Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mystery solved

Two or three years ago, I noticed these annoying foam core signs popping up at intersections, posing the question "Single?" and advertising lincolndating.org or lincolnsingles.org. I've also seen them all over in the Omaha metro area, with names like elkhorndating.com, omahadating.org or gretnasingles.com. Someone has bought a boat load of domain names. Insert your City name with singles, dating, .com and .org in various combinations, and see for yourself. The mystery for me was where in the world these signs come from. Suddenly, you'd spot dozens of them in the right-of-way, as if a platoon of elves installed them overnight.

Signs placed in the public right-of-way are illegal in Lincoln and most anywhere else, but it's hardly a police priority. Nonetheless, we receive complaints about this from time to time. I've been quizzed a couple of times by members of the City Council about these. Finally, earlier this year, one of our officers actually found a person in the act of installing these signs, and issued a citation to a Papillion woman driving a Lexus. She declined to reveal who she worked for, and was ultimately fined a whopping $10. That'll teach her.

With the distinct lack of concern by the Court, I had totally lost interest in this minor offense, until last week. Just before Thanksgiving, I noticed a new bloom of signs. At the intersection of 56th and Highway 2, for example, I counted six--one on each corner and two stuck in expansion joints in the medians. Meanwhile, a reader of The Chief's Corner brought to my attention this rather lengthy but intriguing story of these signs, which goes a long way towards solving the mystery.

If you wade through the story (take a glance at the comments, too), you'll learn that a franchise dating service, The Right One, is the likely purveyor of the signs. They have franchises in Lincoln and Omaha and are registered with the Better Business Bureau. The Lincoln office is in the US Bank building at 56th and O Street.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was surprised at how much money is in the dating match business. $3,000-$15,000 per client? I guess that emotionally needy people are unwise with their money, when it comes to chasing that rabbit. It's probably like buying "miracle" weight loss junk; common sense goes right out the window.

Anonymous said...

If you can prove that the company had the signs made, can they be fined on a per-sign business, even though they likely contracted someone else to actually place the signs? Let me know if you want me to start collecting them as evidence for you!

Grundle said...

Maybe it's just me, but the comment form changed...what gives?

I highly doubt it is elves...though I wouldn't rule gnomes out as population of interest. Anyone who has watched South Park knows that the 'Underpants Gnomes' are some of the stealthiest criminals in the world...they would also know that the following business model applies:

1. Collect underpants
2. ???
3. Profit!

With this in mind, we apply the aforementioned business model to the 'desperation.com' operation:

1. Put up signs
2. ???
3. Profit!

Seriously though...is there anything that John Q (or Grundle) can do to help...aside from reporting the sign-placing ninjas? Should we pick them up and put them in the trash/recycling? Or leave them for police to find...seems like calling the police to report the presence of signs in the absence of the sign-placing ninja is a waste of resources.

Tom Casady said...

Grundle:

Do you prefer the previous comments method? This is the "in-line" version, rather than the "full page."

Anonymous said...

We could yank all the signs, then lay them on the streets for a little extra traction. Your Officers are going to get writer's cramp from all those accident reports, due to negligent airheads that forgot how to drive on ice (it's like an annual OJT refresher course - slide, crash, remember).

Anonymous said...

If we pick them up to trash/recycle them, is it considered theft or picking up litter?

Tom Casady said...

9:57- Amen
10:44- The latter, if in public right-of-way
8:51- We'd have to be able to identify the individual

Anonymous said...

The old page was much more reader friendly.

Anonymous said...

On the "too fast for conditions" theme, will today be a 2008 record for most reported accidents in a single day?

Grundle said...

I guess I kinda like the 'full page' version, just because it was easier to enter my pseudonym on the comments...plus I think it looks cleaner. Just a preference...but this is your blog, and it's totally up to you. I can live with this version.

Anonymous said...

First off, i like the old comments method mch better than this style.. secondly, the judges need a reality check. 10 dollars.. the reports and time it took the ofc to work that call far exceed that! Judge Foster fined a man 1 dollar for unlawful possession of a firearm, a city charge, because he 'doesn't believe in that charge'. Maybe they get a little too comfortable at that bench and forget why they were appointed to their position. The court system in lancaster county is a joke and no one but the judges and lawyers who would rather plead down all cahrges to save themselves some work are to blame. Lancaster county needs some serious changes in the courts.

Tom Casady said...

12:49, Grundle, 4:19-

Okay, I'm switching back!

1:31-

Not even close.