Monday, December 18, 2006

Patrick Byrne's No. 1 Fan is Hired By..... Guess Who?

A reader email caused me to ponder the following: If you were running an Internet closeout retailer that was gushing red ink, what kind of top executive would you hire?

A. A marketing specialist with extensive experience in closeout retailing?
B. A wiz at Internet commerce?
or
C. A guy who runs websites that attack your personal enemies and push your "stock market conspiracy" fantasies?

If you're Overstock.com CEO/conspiracy theorist/ journalist-taunter/short-and-analyst-suer/miscreant-blamer/ Worst CEO-wannabe Patrick Byrne, this is what you call a "no brainer."

Seems that in August 2006, in the midst of Overstock's disastrous third fiscal quarter, Byrne reached out to the gentleman pictured above, Judd Bagley. Bagley is highly qualified to be "Director of Social Media." He runs a slimy website called "businessjive.com," and an even grimier, now defunct blog called "Trailer Park Rave."

In both sites, this obscure flack and ex-traffic reporter has pushed Byrne's paranoid "stock counterfeiting" conspiracy theories and engaged in juvenile attacks on Byrne's enemies. Here's an apparent Bagley post on a Yahoo message board in March ("Big Idea PR" is a Bagley enterprise) spamming a moronic "businessjive" video ridiculing Byrne's enemies.

Another post from "bigideapr" encouraged people to click on a paid Google ad from Overstock critic James Cramer that appeared on the "sanitycheck" stock-conspiracy website. The aim, as you can see, is to soak Cramer while benefiting an ally of Byrne. Such antics are discouraged and, sometimes, prosecuted by Google.

More apparent Bagley message board spewing can be found here. Those with a strong stomach can peruse a particularly revolting Bagley-created attack video from June, this one employing Bagley's grade school sense of humor to mock Herb Greenberg. It can be found at www.businessjive.com/nss/marketshuffle2.wmv (if it hasn't been yanked).

As you can see, Bagley is responsible for some awfully sophomoric, mean-spirited stuff. "Garbage," you might say. A perfect "director of social media"!

Oddly, this appointment wasn't announced by Overstock when it happened last August. Seems like a great hire to me, filled with all kinds of synergies, and a fine use of Overstock's ample (as long as those secondary offerings keeping coming!) cash.

UPDATE: After this item appeared, Internet sleuths found evidence that Bagley runs an anonymous website that stalks Byrne's Internet critics and publishes vicious smears about me. See this subsequent post.

In an article on January 2, the New York Post identified the stalker website as "aided and supported by the management" of Overstock.com, including Bagley. See this update.

Wall Street Folly has a cute illustration that sums up the foregoing (sans update):



Update: Bagley later confessed to running Overstock.com's antisocialmedia.net smear site. See this subsequent post.

© 2006 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its Amazon.com listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site.

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