In 1999, with the power of big corporations growing seemingly unchecked, big corporations themselves also seemed to be growing unchecked. Then as now, big corporations grew by gobbling up smaller ones.
Could the burgeoning web allow individuals to insert themselves into this process and “acquire” corporations – even for a short time?
In the Plagiarist Acquisitions project, plagiarist.org “acquired” twenty-seven of the world’s largest corporations by making their websites appear as subdomains within plagiarist.org, and simply listing them on a webpage. . (Uncensored list here.)
As it turned out, some of those corporations didn’t like it when their plagiarist.org-acquired “divisions” started to beat out the actual companies in search engine rankings. . (Late 90’s search algorithms just weren’t set up for challenges to the usual order of the web.) A gaggle of fax-wielding corporate lawyers descended on CalArts, where Amy was employed and hosting plagiarist.org at the time. The lawyers demanded that the Plagiarist Acquisitions page be removed. Technically it was – and replaced with “censored” documentation as well as special entertainment – some of it geared specifically for what server logs revealed was plagiarist.org’s attentive new attorney audience.
Details archived in Amy’s Rhizome post from the time.