Saturday, March 22, 2008

Patrick Byrne Spams Customers With Wikipedia Obsession


Overstock mass email posted on The Consumerist

I've been ignoring Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne's increasingly bizarre antics lately, even as they have become sicker and sicker. After all, his nuttiness is designed to divert attention from his ailing company's financial woes, and besides: how much creepiness can one blog endure? But this post in The Consumerist website piqued my curiosity.

Seems that Byrne has sent a spam email to his unwary customers on his latest paranoid fantasy, that Wikipedia is "an instrument of mass mind control." One can only imagine the number of customers who have been driven away after reading that.

One Consumerist reader commented: "So if I buy from Overstock, I get a bargain on a cosy down comforter *AND* my money helps support crazy people so they keep entertaining me for years to come? Bonus."

An ordinary (as opposed to completely comatose) board of directors might not see it that way.

Anyway, Overstock's corporate governance is a lost cause. I'm posting this not out of a desire to make fun of the man (he accomplishes that all by himself), but in the hope that some friend or close relative of Byrne might wander by and read this. The word "intervention" comes to mind. Please! This man needs help.

UPDATE: I see that the Consumerist item, since picked up by Valleywag and other websites, has drawn over 23,000 views since first posted on the popular consumer site. Another Overstock P.R. triumph! Meanwhile, the outrage continues on Digg.

© 2008 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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