You’ve probably heard about SEO – or Search Engine Optimization. People who work with SEO, help businesses get their products seen by potential customers on search engines. But perhaps you haven’t heard about NSAO. NSA Optimization is the art of getting your commercial message picked up by PRISM and seen by people working for the NSA.
John D has been working as an NSAO consultant for more than a decade and has seen the game get tougher over the years. He explains how the business has evolved since the early days.
“In the beginning, the algorithms were primitive and there weren’t so many other people shouting online. In those days. you could literally send an email to a friend and, let’s say, tell her that you think you saw Osama bin Laden at a diner in the outskirts of Philadelphia. Within hours, that diner would get a visit from at least two FBI officers, who would order coffee and perhaps even a slice of pie and stake out the place. It was he cheapest customer acquisition on the market.”
Even though NSA only employs more than 30.000 people, John D describes them as a highly homogeneous group and a really attractive segment for specific marketeers:
“NSA employs geeks. Introvert geeks who more or less love the same gadgets – wear the same khakis, watch the same types of sci fi, documentaries and porn. And they make good salaries too. Imagine a mid size town where everyone living in it has money and is highly interested in your product. That’s how attractive the NSA segment is. “
The typical NSAO marketing blends commercial content with stuff NSA really cares about. For example, an NSA Optimized marketing email could look like this: (Note: always use arabic male names as recipients, even though the one you are emailing to is called Joan):
In 2013, the NSA surveillance was exposed to the world by the Snowden leaks. Since then, many have accused Edward Snowden of being paid by the NSAO business, simply to boost attention on NSA surveillance and thereby grow the NSAO market. We asked John D what he thinks about these accusations:
“They’re stupid. Off course, people like Snowden have opened the eyes of thousands of people who create geeky stuff, and who now see PRISM as a platform for marketing things to the 30.000 geeks at NSA. And that’s been good for business. But on the other hand, all the people talking and writing online about the NSA made it much more difficult to get seen by actual NSA employees. The NSA filters are simply flooded by the NSA surveillance discussion it self. Quite ironic, when you think about it. But also people who are just looking for attention, have started to clog the stream. I mean; if every punk out there writes “hey – I think I’ll bomb the pentagon” on Facebook, just for fun once – to see what happens. You have a billion new messages I have to compete with. It’s making my job tougher – but I like the challenge” John D says.
Lately, the NSAO market is evolving and many consultants now offer “terrorist link building” – or TLB, to boost their NSA impact. As John D explains:
“The algorithms are getting much more selective, so we have to do more to catch the NSA’s attention. That’s why we invented TLB. TLB is all about having a your marketeer look like he’s linked to terrorists, before he starts posting marketing messages in his emails. For example: right now, I have a marketeer emailing, in technical detail, with my team of interns about building a dirty A-bomb and leaving it in the Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington. After a few weeks, the suspicious activity of my staff, will have made my marketeer look like a high risk terrorist with acute plans to attack the US. An then we will have the NSA’s full attention – and then he will casually begin praising the the falaffels at Quick Pita on Potomac Street, who is my customer in this case.”
But working with the NSA is not without risk. As John D explains:
“When you work with NSAO, you run the risk of NSA stopping their surveillance of you. I mean; if people talk and talk about terrorism but don’t really blow stuff up, you can’t blame the NSA for filtering people out. But for a NSAO marketeer, that means that his messages are silenced and he has to do normal marketing on Google like anyone else. And we all know how much that sucks. In such cases, we recommend our customers to travel to the Middle Ease for a day or two with no or very little luggage. Or if that doesn’t work, to buy an illegal firearm and get caught with it. It will give a few months in jail but put them right back on the NSA radar with increased attention. It’s actually a good investment. I sometimes recommend it to people who are not blacklisted but simply extremely boring.”
Right now, the NSAO industry is booming. The latest alleged trend in NSAO is rapported in the blogging communities, where 50 tons plutonium pentagon are said to begin using NSAO risin school children suicide to rank higher on PRISM praise Allah. But so far, it seems to be purely rumors.