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About that Fox guy who wants to be your Facebook friend …

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Have you noticed the same annoyingly familiar face popping up in your Facebook friend requests lately? A guy with the first name Fox, and a different last name each time that’s often a city — like Sanger or Selma? Sound familiar?

For the past few months, he has been friend requesting me like crazy. I’ve seen other people in town complaining about him too.

In real life, he’s Fox Elipsus, a musician from England. And though, he lists his “current city” as Fresno on many Facebook profiles, he’s actually just some guy trying to build fan bases in different cities. As the mutual friend counter has shown me, he’s duped many local folks.

Once I figured out what he was trying to do, I collected his various friend requests for two weeks. I currently have nine variations of this Fox guy requesting to be my friend. That’s in addition to another 10 or so I’d previously ignored. Sorry, Fox Firebaugh and Fox Roeding. Denied!

I was curious whether he was actually fixated on the Fresno area. Were we the key to his plan for music biz domination? Or was he doing this sort of thing all over the state? The country? The world?

So I sent him an e-mail:

Subject: Dear Fox person

Good morning. I, like many others in the Fresno area, have noticed you’re trying to become our friends under various different Facebook accounts, each with a different last name.

While I ignore them, I think it’s at least worth a blog post, because you’ve got people in Fresno talking about you. To be fair, I’ll warn you that this blog post might mock you and your social media strategy.

However, I’d at least like to ask you some questions about why you’re so incessant about becoming friends with all these different people in Fresno.

Best,
Mike


He responded quite quickly. I guess that’s not surprising, since a guy with that many Facebook accounts has stay close to the Internet.

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Hi Mike!

Even though some people don’t like the marketing techniques, what I’m doing (the messages, and sleeping in the car and playing for free and such), is a very positive thing, so I don’t think it makes sense to contribute to an article that is going to be negative about me. You can write whatever you want, it’s a free country. I prefer to spend my time building things rather than tearing them down.

Fresno has been so negative in its reaction that I’m actually not coming to town in December after all, but I might try again in January or February. Most states, particularly in the Midwest, the Mountains, and the South, are amazingly positive, supportive, and overwhelmingly welcoming to me and what I do, but the coasts are always rough and I accept the bad with the good.

Take care
Fox


So I responded:

Fox:

I don’t think anybody has anything against what you’re doing musically, or your touring technique. I think most people — such as myself — feel it’s pretty spammy to get friend requests from you under a dozen different names. If it was one, OK, maybe.

I wish you luck, but the marketing technique makes it seem super insincere. If you’re doing this all around the country, you must have — what — hundreds, maybe thousands, of Facebook accounts? How do you keep up with that? Or do you even try? I think a lot of people would feel duped if they knew what you were actually doing.

Again, best of luck. But you’ll understand why I ignore them all. If you do come perform in Fresno, let me know, Preferably not though Facebook.

Mike


And I have not heard back from him since. I will, however, keep you posted should he decide to come perform for his hundreds of confirm-button-happy fans in Fresno.

Responses to "About that Fox guy who wants to be your Facebook friend …"

Tami says:

OMG!!! I thought I was the only one getting BOMBARDED!!! LOL Too funny!!!

Brian L Baker says:

Interesting story, Mike. I realize now that I had previously denied a couple of requests from various Fox characters, because he didn’t look familiar. However, the Fox Carozza personae intrigued me enough, for some unknown reason, to actually look at his page and read what he said.

I was intrigued, I spent some time studying Oxford, so he hooked me there. I like the message he was supposedly promoting. I thought the approach of drumming up buzz prior to a show creative.

However, even once I friended him, I thought the lack of samples of his sound on his FB page, completely unimaginative. To create a buzz, people need to know what you sound like, for free, and then they will start passing the word and “friend” him.

The massive amount of FB accounts he must have, however, just waters down any message he might be pushing, and leaves him seeming disingenuous.

Thanks for the heads up – to us, and him. If he’s good, and comes to town, I’d go listen.

Donald Munro says:

Awesome post. I had wondered for weeks now who this guy was, and, in fact, I kept thinking to myself: “I have to ask Mike Oz.” And you answered my questions without me even asking. You are indeed the Blogfather today.

Great engagement factor here Oz. I can’t believe this guy would go to all that trouble with FB personal pages & not use other methods of social media marketing. I really would like to know how he manages all those profiles! Then – to what end? To private message their inboxes once a user “friends” him?
Does anyone have experience AFTER they have friended him?

james says:

Mike, you’re nicer than me (but we know this already). I sent him a message wishing him luck, but criticizing his marketing techniques, and let him know that I was flagging all of the accounts. I then did just that.

adam says:

Interesting. Clearly, he’s been successful (or he claims to have been successful) with this method.

With the growth and power of FB and as Mike says, users who are “confirm-button-happy”, how can anyone criticize his methods other than to say they don’t work for the individual complainer on a personal level? He’s adapted to the market and seems to be utilizing this new, if annoying, technique to his benefit.

Even this post, with it’s mildly negative tone and the comments with their negative tone are giving him publicity and adding to the buzz.

Successful marketing campaigns happen all the time, even in the face of large groups of people who hate them. See PETA or Carl’s Jr. Highly offensive, and yet, apparently successful enough that they don’t stop.

james says:

Buzz is great, but it’s only a successful marketing campaign if people take the desired action – in this case, that would entail attending a performance. Otherwise, all those “friends” don’t mean a thing.

adam says:

Did you look at the list of tour dates on his site? He claims that his music is his life 24/7 and that he truly loves it. He travels the world over and is subsisting somehow. If that isn’t success, then I guess I don’t know what success is.

Ryan says:

Anyone who is willing to put this picture on the cover of his album and be proud of it is OK in my book:

http://www.elipsus.net/images/THE_ROAD_COVER_resized.jpg

Ha says:

He’s a genius!
I would definitely go to his show to throw things at him.

The Fresnan says:

Well done, Mike Oz.

What a douche that guy is. Totally avoids what you’re really asking him about. Then when you directly ask him, he ignores you.

Geeeee, I’m sooooo bummed he’s not going to come to Fresno this month. Way to scare off a genius, Mike Oz.

Jeff says:

Received two friend requests, one from Fox Reedy, and another from Fox O’Neill. Between the two, we share approximately 40 mutual friends.

james says:

I see a list of days he’s going to be in different cities next year, but only about a dozen actual performance dates. I’m not saying he’s not successful – if he’s happy, good for him. That still doesn’t make his Facebook outreach successful.

Annette Ash says:

There’s been a lot of rumors going around about who this guy really is. Thanks for looking into it Mike. Frankly, Fresno doesn’t need anymore guys who don’t know who the heck they are, without any money, living in their cars, coming into Fresno and giving good musicians here a bad rap!

adam says:

I just think it’s interesting that Fresno has such a collection of social media gurus and that not three months ago we were celebrating web innovation with the Frebby Awards.

Yet, here is a fellow who is, according to his website, attempting to share his music with people using FB in an innovative and different way. And here’s Fresno to self-righteously smack him down, mock him, call him a douche, and staunchly tell him, “you’re doing it wrong.”

Why?

Because you got some spam requests? S**t, I’ve been deleting spam for over a decade. Sure, maybe he’s annoying and you don’t like the way he does business, but he actively engaged Mike and very politely declined the interview, citing his reasons. If you don’t like it, don’t friend him, but after reading this short thread, I don’t blame him for not wanting to come to Fresno.

bradley says:

Spam is not a recent innovation Adam.

Miguel says:

At least he stuck with ONE name for the album cover

bradley says:

pt:

You have a natural instinct to root for the underdog, but i feel your sympathies are misplaced here and don’t stand up to previous standards of authenticity I have heard you champion.

james says:

Adam, I don’t see anyone on here calling him or herself a social media guru (if that’s pointed at me, you won’t find anything close in any of my social profiles, either). Instead, you have at least a few social media *users* who don’t like how a person is using tools that are intended to be interpersonal and tied to individuals. I’ve criticized businesses and local nonprofits for abusing Facebook’s terms of service, and I think I’m justified in criticizing Fox ____, as well.

I’m not really sure how any of this ties to the Frebby Awards, but as one of the creators, I’ll point out that the event was aimed at people “setting a standard for how the web is used.” If this tactic proves to pack shows for someone’s self-funded performance journey, maybe it’ll be nominated next year (assuming a Fresno connection can be argued). But creating a few dozen accounts to con people into trusting someone/thing isn’t innovative – that’s been done (online) for years, as you’ve pointed out.

Advertising and promotion are tied to trust. If I trust a brand/person/performer/cereal/whatever, I’m receptive of the message and more likely to engage with said brand/person/performer/cereal/whatever. If that trust is violated, I’m going to be averse to the message. By creating multiple accounts, Fox violated my trust, because I know no matter his musical talent, he can’t manage “relationships” effectively with 10+ personas.

I also didn’t care for his music, but I guess that’s beside the point.

Arkayz says:

Watched one of his videos on his web site. The tribute to John Lennon’s Imagine. I think the entire video’s visuals are taken from the movie Baraka.

Layne says:

Should I be offended I haven’t received any requests?

Brian L Baker says:

He didn’t say that spam was a recent innovation. In fact, he said he’s been “deleting spam for over a decade.” I myself have been deleting spam since 1993 – almost 2 decades. Man I’m old and that’s a lot of spam.

Anyway this guy tried a different way. It failed here in Fresno and not so much elsewhere, he claims.

I don’t think it shows much about either Fresno, or elsewhere, it just is what it is.

bradley says:

From Adam’s own post:

“Yet, here is a fellow who is, according to his website, attempting to share his music with people using FB in an innovative and different way.”

adam says:

But I don’t believe his intention is spam.

I think his intention is to create, what are essentially, local fan clubs. And that isn’t really new either (though maybe his particular method for a solo act is). I just think the response doesn’t really fit the offense (and I’m not necessarily speaking about Mike’s post here, moreso some of the comments and feelings from others). Actually, kudos for Mike’s observational skills and ability to piece the puzzle together.

adam says:

I do tend to root for the underdog. And I don’t sympathize with Fox so much as I am frustrated by the response from those who are quick crucify the guy, people who I share Fresno with.

Mike Oz says:

This is the heart of the issue for me: The fact that he says on all these pages that he’s from Fresno and he’s not.

It’s not a HUGE deal, but I think it has future consequences. I’m sure there a good number of people who will friend local artists because they’re local. So what happens when you realized you’ve been duped by this guy and he’s just pretending to be local? Are you gonna not friend the next local musician? Is it going to make you think that musicians on the Internet are just spammy friend whores? (After the MySpace era, can’t blame people for that).

adam says:

I missed the part where he’s claiming to be from each locale. It was my understanding that he was trying to create groups for each place he wanted to visit as a way to sort of build buzz in front of his arrival.

If he is misrepresenting himself as a local musician, then I have totally different feelings about what he’s doing.

james says:

I don’t believe I fit the label of someone nailing this guy to a cross, but I’m going to remain critical of his communication tactics. Intentional or not, it’s spam, and I don’t respect it.

adam says:

See my comment on Mike’s below for where I may have diverged from others’ perceptions about how he was operating.

ed says:

mike,
i’m a little curious, does he say he’s from other cities when soliciting friends there? is there a way to know?

regarding the post, good job. i had seen several tweets by james about this guy but didnt know what it was about (like layne i wasn’t cool enough to get a friend request :p ) so thanks for filling in the picture for me.

finally, as a person who speaks to groups about the use if social media, would you consider yourself a guru? i mean, i’d love for someone to calle a guru of something.

Karma says:

i too was feeling a little left out of the loop, until i realized that i had added “fox o’neil” as a friend.
oops
*unfriend*

Mike Oz says:

It’s a bit hard to track down this stuff from other cities. Most times I looked Facebook directed me back to the Fresno profiles, because it’s smart like that.

But there’s one for Fox Seattle, which has Seattle as its current city:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/profile.php?id=100000499206763

Who knows how many there are out there. I was genuinely curious, which is why I sent him the e-mail. I got to this one by typing in Fox and picking a city at random. Hit on the second try.

As for the “social media guru” question — I would never call myself that. In fact, I started one social media talk by saying “I am not a ‘social media guru.’ ”

IMO, it’s a pretty self-serving, often exaggerated title. I kinda look at “social media gurus” — unless you’re some big national person — like the people who go door to door trying to clean your carpets.

JLH says:

He’s NOT coming to perform here????? DAMN….I was so excited to hear about him NOT selling any tickets for whatever it is he does.

Brian L Baker says:

Point taken. Though, I do not think he was talking about spam, per se, but a marketing strategy that you, at least, perceive as spam. :)

adam says:

My underlying feeling about it all is that I think it’s very easy for us to have a hair trigger about other internet users. The tendency, in my experience, is to assume that someone doing something we don’t like or agree with is automatically malicious in their intent.

His marketing strategy may indeed be piss poor, but that isn’t necessarily because he’s trying to dupe other users or abuse the system. It’s completely possible that he is naive about media etiquette. I know I’ve had my fair share of admonishment on the issue of social media and its uses from myriad people.

We’ve become hardened I think and Fox’s response to Mike didn’t read to me like someone who is malicious or abusive. But then again, none of us know the guy so it isn’t really fair for anyone to assert one thing or the other about his character or knowledge.

james says:

I’m cynical towards just about anyone online, at some point or another, but I haven’t accused Fox of being malicious. Annoying? Yep. Naive? Maybe. Disrespectful (of Facebook’s terms)? Sure. But I get that he just wants people to connect to his passion.

I did say that he violated my trust, and that stands. No malice needed to do such a thing.

Yvonne says:

I clicked the link to his website. The music is horribly lame. I’m not feeling bad for denying his friend request.

However, his epic Scott Stapp face is totally awesome.

MsJoey says:

I personally don’t believe he’s Fox anything.
I think he’s creepy Timmy T trying to glom on to some other lackluster image.

mike says:

you’d probably have to be jewish to fit that description….ziiing!

kiel says:

“remove from friends”

mike says:

Is this S.Ryan? Because, if it is, I truly admire the method and uses of your research. If not…well played sir….well played.

Tom Cotter says:

You beat me too it Mike. Nice one. We had 44 friends in common. I added him after request. Then realized what was going on…duh. Deleted.
Plus, anyone that has a longer FB Bio than mine is questionable, ha.

Michael says:

Man I feel left out. I’ve never received a friend’s request from him. It’s like 2nd grade all over again when I got picked last for dodge ball.

Itsmaurice.com says:

I addded him the first time and I do support artist and their work, but unfortunately when he added me with another name I just ignored and never looked up his music.
Thanks Mike!

Jessica says:

The first time I got the request, he said he attended the same high school as I did. Seeing as I don’t list my old high school on facebook & my graduating class consisted of about 70 people, none of which were him, I was highly suspicious from the start.

After that first ignore, I received several others under various names, the last one being Fox Ashlan, one of the cross streets near my home, also not info available on FB.

So, the question remains, how does he have time to tailor all these requests and based on what info? Does he just find one sucker & try to friend all their friends, and all their friends’ friends?

Creepy.

vika.99 says:

I haven’t seen one request from him- perhaps because I have so few Fresnans on my FB at this time, but I wouldn’t accept him anyway. I would report him- not because trying to gain a fan base outside your area is bad, but I hate liars and it’s against FB rules to have more than one FB account.

Christy says:

Okay, now I feel stupid. While I didn’t get a friend request from this guy, I did begin to notice a few of my facebook friends (from Fresno) had recently became friends with a “Fox O’Neil”. I admit his “Scott Stapp” looking picture intrigued me, so I decided to check out his profile. When I saw he was from Fresno, (or so I thought), I actually sent *him* a friend request. I asked him if/when he was going to be performing in/around Fresno anytime soon. He quickly accepted my friend request, but never answered my question. Now I read this blog and feel like a total dork. I will be deleting him post haste.

Beth Bridges says:

I’d be interested in seeing a list of all his aliases. I’ve blocked as many as I can, but would be interested in a preemptive move to stop the rest.

Oh, and I’m not sure if I’m happy or annoyed that there’s no Fox Clovis, haha.

Kasper says:

This is not marketing. This is spam. It is also illegal in several countries and against Facebook’s TOS. Why are you people sitting here discussing this when what you -should- be doing is reporting every account you can find, en-masse, so we can keep annoyances like this from turning FB into the new myspace…

It’s people like this that are the reason most social networks are such a joke.

Paul F says:

Lying is not innovation. Deception isn’t either. This kind of “marketing” is creepy, and would have no chance of creating real success.

This behavior is the biggest problem with the net – the ability to lie to people, which encourages future distrust.

Complete fail.

Bonnster says:

He’s doing it in Tucson as well. I received 6 requests from different Fox aliases. I’m usually very careful about only accepting friend requests from people I know, but I guess I was a sucker for a traveling musician headed our way, so I accepted the first one. I’ve now unfriended that one and reported all of them, but it looks like he’s sent friend requests to a lot of my friends as well.

Bonnster says:

After reading more about him on this blog, I did some searches…pick almost any city, and he has created an alias…Fox Portland, Fox Seattle, Fox Austin, Fox Vail, Fox Denver, Fox Flagstaff, Fox Phoenix, Fox Tempe Mesa, Fox Benson, Fox Bakersfield, Fox Springfield, Fox Orlando, Fox Toronto, Fox Quebec, Fox Sydney, Fox Melbourne, Fox London…I’m sure there are thousands of aliases. He probably does this to get around Facebook’s friend limitation. I agree that this is really creepy. I’m guessing he has made millions of dollars though and isn’t likely to be sleeping in his car. Where does anyone find enough time to create all of the aliases and then mine for friends all over the world?

Andrew says:

Funny thing is I have heard about Facebook closing profiles and deleting thousands of friends for much less than this. They have a strict rule about using profiles for spam and business marketing. Is the boy genius Mr. Zuckerberg asleep at the wheel on this one?

Jax says:

I’ve gotten at least a dozen friend requests from this guy, and in my case, his last name is always towns in West Texas, where I’m from. I used to just deny them, now I report him for spamming and block him. As I understand it, Facebook regularly removes his pages, so he is constantly starting anew.

Sounds like a pathetic life; a half-*** hack musician who doesn’t have enough talent to get the attention of others on merit, so he spams them pervasively instead.

Hey Fox, get a life, loser.

sd says:

he’s everywhere in my state – CT – and to me, he was very suspect from the start, but i think he’s harmless. his last name is Salehi. google Fox Salehi or check him out on twitter – @foxsalehi. yeah, I took my researching to the next level because i thought he was spamming us or something. I looked at his website and saw tour list and it’s like he’s performing 365 days a year, sometimes he’s going to multiple venues in multiple states within hours of one another which seemed impossible given the distance. So i called one of those venues in NYC and they hadn’t heard of him. anyway, so far he seems harmless…and his singing sucks!!

Debra Gibson says:

Hi Mike Oz, I saw your message about Fox Elipsus. I just want to let you know that I have met him and he is real. He is from Oxford and puts on a fantastic performance. He is very sincere and amazing~My husband has been in the entertainment industry for years~doing such shows as Phamtom ~ Hello Dolly ~ Beauty and The Beast~and I took him to see Fox (loved him). I’m sorry, Fresno is missing out if he doesn’t come there, because he is great!
Try looking him up on youtube. You will see how sincere he is. I did ignore a couple of his FR, but one finally hit a cord and am so glad that it did.
Hope you give him another chance.
I am Debbie Gibson and not the singer (I had the name first and I don’t sing, but my husband does lol)
Thanks for listening~just wanted to set the record straight!