For those that saw the comedic satire The Interview, you may already be familiar with the term “honeypotting” or the far more vulgar alternative. Honeypotting refers to putting desirable attributes upfront to lure a person in then taking away those attributes to accomplish one’s own self-interests. It was a major theme in the comedy which uses the term with men and women doing it to each other. However, I’ve been using it to describe television shows honeypotting the audience; such as TruTV’s Kart Life. The show is about the youth go-kart circuit. The first couple episodes showed some likable families, good rivalries, and a lot of karting. Recently, they’ve pulled those desirable attributes but I’m committed enough to keep watching and the producers who did the honeypotting have a viewer they may not have. This is common with reality TV where producers lure the audience in with the promise of a juicy fight that may not even happen in that episode. A final example in the entertainment industry is with comedy movies. Some felt that The Interview was an actual attempt at honeypotting with a movie. Granted there were a lot of conspiracy theories with this movie but comedies do have a history to luring an audience in with all the jokes in the commercials and then the movie not being good. All these examples lead to a person or consumer feeling cheated. Honeypotting is a good method to get one time customers but they will likely not return or spread good word of mouth.
Honeypotting has also been used with computer systems. In this case, the outcome is for the good of the system and to “trap” hackers. An attractive file is put into the system that a hacker would find desirable. Once the hacker penetrates the system, what he thought was desirable is no longer available, and the person that created the honeypot file can now do the manipulating. Both versions of honeypotting play on deception which is never a good business model.