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ParkRidge47 Mystery Solved by HuffPost

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, March 21 2007

My hat is off to Arianna Huffington and her crew for figuring out who made the "Vote Different" Hillary 1984 video mash-up, and even better for getting Phil de Vellis, its author, to say more about his reasons for making the video.

He clearly states that he was working as an independent in his spare time (even though as an employee Blue State Digital, a political technology firm with a contract with the Obama campaign, he should have avoided this territory; he's since been fired by BSD). And his reasons for making the video are eminently noble: "This shows that the future of American politics rests in the hands of ordinary citizens." Spoken like a true small-d democrat.

I'm glad that de Vellis decided to come out of hiding behind a pseudonym, though I am worried about his loss of privacy. This afternoon, Arianna had called me asking if I had the IP address for the email I had received from ParkRidge47 two weeks ago, and I told her that I didn't since it was internal to the YouTube system. Turns out by then she already knew who he was, as I discovered when I called her back this evening.

I asked her how they unearthed de Vellis's identity, and she told me: "We issued a challenge in a company-wide email yesterday, and people took it very seriously. The emails started flying. When I called you we had the name but we wanted to verify the IP. We ended up verifying it another way, and then I called Phil and told him what he had discovered. There was a stunned silence. And then I asked him if he would blog for us about why he made the video. It's a new world, isn't it?"

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