumque paratus (this one has been miss quoted by some on the internet) the translation was supposed to read Ready for Anything, Prepared for the Worst. This is the motto used by many “preppers”.

And Audemus Jura Nostra Defendere (which was essentially stating that we have the right to prepare) it reads, we dare to defend our rights.

The timer, this was simply a countdown to solve our puzzles before we revealed who we are and how we intend to help America. Some did crack the countdown, which is May, 4th at 3:21… which was simply, 54321, it was countdown, to a countdown. This was supposed to be funny. As far as Chicago is concerned, we needed to make sure people had the correct “time zone” or the 54321 wouldn’t get figured out.

We want this to be very clear, our goal was not to spread fear, only to create a little mystery. We are ENDING our marketing campaign early to put an end to all viral rumors that have been circulating the internet and to put American minds at ease.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and the families of the Boston Marathon tragedy.

Blan-Kits Family Defense, Inc.
“Preparing America for Disaster; One Family at a Time”

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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DPS's picture

First I wonder why the Your Name space on this site automatically reads "Anonymous Coward"? Is it your conscious intent to insult every visitor to your site? Second of all, why are there actual foundations dedicated to preparing for disasters? Is this the level that our social anxiety has reached? We believe our own movies, our own nightmares and live only to prepare for horrible things? All sad, very sad. Might have been useful for the author to give more information please on the Foundation mentioned.

kidsleepy's picture

Anonymous Coward has been in use online since about 1992, as a way of discouraging anonymous posts. Anonymity leads to trolls, and we don't like that. If you'd care to go to their website, which is clearly located on the photo below, you can try to find more information. But since there is no real information on the website your guess is as good as ours.

purplesimon's picture

First off, I'd like to insult you.

Then I'd like to demonstrate how lazy I am.

Please respond.


AnonymousCoward's picture

My name actually IS Anonymous P. Coward.

And I will have you know, that my lawyers will be contacting you regarding your blatant libelous slander against my good name.

Be prepared to bend over and pay up Dabitch.

a nonny mouse's picture

I'm a little dumber for reading this.

It could happen to all of -us-. Us. Collective first person pronoun. We.
And seriously? They used terroristic symbols? Have you never heard of Wingdings? They also used chess pieces, wanna break that one down for me? And the 'female' symbol. And hearts. Oh, hey, look - peace signs. Clearly ominous.

People have run ads like this all the time. It's like fringe ARG-ing. And every time one of these shows up, there's always a small group of people that cry about government conspiracy and doomsday crap; for the rest of us normal folk, it's fun to pretend it's a little ominous while we wait for people to crack the code.

Holy actual crap. Stop clutching your pearls and get a breath of fresh air. And you have a horrid Captcha system.

Dabitch's picture

Christ people. I've heard of wingdings, I'm describing peoples reactions as they saw this. I'm not saying it was my reaction. I'm not sure why you would think that I am either.

And yes, I know people do ads like this all the time. In fact I've Badlanded it here , when crypto-puzzles were done as want ads for geek jobs. The "solve this puzzle" is a very common viral tactic, so common in fact that this wouldn't have made it to adland at all... Had it not been for it's unfortunate timing and the hand-waving and panic around teh intarwebs over this silly little page. Which then halted the crypto-viral prematurely. Which I am now reporting on, because that event isn't quite as common as the ARG viral is.

And while yes, the point of the domain name is US as in WE , the TLD is US as in United States of America which is probably why people were freaking the fuck out. It may have gone over better on a .com but someone else already owns I mean, it's a site asking people to decrypt a latin message, but it ignores the fact that the TLD can be read two ways? Dumb.

So on to another burning question, why are you people so fucking rude?

kidsleepy's picture

Because they're anonymous?

kat smith's picture

wait but can we talk about how much joy this website copy brought me:

"It isn't hard to realize that not "being prepared", isn't just crazy...

...It's downright insane!"

hahahaha oh my god. i love (to hate) the internet.

Dabitch's picture

Now picture it being read in crazy eddies voice. ;)