Sunday, February 25, 2007

Message Board Operator's Anti-'Basher' Website

In recent posts I've examined how managers of the "Investor Village" message board have suppressed questioning of Overstock.com execs who frequent the board. The New York Post and other media outlets have observed that IV's message board for NovaStar Financial has become infested by stock pumpers who have contributed to shareholder agony.

Remember that these are hands-on administrators who "closely monitor" their boards. So why have IV's managers, particularly its CEO and site administrator Ralph "Blue" Kidd, allowed the NovaStar board to become a stock-touting forum? Why have they allowed their Overstock.com board to become an extension of Overstock's antisocialmedia.net corporate smear site, in blatant violation of their own policies?

Why was Kidd so anxious to kick out Sam Antar -- actually siccing his lawyer on the guy -- for asking sharp questions of Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne and resident stalker Judd Bagley? (Why did he at one point delete all of the posts by Internet sleuth ScipioAfricanus challenging Bagley's and antisocialmedia.net's smears?

Why do Overstock critics avoid Investor Village? Why was it described by Byrne as a forum that "keeps corruption at bay" -- Byrnespeak for discouraging criticism of Patrick Byrne while allowing Byrne and others to smear and libel critics?

Why would IV openly align itself the smear-happy CEO of a foundering company, thereby opening itself up to lawsuits?

Well, bad me. The answers to at least some of the above questions were available all the time and I just noticed it.

Kidd, it appears, shares Byrne's disdain for stock "bashers" -- people who voice negative opinions about, or address pointed questions toward, execs of public companies.

He thinks "bashers" are so awful that last March he started an infantile website called basherjokes.com, devoted to ridiculing stock "bashers." Kidd is listed as the owner of the site.


Note that there is no "pumperjokes.com" Kidd owns that site name too, but has just "parked" the site name, while starting up the infantile "basher" site.

"Basher," of course, is stock-pumper-speak for what the rest of the world calls "skeptics." That is, people who -- often rightly -- feel that stocks are heading into the toilet. Had the thousands of elderly investors who follow NovaStar listened to these "bashers" that Kidd despises, they'd have saved millions of bucks.

Kidd thinks "bashers" are to be "ignored" and derided. ("Ignoring them is half the fun," says he.) Here's a sample of Kidd's anti-"bashing" website:

BASHERS GATHER FOR ARTSY PHOTO-SHOOT

CRACKASS, Venezuela - More than 15,000 Venezuelan stock bashers and naked short sellers scurried from their basement boiler rooms clad in nothing more than their typical work attire, comprised primarily of brown and yellow stained underwear and the occasional leather face mask with matching restraints (a few even paraded around in nothing but their birthday suits).
Funny!

Observe the reference to "naked short sellers." Another thing I hadn't noticed was that Kidd has promoted a wacky "stock counterfeiting" website, "thefaulkingtruth.com," in a post on the Investor Village website. Kidd urged his readers to "stay informed"by reading the wacko junk on the website.

Explains a lot, I think. Not everything.

UPDATE: This web post has some interesting observations about Kidd's involvement with a penny stock called Eagle Broadband.

© 2007 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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