Chocolate and Gold Coins

Monday, October 03, 2005

Half Sigma was Libertarian Girl

Half Sigma (whose real name is Michael) pulled off one of the biggest blog hoaxes. He had a blog called Libertarian Girl and had a picture of a pretty young blonde (it was actually taken from a Russian mail order bride site), and he pretended to be this blonde who was into laissez-faire economics. The blog was a big hit but eventually Catallarchy exposed him because they noticed the picture on the Russian mail order bride site.

Michael at Half Sigma also had a very successful blog at Calico Cat. This blog continues to get a lot of hits because he linked to all of the salacious gossip associated with Jessica Cutler, a Washington area prostitute who kept a blog of her affairs.

He also started another blog called Abigail’s Magic Garden in which he pretended to be a liberal girl.

He also blogged at Half Sigma, which was an honest blog that discussed politics and economics from a right of center perspective. It was very popular until July, and then he slowed down his posting.

When Half Sigma was very popular, I used to comment on virtually every post. I thought that Half Sigma was going to be a very popular blog because he posted often and was reasonably intelligent. I linked to several of his posts and I even wrote a piece about how blogging could be indicative of labor market skills using Half Sigma as an example. At that time, I thought Half Sigma would become more popular that Coyote Blog. That seems ridiculous now. Coyote blog now gets 10 times the traffic that Half Sigma gets.

At the time when I was commenting on everything that Half Sigma posted, it seemed that commenting on others’ blogs was the only way that anyone would read what I had to say. I would often insert links to my own posts (which Michael didn’t mind) and this gave me a little bit of readership.

Eventually, though, I figured that I would get more regular readers by commenting on the other blogs that linked to me and the better blogs that those people linked to. Since even at that time about 75% of the blogs that linked to me were “desi” blogs, I started commenting on desi blogs. I have gone from 9 links to around 90 links, so that strategy really worked. More than that, I have made some really good blog buddies that I love to read every day (and if I haven’t commented on your blog recently, I am still reading it, I am just commenting a little less now).

Michael’s blogging experience is actually an interesting story. If he were writing a book about it, it might be really interesting. But it also seems kind of sad. I don’t think he has many friends. He has turned to online dating to try to find a wife. He spent a lot of time going to law school but didn’t become a lawyer. It seems like he is really intelligent and creative and none that lead to anything all that worthwhile, (yet).

And the last sentence could be said about me (except that I do have a wonderful wife and child and a nice job and a nice house). I need to think about that. There is a fine line between pursuing a fulfilling hobby and wasting a lot of talent.


  • Besides Libertarian Girl, none of my other blogs have been that successful. The Calico Cat still gets a lot of Google traffic, but that's not the same as regular readers.

    Yes, I do have a tendency to get bored with things that I start.

    Regarding online dating, I'm not ashamed that I've used online dating services, but the primary purpose of the online dating blog was to promote the website which I run in order to make money.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:02 PM  

  • I read posts at Half Sigma occasionally. Though our views are at the opposing end of the spectrum on many issues, I like reading it once in a while precisely for that.

    On a different note, I wrote a post yesterday linking to Half Sigma and your blog - on economic viability and resource utilization.

    By Blogger Iyer the Great, at 3:08 AM  

  • Hi Half Sigma
    Well I hope the online or offline dating works for you. And maybe "Big Mike's Wedding Blog" will take off for you.

    Maybe you should consider writing a book about your blogging experience - from the inside. You were very close to the Jessica Cutler episode and had some inside info there. Your "Libertarian Girl" episode was interesting and even "Abigail" as well. You know a lot about blogging. There must be some way to turn that into profit.

    By Blogger Michael Higgins, at 6:53 AM  

  • Hi Rahul
    That is an interesting post and I added a long comment to it. I believe that petroleum is a one-time good deal and the market will transistion us to sustainable resource over time. It really isn't something to get too worried about. I believe that if the price of oil hit $80, we would probably transistion to something else.

    By Blogger Michael Higgins, at 6:56 AM  

  • Half Sigma is certainly a talented writer and a astute thinker. As you say, he could go places if he used his talent elsewhere :)I dunno why but I had a different image of Michael (the Half Sigma one)than the one you paint. But I must admit, he definitely knows his way around creating a perfect hoax. If it weren't for investigative bloggers, he would still be getting tons of hits on his Libertarian Girl blog. He also proved that bloggers are no different; they too like hot chicks.

    By Blogger Patrix, at 12:22 AM  

  • Hi Patrix
    I may have seemed too critical of Half Sigma, but I felt dissappointed that he was wasting such talent on such silly games. Now, if he were writing a book about the whole episode, then I guess it would be just good entertainment.

    Half Sigma was growing into a repectible blog. If he had continued posting at his previous rate, he would have grown it into a fairly influential blog. He could still do this.

    By Blogger Michael Higgins, at 8:25 AM  

  • People would rather read Jessica Cutler's book.

    I don't think that people want to read a general book about blogging.

    Maybe if I fictionalized my dominatrix posts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:46 PM  

  • Hey, nice job on the blog here. Some good ideas. Keep up the good work.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:58 AM  

  • Quite worthwhile info, much thanks for the post.

    By Anonymous muebles madrid, at 3:44 AM  

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