By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Jul 19, 2006 at 3:20 PM
There's nothing like an illegal sign posting campaign to get traffic to your Web site.

Or is there?

Every few months, I notice someone has plastered my route to work with cheap-looking, photocopied signs that say something to the extent of "Single?"

And time after time, I make an annoyed face, thinking to myself that someone should stop these jerks for illegally littering my beautiful Milwaukee streets -- then I never bother to check out the site.

But, since I like to keep abreast of the Milwaukee dot com scene (no pun intended), I actually remembered to look up the URL today.  And the actual site seems as much of a scam as the little placards that dot Lincoln Memorial Drive.

Why anyone would provide their contact information to a generic site with intro text like this is beyond me.  The only copy reads:

"Without cost or obligation to me, please review my personal profile form below and tell me more about being introduced to quality single men and women through Milwaukee Singles ..."

Other than that, the design sports a few generic (and probably stolen) clip art photos and a "submit my profile now" button.  No "about us" page, no terms and conditions, no nuthin.'

So I looked a bit deeper, inspecting the site's source code.

With such persuasive meta tags (what some search engines use to index sites) I can't imagine what single person wouldn't immediately cough up their phone number, and presumably their credit card:

"Singles Service @! provides dating services to Singles. Meet other singles on Search for members that are Catholic, Single and are looking for Dating, Chat Room, Chat and Catholic Dating Service."

Hmmm.  That's odd.  Nothing about Milwaukee.  And this so-called looked even shadier, with embedded search engine optimization words like "torture," "kinkvision," "spanking" and other less polite words.

Coming up snake eyes on a Milwaukee connection to these sites, I went one more step deeper, looking up the registrant information for the domain. Seems this classy portal is owned by a "1 & 1 Internet, Inc.," of Chesterbrook, Penn.  And is just a domain registration reseller … which is when I stopped looking and moved on with my day.

So maybe it's some Amway-esque pyramid scheme that employees a college student posting signs to gather personal information for questionably sinister motives -- maybe it's something else. Maybe they're making $500 a day or have access to a sum of money left to them from a Nigerian dictator.

But there's nothing Milwaukee about -- other than the occasional Milwaukee landscape it blights when some dude sticks their cheap signs all over town.

Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.