[Politech] Forbes runs a stunning series of articles on fighting bloggers [fs]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Tue Nov 01 2005 - 10:50:33 PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: stunning series of Forbes articles on blogging...
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 14:39:58 -0700
From: Joseph Lorenzo Hall <joehall@private>
Reply-To: joehall@private
To: Dave Farber <dave@private>, Declan McCullagh <declan@private>

Forbes is running a rather stunning series of articles about how
bloggers can damage corporations... here are some snippets.  Man, the
second one is styled as a "what you can do to protect yourself" piece
and they even recommend sending DMCA takedown notices to blog sites
that use your copyrighted material!  Which is how Diebold Election
Systems Inc. ended up paying the EFF about $125,000 for "copyright
misuse" (under 512(f)). -Joe



Attack of the Blogs

Daniel Lyons, 11.14.05

Web logs are the prized platform of an online
lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies,
libel and invective. Their potent allies in this
pursuit include Google and Yahoo.

Gregory Halpern knows how to hype. Shares of his
publicly held company, Circle Group Holdings,
quadrupled in price early last year amid reports
that its new fat substitute, Z-Trim, was being
tested by Nestlé. As the stock spurted from $2 to
$8.50, Halpern's 35% stake in the company he
founded rose to $90 million. He put out 56 press releases last year.

Then the bloggers attacked. A supposed crusading
journalist launched an online campaign long on
invective and wobbly on facts, posting articles
on his Web log (blog) calling Halpern
"deceitful,""unethical,""incredibly stupid" and
"a pathological liar" who had misled investors.
The author claimed to be Nick Tracy, a London
writer who started his one-man "watchdog" Web
site, our-street.com, to expose corporate
fraud.He put out press releases saying he had
filed complaints against Circle with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Halpern was an easy target. He is a cocky former
judo champion who posts photos of himself online
with the famous (including Steve Forbes,
editor-in-chief of this magazine). His company is
a weird amalgam of fat substitute, anthrax
detectors and online mattress sales. Soon he was
fielding calls from alarmed investors and
assuring them he hadn't been questioned by the
SEC. Eerily similar allegations began popping up
in anonymous posts on Yahoo, but Yahoo refused
Halpern's demand to identify the attackers. "The
lawyer for Yahoo basically told me, 'Ha-ha-ha,
you're screwed,'" Halpern says. Meanwhile, his
tormentor sent letters about Halpern to Nestlé,
the American Stock Exchange, the Food & Drug
Administration, the Federal Trade Commission and
the Brookhaven National Laboratory (involved in Circle's anthrax deal).



Fighting Back

Daniel Lyons, 11.14.05

You Can't stop bloggers from launching an allout
attack on you or your business if that's what
they decide to do--but you can defend yourself. Here's how.

MONITOR THE BLOGOSPHERE. Put your own people on
this or hire a watchdog (Cymfony, Intelliseek or
Biz360, among others). Spot blog smears early,
before they can spread, and stamp them out by publishing the truth.

START YOUR OWN BLOG. Hire a blogger to do a
company blog or encourage your employees to write
their own, adding your voice to the mix.

BUILD A BLOG SWARM. Reach out to key bloggers and
get them on your side. Lavish them with
attention. Or cash.Earlier this year Marqui, a
tiny Portland, Ore. software shop, began paying
21 bloggers $800 per month to post items about
Marqui, while requiring them to disclose the
payments. Marqui's listings soared on Google from
2,000 to 250,000 results. Never mind that one
blogger took the money and bashed a Marqui marketing strategy anyway.

BASH BACK. If you get attacked, dig up dirt on
your assailant and feed it to sympathetic bloggers. Discredit him.

ATTACK THE HOST. Find some copyrighted text that
a blogger has lifted from your Web site and
threaten to sue his Internet service provider
under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That
may prompt the ISP to shut him down. Or threaten
to drag the host into a defamation suit against
the blogger. The host isn't liable but may skip
the hassle and cut off the blogger's access
anyway. Also:Subpoena the host company, demanding
the blogger's name or Internet address.

SUE THE BLOGGER. If all else fails, you can sue
your attacker for defamation, at the risk of
getting mocked. You will have to chase him for
years to collect damages. Settle for a court
order forcing him to take down his material.


Who is Pamela Jones?

Daniel Lyons, 11.14.05

The blog mob loves to spout off about First
Amendment freedom, except when it seeks to
deprive foes of the same. And so it was that
bloggers came to the defense of one of their
own--a mystery woman named Pamela Jones--and
succeeded in having a story about her retracted
and getting its author all but fired.

Jones has become a star in the blog-riddled Linux
software movement. Her blog, Groklaw, sprang up
in 2003 to cover a Linux-related lawsuit that
software firm SCOGroup had filed against IBM. It
cranks out lengthy articles, and it archives every document filed in the 

Jones describes herself as a journalist, yet her
blog is unabashedly pro-IBM, insisting from the
start that SCO's claims are groundless. She won't
discuss her background or reveal where she lives
or even confirm that Pamela Jones is her real
name. Her Web site is registered through a proxy
service in Arizona that shields her identity. PJ
(her nickname) lists no phone number and won't
say how she funds her operation.


Joseph Lorenzo Hall
PhD Student
UC Berkeley, School of Information (SIMS)

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