Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Step Up from Lorem Ipsum

Comcast Center in Center City, Philadelphia, PA

I have a love-hate (or, more accurately, hate-love) relationship with what seems to be an infinite - and growing! - number of IT temp agencies (come on, let's call a fig a fig - most of them are nothing but temp agencies, no matter what they call themselves trying to come across as real technology companies). Their spam is distracting and irritating, but I have to admit that - in a somewhat... perverse kind of way - some of the e-mails are quite amusing. The websites of those outfits are often even more amusing (albeit, also, in a... not entirely healthy way), and today we are going to take a look at one of them.

A couple of days ago I received an e-mail from a (US-based) recruiter/sourcer of one such company. The person and the company shall remain unnamed: I am just sharing my experience and thoughts here - not trying to embarrass anybody.

As always, the job description was totally vague (although - to be fair - I've seen worse). They were looking for a "Technical Writer" to "interview subject matter experts (SMEs) to determine standards requirements for a various workstreams and technical areas" (quoted verbatim). Obviously, it didn't look very informative to me, so I asked the recruiter to elaborate on what exactly those "various workstreams and technical areas" were. Not surprisingly, she had no clue and suggested that I should interview for the job and ask all my questions during the interview, to which I replied that I had better things to do than interviewing for jobs in order to find out what those jobs actually were (even considering that the client was the largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue, or so she claimed).

That should have been the end of it, but, a naturally curious creature that I am, I decided to check out the company's website.

The very moment you open the home page, they try to come across as part of Comcast:

Fig.1 (click to enlarge)

I have to admit that, for a split second, I too thought they were a Comcast-owned business.

Further down the page, they give you the "industry-standard" list of their "values" (nothing informative there, of course):

Fig.2 (click to enlarge)

The real fun begins as you scroll about three screen hights down, under the heading "News & Upcoming Events". The images below (Fig. 3 through 6) may not look very visually appealing, but I do encourage you to read the text. It's... hilarious! Just in case the text in the images is too small for you to read, here are a few short quotes:
    "College Assistance For The More Than 50 Herd
    After, the identical will be correct of documents theywill have to compose. Counterfeit documents are documents at which author pulls out the crucial dissertation and outline of a special paper, after which it writes an essay inside their own design.
    "You can even register in job-sites
    Meeting essays permit you to use people as your own resources in place of books. Though illustrative documents are somewhat more available to imagination, you may well be amazed to comprehend that it involves a great deal of organization to be able to attract its audience so it's crucial you take some time to try to do this to guarantee quality function.
    "South of downtown mobile the beaches are offered by island
    Here are some superior essay issues that children might come across simple to compose.
I don't know for sure what this is, except that it is obviously some poorly computer-generated or computer-translated text that makes absolutely no sense in the context of what this company claims is its line of business (well, it doesn't make sense in any context).

Fig.3 (click to enlarge)

Fig.4 (click to enlarge)

Fig.5 (click to enlarge)

Fig.6 (click to enlarge)

As you scroll further down, there is more name dropping:

Fig.7 (click to enlarge)

The company claims to provide "a wide variety of services" to help its clients "achieve business excellence" (whatever that means):

Fig.8 (click to enlarge)

Fig.9 (click to enlarge)

By the time you get to the bottom of the page, they think they have given you enough reasons to "love" them:

Fig.10 (click to enlarge)

I don't know about you, but I didn't feel anything even remotely similar to what one might call "love". However, I am really curious whether the two guys (from Comcast and Johnson & Johnson), whose references are proudly displayed on the site, and who seem to be real people with presumably real LinkedIn profiles,
  • indeed procured this company's services for their respective employers and, if so,
  • saw the company's website before entering into business relationship with it on behalf of their respective employers and, if so,
  • what their reasons for employing the services of this particular company were.
Just curious...

P.S. Of course, it could be just that a sloppy webmaster forgot to delete the dummy content that had been used to test the CMS. Yes, it has occurred to me. The odd thing, however, is that the gibberish that fills about three quarters of this single-page website is not static - it changes over time (I assume, programmatically), so they must have invested time and resources into it. I doubt they did it just to look dumb. Maybe, it's some super-advanced SEO technique :-P

P.P.S. There are seven more (in addition to the ones from Comcast and Therakos, a Johnson & Johnson company) client references listed in the "Clients" section (Fig. 7), which I must have missed at first. To ensure that all the "clients" are treated equally, I have to list those seven as well: Taliant Software, NPR, Keane, FHLB Chicago, Dollar Bank, Civil and Environmental Consultants, and Transplace. Obviously, the three questions above apply to them, too.

UPDATE: As of February 9, 2017, they seem to have fixed the gibberish, i.e. now the "News & Upcoming Events" section looks like it was written by a human (or a slightly better robot).

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