Sickest. Site. Ever.

Usually when one sets up a parody website, they at least have the courtesy to indicate someplace on the site that it is in fact a parody. Unfortunately I was unable to find such a disclaimer on this one, and since there are actually people sick enough to use the internet for buying and selling underage brides, I am seriously forced to wonder even though my bullshit detector is going crazy.

Marry Our Daughter

Parody. Please. Be a parody. The tone of the testimonials suggests parody. Please. Cuz if it's not, I seriously hope there's a hell so that these people can burn in it.

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I was SO scared getting married so young, but my husband is an okay guy and I am SO proud that because of me my parents were able to get their first brand-new car and take the trip they always wanted to. I couldn't have done it without your site!"

Katrina K., married at 14

Our 15 year old daughter Mary wasn't very popular and did nothing but mope around the house bringing everybody down, so we decided to marry her off through your site. Now our house is a lot cheerier and we love our new swimming pool and Jaccuzi! We've told our youngest that when she turns 15 we're going to marry her off too!"

Mrs. James P.

My mother thought I was getting 'too frisky' and that I had to get married right away before I lost my purity to some high school boy. Marry Our Daughter found me a husband and my parents were able to keep their house and pay off my mother's medical bills. I was so glad I could help them, and being married at my age (I'm 16 now) has a lot of advantages, like my own credit card!"
Nancy A.

The rest of the site seems genuine, but I think these testimonials are way over. Parody! Isn't it?

I'm 99% sure that it is, and 1% of a complete loss in my faith in humanity.

I pointed out the testimonials (particularly the trailer one) as evidence it's fake as well--but even the Snopes article can't say 100% for sure.

It's definitely a mystery site. I lean towards the idea it's either some sort of e-mail harvester, or else is a sting-type operation by law enforcement.

The problem with the e-mail harvesting hypothesis is it seems far too much effort, unless you're trying to harvest a specific profile of visitor. Presume that, for a moment, and ask: Who'd want to harvest possible perverts? I suppose there are several answers to that one, but the one I like best is "law enforcement". The main reason I like that idea is the professionalism of the site's source, combined with the lack of clews in that source as to who wrote it.

The source to the site is very professional looking, and probably done by an expert. There are, however, three oddities that I noticed:

(1) The list of keywords is a typical p0rno list (preteen, virgin, sex, underage, naked, et al.). The snopes discussion list also claims there is similar hidden text albeit I didn't spot it.

(2) The source to the proposals page contains commented-out (disabled) code to bid (i.e., to enter the "bride price" the bidder/proposer will pay).

(3) There are no copyright notices or other hints as to the author (in the source), except for those of the tools used. Given the apparent professionalism of the site's source, I find that extremely odd.

The site is active in some sense; i.e., it is doing something with the e-mail address (at least) you enter in a "proposal". If you enter a valid e-mail address--create a temporary one someplace--you get back an autoresponse to a "proposal":

Subject: Your Proposal Has Been Recieved!
Marry Our Daughter has received your Proposal and will review it.
If we find it sincere and appropriate, we will forward it to your prospective bride.
This process may take several weeks, so please be patient.

"Received" really is misspelt in the autoresponse. (The snopes discussion list suggests the e-address will start receiving large amounts of spam. That has not yet happened to the e-inbox used to obtain the above quote.)

I realise that guessing this might be a law enforcement sting is very close to a conspiracy theory, and that there are many other explanations.

The spelling is correct: received.

By The Obnox (not verified) on 09 Sep 2007 #permalink

I have no idea if this particular site is a parody or a scam. I do know that there is a brisk traffic in children being sold to American slavers. The initial contact is frequently through web sites and chat rooms.
This site does not have the earmarks of a law enforcement sting.

By thebewilderness (not verified) on 09 Sep 2007 #permalink

"Received" is spelt "Recieved" in the subject line. That is wrong.

It is spelt correctly in the body of the message.

Snopes is now reporting the site is definitely a hoax:

The site's primary purpose is pretty obviously to pull some legs and yank some chains. And in fact, the site's creator, John Ordover (who has conducted a number of radio interviews in which he pretended to be the site's fictional publicity director, "Roger Mandervan"), has acknowledged that he did indeed set up as a parody intended to draw attention to inconsistencies in state marriage laws.

Parody or horrible social commentary, it is noticeable that one of the reasons the "bride" is happy is the now ubiquitous "medical bills."

I didn't see this mentioned in any of the above comments: the site now has an "about" page which clearly expresses their slant. The creators are incensed over marriage laws permitting girls to get married younger than the age of consent, and they came up with Marry Our Daughter as a way to shine a spotlight on the problem. It seems like they've disabled some of the site's features -- I don't see any photos, for example, nor any place to give a bid.

Whilst there's no immediately obvious date, the current "about us" page is probably a recent addition. The content of the site has clearly evolved; e.g., that "about us" page refers to Snopes explaining the real purpose of the site. As Tara (e.g.) mentioned, even Snopes, at first, wasn't sure (which matches my memory); ergo, the current "about us" page, at least in part, quite probably postdates the discovery of the site's real purpose.

In short: The Web changes. Comments made in early September are overtaken by events and can be outdated a month later.