Crikey loved the tale of the toddler who bought a $15,000 bulldozer on online trading site TradeMe:

Three-year-old Pipi Quinlan bought a $NZ20,000 ($A15,600) Kobelco digger on auction website TradeMe, prompting immediate damage control by her mum when her purchase was revealed.

Most parents are used to little ones sneaking treats into the supermarket trolley, but Pipi’s deal must take the cake.

Parents Sarah and Reid Quinlan, of Stanmore Bay north of Auckland, were astonished to wake one morning to find Pipi had bought the huge excavating digger in a TradeMe auction.

The technically savvy kid had woken early and, with the rest of her family sound asleep, decided to play with the computer.

The story originally appeared in the Fairfax owned New Zealand publication Rodney Times. It was then published in The Age. Oh how we laughed about cute, cherubic, technologically savvy Pip! We bookmarked it, we forwarded it on, it was a Thursday highlight…

But this morning an eagle eyed Crikey reader directed our attention to the post-script:

Fairfax Media, the publisher of this website, also owns TradeMe.

Our tipster wrote:

The electronic viral marketing trend is getting ridiculous. I used to work for the ad agency that did the “best job in world” campaign, and am now studying for a post grad journalism degree at RMIT. We spend a lot of class time talking about the direction in which journalism is headed. This morning, I choked on my muesli when I came across this in The Age. Is it there to act as a catalyst? Am I unwittingly acting as an agent of infection? It’s got as much potential to make us sick as swine flu.

And as far as viruses go, this one’s a global pandemic:

Here it is on Harper’s Magazine, the UK’s The Register, the Tweed Daily News, Ninemsn,, USA Today, BigNewsNetwork, and um, TIP (the Tuzlanski Info Portal), Bosnia’s hottest news site:

The story also jumped to, but for some strange reason, they declined to name the auction site…

But it seems Fairfax’s New Zealand publications have form on this. Key “TradeMe” into Google News and this “story” from Fairfax’s New Zealand Herald pops up (without any disclaimer or declared conflict of interest):

$1 reserve tractor on Trade Me comes with free farm

Or this on Fairfax’s

Counties rugby put themselves on TradeMe

And speaking of online diseases, Mumbrella thinks there’s something about Clare the Bogan that smells funny:

Questions have been raised about whether newly minted online sensation Clare Werbeloff is a “fabricated bogan”.

Justin Polites, a digital planner at media agency Starcom MediaVest, has raised several questions on the company’s blog after looking into the story.

Werbeloff became an online celebrity after her colourful recounting of a shooting involving a “fat wog” and a “skinny wog” went viral.

But Polites asks whether Werbeloff may in fact be working with specialist agency The Projects, which specialises in marketing to young adults. The Projects appears to be linked to the PR company now representing Werbeloff, and Polites has also dug out a staff photograph on The Projects website that includes somebody who looks like Werbeloff.

Viral marketing, vested interests and self promotion tricked up as news — nothing new to see here folks. But here’s a Wankley anyhow.