Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A 'Paid Basher' Exposed by Overstock.com Stalker

Overstock.com's stalker-in-residence, "director of social media" Judd Bagley, is hot on the trail of what he and his boss Patrick Byrne call "paid bashers" -- the term they employ to deride critics of Overstock.com.

Stalking, intimidating and demonizing critics of his boss is Bagley's job, in addition to running Overstock.com's antisocialmedia.net smear site. Indeed, one of the enduring hypocrisies of the ongoing Overstock train wreck is that Bagley is an open, proud and lusty "paid basher," and the evidence that anyone is "paid" to criticize his company's unethical and possibly illegal conduct is nonexistent.

Posting yesterday on a stock message board, Bagley went on a lengthy riff "outing" a particular Overstock critic, and concludes as follows:

"If [this screen name] isn't a paid bashing scammer, then there must be no such thing."

Fair enough.

Apparently Bagley was not aware that this individual's identity is well known, and is in fact disclosed (under a similar screen name) on the Internet. I'm sure it will take Bagley more than "10,000 moments" to find that out, as he did in falsely saying that Bloomberg's Susan Antilla is wed to a hedge fund magnate.

Bagley's "paid basing scammer" is anything but, and indeed is a well known and respected Internet investigator who is close to officials of the Securities and Exchange Commission and has received a lot of publicity. This would have been obvious to any ten-year-old child with Internet access, but it eludes Bagley. I'll keep mum on the identity of this person, just to see how long it takes for Bagley to recruit a ten-year-old child.

This would be funny, if it weren't for the fact that a public company is behaving this way, flaunting the most basic corporate ethics. You really have to wonder whether Overstock's directors are deaf and dumb. It is indisputable that they are blind.

UPDATE: Bagley had not found that ten year old child by the following morning. I'll keep you posted as developments warrant. Meanwhile, Seth Jayson observed at the Motley Fool (subscription required):

I wonder if [Bagley is] smart enough to know that the entire "paid basher" myth was hatched by the dirtbags who were pumping BIFS [Technologies Corp.] back in the day.

Of course, there were no paid bashers, just a bunch of greedy scammers pumped and dumped.

But let's not let facts get in the way of a great paranoid fantasy.

OSTK shareholders: You pay this man to think about this stuff.

© 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, gary-weiss.com.

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