When Al Gore invented the Internet, not even he could possibly have fathomed all of the wonderful things that it would soon give us. And I'm not just talking about downloading all of Nickelback's old albums for free. I mean, who the hell would want to do that? I'm also not talking about kiddie porn, poop porn, horse porn, pee porn, clown porn, puppet porn, ping-pong porn, Jai-alai porn, Star Wars porn, X-Files porn, Tetris, Matrix porn, or elf porn. And I sure as fuck am not talking about downloading Nickelback's NEW album.

I'm talking about meeting people. Whether you're looking for other people to join whatever fruity Gene Simmons fan club you want to start, trying to find some more people who are convinced that The Matrix and The Blair Witch Project are real, or just plain old looking for some good old fashioned fresh-out-of-high-school vagina, the Internet has unfortunately become the place to go to find other people just as sad as you.

As history has shown us, wherever there is money to be made off of loneliness and misery, some Jew will go make it, and use it to buy more razor sharp yarmulkes and Star of David shaped laser guns to use in their nightly crime fighting activities. People are social creatures, and that often creates opportunities to exploit people.  Newspapers have personals ads, clubs have singles nights, and Jergens makes hand lotion. Loneliness is a big moneymaker and, sure enough, singles websites were quick to jump all over the action.

And jump they did.

At first, many of these sites were free. I mean, sure, there were a few thousand pop-ups and banners for every letter in the site's URL, but that was back when webmasters made more than fifteen pesos per banner per year to cover bandwidth costs. Yes, that was many moons ago. You remember…back when Napster was all cat's pajamas, the world learned and laughed along with the cast of Seinfeld, people could almost tolerate Lars Ulrich, and I was dating that one chick who kept keying my ex-girlfriend's car.

Soon, these personal ads sites were charging a monthly subscription rate. Most of them offered one-, three-, and six-month packages. How depressing would it be to get the six-month package? You are so fucking pessimistic about your chances of landing some hot poontang (that's the medical term for vaginas that us smartay people use), that you were convinced that it would take you half a year of your life to find someone stupid enough to date you. And what if you found your soulmate within a week? How were you going to use the rest of the six-month period, other than trying to change your account over to female, and trying to organize an all-pervert poker night?

By this time, as some of you have realized by now, personals and porn websites have rendered every single instant message program useless. Something like 60% of all the ICQ "users" had become fake screen names registered to redirect people to some sort of site hoping to profit from the pure liquid sadness. Around 20% of the Yahoo! Chat rooms have now turned into porn bots randomly spewing out the URLs of whatever company the lazy half ass'd programmer who made the bot was working for whenever he wiped the Doritos off of his ass to do it. So pretty much every single person legitimately looking to bang another equally legitimate person is pretty much shit out of luck when it comes to meeting someone in their area, unless they…y'know…walk outside….

So now that the personal ad and porn companies had finally cornered all of the lonely intarweb users into a hole, they had another, more infinitely brilliant idea: Instead of offering monthly subscriptions to their site, they charged you by the number of people you contacted. Sort of like the way hookers work, but without having to drain and reuse all those condoms.

But when does this plan turn nefarious, you ask? Why, might you ask, did the focus of personals website advertising take such a quick and obvious turn from aiming at men and women equally, to only the most sad and horny of men? Simple. Since they had begun charging per person you contact, they could overload the site with fake advertisements, using pictures of attractive men and women that the site owners had ripped from various places on the web, along with attractive descriptions of interesting hobbies and lucrative careers, and then watch as dozens of people paid to respond to each ad.

What's worse, due to the airtight privacy policy that those sites come armed with, no one could ever possibly prove it. You could never demand the IP address or credit card information for any given ad on any given personal site, so the companies are free to create as many well-crafted, perfect-looking ads with absolutely no repercussion in sight. As easy as it would be to create fake profiles with fake pictures on the Internet, if it ever made it to court, the company could simply claim that someone else had created the ad, and that their policy claims no responsibility for the content of any given ad, and make no promises as to their integrity.

As all of you remotely familiar with the content of PIC might guess, I am absolutely unsympathetic to sexual deviants looking for pussy online. But I also believe that stealing is stealing in every single sense, and of all the kinds of theft, the most frustrating is the kind that no one can prove has ever taken place. Besides, this isn't even taking into account the honest, legitimate single men and women who have careers and children who simply might not have any more time to look for dates elsewhere than the 20 minutes they have to themselves at the end of each evening. These people are being fucked over just as badly.

Thankfully, scams have their own way of slowly becoming more and more well-known, and less and less effective. But since thousands of new people are introduced to the Internet all the time, thanks to AOL and the like, Internet scams are truly going through a renaissance right now. As the years pass, and people become more careful with their money, this scam too will pass. But before that happens, someone has to start the ripple that becomes the wave. And it was me. NOW who's going to spend their life begging for change outside of adult bookstores in Katy, huh Mom?!

Join comedy classes at The Second City: Writing Satire for the Internet, Sketch Writing, and Writing for TV & Film start Feb 29. Use code "PIC" for 10% off by phone.