Overstock.com's July Festival of Misleading Press Releases.
It's hard to ignore my favorite corporate sleazebucket, Overstock.com, no matter how restful it may be to do so. In recent days, this third-rate Internet retailer and its looney-tunes CEO Patrick Byrne have treated us to the latest examples of their favorite product: false and misleading press releases.
The latest is a press release yesterday that, as swallowed whole by some in the media, indicates that Byrne is engaged in a humanitarian quest: he has stopped selling fur products. Isn't the man an absolute doll? However, as pointed out by a Baltimore Sun blog, it's quite obvious that Byrne has taken this action because of a belated discovery that he had been selling dog fur.
Puts a different spin on it, don't you think? Evidently Overstock's ace buyers were showing their usual competence. Overstock is foregoing $5 million in annual sales by this move, but "what’s another $5 million for a company that’s been bleeding red ink since it went public? ," asks Tracy Coenen. (Mind you, that is $5 million in "Patrick Byrne dollars," which is hazardous to translate into actual revenues.)
Next we go from hokum to outright lying: a press release the other day indicating that Overstock had a "favorable court ruling" in its ongoing junk lawsuit against Gradient Analytics. However, as Gradient pointed out in a counter-press release, this was actually a big fat defeat.
All in a day's work for Patrick Byrne, I guess. Hey, he's not a perennial on "worst CEO in America" lists for nothing
© 2008 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.