Saturday, November 15, 2008's Latest Gambit: Email Spams to Promote Its Wacky CEO

The corporate fraud poster boy, having just restated its financial results going back to the time of Copernicus, has invested its scarce cash in a new but typically slimy tactic: email spams.

Now, the purpose of this spam was not to clear out the company's inventory of schlock goods or otherwise promote this third rate internet retailer. That would be too much like a "legitimate corporate purpose," and thus would detract from Overstock's downward slide into bankruptcy. No hyping of toilet bowl necklaces by this commode of a company. The aim of the spam was rather to personally promote, and rewrite history about, its wack-a-doo CEO, Patrick Byrne.

The spam that went out yesterday to the media -- including me, which proves it's a brainless robot-mail -- promotes a Youtube video that provides out-of-context excerpts to "prove" that Byrne "predicted" the latest calamity. He didn't, of course. He "predicted" that the world would collapse because of his "stock counterfeiting" obsession. He actually spoke in favor of one leading subprime lender, Novastar Financial, on a stock message board, long after subprime began its slide into oblivion. I'm sure that his small coterie of brainless followers snapped up Novastar's worthless stock as a result.

I don't want to get the fellow who did this in trouble, so I'll blank out his name. Evidently he is a former journalist who was canned recently and will do anything -- I mean anything -- for money. After trying his hand as a stockbroker (great timing), he apparently decided that flacking for Byrne was right up is alley. He is a new name in the Overstock pantheon, and apparently was hired just for the purpose of obtaining ego-stroking TV appearances for Byrne.

The email reads:
date Fri, Nov 14, 2008 at 1:28 PM
subject What's Next?


The “shock” of the financial meltdown has passed, now comes, the “awe,” and with it plenty of questions. Primarily, “What’s next?” Is there another bubble brewing? What happens if millions of Americans begin to default on their credit card debt? chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne, says we are less than 50% of the way through the mess, he predicted the coming of this current crisis many times before, starting 3 years ago, Watch this montage to see Byrne’s predictions beginning in 2005: [spam link excised]

Today Byrne is suggesting one of the following scenarios could occur in the coming years:

*Reagan Recession: A deep retraction reminiscent of the recession under Reagan in the early 80’s.
*The lost decade: A protracted recession similar to the one suffered by Japan in the 90’s.
*Great Depression: A severe economic dip on par with the Great American Depression in the early 30’s.
*Mad Max: Not likely, but still possible, a catastrophic breakdown of society with mass shortages of energy, food, and water.

Dr. Patrick Byrne has learned at the knee of Warren Buffett, the greatest investor of all time. As a child Byrne’s parents would allow him skip school so he could spend time and get an education from the “Oracle of Omaha.”

He survived cancer, to go on to get a Bachelor’s in Philosophy and Asian studies from Dartmouth, a Master’s of philosophy from Cambridge, and a Doctorate of philosophy from Stanford. He founded Overstock in 1999, and in 2007 the company generated nearly a billion dollars in revenue.

Byrne is an experienced and pithy commentator, if you’d like to speak with him I’d be happy to arrange it.

Thanks for you time and have a great week.

(o) 801- xxx-xxxx
(c) 801- xxx=xxxx
I wonder how Warren Buffett feels about his name being constantly bandied about by Byrne and his paid shills. I know how the company's comatose board of directors feels about Byrne using Overstock's corporate resources to spread lies about his past rants: they turn over and get more sleep.

© 2008 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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