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We have previously covered the ‘mystery’ surrounding the so-called ‘Chad UFO Drone‘ sightings, and the associated CARET document with its alleged alien glyphs, which have received a fair amount of air time courtesy of journalist Linda Moulton Howe and various ‘paranormal radio’ shows. Well, it may now finally be solved – and as we thought, it looks like a viral marketing scheme. Computer hardware company Alienware (a subsidiary of Dell) has been running a competition around the release of two new laptop models, where entrants must decode the same ‘alien glyphs’ as found in the CARET document. The competition page and hint pages also make use of the same vector illustrations found in the document. Yesterday’s press conference to unveil the new laptops also made use of the glyphs (which spell out ‘Alienware’) – the ‘logo’ is also apparently inscribed on the computers themselves.

However, the ‘true believers’ out there are still wary of seeing this as the final nail in the ‘Drone’ case – and they have received some support from Alienware themselves.A query by a member of the Open Minds Forum to Alienware, about their use of the glyphs, received this response from their PR Director:

Thank you for your email. It’s great to hear that our promotion has reach out to you and your Forum group regarding the CARET document. Alienware did NOT create the information regarding this phenomena or the CARAT linguistics. This is NOT an intellectual property of Alienware. The information has anonymously spread throughout the web for some time. We have taken the CARAT linguistics and have applied this as a marketing tool to draw attention to our promotion.

This has led some to believe that Alienware have just ‘hijacked’ the CARET meme for their own benefit. There may be some grounds to support this, in that the Alienware ‘alphabet’, when applied to the CARET documents for decoding, only turns up gibberish (on the flipside, the viral marketers may have been wary of someone cracking the alphabet previous to now, giving a reason for the gibberish).

However, I find it very hard to believe that a company like Dell/Alienware would use glyphs and illustrations that are floating around the Internet without any knowledge of the true copyright owner…otherwise they could be looking at a very nasty lawsuit down the track. Some have suggested that they could get away with this due to grey areas in font copyright law, but this would not extend to the illustrations used.

Additionally, in the message from the PR director CARET is spelled correctly once, and then ‘CARAT’ is substituted afterwards. It is worth noting that Carat is the name of a major advertising and communications company, which has as a subsidiary a digital and viral marketing wing named Carat Fusion.

If it was a viral marketing scheme, it didn’t seem to work out too impressively – the glyph decoding competition is already finished, and most of ufology was none the wiser. The CARET meme didn’t seem to spread outside of the ‘true believer’ section of ufology (most serious researchers simply laughed at the whole thing), so the audience was very limited. And those ‘true believers’ who were aware of it – and thought it was evidence for alien contact – are probably not impressed at all with Alienware for tricking them (apart from those who continue to believe that Alienware have just hijacked the meme).

Perhaps there might be more to come – Alienware computers are aimed at the high-performance gaming market, so there may be a tie-in with an upcoming game which is yet to be revealed. However, at this point – unless an original creator (or aliens) comes out and sues Alienware for breach of copyright – it seems safe to put this one to bed.

At least it made for good art – especially the derivative music video “Strange Craft”, by Drone (CGI work by Saladfingers).