Monday, August 09, 2004

Gee, I Wonder if This Will Attract Any Resumes?

Research Associate/Personal Assistant:
New York City--Highly intelligent, resourceful individuals with exceptional communication skills sought to undertake research projects and administrative tasks for one of Wall Street's most successful entrepreneurs. We welcome applications from writers, musicians, artists or others who may be pursuing other professional goals in the balance of their time. 90K-110K to start (depending on qualifications). Resume to: gen8r@spsfind.com.
--Classified ad in a recent issue of The New Republic

Coming Across This Line Made Me Miss My Erstwhile Woods Even More. Long-time Working With Words readers may remember my ruminations of last fall, upon the occasion of the opening of Legacy Village, about how I was going to miss having such precious near-virgin (okay, re-virginized) suburban forest almost in my back yard. I used to wander around those grounds for hours on weekend walks, occasionally stumbling over a deer carcass that looked as if it had been there since the early Bronze Age. But when I recently happened upon this sentence, from the last line of W.H. Auden's poem "Woods," I missed that wild area even more. As the venerable one put it: "A culture is no better than its woods." Indeed...

216 Comments:

At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Brad Weslake said...

Hi John,

There would definitely be a story in this -- this ad pops up everywhere, the last few issues of the NYRB for example, and I haven't been able to find any information on what it is all about. The email address is different every time, which makes me wonder whether it is some kind of research organisation trying to assess the effectiveness of various forms of job advertising. But whatever it is, it's intriguing...

Brad.

 
At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just about to respond to that ad and thought I'd google it first, which brought me to your blog. Are you saying you think it's a hoax?

 
At 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's probably an unscrupulous marketing firm building a mailing list, and quite possibly using a bogus come-on to create marketing profiles. It's just more spam and should be stopped.

 
At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, me too I was trying to find out more about this ad and already imagining a new life for me and my cat in Park Slope, pastrami and pastrami and more pastrami, days in Little Russia, expeditions into Bed Sty, rushing around in taxis to treat "one of Wall Street's most succesful entrepreneurs" to some behind the scenes Warhol... And could almost feel on my skin that gorgeous forest green cashmere sweater I didn't buy last Fall on Park Avenue. Oh well. The ad also appears in the New York Review of Books and I had to read through columns of depressing personals written by accomplished, dazzling, rich women in their 50s and 60s to find it. Will someone please give the name of this marketing firm to Nasrallah so that if they really have to hit the U.S. again they can at least take some a$$ho/@s out.

 
At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Dracula is recruiting, and is looking for gullible but intelligent people to join the lists of the undead. Those who reply to this ad are possibly lured to his Gothic penthouse in one of those Dakota-style structures overlooking Central Park - for an 'interview', face-to-face. Leave well alone, I reckon.

 
At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone's still wondering about this, but apparently it's a NY hedge fund that's running these ads as some sort of research program. Hopefully, I'll be able to discover the name.

 
At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait...all of these comments are from 2004?
I just found the ads everywhere and am googling spsfind to see what it's about. no news?

(2007)

 
At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes--- its 2007 september--- trying to find out what the heck spsfind is! any info???

 
At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, its Dec 2007. I too wanted to check about a similar posting, though it was asking for nannys. I've seen this on many different job listing sites and based on the changing email addresses, I suspect the purpose is to see which job posting site is most effective. If you see this ad in monster for example, there will be a random "m" in the email. Since the particular ad I'm looking at includes houseing, the email addresses include "livein". I saw it on craigslist but the email was:

nannycl@spsfind.com and
liveincraigslist@spsfind.com

rather than:
mlivein13r@spsfind.com
which was on monstertrak.com

 
At 11:32 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for that. Well, I think we've (or rather, you've, dear commenters) finally answered the question, and fairly definitively, I might add. Talk about collaborative intelligence. I think I'm going to have to revisit this whole issue and write about it. It's a great parable about the power of blogs when combined with online search. This string kept on going, for three and a half years, all because of Google. Thanks, everyone.

 
At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like I'm in a similar situation to most that posted here. I found an add on Craigslist from SPSfind and decided to Google it but only found this blog.

today's email is gencraigslist@spsfind.com

strange stuff

 
At 4:54 PM, Anonymous PrilMill said...

Ha! Make that 2008! I have seen this in the past and now, out of desperation, ALMOST responded to it, but googled "spsfind" instead. So glad to see there are others out there who check into this sort of stuff and blog about it! Kudos to blogging.

Now...Anyone hiring??? :)

 
At 5:04 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Hey, we'd gladly hire you if we could. You obviously have some skills, if you were smart enough to Google before you apply. This ad has taken on a life of its own. And the damn thing just keeps running and re-running in so many pubs. The organization behind it has spent a mind-numbing amount of money on building this list of resumes, or whatever it is they're doing. And I'd challenge anyone, anywhere to take a more solid, better-educated series of guesses about what they're up to with that ad than what we have accumulated in this thread.

 
At 1:19 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

just an update: 1/29/08 it was posted on Craigslist. the reply addy was "eacraigslist"

maybe they haven't found the right person yet. (har har)

 
At 10:28 PM, Blogger William said...

2/6/08 and it's still running in the new republic with the same address listed in the original post.

 
At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found it in the Feb. 14 2008 hard copy edition of the NY Review of Books. Googled it. Thanks to everyone who commented. We're probably playing into their hands by identify where and when we saw it. It's kind of cruel though, isn't it? Exploiting people who are looking for work, offering a non-existent good job. We need to expose this scam in full.

 
At 3:15 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for that valuable update. Not too surprising they would run it there, given the similar upscale demographics. And I do plan on trying to do some reporting on this in order to write about it. There is quite a story here. Just think for a moment about how much has been spent on all these ads in national pubs over the years. It's a staggering number, perhaps now (I'm guessing a little) well into six figures. Anyway, thanks dear anon for keeping this flame slowly burning.

 
At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, what makes you think it's a hedge fund?

 
At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so its 4/1/08 and yes the ad apparently is still running. I should've known better finding this today of all days. damn scam. grrr!!

 
At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a split second, I thought it might be related to the blurb I read in the New Yorker a few weeks ago about Brian Glazer looking for a cultural consultant.

I was surprised to find your blog in my google search for spsfind--it looks like many others have had the same idea, leading me to think we really have become children of web 2.0. ;-)

 
At 3:22 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

We've become children of web 2.0. Well said. This little string has really taken on a life of its own, and all because of the power of Google search.

 
At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is now March of the year 2008 and I just saw this ad posted with this url on a blog www.dealbreaker.com What kind of a sick person would be playing these mind games?

 
At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might start a facebook group for people that have seen this ad.

 
At 8:55 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Or better yet, a support group. Thanks for adding your two cents, folks.

 
At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as of 4/10/08 it was posted on monstertrak with the email address mtgen@spsfind.com.

 
At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I googled the address and this blog appears. Thanks for the heads up about this Trojan horse. If it sounds too good to be true then it is. Damn them.

BMD

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Trojan horse--not a bad term for this. Thanks for the comment.

 
At 6:38 PM, Blogger Teresa said...

just saw that ad today on craig's list and it sounded way too suspicious NOT to google! and so here i am. :) i love that there's an entire string about this! although i would love an actual job a lot more...

 
At 10:51 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Now it's even on Craigslist? Unbelievable. That's the first I've heard of that, although it may well have been running there for a long time. At least that's a free venue for ads.

 
At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there! Just joining the ranks of creative people desperately looking for a fulfilling job who stumbled upon The Ad. (I found it in NYRB). It's Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008--this thing has been around since 2004??? Yeah. Obviously crap. That's just cruel, folks. Artistic types have it bad enough already1 Well...back to Walmart!
HSM

 
At 3:28 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

We feel your pain. And it's been around at least since we first noticed it in 2004, but possibly a good bit longer. But good luck in your search for the right thing.

 
At 12:46 AM, Anonymous Gnopple said...

What strikes me is that the market rate for fake artist-cum-assistant types hasn't budged in 4 years! $90-110k/year in this week's New Republic.

Maybe I'll start something like this to collect resumes. Not a terrible idea -- though certainly sketchy.

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I think the rate was pretty health to begin with, so it's not too surprising it didn't inflate. It was certainly high enough to attract inordinate attention among creatives.

 
At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's gotta be some massive research project or equally massive spam effort. I'm just glad more people know to google things that look oddly.

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Yes, welcome to the club. As you can see, you've got plenty of company, going back almost four years.

 
At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just about to spend precious time writing a cover letter for this fab-sounding job advertised on Craig's List. Too good to be true, I googled spsfind.com and fortunately found this blog which warns the ad might be some kind of hoax. Oh, well. Thanks so much for providing this forum.

 
At 7:42 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Happy to provide the forum. If only the people behind this ad had instead used all this money for a good purpose...

 
At 11:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2008-05-06 posted on Craiglist
They've extended their repertoire: "Medical researcher" Whatever!
the email was: fmccraigslist

 
At 8:54 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Wow, this thing has really taken on a life of its own. It's like the blog that continues to metastasize.

 
At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May, 27, 2008 -- Any modern researcher worth their salt would of course google spsfind before sending a resume.
What I find curious is that no one in this string has, just for research sake, submitted a bogus resume with a generic hotmail address to see what happens. Surely there must be people who actually responded... and? Spam quadrupled? Junk mail soared? Boiler plate acknowledgment? Silence?
If their ad is obviously phishing for some kind of info (likely marketing effectiveness of various pubs to creative types, as someone suggested) I think I will create an intriguing alter ego and phishing resume just to see what comes back.
I will let this string know what, if anything, transpires.

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Z. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3:56 PM, Blogger Z. said...

6/1/08 - After going on two interviews and getting, "You're smart and we really like you, but ..." I was desperate too. I saw this job on MonsterTRAK.com, which is for students. I'm not a student anymore, but got a password from a friend to search this alternate Monster.com site and found the job posting there. I e-mailed MonsterTRAK.com to ask them what criteria they use to post jobs. Probably just that the poster has the money to post it. We'll see.

 
At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...appears as though I've fallen for it today 6/04/08 as well.

http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/ofc/707227578.html

 
At 1:13 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

6/4/08 - Just saw this and googled it, of course.

If I had to guess on hedge funds, this sounds like something D.E. Shaw might try for recruitment. They're big on the whole "just be brilliant" bit in order to recruit talent. Additionally, I noticed in their own recruitment posts on CL the respond-to e-mail address is Craig-Gen@career.deshaw.com while that one is gencraig@spsfind.com. Coincidence?

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Aha! At long last, after nearly four years, I believe Jennifer may have finally cracked the mystery. This seems pretty plausible. I only wish her link carried me somewhere that I could thank her. Here's hoping you come back and take a bow, Jennifer. Thank you all for taking part in this bit of distributed intelligence exercise. I loved watching it all unfold. And of course, I'm not discounting the distinct possibility that it will continue to unfold in ways I couldn't have guessed.

 
At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Jess said...

Hahaha! Thank you for this! I googled spsfind.com when I went to the address and saw a suspiciously barren website. They're still using the exact same bait. I almost fell for it, like I was LITERALLY applying to this job; thank you John Ettore!

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Happy to be of service, Jess.

 
At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

June 17, 2008 - just saw this ad on craigslist. Of course it's too good to be true! Pursue your real calling while we pay you a healthy salary and are maybe even a nice place to work. I almost responded but figured I'd investigate first. So much for the ray of hope. Aargh. Unemployment just got depressing again.

 
At 4:05 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Keep your chin up, dear anon. You have plenty of company these days, and if you're savvy enough to Google this and check it out first, I'm sure things will break your way soon.

 
At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

06/20/2008

saw it for a personal assistant on CL NYC
did a google for spsfind
*knew it was bullshit
found this string (which is awesome since this is 4 yrs old - it's like out of the matrix or something.

I'm going to use a phony email address / account and apply to it and see what kind of bs trickles in.

keep y'all updated. . .

 
At 4:41 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, that'll be an interesting experiment. Do keep us posted. And I laughed about that reference to the matrix.

 
At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grr.. .almost applied to an Exec Asst position, but decided to google it and found this site too! What a$$h0l3s!! If nothing else at all, atleast we all googled it first... That says something for us!

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

You said it, dear anon. Never hurts to google, and often you find out way more than you expected.

 
At 6:57 PM, Blogger josephlovesit said...

Saw this on the NYC Craigslist today (link), Googled, commenting. Do jobs like this actually exist?

 
At 7:20 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Craigslist, which is free, is certainly giving this ad new life. But the folks behind it also continue to spend a moderate fortune on placing plenty of these ads in a handful of expensive national publications.

 
At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All,

I too found this email on craigslist...google power!!! FYI while an undergrad in statistics we used a program called SPSS to organize census's from past years. Needless to say I googled SPSS. "SPSS Statistics is the world’s most accessible statistical software suite used by commercial, government and academic organizations to solve business and research problems." Are we becoming a part of some social census? Or is this blog the test,feeing on our creative intrigue? Hmmm go figure.
<3 kt

 
At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well I applied and totally got that 110K job!


no lol glad I googled it first too thanks for the blog post.

 
At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how long did it take you to get the job offer?

 
At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

08-17-2008

Ad on craigslist for dream life...


I suspect black ops...

but people call me paranoid...

governments have budgets for this sort of thing...

people are dumb...

help me obi wan...you're my only hope

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That SPSS statistical thing mentioned a couple of comments ago is intriguing. Could there be a link between that and these ads? That's worth looking into to, I think. Anyone want to do some further research on that? If you do, please post it here for all of us to consider. The amount spent on these ads by now by whomever is behind them is simply staggering.

 
At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen several versions of this spsfind ad going back a few years now. They used to run it in the New York Times help wanteds easily 7 or 8 years ago, if not longer. I applied a few times, heard nothing, then once sent them a very curt "are you guys for real or what?" cover letter and never heard back from them.

 
At 10:34 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Yes, that is the MO of the folks behind this ad--complete silence, in any situation. And so the mystery deepens. I think you've added an element that's new: I'm not sure anyone has suggested that these ads began that far back, and I haven't found any that long ago in my admittedly cursory search. But I'll be making that less cursory and more concerted beginning sometime soon, I hope.

 
At 3:04 AM, Blogger Lindsay said...

i just came across a job posting that looked pretty interesting. the email address was gencraigslist@spsfind.com, So tried to google them and it led me to the blog. What is it? Is it just completely bogus? why wouldn't craigslist take them off?

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Craigslist would have to get complaints to take them off, and I'm not sure this ad generates many (or even any) complaints.

 
At 12:57 PM, Anonymous CB said...

Fell for it today, 9/2/08, off of Monster.com

WHOIS lookup on snsfind.com:

Registrant:
Vallely, Julie
2216 OToole Ave
San Jose, CA 95131

 
At 1:03 PM, Anonymous cb said...

That address is also HQ of NextG Networks; the name only hits on a developmental associate for an early Ben Affleck movie.

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Excellent detective work, CB. You've made a real breakthrough here, which I thank you for. This string is a brilliant example of what's being called crowdsourcing. Looks like the Wall Street reference in the ad is a mere head fake. It's actually no doubt an attempt by a Silicon Valley company or companies to find talent and smarts. It could well be a Google-backed operation, given their famous weakness for high IQs and strong academic records.

 
At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

its also in The New Republic....which is all politics...interesting...

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

The New Republic is where I first spotted the ad, which originally prompted this post. I think it's been running steadily in TNR for years.

 
At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

September 11, 2008 and it's on San Francisco Craigslist. They must've broadened their "reach" market.

 
At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found this add on craigslist today 9/11/08 (911!!!)
PERSONAL ASSISTANT (potrero hill)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reply to: gensf@spsfind.com [?]
Date: 2008-09-11, 8:02AM PDT



Highly intelligent, unusually competent individual with strong research and organizational skills sought to assist with household management and administrative tasks. The position requires exceptional communication skills as well as an ability to liaise with expert consultants and coordinate complex projects.

We welcome applications from writers, musicians, artists, or other candidates who may be pursuing other professional goals in the balance of their time. The salary range is $90k-$110k per year (depending on qualifications), plus benefits.

Please e-mail your resume to: gensf@spsfind.com




Compensation: $90k-$110k per year (depending on qualifications)

 
At 1:34 PM, Blogger adsf said...

me to... i'm flagging it

 
At 2:59 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Please report back and let us know if that leads anywhere.

 
At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw it too today (9/11) and sent my resume with address and phone number. Then I decided to look up spsfind and found this. Now I am freaking out. I'm such an idiot!

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

No need to freak out. You're hardly alone in responding to this, so remember there's strength in numbers. And what are they going to do with that information, after all? Probably nothing terribly sinister (though you can't be too careful these days). Besides, think about how savvy you'll be about these things from now on. When in doubt, I say, Google it first!

 
At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks! I appreciate your comment. I know you can probably get that information anywhere anyway. It's just unsettling. But yes, now I will be more careful.

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

And I appreciate you adding to our ongoing conversation here.

 
At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Add has vanished from craigslist.....(9/11/08) it was there this morning, and now it is gone. Maybe after we flagged it they did some investigating and now it is gone, I wish they would let us all know who or what it was.....

 
At 8:01 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Wow. I think it's probably not a coincidence. But I assume you mean it's vanished from your local version of Craigslist, and not from all of them. Can you tell us which city you're talking about? And I'd love others from other cities to check as well, should they feel so moved.

 
At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't find it in craigslist ny. Which section is it in? I look in the section for writers, and it's not showing up. But it's ALWAYS in the NYRB. Those of us who subscribe should tell them that we believe that it's a scam and that they should drop it, even if it's D.E. Shaw.

And, to the anonymous guy, and it had to be a guy, who was so distressed by the 50 and 60 year old women in the personals, I suggest he read Jane Juska's "A Round Heeled Woman." This is a very funny and human account of an intelligent woman's description of what happened when she placed one of those ads.

 
At 6:53 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Yes, indeed, that's the problem with looking for it on Craigslist--there are so many possible places it could be. I did a quick scout of a couple markets the other day and didn't see it either, but remember thinking that that doesn't mean it wasn't buried somewhere else on the site.

But your mention of that Round Heeled Woman account takes this into a whole other realm. How learned and literary of you. But then, readers of my beloved New York Review of Books tend to be highly learned, sophisticated types.

 
At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found the add on 9/11/08 in the San Francisco Bay Area Administrative Jobs postings at around 8:02 AM; and then it vanished after it was flagged around 10 AM or so....hummmm

 
At 9:06 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9:08 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Interesting. Thanks for the report.

 
At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm happy I found this blog before sending my resume. Apparently they are advertising on Monstertrak.com.

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Now that's a new one. These people are thorough.

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger jennifer said...

Hi all, kind of a fascinating story regarding this fantasy ad. As of 9/20/08, it has made it to Mediabistro: http://www.mediabistro.com/joblistings/jobview.asp?joid=83667&c=mbeajob
Reply email address is kbmb2spsfind.com. This time, in keeping with Mediabistro's demographics, it is for an executive editor/creative director.
~jen

 
At 11:13 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Now that's interesting, Jennifer. As far as I know, it's never been on Media Bistro before. It's like the plague, spreading across the country, then the world. Unbelievable how this thing is progressing. Thanks so much for the fresh intelligence. Do keep us posted, will you?

 
At 5:45 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Lisa was nice enough to email the following note (for which we thank her):

Looks like the spread continues. It's now on journalismjobs.com as well:

http://www.journalismjobs.com/Job_Listing.cfm?JobID=978581

 
At 10:20 PM, Blogger joelle said...

um, yes. hours at the computer dumb-ified me and I candidly replied as a brilliant sucker.
9/22/2008 and the beat goes on.
it was nice to find your blog after the fact. maybe I can find a way to send harpies into their dreams.

 
At 5:02 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

No, you're not a sucker. I'm guessing that by now, literally hundreds of thousands of people have done the same thing--sent their resume off to what sounded like an incredible opportunity.

 
At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found an add today in the Wall Street Journal for a Family Financial Director/Personal CFO with the e-mail address cfo3@spsfind.com.

Looked like an interesting job - I'm glad I read this blog first.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

We should stipulate that this ad is very different than the one we've been talking about (which seems to feature a non-existent job), even if the individual or organization to which one is responding may well be the same as in the other ad.

 
At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Googled it after responding - not only responding, but then in trying to correct the email message because Skype deleted my phone number, I also sent them my response to a different ad. Moment of panic... which led me to Google and now thanks to this blog I don't have to feel that I have lost out on the Park Ave. townhouse with the matching white poodles and cashmere sweaters...too funny!

 
At 4:42 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks. That was certainly one of the wittier comments anyone has left. And don't give up on that Park Ave. townhouse. You just may have to take a different route to get there.

But now I ask you all: has anyone ever heard back from these folks? Ever? No one has said as much yet, in the four years people have been leaving comments. But I'd surely love to hear from you if you have.

 
At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm kind of worried about this, but . . . I answered the ad two days ago just to check it out. Yesterday I received a call from a staffing agency that posted it and today I interviewed at the staffing agency for it. It's definitely D.E. Shaw, and they seemed interested not in my resume but in my SAT scores, my undergraduate school, and my college GPA. I have an interview there next week and will let everyone know what went down. I cannot imagine why anyone would be willing to pay that much for what sounds a lot like an office manager and am highly suspicious, but at least we're getting closer to the heart of the mystery.

 
At 2:23 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

We'll anxiously await your report. You've said it well. We do indeed seem to be getting to the heart of the mystery. But if you're still checking back and see this, I wonder if you can answer one quick question: what makes you believe it is D.E. Shaw. I'm guessing the staffing agency didn't disclose that, but that you surmised it some other way. Care to share how?

 
At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. I was told that the reason the ad is always up is that the company is always looking for new "geniuses" to work with them. I cannot explain how much I am not a genius, so this should be hilarious if not all that helpful.

 
At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, the staffing agency straight-up said so. I wasn't told to keep anything quiet, so I assume it's alright if I write it here.

 
At 2:27 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

VERY interesting. And by the way, don't put yourself down. Hell, you were smart enough to find us and join this conversation, weren't you? That's plenty good enough for us. Funny timing, by the way, since the McArthur Foundation just released word of its latest round of "genius" grants. They give grants each year to a couple dozen people, who each get $100K a year for five years. That deal even tops finding a job like this, if indeed it actually existed.

 
At 2:29 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Okay, so based on that next to last comment, I'm just about ready to officially declare this mystery solved. It took almost four years and two months to do, but this crowd finally cracked the code. Congratulations, y'all.

 
At 1:00 AM, Blogger Ruthmarie said...

Well, I'm another one..It's Sept 2008. Sounded way too good to be true so I decided to google spsfind and found this blog. Thanks for posting this- it certainly has helped your google rankings

 
At 4:29 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Good for you, Ruthmarie. You're one of the few who seem to have googled before sending a resume rather than after.

 
At 4:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I went to spsfind.com and saw their generic login screen, I thought maybe it was just a go-between service for recruiters who wanted to remain anonymous. But here's the thing. You've got spot No. 2 on Google for "spsfind.com," this blog entry has been up for more than four years, it's collected several dozen responses in that time, nearly all of them are from bewildered job seekers, and only one respondent (the anonymous guy just a few posts above) has reported any kind of callback from the recruiter? No way. If these ads had any validity, someone (like some applicant who had success or even the recruiter(s) themselves) would have found this blog and set everyone straight a long, long time ago. Like you said, the recruiter or recruiters are spending big money and would be crazy to let an easily discovered blog entry full of naysayers thwart their efforts. Either the above anonymous guy is blowing smoke about getting a callback, or ... or ... maybe this is all exactly what they WANT us to think! That's it, I'm the genius they're looking for. I'm gonna apply right now.

 
At 7:53 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for that last one. Yes, you've put words to what I've been slowly beginning to wonder the last few days. You make some good points. On the other hand, I've also thoroughly checked out D.E. Shaw--a high-powered, notoriously secretive hedge fund that's known for going to great lengths to recruit the cognitively gifted--and this scenario sounds quite consistent with their corporate style. So while I fully recognize it could be an elaborate ruse as you say, my gut says it's not. Anyway, I'll soon try to put the question to D.E. Shaw.

 
At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like many others, arrived at this blog after googling "spsfind". thought it curious that there was an ad in The Wall Street Journal 3 weeks in a row...Guess they have a big ad budget.
Signed,
BBS

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I think that's the first I've heard of it running in the WSJ. I certainly don't recall ever seeing it there, either. Thanks for adding that.

 
At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was posted in the October 2008 issue of Discover -- sounded like a great job, but I'm always suspicious when one is asked to reply only to 'fmc1@spsfind.com' -- whatever happened to using a 'name' (or perhaps I'm just revealing my age). And how do 'reputable' publications let these ads slip by, if they're not legitimate?

 
At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i found this ad i n Russian jobs news papers today 10/28/08. as almost everyone i googled it first.too funny

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Now it's jumped continents. Not too surprising, really. But it's become like the blob, something out of a melodramatic sci-fi movie, that keeps spreading and propagating, seemingly beyond anyone's control.

 
At 11:31 PM, Anonymous J said...

It's October 28th, 2008 and I found another iteration of this ad posted on MonsterTrack.com (Job ID: 2238701, Company: Confidential, Location: New York 10036). I've attached the body of the ad below. I figured that I would do some research before I sent off my resume, and in the process I stumbled on this great blog. I don't want to fuel the "wild-n-crazy theory"-fire but I noticed that the listed zip code matches the zip code of D. E. Shaw. Of course, that zip code is shared by a big chunk of NYC.

"Highly intelligent, unusually competent individual with exceptional communication skills sought to help research and coordinate family medical and healthcare issues. Act as liaison with leading medical researchers and consultants in academia and industry, with responsibility for technical, financial, and administrative functions. Considerable weight given to evidence of unusual academic or other intellectual distinction. Scientific background a plus, but not required.
We welcome applications from writers, musicians, artists, and other candidates who may be pursuing other professional goals in the balance of their time. We offer a casual atmosphere in a beautiful space, working as part of an extraordinary group of gifted, interesting individuals. Excellent compensation with significant upside potential. Resume to: mfmc3R@spsfind.com"

 
At 6:35 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Interesting. This ad has a different twist than the original, but with the same main focus, and of course topped off with the now0famous spsfind.com address. Thanks for citing all the details, which are helpful, including noticing the ZIP code.

 
At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NYRB, dec. 2008, same ad, email address: gen22R@spsfind.com

More and more companies appear to be using blind emails or go-between recruiters for public jobs ads, so I hadn't ruled it out entirely. Now of course I am wondering whether it's a giant phish.

--ML

 
At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1/8/09 - This ad is up on the NY Times web site now, but with a different reply address.

Executive Assistant:
Job Description
Highly intelligent, resourceful individual with exceptional communication skills needed to provide support for one of Wall Street’s most successful entrepreneurs. Primary responsibilities include coordinating schedule and travel, answering phones, and general office help.

We welcome applications from writers, musicians, artists, or other candidates who may be pursuing other professional goals in the balance of their time. We offer a casual atmosphere in a beautiful space, working as part of an extraordinary group of gifted, interesting individuals.

The salary range is $90-$110K per year (depending on qualifications), with significant upside potential and management possibilities.

Please email your resume to: eamonster2@gmail.com
Contact Information
Company: Confidential



Research Associate:

Job Description

Highly intelligent, resourceful individuals with exceptional communication skills sought to undertake special research projects and various administrative tasks on behalf of one of Wall Street's most successful entrepreneurs.

We would welcome applications from writers, musicians, artists, or other candidates who may be pursuing other professional goals in the balance of their time. We offer a casual atmosphere in a beautiful space, working as part of an extraordinary group of gifted, interesting individuals.

The salary range is $90K-$110K per year (depending on qualifications), with significant upside potential and management possibilities.Please e-mail your resume to: genmonster@gmail.com
Contact Information
Email: genmonster@gmail.com

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

So glad the momentum continues. We hadn't gotten an update in quite some time, so thanks for posting this.

 
At 3:15 PM, Blogger kerry said...

Feb 6 2009
I had seen this ad a few months ago on Monster (and found the link to your blog) and it popped up again on New York Craigslist today.
Here's the text:
Highly intelligent, resourceful individuals with exceptional communication skills sought to undertake special research projects and various administrative tasks on behalf of one of Wall Street’s most successful entrepreneurs.

We would welcome applications from writers, musicians, artists, or other candidates who may be pursuing other professional goals in the balance of their time. We offer a casual atmosphere in a beautiful space, working as part of an extraordinary group of gifted, interesting individuals.

The salary range is $90-110k/yr (depending on qualifications), with significant upside potential and management possibilities.

I googled some of the key sentences in the posting to see where else they might be advertising and found the ad again on a recruitment website called profrecruiters.com. They had a California phone number so I gave them a call and mentioned that this ad has been running for over 4 years. The woman on the phone told me that they filled the position last month. Very, very strange...

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Very interesting. Thanks for that update. Comments have been quiet for awhile. This thing just keeps metastasizing in new ways. Just filled the position last month. Ha!

 
At 12:10 PM, Blogger bill benzon said...

19.Feb.2009. Most interesting discussion. I saw that ad in the New Republic some years ago, googled "spsfind.com" and got nothing, at least nothing I remember. So I figured, "why not?" and sent in a resume. No response.

About two weeks ago I was looking at ads at The Chronicle of Higher Education and saw a dozen ads placed by DE Shaw. Some wanted specific skills, e.g. Windows administrator, but some were fishing for raw talent and had titles like: "Tired of Academica?" "Tired of Consulting?" and "Ideal Day Job." While the wording of these ads was very different from that old ad, the one under discussion here, the effective content was the same: we're looking for somewhat really really smart and talented regardless of background, but art, etc. is fine. So I sent in a resume and cover letter to DE Shaw and got an auto-reply saying that they'd contact me shortly if they wanted to pursue my candidacy. Two days later I got an email from someone in their Strategic Growth department (seems to be their name of HR) asking me to fill out the attached questionnaire (which wanted to know SAT scores, GPA, salary history, major, science & math classes, immigration status if applicable) and to submit a five to ten page writing sample. So I filled out the questionnaire, sent in a writing sample and waited. A few days ago I got an email from them saying there's no ideal fit, good luck, we'll keep your resume on file.

If you look up DE Shaw on Linkedin you'll see that they have done some hiring in the last six months, at senior and junior levels. Whether or not they've hired anyone through the spsfind ads, I don't know. But, judging from what's been posted in this thread, at least one person has gotten an interview through one of those ads. I can believe it's legit. Finding black swans in a white swan world is tough.

How many person-hours does DE Shaw devote to reading all those resumes?

 
At 2:48 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Bill, thanks ever so much for this latest bit of fresh intelligence, and from such a keen observer. That's really interesting about the D.E. Shaw Linkedin usage. I'm going to check that out now. And I can't help but be overwhelmingly impressed with a bit of your bio gleaned from your blog--a trumpeter who has opened for B.B. King and Dizzie Gillespie. Wow!

 
At 3:30 PM, Blogger bill benzon said...

Yeah, John, but it wasn't good enough for D. E. Shaw!

If you go to Shaw's recruiting page you can download a video in which they present themselves to job-seekers. One of their employees - a programmer who plays jazz fiddle - indicates that originally applied to a blind ad looking for "superstars" (his word). You might also check out Charles Ardai. He's a managing director at Shaw, appears in their video, and is one of the profiles on the recruiting page. He also writes mystery novels and founded a firm that publishes new and re-publishes old titles (e.g. Earl Stanley Gardner, Mickey Spillane). If you google Ardai you'll mostly get links to him as a writer and publisher, including some YouTube videos. He's also CEO of Schrodinger, a software company in the computational biochemistry business that has links to Shaw.

I'd like to at least have interviewed there. Sounds like an interesting place. And there's a NYMagazine article about their Christmas party; seems they're enthusiastic circle dancers.

 
At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3/5/2009

NYTimes.com
new email address

genmonster@gmail.com

Sounded too good to be true.

Know I know it is.

 
At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3/22/09 eamonster2@gmail.com is back on Monster.com

http://jobview.monster.com/GetJob.aspx?JobID=67924899&from=indeed

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

About the Job
Highly intelligent, resourceful individual with exceptional communication skills needed to provide support for one of Wall Street’s most successful entrepreneurs. Primary responsibilities include coordinating schedule and travel, answering phones, and general office help.

We welcome applications from writers, musicians, artists, or other candidates who may be pursuing other professional goals in the balance of their time. We offer a casual atmosphere in a beautiful space, working as part of an extraordinary group of gifted, interesting individuals.

The salary range is $90-$110K per year (depending on qualifications), with significant upside potential and management possibilities.

Please email your resume to: eamonster2@gmail.com

 
At 3:17 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Still going strong...

 
At 3:44 AM, Anonymous chris said...

3/14/09
posted on monster trak
email: mtgen2@gmail.com

 
At 8:50 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Actually, small correction: this was posted here on 4/14/'09.

 
At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

April 25, 2009 - I've seen the ad on Craigslist and Monter in the last week or so. I have to say that this thread is absolutely fascinating. What's interesting to me is that in this economy, a hedge fund would still be recruiting just as voraciously as it was over five years ago. Instinct says there's something really, really interesting here...let's just hope we can get someone on the inside to respond...

 
At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-felsenthal/whos-behind-this-ad-promi_b_166236.html

 
At 7:06 PM, Blogger bill benzon said...

Well, here's a blog post by someone who was a trader at Shaw and left out of boredom.

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, Bill. This isn't the first time you've contributed here. And I did happen to notice that HuffPost piece and found it interesting.

 
At 1:31 PM, Blogger Jack said...

Found this morning, 9/15/09, on Monster.com:

Personal Assistant/Research Associate
About the Job

Ideal Candidate:

Highly intelligent, resourceful individuals with exceptional communication skills sought to undertake special research projects and various administrative tasks on behalf of one of Wall Street's most successful entrepreneurs.​

We would welcome applications from writers, musicians, artists, or other candidates who may be pursuing other professional goals in the balance of their time.​ We offer a casual atmosphere in a beautiful space, working as part of an extraordinary group of gifted, interesting individuals.​

The salary range is $90-110k/​yr (depending on qualifications), with significant upside potential and management possibilities.​ Please e-mail your resume to: mtgen2@​gmail.​com

Glad I googled this...

 
At 3:03 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Jack, thanks for adding this latest intelligence. It's been awhile since we got an update on this subject. Much appreciated.

 
At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Ivana said...

Here's another one:

www.jobview.nytimes.monster.com
11/12/2009


Job Description

Ideal Candidate:

Highly intelligent, resourceful individuals with exceptional communication skills sought to undertake special research projects and various administrative tasks on behalf of one of Wall Street's most successful entrepreneurs.

We would welcome applications from writers, musicians, artists, or other candidates who may be pursuing other professional goals in the balance of their time. We offer a casual atmosphere in a beautiful space, working as part of an extraordinary group of gifted, interesting individuals.

The salary range is $90-110k/yr (depending on qualifications), with significant upside potential and management possibilities. Please e-mail your resume to: mtgen2@gmail.com

 
At 7:58 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for the update, Ivana.

 
At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how did Ivana leave this comment at a date that has not yet come to pass?

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Sorry, I should have noted the error and corrected it. She actually posted that yesterday, and the date should have instead read 10/12/09.

 
At 1:16 PM, Blogger Josh said...

Tue. Nov. 24th 2009

One better...
Early October, I saw two ads on monster:
Personal Childcare Assistant = liveinmt@gmail.com
and Personal Assistant/Research Associate = mtgen2@gmail.com.

Sent my legitimate résumé(joshuavanderstel.com) to each address.

Now to scam the scammer... Went to Gmail and entered "liveinmt", clicked on "forgot password" and guessed "New York" to the challenge question "What city?"...

I was able to change the password to "pass123word" and log in! I discovered an inbox of over 300 incredible résumés. No legit email attached to the account, which is managed by Deborah Shapiro @ D.E. Shaw (dshapiro@deshaw.com) but there were several forwards in the "sent" folder to her and other D.E. Shaw addresses.

I went ahead and emailed my résumé directly to those addresses, who I assume are D.E. Shaw recruiters.

I left Miss Shapiro's challenge question in place so that she can regain control of the account, which she has, as of today.

I've received no response from anyone.

 
At 9:54 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Very interesting. Thanks Josh. Could you please drop me an email as well?
11/23/'09

 
At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just about to answer the ad. I knew there was something fishy about it. Thank God for Google and not waiting my time sending my resume. 12/08/2009

 
At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a quick update: the exact same ad appears in the exact same wording on one of the last pages of The New Republic's Dec. 30 issue. (Email given is again gen8R@spsfind.com).

I can't believe that even after Josh's hacking attempt, the thing is continuing...

2/11/10

 
At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and there was an article about it in the Huffington Post!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-felsenthal/whos-behind-this-ad-promi_b_166236.html

John, I guess Ms. Felsenthal beat you to it. But still a good read!

-Anna

 
At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I apologize, please delete my last comment -- it has obviously already been seen.
Thanks,

Anna

 
At 3:48 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, Anna. Much appreciated.

 
At 6:51 PM, Blogger Graham said...

March 3rd 20freaking10 and this ad is still running! I saw the live-in nanny ad on monster and had to google it. I was already imagining myself living in a free apt in Manhattan :( The email address they were using was liveinmt@gmail.com
Huge huge thanks to everyone who posted

 
At 9:53 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Graham, this ad has no doubt prompted tens of thousands of others (if not hundreds of thousands) to imagine the same thing. But you're the one in a hundred that's smart enough to Google it first, so at least be proud of that.

 
At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got a phone number back: 212-403-8135

 
At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ad is still running on Monster. I also got suspicious and decided to google the email -mtgen2@​gmail.​com

Can someone clarify and recap what really is going on?

 
At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone actually gone to interview for the nanny position? I had a phone an interview and when I accused the HR rep of a DE Shaw hoax she got really defensive, insisting that she just works out of the DE Shaw office and that it was for a real position. She then called me back and canceled the interview. I should have waited till the interview to ask probing questions. Oh well too bad.

 
At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's still out there (found on Monster.com):

Personal Assistant/Research Associate
About the Job

Ideal Candidate:

Highly intelligent, resourceful individuals with exceptional communication skills sought to undertake special research projects and various administrative tasks on behalf of a successful entrepreneur.​

We would welcome applications from writers, musicians, artists, or other candidates who may be pursuing other professional goals in the balance of their time.​ We offer a casual atmosphere in a beautiful space, working as part of an extraordinary group of gifted, interesting individuals.​

The salary range is $90-110k/​yr (depending on qualifications), with significant upside potential and management possibilities.​ Please e-mail your resume to: mtgen2@​gmail.​com

 
At 10:40 PM, Anonymous generic cialis said...

Interesting article, added his blog to Favorites

 
At 2:03 PM, Anonymous inapewetrust said...

found the ad on monster and, after a bit of googling, just stumbled across the post - what a fascinating thread! it's so interesting to see the tracking and the rare reveals over the years.

one thing that is unclear to me: if this is a hoax, what would the hoax be? i haven't seen anybody report any negative effects from responding to the ad (or accessing the email box, even). so why do we think there's any nefarious intent?

 
At 10:47 PM, Anonymous Alexandra said...

June 29, 2011 (!), and it's apparently still running. I too Googled it, specifically the most *unique*-sounding part of the ad, regarding the "casual atmosphere in a beautiful space..." And I then flagged it as "prohibited." Let's see if anyone else catches on and follows suit...

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, Alexandra. This ad is not merely just running, but it continues to run regularly in several very high-profile venues. The amount spent on placing this ad over so many years in so many places is simply staggering. But then, it's a drop in the bucket for one of the world's largest hedge funds.

 
At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Negative effects? Take a company like Google, who gets thousands of resumes each week. They can use the email addresses from this ad to eliminate resumes of those "dumb enough to respond to an ad like that!" In other words, they're not building up a mailing list... they're making a CHUMP list!

 
At 10:50 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I wouldn't be too hard on anyone who responded to this ad. After all, it's a tough economy for most people (though not at the top of the income tiers, as evidence by the bulging 360-page issue of the new September 2011 Vanity Fair, the biggest I can recall in years). Look at the glass half full: dozens of people who have spoken up on this string (and no doubt hundreds or possibly even thousands more) first Googled it, and found this warning.

 
At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really have to say that this whole concept of having fake job postings is really quite cruel. People are out of work and struggling to find jobs...many positions have hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants and its hard enough to find jobs to apply to. I think this is terrible. Does anyone know of somewhere that this could be reported?

 
At 3:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Almost Oct. 2011, the ad is still running in monster (see below) but the pay is now $20 per hour, free housing, and med insurance included. It's mean to post jobs in this day and age when so many of us are looking for a job.

Devoted professional couple with three wonderful, school-aged children seeks highly intelligent, amiable, responsible individual to serve as part-time personal assistant helping with child care, educational enrichment, and certain other activities at various times during afternoons, evenings, and weekends.​ Assistant will have a private room (in a separate apartment with its own kitchen on a different floor from the family's residence), with private bathroom, in a luxury, doorman apartment building on the Upper West Side, and will be free to entertain visitors in privacy.​


We would welcome applications from grad students, writers, musicians, artists, or other candidates who may be pursuing other professional goals in the balance of their time.​ Compensation will be at the rate of $20 per hour (on a pre-tax, fully legal basis).​ An aptitude for math and science is a plus, though not required.​


Three weeks of paid vacation will be provided per year, no charge will be made for rent, and health insurance will be provided.​ This is a year-round position for which we would ask a minimum two-year commitment.​


If interested, please email resume to: liveinmt@​gmail.​com

 
At 7:19 PM, Anonymous G said...

Well this blog is terrific! It is 10/12/11 & I was googling an ad I came across in the Yale Alumni Magazine and found you all. I also found the exact ad in Columbia, Harvard & U Penn alum sites. Additionally, in the Yale Alumni Mag there are only two "employment" listings: Personal Child Care Assistant, which is just like that listed in this blog with an email of nannypst@gmail.com and Research Associate/Personal Assistant with the same wording as Kerry's entry. That one has the email address, rapany@gmail.com. Josh's 2009 detective work was great. But I am mystified by these obviously linked ads & what D.E. Shaw is getting out of them. Good to find some community around it though, as it is somewhat disturbing.

 
At 12:25 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That's an outstanding contribution to the subject, G, for which I thank you profusely. That's a new one on me. But of course it makes utter sense for their strategy to also hit the Ivy League circuit with that search for brainpower. I'd do the same if I were D.E. Shaw (and of course if I had that nearly unlimited budget). Wouldn't you? Finally, glad you tipped your hat to Josh's amazing bit of detective work. I do hope I'll/we'll hear from him again soon. I'd love to meet you in person (meaning at least in email or phone chat) if possible some day. Thanks again everyone for your distributed knowledge. Combined, it's awfully powerful.

 
At 7:06 AM, Anonymous G said...

Email is good.

 
At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Mi said...

I just had a similar experience to "G"...in the Harvard magazine there are only two "employment" ads, and they are exactly the ads listed in the Yale magazine.

I was just spiffing up my resume...but I guess why bother?

This is irritating, but kind of intriguing.

 
At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Mi said...

Well,
I just called the Harvard Magazine...I was assured that a real live person posted this advertisement, and yes the nanny ad and the personal assistant ad were posted by one and the same.

The staff is now looking into the legitimacy of the position, and will let me know what they find out.. and I'll let you guys know too

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, Mi. If it's in the Harvard Magazine, I'm guessing it runs in all the Ivy League mags, since they have a mutual ad-sales service that allows advertisers to place ads in all of the magazines.

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger NinaStargirl said...

Popped up in the Stanford Alumni magazine Nov/Dec 2011 as well. It really kind of undermines the ethos of the magazine, though I guess they can't be expected to check every ad.

 
At 3:14 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, Nina. Stanford's technically not in the Ivy League, but obviously this ad is running in a swath of elite university pubs where the best and the brightest will find it.

 
At 3:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Posted in Nov/Dec 2012 issues of Penn, Princeton, U Chicago, Yale, etc...

RESEARCH ASSOCIATE/PERSONAL ASSISTANT New York City -Highly intelligent, resourceful individuals with exceptional communication skills sought to undertake research projects and administrative tasks for a successful entrepreneur. We welcome applications from writers, musicians, artists, or others who may be pursuing other professional goals in the balance of their time. $90 - $110K/yr. to start (depending on qualifications). Resume to: rapany@gmail.com

SCAM
I'd advise people to stay away from this. Even if the job posting was originally made by a hedge fund, rapany@gmail.com is not the original email address (this could now have a life of its own as scammers make copy cat postings with new email addresses riding the original wave).

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I hadn't thought of that copycat possibility. Anyone have any evidence of that? We prefer evidence to speculation.

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Alexander T. Smith said...

I found this same thing on monster.com
reply email was mtgen2@​gmail.​com
12/21/11
I can't believe this posting started in 2004 that's 8 years of the same ad!

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, Alexander. Boy, they're using LOTS of gmail addresses to try to cover their tracks, no? Doesn't seem to be working too well, though, thanks to all of you.

 
At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adding to the threads...just saw the same ads on research associate and nanny in the Harvard Alumni Magazine for the March/April 2012 issue. Interesting!

 
At 12:39 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Good catch, thanks. That means they're probably running in all the Ivy League alumni mags (which would be an obvious place for these ads), since they have a common ad-sales platform.

 
At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ad is also in Yale Alum magazine, March/April 2012 with the rapany@gmail address.

 
At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also the current Princeton Alumni Weekly with the rapany@gmail address.

 
At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw this in the Princeton Alumni Weekly, searched for the "rapany@gmail.com" email address, and ultimately found this post. Thought maybe its repeated appearance was a case of classified space there being cheap, but at $2.45 a word--I'm assuming they get a 30% off frequency discount from the usual $3.50 per word cost--running a 50-some word ad every issues isn't what I would deem a trivial expense.
Here is the link to the PAW's advertising policies for those curious:
http://paw.princeton.edu/issues/2012/04/25/sections/advertising/classified/index.xml?page=1&

 
At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating! My dad was reading Columbia's alumni magazine and saw the ad (rapany@gmail.com) and suggested I apply (May 2012). Eight years ago he saw a similar ad and I did apply and actually scored an interview. D.E. Shaw. The office was incredible, and the job offer did seem legit. Unfortunately, fate did not see fit to reward me with poodles and Park Avenue.

 
At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ad's legit. I scored an interview, though also wasn't found worthy.

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Yes, we've certainly established that the ad is legit, however unusual it might be. I hope either or both of the last two commenters will return and tell us more about those interviews.

 
At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, the experience was just as weird and intriguing as the ad itself. First off was the reception area. The cathedral ceilings throw scale completely off, dwarfing the visitor... http://tiny.cc/ne5pew It does convey a sense of power and high-tech savvy, but it also seemed dated. A young, very polished woman took my jacket. I looked her up later and she'd been a child actress in at least one film that I'd seen. Everyone was very nice in kind of a cult-y way. I was led to an office in the middle of a floor full of empty workspaces. The guy who interviewed me was a lawyer and said he still worked part-time on the side, and that that was an accepted part of the culture. Mr. Shaw had basically unlimited money thanks to the success of his hedge fund, but he did not have unlimited time. To create more time, they were staffing up for personal assistants who could handle everything from getting Knicks tickets to making dental appointments. We both figured out it wasn't a match early on, so we had a nice conversation instead. And somewhere in that building I guess my resume still sits...

 
At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, it's like out of a Murakami novel. I love it! More intrigued than ever now. And thanks for the visual!

 
At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ad was in the May/June 2012 Brown Alumni Mag classifieds. email: nannypst@gmail.com

 
At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup. July/August Harvard Alumni mag. Thanks for solving this mystery!

 
At 9:48 AM, Blogger danila said...

... and from the D.E. Shaw website:

The D. E. Shaw group has made a conscious effort to build a carefully selected team of uniquely talented individuals, each among the very best in his or her profession, rather than a larger group of highly competent but less obviously remarkable personnel. To this end, the firm continues to allocate an unusually large portion of its operating budget to the identification and recruitment of truly exceptional individuals who might significantly add to its capabilities. Hiring is extremely selective, with only one candidate in several hundred ultimately invited to join the firm. ...

Work-life balance is a big deal at the D. E. Shaw group. Current employees include the 2003 U.S. Women's Chess Champion, a Life Master bridge player, and a Jeopardy winner, along with a number of writers, athletes, musicians, and former professors. Over 100 of our employees hold Ph.D.s, almost 40 are entrepreneurs who previously founded their own companies, and approximately 20 percent are published authors whose work ranges from highly technical papers in specialized academic journals to award-winning mystery novels.

 
At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's November 7 2012 and the ad for personal/research assistant is still running on monster.com.

Email address to send resume to is as in past: mtgen2@gmail.com

Kudos to Josh for his research skill sin gettign to the bototm of it. Had this been a real research job, Josh would have heard from them. Or in a legal sense for hacking. But since he hasn't, I assume they knew what they were doing wasnt too kosher themselves and didnt want to take the legal route of defense for hacking. enough said.

 
At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://therealdeal.com/blog/2012/08/01/hedge-funder-spend-75m-on-westchester-manse/

 
At 9:51 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for that news link, dear anonymous. An interesting addition to the subject.

 
At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw it on Monster today for San Diego. Reported it as fraudulent. Weird that Monster doesn't screen. Thanks y'all!

 
At 12:29 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

12/30/'12
I don't know that it's fraudulent as much as it is that there's more (or maybe less?) than meets the eye to this ad.

 
At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good evening,
I also found this 'job' posting on Indeed.com. After I revamped my resume to submit in response, the nagging feeling that this is too good to be true kept nagging. So, I decided to 'Google' mtgen2@gmail.com and found this blog.

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw it on Monster in NY today.. this thing just keeps going

 
At 4:43 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

1/8/'13
It does kind of make you wonder if this ad will ever stop being widely propagated. Can you imagine how much they've spent by now to place all these ads? It's gotta be WELL into six figures, possibly approaching seven figures. Just kind of makes one shake their head.

 
At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, just replied to the posting (NYRB)... Address is nyrgen@gmail.com
Will let you all know if I get an interview :D

 
At 4:40 PM, Blogger Alexander J. Allison said...

Same as above! (15/02/2013) Really not clear as to whether this is legit or not.

 
At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ad is also being published in the Columbia magazine- most recent publication for Feb '13- using the email rapany@gmail.com. Incredible that it isn't being flagged.

 
At 7:56 PM, Blogger Grace said...

I enjoyed reading this unfolding, informative blog on a somewhat legendary ad. Kudos John! This definitely has the potential to be a good plot for a future suspense novel.

 
At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was also just posted in the UPenn alumni magazine (Jan/Feb 2013 issue), using the email rapany@gmail.com.

 
At 1:13 AM, Anonymous diana said...

It's current on Monster. What a cruel hoax to play on people who are looking for work. Can anything be done about this?

 
At 10:41 PM, Anonymous Melissa said...

03/19/2013 - I just found this ad on monster... same wording as the original ad back in 2004..the email address is also one that has been used before - mtgen2@gmail.com.... I also found this posting fishy so I googled it and found this blog. It is almost chilling to think that this ad has been circulating since 2004..very eerie.

 
At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

04/23/2013 - Appeared again in the New York Review of Books. I'm glad to have found this blog. Hard to believe this ad is about nine years old now!

 
At 10:03 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

4/23/2013--No, we've just been tracking it here for nine years, but I believe the ad began running several years before that. Can anyone help us find the earliest sighting of this ad with some detective work in the archives?

 
At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Kristi said...

This is horrible. As of 5/17/2013, the liveinmt@gmail.com has been posted AGAIN! This is quite infuriating. This time it was posted on Monster.com, which was forwarded to me via email by FindHire.com. Here's the link: http://bit.ly/12gDZfx

 

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