I took to the dark web yesterday, not to obtain illicit drugs, fake Euro notes or to purchase live ammunition.
No, rather than mess around with a proxy server and have to log out of my LinkedIn connection that is on auto-connect with my current browser (i.e. then have to look up what the password is again when I want to log back in), I simply used the dark web browser to anonymously look at the profiles of some of the people asking me to be their connections on this here LinkedIn.
The reason for this carry-on was because when you do look at someone's profile on LinkedIn, it registers with that particular someone that you have looked at. And some of these 'someones' not only look a bit shady, but I can't find even the slightest connection between me and them that would be to my - or their, unless their ultimate aim is to try and extract money out of me - benefit.
One request in this week was from a 19-year-old girl studying German at the University of Lagos, an institution I have since found out is more popularly known as Unilag, which I thought was the description for any student anywhere in the world.
However, as one having a knee-jerk reaction when "Nigeria" and "the internet" appears in one sentence (thanks due mainly to the thousands of relatives of the Nigerian Oil Ambassador who have offered me, as "Dear Beneficiary", $12.5million dollars over the past quarter of a century), I thought I would check it out, thereby at least giving this young lady the benefit of the doubt. But then, I thought, if she is not real, she will see that I have clicked through to her profile.
Hence the reason I went anonymously. As it turns out, not only did she have only three other connections at the time of asking me to connect, but without going into details, I was able to quickly ascertain that she was as genuine as a three-dollar bill and as sincere as the leader of Hamas. So I avoided.
Another request came, this time from a genuine entrepreneur with plenty of connections by the name of Bill. He was called Bill by the way, not his connections! Although the laws of probability might suggest otherwise that some of them might have indeed been named Bill. It looked reasonable by all accounts. Marketing, corporate events, MBA from a University, used to work at a division of general Motors, so at least there was a tenuous connection of some description.
And then I looked more closely at Bill's time-line. He was actually flogging our old friend MLM (Multi Level Marketing), or to you and I, he was Pyramid Selling). Yes, he was encouraging people sell on, for a small percentage of the price, a discount affiliate card to their own connections. one that I have never heard of, and one that looked as if it did nothing at all different to the ones the airlines and hotel chains already provide free.
Sorry Bill, I don't touch or sell on anything I wouldn't do or have myself, and selling an affiliate card where I put in all the effort and then take all the grief to provide you with a percentage is not for me. DIY.