Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Joys of 'Muzzling' Overstock's Critics

Responding to questions posed yesterday by Sam Antar, Overstock.com's resident stalker Judd Bagley has favored us all with a job description of his position as "director of social media." It is required reading for anyone following the increasingly bizarre Overstock saga.

As you can see, Bagley has been tasked with harassing, "muzzling" and "emasculating" critics of his boss Patrick Byrne, stalking them and planting spyware. (So as to make Byrne's critics "think twice before opening any email or following any link.")

I'm not kidding. He not only said all this, he boasted about it.

Bagley also took a stab at damage control -- to rationalize the fact that he is a walking P.R. disaster and legal liability -- by claiming that he has been trying all along to actually reduce negative attention directed at Byrne.

Obviously, if Bagley had wanted to throw himself under a bus for his boss, he would have openly run Overstock.com's antisocialmedia.net smear site rather than cowering behind an elaborate system of phony IDs .

If that was indeed his strategy, it has been a miserable failure. Far from diverting attention from Byrne, he has done a very good job of attracting negative publicity for Overstock and his boss. There have been three negative press articles so far -- all trashing Byrne, Overstock and Bagley -- in addition to the blog spanking he is getting from myself and others ("Sleazey McSleaze.")

None of those articles would have appeared, and many of the items in this and other blogs would never have seen the light of day, were it not for Judd Bagley's good work.

What's his next spin, I wonder?

UPDATE: The following day. Byrne engaged in a desperate effort to create "deniability" and shield Overstock from liability for its corporate smear site. In the process, as usual, he just dug the ditch deeper -- admitting that Bagley has not been doing the "social networking job" for which he was supposedly hired.

The story now is that Bagley was "reassigned" the day he started work.

How about that! He's locked himself into quite a fish story, as Internet sleuth ScipioAfricanus points out.

The doubletalk ("I don't read what Sam Antar wrote, but here is a reply") is classic Byrne. Ditto for the loony ranting and paranoia, though this "tools of Satan" and "dead man's switch" stuff is over the top even by Byrne standards. He is clearly a frightened man -- and justifiably so.

P.S. Bagley has said he is trying to divert attention from Byrne. Do the above paragraphs meet that goal?

© 2007 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.


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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