How to Spot a Bot

As AI generated web pages become more common, it will become more difficult to discern the fakes from the original content. Today they are still so hokey that even I can spot them. My old favorite “CapybaraTips” is still out there, but that one seems to be a website written by some poor schmuck who is being paid to write schlock. (Their latest is titled How to Get a Capybara in China!) That site’s a bit different from the one I will dissect here.

The photos are nice, but stolen, no doubt.

The website is CARES- California Animal Response Emergency System. It’s a .com, not .gov and the sidebar links go to advertisements. Ostensibly a FEMA related program, CARES is tasked with providing evacuation procedures for pets and domestic animals. So please tell me, when capybara ownership is illegal in California, why there is a “pet evacuation procedure” for capybaras? Why is it titled How Much Does a Capybara Cost? Capybara Quiz? Ignoring the website premise and going with the title, why is the “cost” data so low? Did the Bot scrape the CapybaraTips post that recommended keeping your pet capybara in an aquarium in your living room?

Where are the evacuation procedures?

For your convenience, I will use screen shots from the CARES site to illustrate my points. Because I want to avoid referring traffic from my website to theirs, I won’t provide a direct link. There is enough information here to get you there.

“How much does a capybara cost?” All of the photos have the same caption.

The article goes on to say that a “cage” can cost about $200.00. Wrong. That’s what a guinea pig cage costs. Food costs are also greatly underestimated. Those of us who buy romaine lettuce in winter are choking on that estimate. NEXT.

This is the featured video. It is not associated with their website, they stole it. Here is the link. The article deteriorates into a repeat of redundancy with readily recognizable phrases and drivel. Future bot-written websites will clean that up a bit. They will also be better at scraping data from legitimate websites that offer fresh input and the type of late breaking news that you expect from websites dealing with capybaras. And tortoises. Let’s move along.

Dodgy English is a trademark of bogus websites and emails.

Okay, try walking into the gift shop of your local zoo, ask the clerk if you can buy the capybara in the exhibit you just saw. Was that ever a thing? In the “Capyboppy” era, you could possibly get the zoo to take a “pet mistake” off your hands but zoos are not pet shops. If the zoo won’t sell their capybaras, try Petco. Maybe they have one for sale. Beware of “online retailers” because, unfortunately, those are usually scams. Do your research and locate a reputable breeder. (And please stop phoning me. I HAVE NO CAPYBARAS.)

I wonder how Mr. Mayer explained the profile photo to his wife and family. I’m open minded about gender identity, but this doesn’t make any sense at all.

Another common trademark of bot-sites is redundancy, This article has a few themes, re-stated over and over, throughout. More than themes, the phrasing repeats itself. This will improve over time. We can laugh now, but let’s stay vigilant.

“Seriously? You just want to know how much we cost?”

I’m not going to waste any more of your time here. There is precious little information about capybaras on the internet, so as these bot-sites proliferate, so will the misinformation. (A capybara enclosure costs well beyond $200.) If you see them, say something. Contact me via the Ask Dobby tab above and I will address it if I can. I suspect these sites will become popular for a while and then people will get bored and look for real content. I’m always looking for trouble, so if you have any special requests or topics you would like to read about here, please let me know.


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