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I am in New Orleans, Louisiana,
in the French Quarter, in the Crescent City, the home of jazz
and a really good place to talk about ZIP codes.
No, seriously, because New Orleans is on the Mississippi,
which is the dividing line between the west and the east of America.
And ZIP codes work like this;
up in the northeast, you have the zeros.
Up in the southwest, you have the nines.
And New Orleans, here in the middle, you have the sevens, not the fives.
That's because the population density in the northeast is much higher.
And so, you know, it's spread out by that rather than just geographical location, which does make sense.
And there is one ZIP code, of course, that is more famous than all others:
Beverly Hills' 90210.
And the reason is a commitee decision at some point in the US postal service
when they were setting up ZIP codes. At some point they decided that Beverly Hills
would get this arbitrary number, and of course, a TV show made it famous.
Something interesting though, that you might not know,
back in 2000, there was a company called AllAdvantage.
And their shtick was this:
Download a program that would just put adverts permanently in the bottom of your screen,
like watching a YouTube video only with everything.
And that advert would stay there, permanently,
blocking up a little bit of your screen,
and in exchange, they would pay you quite a bit of money,
'cause this was 2000, this was the dot-com boom,
this was when you could get away with paying a lot of money for banner ads.
And then, they added a multi-level marketing scheme, like all the dodgy pyramid schemes
that you still see today.
If you referred other people, you would get a small cut of what they got,
and all the people they referred would send some money to you as well.
Obviously, the company died when the dot-com bubble crashed.
That really didn't need to be mentioned, but,
back in 2000, oh, this was a wonderful scheme.
AllAdvantage.com released a press release, a very happy press release
announcing that the most popular ZIP code for their users,
Beverly Hills, 90210
And this was astonishing,
because, why would the rich people at Beverly Hills want a few dollars an hour for putting
a banner ad on their screen?
If you have a referral scheme like that, where they're just giving out free money
for something you do on a computer, well, people are going to cheat it.
They're gonna install it many times on many computers,
trying to get as much money out of it as possible.
To do that, they need fake accounts.
These folks aren't in the US, so what they do is they sign up with the only ZIP code they know:
90210.
So that press release in the heady days of the dot-com boom,
is a result of several decisions,
One, the US postal service picking that ZIP code for that area,
Two, a TV show picking that ZIP code for its title,
and three, one very silly web service, burning through a lot of money, very quickly,
and being scammed for all they could take.
And that is something you might not have known.
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