Today, the New York Post gives a name and an address -- Overstock.com -- to a particularly grimy anonymous Internet stalker.
The stalker in question is a slick, professionally designed website called antisocialmedia.net, and it has posted grotesque, paranoid, convoluted lies about me and other critics of Overstock.com in a sneering, menacing, "we're going to crush you" kind of way. I described one of its fairy tales here.
Antisocialmedia recently began hounding private citizens whose sole offense is criticizing Overstock and its grotesque CEO Patrick Byrne.
Despite this site's careful attempts to guard its anonymity, the Post was not fooled:
Internet retailer Overstock.com's war against its critics is taking an ugly new twist, as a Web site aided and supported by its management is leveling sharp charges against two Internet message board posters.A few days ago I described how Internet sleuths had tracked that site to Overstock.com "director of social media" Judd Bagley. Byrne himself provided corroboration, by responding with a carefully worded non-denial when asked if the site was run by Bagley.
This corporate smear campaign is a kind of clumsy, low-rent version of General Motor's effort to harass, stalk and discredit Ralph Nader in the sixties.
Anonymously harassing people over the Internet is a federal crime -- even when, as in this instance, the anonymous stalkers are cowering behind a sheet of cellophane.
GM wounding up eating crow, apologizing to Nader and paying damages. Given the miserable state of Overstock's business, as reflected in its share price, I doubt that there will be much left of Overstock when the smoke clears -- except the stench.
UPDATE: On Jan. 3 the market reacted to the Post's revelations with a hearty 6.5% tumble. Meanwhile, the "Overstalk" website came out with another fairy tale, this one concerning my wife. Evidently the Overstalkers took a real UN correspondent scandal and changed the names to suit Byrne's vendetta. The real story can be found here.
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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