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The Seven Wonders of a Total Scam

Posted by E on July 9, 2007

7wonders.jpg

After looking into the controversy surrounding the “New Seven Wonders of the World”, I am hereby suggesting an alternate list of my own.

Elisa’s Seven Wonders of a Total Scam:

1. I wonder how a for-profit organization (Swiss-based New Open World Corporation – NOWC) can pull off such an obvious fraud.

2. I wonder how somebody can actually BUY the designation of a Wonder of the World. After the first vote by registered members, additional votes were available for purchase through payment to NOWC. “In addition to the sale of votes, NOWC relies on private donations, the sale of merchandise such as shirts and cups, and revenue from selling broadcasting rights.”(Wikipedia).

3. I wonder how much money was allocated by each country’s tourist boards toward purchasing votes for their own national monuments.
Only by realizing that the voting process was heavily endorsed in certain countries can one figure out how some of these “Wonders” were shoe-ins over others.
“Brazil’s President Lula de Silva addressed his people on radio telling them how to vote for Rio’s statue of Christ the Redeemer. The government of Peru opened computer terminals in public places and exhorted people to vote for the ancient city of Machu Pichu.” (http://itchofwriting.blogspot.com).

4. I wonder how historical monuments of vital importance to the history of mankind, such as the Pyramids of Giza, were purposefully left OFF the voting list.
Built in 2560 AD, the Pyramids, incidentally, were the oldest and only remaining location from the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – which was originally compiled around the second century BC. The final list was revised during the Middle Ages. This list was compiled as a celebration of humankind’s greatest architectural achievements: the man-built epitomes of beauty, love, art, religion, mythology, power and science.

5. I wonder how a 21st century stock-based corporation decided that they would put the determination of such achievements on an Ebay-inspired online bidding war of greed and profit, in the process whoring civilization itself to epic proportions.

I wonder how a corporate board and a small man named Bernard Weber, described as an adventurer and quasi-Indiana Jones, got to decide the “New Seven Wonders of the World.”
Unscrupulously touting in a CNN interview that he saw this process as a way “that everybody can decide what the new seven wonders should be and not some government, not some individuals, not some institutions,” he managed to shut most of the world out of the selection process, since “by everyone he meant those with an Internet connection or with at least a cell phone with text messaging capability”(www.ipatrix.com).
With a voting pool so narrow, how could it have ever been perceived as representative of the global population?

I wonder how this can’t be seen as a defrauding of civilization itself.
NOWC’s waged an intense media campaign, forging alliances with various telecom industries, enlisting celebrities and even selling a song on iTunes to generate as much revenue as possible through charges for text messaging, telephone, internet voting and merchandise sales.

6. I wonder how long before everyone recognizes this fraud for what it is. In a fantastic analysis of this event titled Seven Wonders of Utter Crap, Gridskipper comments:

“The New Seven Wonders is one of the most protracted and bizarrely successful publicity stunts in history, and it’s based exclusively on … well, exclusion. Getting on the list is of questionable value, but being left off the list is perceived as a definite snub. Weber and his representatives make airy proclamations about the democratic process giving the entire world a chance to select its wonders, rather than stuffy old Antipater of Sidon and his original list of wonders. But really the success of the list is predicated on large numbers of people getting whipped into a nationalistic fervor — a frenzy that has draw politicians, entertainers, and even phone companies into stumping for votes.”

[…] No public reports exist of the company’s finances, but just consider the claim that 70 million votes have been cast worldwide. Even if New Seven Wonders isn’t getting a payoff for the international phone voting, sending an SMS text message to vote will cost you $1 in the United States, with similar fees elsewhere. You can vote for free online via registering, but why not spend $2 on an official certificate documenting the happy occasion?
This is chump change, of course. The real money comes from merchandise, events, promotional tie-ins, infinitely subdivided and perpetual versions of the New Seven Wonders competition, and more.”

Not to mention the $.99 iTunes song and a new IMAX movie production in the works.

7. I wonder how anyone could expect this list of “New Seven Wonders” to actually be anything but forgotten? Perhaps in the years to come, we might expect a new corporate marketing frenzy to produce new Wonders of the World: how about Trump’s Tower, for a change?
With UN’s UNESCO not even endorsing this corporate undertaking, instead calling the whole shebang a “private undertaking”, this milking cash cow, under close scrutiny, doesn’t even hold a semblance of authenticity.
When the dust clears and it’s all said and done, the only wonder that remains is that of chutzpah – and the New Wonders of PR.

References: http://gridskipper.com/travel/hypewatch/seven-wonders-of-utter-crap-273766.php
http://itchofwriting.blogspot.com/2007/06/new-7-wonders-emotional-scam-or-master.html
http://www.ipatrix.com/
Wikipedia

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4 Responses to “The Seven Wonders of a Total Scam”

  1. As swiss I’m totally agree with you…by the way some wonder can be destroyed…I’m just thinking of the “Bouddhas de Bâmiyân “…yes bad and sad joke. But thank you for posting this comment.

  2. Sriram said

    Just a thought, I am from India and here this New 7 Wonders thing was more a media event. There was no government push visible in it. I myself did not vote but since I agree with you on the fact that its a scam I would like to know how much stake does this organization or person have in the mobile phone companies that acted as carriers and what was the revenue sharing with the media outlets like news channels that it got so much coverage. But as a business and marketing event it was stupendous success and its a wholesome marketing deal to create frenzy over nothing.

  3. I suggest you launch a reader’s contest here, Elisa … Six Stupefying Scenarios of a Saturday, or something like that. (I’ll donate 3rd prize — a teaspoon of Seychelles sand sent snail mail anywhere in the world.) People could post their six on their blogs, then link to your blog, which would then link back to theirs and all the others, hits would happen and some fun would ensue.

    Whatcha think?

  4. Elisa said

    Wonderful idea, Sandra. Have to work out how I’ll word the whole thing, so stand by…and I’ll hold you to that teaspoon of sand prize!

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