I’ve been a fan of Steven Seagal on Facebook for several years now, for obvious reasons. (Steven Seagal is the most interesting man in show business, if not the world.) In the past, this connection just meant that his name would come up under “common interests” when I happened to be Tinder-swiping a lady who was especially compatible.
Then about a week ago, strange links began showing up in my timeline. The links were to your typical clickbaity listicles (“Signs You May Have The HIV Infection” “Amazing Google Hacks Which Will Change The Internet!” “Two Men Try To Stuff A Giant Anaconda Into A Bag But Wait”), but with a new fly-by-night content provider. The site was calling itself “Warrior Zen,” and it had Steven Seagal’s name right under the masthead. The links were shared by Seagal’s verified Facebook account, along with a short tease that I automatically read in Seagal’s trademark codeine sensei rasp:
SEAGAL VOICE: “What were they thinking?”
Link: Two Men Try To Stuff A Giant Anaconda Into A Bag But Wait
SEAGAL VOICE “Warning Signs”
Link: Signs You May Have The HIV Infection
SEAGAL VOICE: “They were lucky that’s all it wanted.”
Link: Alligator Interrupts a Picnic Lunch and Steals Sandwich
Amazing. But also, I had to wonder what gives? Has Steven Seagal started his own BuzzFeed? Or more accurately, his own Buzzfudge? Are we witnessing a historic convergence of fringe celebrity and fringe internet #content? The answer, it seems, is yes.
On the WarriorZen website, which I bravely risked contracting browser herpes just to visit, alllll the way at the bottom, past the links for “She Runs This Loaf Of Bread Under Water And The Reason May End Up Saving You Money” and “Ring Stuck On Finger? Engineers Find Way To Solve,” there was a footer link for something called “Providr.” Which was credited as WarriorZen’s “Celebrity Internet Media Partner.”
This must be the company that built “WarriorZen.com.” Over on Providr, there’s a pitch to “partner with Providr.”
Celebrities make money, build audiences and become internet entrepreneurs by partnering with Providr to create media companies. They do this while maintaining and building their brand integrity. [Providr.com/Corporate]
Providr claims it wants to help you “Build a media company at NO COST and NO RISK that can be sold for millions of dollars,” “Connect with fans by publishing curated content that contributes to your brand development,” and “Grow your Facebook likes up to five times faster.”