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David Thorne is an Australian comedian best known for orchestrating pranks through his personal website 27bslash6. The success of his online pranks led to publication of several humor books, including the New York Times bestseller The Internet is a Playground.
David Thorne launched 27bslash6 in December 2007, using the name as a reference to the apartment address occupied by author George Orwell while he was writing the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Thorne saw his first bit of attention when his article “I wish I had a monkey” was shared on the then-popular humor website aggregator Bored At Work in the fall of 2008.
Seven Legged Spider
Seven Legged Spider (a.k.a Paying Bills with a Spider Drawing) refers to an email exchange that took place in October 2008 between David Thorne and bill collector Jane Gilles. After Gilles contacted Thorne seeking an overdue payment of $233.95, Thorn responded with a poorly drawn spider with seven legs in lieu of actual payment. The exchange continued over the course of six days, during which Thorne drew a new spider with eight legs, which was still not accepted by Gilles.
The post was shared on Digg that November, where it gained more than 3,600 diggs (upvotes) in three days, resulting in hundreds of thousands of visits, causing Thorne’s server to crash. Thorne then chose to auction off his drawing of the seven-legged spider on eBay, where it sold for $10,000. Following the auction, other eBay sellers began auctioning off accessories for the spider including hats and robes for $5 each.
Kate’s Birthday was an open Facebook event organized by Kate Miller to celebrate her birthday on May 1st, 2010. Though she only intended to invite some close friends to her apartment, she accidentally made the event public. On April 21st, 2010, Thorne tweeted a link to the Facebook invitation, resulting in more than 30,000 RSVPs in a matter of days. After reaching 60,000 invited guests, Facebook shut the event down and Thorne revealed he had orchestrated the whole thing himself to entertain people.
In June 2010, Thorne shared an email exchange between himself and Shannon Walkley, who wanted Thorne to make a missing poster for her lost cat. Thorne offered several movie-style posters (shown below, left) or posters with photos of another cat (shown below, center) before Walkley ran out of time and had to accept a poster featuring her cat wearing a hat (shown below, right). The exchange has been referenced on a number of blogs including Jezebel, Wired and the Washingon Post.
David Thorne was born on February 23rd, 1972 in western Australia. The success of his blog lead him to publish his email exchanges and essays into the April 2011 book The Internet is a Playground: Irreverent Correspondences of an Evil Online Genius, which debuted at #4 on the New York Times best seller’s list. He released a second book in April 2012, containing material that had not been previously available online. Thorne maintains an active Twitter account, as well as a Facebook fan page for 27bslash6, which has more than 181,000 likes as of June 2013.
Digg – I do not have any money so am sending you this drawing… Archive from November 10th, 2008
News.com.au – David Thorne and the mysterious spider drawing email