Overstock

  • 01 Aug 2007 at 3:59 PM
  • Overstock

Patrick Byrne Goes Undercover Again

patrickbyrne.jpgIn an Overstock.com quarterly conference call yesterday, CEO Patrick Byrne said he does not post anonymously on internet message boards like the detestable Rahodeb Mackey, a claim Gary Weiss proved fallacious long ago.
What’s interesting about yesterday’s call, which ran for over an hour in the late morning and early afternoon, is that Byrne actually posted under his sobriquet, Hannibal, while the call was in progress. He wrote, “ thanks dude” at 11:43 on the Investor Village message board.
We suspect that the overstock board of directors are all Byrne creations as well. Joseph J. Tabacco, Jr., come on.
Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne Posts on Internet During Conference Call [Gary Weiss]

Overstock CEO Admits To Anonymous Message Board Posts

patrickbyrne.jpgAlthough Gary Weiss has been on to him months, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne admitted to “pulling a Mackey” last night, writing on the Overstock website that, like Whole Foods CEO John “Rahodeb” Mackey, he posted on company-related message boards pseudonymously.
Byrne’s admission comes in response to this New York Times article, where he told reporters that unlike Mackey, “he never hides his true identity and always signs his name when he posts under his online handle, ‘Hannibal.’” But it appears that Byrne has occasionally let the sobriquet stand alone. Last night, Byrne wrote in an open letter to Times reporter Brad Stone,

Please provide a citation for this claim: “Mr. Byrne said that he never hides his true identity and always signs his name when he posts under his online handle, ‘Hannibal’”. Is it your claim that I used the words “always” and “never” in some message board post (and if so, please cite that post), or is it your claim that I stated this in our interview? I know for a fact that the claim is false as regards our interview, and believe it to be false with regard to any online posting, but I stand ready to be corrected.

Just how prevalent is this anonymous executive posting phenomena? If you frequent these boards, please share every suspicious nom de plum you come across. Be particularly wary of anagrammed names of an executive’s mother, sister, wife or daughter, famous military commanders and Republican presidents.
Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne Admits He Posted Under Pseudonyms [Gary Weiss]
Take 5 With Patrick [Overstock.com]

  • 29 May 2007 at 1:10 PM
  • CEOs

Chief Audit Director Jumps Ship From Overstock

captainpatrickbyrneoverstockdirectorresignation.jpgAgainst all odds, the story of Overstock continues to get worse. The company has been a laughing stock to almost anyone who can be bothered to think about it anymore. It’s the focus of an SEC investigation. It is run by a chief executive whose name—Patrick Byrne—long ago became synonymous with wacky conspiracy theories. It regularly deploys nasty tactics to defame reporters who dare mention its deterioration. An it’s bleeding directors.
The latest news hit on Thursday when Ray Groves resigned from the board. Groves, who once ran Ernst & Young, was the head of Overstock’s audit committee. He was, in the eyes of some observers, the last and best hope the company had to maintaining a sense of credibility. His departure comes as only the latest of a series of resignations by board members. The past year has seen also seen departures by directors John Fisher and John Byrne, the CEO’s father. When your father bails on your company, you know you are in trouble. Or rather, you would know. Patrick Byrne seems to think it’s a sign of his company’s strength. Or something. We’ve long ago given up trying to figure out anything about what goes on inside of Byrne-the-younger’s brain.
But other’s have not. After we took off for the long-weekend, Gary Weiss, Sam Antar and Herb Greenberg all looked into the latest resignation. What’s behind the latest departure? Well, the same thing that was behind the departure of Fischer and Byrne-the-elder: the CEO’s ridiculous “jihad” against the “sith lords” on Wall Street he claims are behind a naked shorting conspiracy that is depressing his company’s stock price.
“In a letter contained in an SEC filing this morning, Groves told the company, ‘My resignation relates to the company’s prime broker suit.’ That’s Overstock’s suit alleging that prime brokers are somehow involved in a naked shorting conspiracy,” Greenberg reports.
[But is it more than the Overstock's lawsuit against prime brokers? Read more after the jump.]

Read more »

Happy Valentine’s Day, Gary Weiss. The SEC has dropped an investigation into Gradient Analytics, a research shop previously accused of “deliberately skewing its research to benefit short-sellers,” and has offered to issue Gradient a “rare” “No Action” letter, reports the Post. Gradient has been embroiled in a legal battle with saintly people at Overstock.com (accused of “abetting so-called stock counterfeiting”). From the man himself,

No surprise here. Overstock and its loathsome CEO Patrick Byrne are the latest in a long line of cruddy companies and inept CEOs that have blamed short-sellers for their own shoddy performance.
That is why this is such a huge embarrassment for the SEC, which should have known better. At one low point a year ago, the SEC subpoenaed several journalists who had fallen afoul of Overstock’s dipsy-doodle CEO Patrick Byrne. Byrne denied that he had prompted the subpoenas or the investigation, but his greasy pawprints were all over it.
One of those real problems is Overstock.com itself, which is the subject of an informal SEC investigation itself. Time to see some SEC action on this disgraceful corporate train wreck.

A Wild Goose Chase Ends [gary-weiss.com]
SEC KILLS PROBE OF GRADIENT [NYP]

  • 12 Jan 2007 at 4:02 PM
  • Overstock

Sleazey McSleaze Admits To Sleaziness

Bagley.JPGYou remember AntiSocialMedia.Net, right? No? Yeah, we were doing out best trying to forget it also. It’s the website hosting what the New York Post describes as “bitter attacks … on the message board critics, accusing them of participating to various degrees in a conspiracy to malign the anti-naked short selling movement that Overstock.com supports.”
Well, it turns out that there was very good reason that AntiSocialMedia.Net was supporting the same causes as Overstock.com. It was being anonymously run by Overstock.com’s director of social media Judd Bagley.
Gary Weiss, who has been all over this story, wants to know:

Only one question arises in my mind: What laws were broken? Not “were laws broken?” but “what were the laws that were broken?” The new federal cyberstalking law comes to mind, obviously, but what others? Regulation FD is another good possibility, given the ASM Lie Machine was created after Bagley became a corporate officer. (And speaking of corporate disclosure, shouldn’t Overstock file an 8-K disclosing its involvement in ASM?)
Bagley is trying hard to distance himself from his employer, Patrick Byrne, which brought him on as “director of social media” in August with all the fanfare that you and I would use in buying a can of Raid cockroach spray. Nice try, but too late. Byrne himself promoted the site and contributed to it, and has indicated that he has advance knowledge of its disclosures. Once again, Byrne’s big mouth has landed him in deep doo-doo.

Judd Bagley Fesses Up [Gary-Weiss.com]

  • 02 Jan 2007 at 11:32 AM
  • Overstock

Overstock.Com’s Enemies List

One of the great non-mysteries of the internet was (kinda, sorta) resolved today when the New York Post‘s Roddy Boyd revealed that senior executive’s of troubled online retailer Overstock.com were connected to a new website attacking the company’s critics and shortsellers. Actually, the story behind AntiSocialMedia.net is still a bit conjectural. While Boyd notes that Overstock.com’s CEO Patrick Byrne and its new media adviser have been supportive of the website, he stops short of accusing them of actually setting up and running the site. It’s been widely suspected that Byrne’s soft-hands were all over the AntiSocialMedia, thanks in large part due to the work of Gary Weiss, a frequent critic of Patrick Byrnes and the anti-naked shorting conspiracy theorists.
Today Weiss notes that anonymously attacking critics is not usually a good idea for corporations.

This corporate smear campaign is a kind of clumsy, low-rent version of General Motor’s effort to harass, stalk and discredit Ralph Nader in the sixties.
Anonymously harassing people over the Internet is a federal crime — even when, as in this instance, the anonymous stalkers are cowering behind a sheet of cellophane.
GM wounding up eating crow, apologizing to Nader and paying damages. Given the miserable state of Overstock’s business, as reflected in its share price, I doubt that there will be much left of Overstock when the smoke clears — except the stench.

Update and correction: As a reader pointed out, the correct URL is antisocialmedia.net. An earlier version of this story used a dot com address.

Overstock.com lashes out at its critics on the web
[New York Post]
Overstalk.com?[GaryWeiss.com]

  • 07 Aug 2006 at 9:06 AM
  • Overstock

Gary Weiss Reads Patrick Byrne So You Don’t Have To

patrickbyrne.jpgGary Weiss, the author of Wall Street Versus America, picks some choice excerpts from Overstock.Com CEO Patrick Byrne’s blog and issues a promise to be the internet’s personal Patrick Byrne watchdog.

Rest assured that there is no need to actually visit Byrne’s blog or stay up late to follow his fave message board (where he was still posting at 8:28 tonight) to keep up to speed on his latest thoughts.
I will personally monitor the dog food, miscreant, bimbo, conspiracy, self-immolation and unfair-press situation, and will post further excerpts as developments warrant.


The (Recent) Wit and Wisdom of Patrick Byrne
[Gary-Weiss.Com]