Anti-social Media with Judd Bagley Exposing User-Generated Discontent

29Dec/11Off

The Wit and Wisdom of Gary Weiss

In coming weeks, a new book by Gary Weiss called Ayn Rand Nation will be published by St. Martin's Press. Antisocialmedia.net wants anybody who considers buying or reviewing the book to know more about the author, based on his own words.

This blog has gone to great lengths to identify many of the pseudonyms Gary Weiss has used online over the years, and Weiss is unhappy about this. You are strongly encouraged to review for yourself, where indicated, the trails of evidence connecting Weiss to the various pseudonyms that follow so that you can feel 100% comfortable of the connection. You are also encouraged to follow the links to the original postings to see for yourself the original racism and homophobia that tend to dominate Weiss's writing, if you can stomach it.

One of Weiss's pseudonyms is Ted Dichtler, as you can see proved here. Weiss often used Ted Dichtler to post to the Usenet group Soc.Culture.Jewish, where he frequently engaged in racism and homophobia, including the following:

Another Gary Weiss pseudonym is Lamborghini751. As you can read explained here, Weiss used this one to post to stock message boards where, true to form, he preferred homophobia and accusations of Nazism to actual discourse. Here are some examples:

This is the tip of the iceberg, with regard to Gary Weiss's homophobia and racism. Much more of this to come, as well as a review of Weiss's pattern of glowingly reviewing his own books on Amazon.com, and evidence that he's already preparing to do the same when his next book is published.

15Dec/09Off

Facebook, bad journalism and short selling hedge funds

Recently, short-selling hedge fund Rocker Partners paid Overstock.com $5-million to settle the lawsuit filed against them in August of 2005. This is a major victory for all public companies targeted by bear raiding hedge funds. But thanks to the unusually skewed reporting surrounding it, chances are you either hadn’t heard about the suit, or were under the impression it was frivolous and certain to fail.

This presentation examines part of the story behind the coverage of the suit, using some innovative methods to explain why what you heard about the suit and its merits likely had little in common with the reality of it.

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6May/09Off

Naked short selling – redefining systemic risk

There is some evidence suggesting the federal government might be spending tens of billions of dollars to deal with the accumulation of failed trades caused by illegal naked short selling. If that's true, we're probably screwed.

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17Mar/09Off

Short selling hedge funds and the global economic meltdown

This video is based in large part on my University of Texas presentation, but modified for mass audiences. It's shorter and sticks to the financial side of things. More than anything, it's meant to be distributed broadly. Watch it, and if you dig it, please spread it around.

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16Feb/09Off

Lecture on abuse of social media by stock manipulators

I recently had the honor of lecturing a group of business students at the University of Texas, on the topic of abuse of social media by stock manipulators. I’ve merged the recording of the lecture with my slide presentation and make it available for you here.

I should also note that I found this experience to be a very positive one, and would welcome similar opportunities in the future. Please contact me via email at: antisocialmedia@gmail.com

24Aug/08Off

Dan Loeb is Mr. Pink and more

I. Daniel Loeb, manager of hedge fund Third Point Partners
The Silicon Investor stock message boards have Mr. Pink.

The Yahoo Finance stock message boards have Mr_Pink_esq.

In this legal filing, hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb admits that he is the Mr. Pink of Silicon Investor.

According to this Wall Street Journal story, Loeb insists that he is not Mr_Pink_esq of Yahoo Finance.

Loeb, as it turns out, is not telling the truth, and here’s how I know it:

On Yahoo Finance, Mr_Pink_esq manually signs all his posts, as either “Mr. P$nk” or “MP”.

Mr_Pink_esq is the only message board poster who signs his posts as Mr. P$nk…with two important exceptions: ricardo_ferberger and senor_pinche_wey.

ricardo_ferberger
On the fourth post of his short career, ricardo_ferberger signed this post to Yahoo’s MEDC stock message board “Mr. P$nk”.

Interestingly, the post expressed a point of view that ran 100% counter to the strawman arguments typical of each of ricardo_ferberger’s previous three contributions, but was entirely consistent with Mr_Pink_esq’s well-established hostility toward MEDC.

Almost immediately, another poster asked ricardo_ferberger why he had used Mr_Pink_esq’s signature. Ricardo_ferberger responded by claiming that he had copied and pasted the entire text of this post by Mr. Pink on Silicon Investor – signature included.

Unfortunately for ricardo_ferberger, the post he claimed to have copied from Silicon Investor was actually time-stamped 14 minutes later than the Yahoo post that supposedly drew from it.

Two conclusions can be drawn from this episode:

  1. Ricardo_ferberger and Mr_Pink_esq are two aliases belonging to the same person.
  2. That person is also Mr. Pink on Silicon investor.

Because we know Mr. Pink on Silicon Investor is hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, it stands to reason that Loeb lied when he told the Wall Street Journal that he was not Mr_Pink_esq.

Senor_pinche_wey
Though it went entirely ignored at the time, on one occasion, Yahoo Finance poster senor_pinche_wey also signed a post as “Mr. P$nk”.

Senor_pinche_wey@yahoo.com is the email address used by a former participant of several message boards dedicated to Ashtanga yoga – the style Loeb is known to practice.

Shockingly, even enlightened Ashtanga yoga practitioners have their limits, and – like so many on Yahoo Finance – many lost patience with Senor Pinche Wey. So much so, that one brilliant poster took steps to capture Senor Pinche Wey’s IP address, only to discover that it traced back to Third Point Management.

Indeed, senor_pinche_wey is Daniel Loeb.

This is significant because, as explained in an earlier item, senor_pinche_wey is the (previously) anonymous Yahoo message board poster whose defamatory writings led to a lawsuit and, ultimately, unfortunate legal precedents affirming the rights of childish and abusive stock message board trolls.

Now, for a little running up of the score.

As proof that old habits die hard, in this post to the India Divine Ashtanga Yoga message board, we see Senor Pinche Wey engage in an impressive act of logical contortionism as he tries to explain why he occasionally signs his posts there as “MP” (which is, as mentioned above, how Mr_Pink_esq occasionally signed his posts on Yahoo Finance).

II.Robert Chapman, manager of Chapman Capital
In the same Wall Street Journal story mentioned earlier, it’s revealed that Robert Chapman, manager of hedge fund Chapman Capital, posts on Yahoo message boards as bobbingbargain.

Based on evidence referenced in the same story, it’s apparent that Chapman also posts on Yahoo Finance message boards as kidstockjoec and LaseriumQueen.

A lexical analysis and the dissembler sorting algorithm reveal that the person behind kidstockjoec is also behind disgustedinvestor, tautologicaltrader, notably_absent, herniatedgorilla, and ghaulty_lodgick.

4Aug/08Off

Gary Weiss knows what Joe Knows

How did Gary Weiss come to know the substance, sentiment and timing of one of New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera's most vicious attacks against opponents of illegal naked short selling, long before it was published?

We asked Joe.

Joe doesn't know.

It all started on January 10, 2006, when Business Week writer Tim Mullaney clumsily fell into the very trap he had set for Overstock.com CEO (and Deep Capture reporter) Patrick Byrne. You can read all the gruesome details here and then here.

One week later, Gary Weiss launched his blog. We know from emails between Weiss and Floyd Schneider (read this to learn how I came to posses them) that at about that same time, Weiss began trying to convince journalists and editorial columnists to pen attacks on opponents of illegal naked short selling, particularly Patrick Byrne and Bob O'Brien (whom Weiss calls "Bob O'Baloney"), the pseudonymous author of the highly influential Sanity Check blog.

Weiss did this with little success, until February 22 of 2006, according to the following two emails Weiss sent to Floyd Schneider:

From: garyrweiss@verizon.net
To: Floyd3491@aol.com
Subject: Re: (no subject)
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 18:34:19 -0500
Received: from unknown (HELO maincomputer) (garyrweiss@verizon.net@70.23.60.180 with login) by smtp101.vzn.mail.dcn.yahoo.com with SMTP; 22 Feb 2006 23:34:15 -0000
-----
Incidentally, don't tell nobody! -- but was preoccupied today. Interview with Joe Nocera of the Times for his Saturday column. Seems he is focussing on the naked-Mullaney situation. Mullaney tells me Nocera is sympathetic. We shall see......
Mullaney obviously is extremely nervous but me, I am fairly pleased I must say. I was... oh... shall we say unfavorable toward our Mr. O'Baloney.
The above is confidential!

Followed shortly by...

From: garyrweiss@verizon.net
To: Floyd3491@aol.com
Subject: Re: (no subject)
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 18:56:25 -0500
Received: from unknown (HELO maincomputer) (garyrweiss@verizon.net@70.23.60.180 with login) by smtp102.vzn.mail.dcn.yahoo.com with SMTP; 22 Feb 2006 23:56:21 -0000
-----
Yeah, well I want to shift on to be a little quiet and modest between now and Friday. Yes, O'Baloney seems to have run up the white flag it would seem, at least for the time being. I think the SABEW blog seems to have brought him to reality. That is what was picked up by Nocera, by the way. This is totally my doing! Yuk yuk yuk.
The Mullaney thing really touches a raw nerve, you know.

Based on the above, we can conclude that at least three days ahead its publication date, Gary Weiss knew all about Nocera's February 25, 2006 column Overstock's Campaign of Menace.

Note, in the first of the two emails, Weiss insisted that "The above is confidential!"

This is with good reason, as it's considered a serious breach of ethics for a business writer to reveal the nature of his or her coverage of public companies to outsiders ahead of time, lest the information be used to the advantage of an unscrupulous investor (ie, "trading ahead" of the story).

And yet, Weiss knew. And boasted about knowing.

Recently, Patrick Byrne asked Joe Nocera to comment on this apparent ethical misstep.

Here is Nocera's response:

From: Joe Nocera
To: Patrick Byrne
Subject: Re: that gary weiss email
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 11:31 AM
-----
I have no idea why Mr. Weiss would make those claims, nor has he ever had any "inside information" about any of my columns. I don't give out such information. all best, Joe Nocera

I welcome Joe to explain how reality, and his apparent interpretation of it, can possibly co-exist.

28Jul/08Off

Gary Weiss and DTCC: Roddy Boyd responds

In an earlier item, I noted that perhaps one of the strangest things I’ve experienced as a reporter is having Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) spokesman Stuart Z. Goldstein ignore my request for comment for several days, only to receive an answer from then-New York Post business writer Roddy Boyd.

Like any responsible journalist, it’s my policy to allow the subjects of my reporting an opportunity to respond when they are cast in a critical light. However, when approached for comment on something I wrote about him one year ago, Boyd made it quite clear that he would rather I not contact him for any reason, ever again.

Based on that exchange, I did not ask Roddy for comment when I recently wrote about what I perceive is his role in DTCC’s January, 2006 PR campaign aimed at deflecting criticism of the organization’s role in enabling illegal naked short selling.

Recently, Roddy contacted me to take issue with four points I made in that piece:

  1. While I reported that Boyd appeared to be running interference for DTCC’s Goldstein when answering – on Goldstein’s behalf – my long-ignored request for comment on Gary Weiss’s apparent use of a DTCC computer, Boyd insists he was merely doing us both a favor by personally conveying to me Goldstein’s comments on the issue.
  2. While I suspect Gary Weiss has had an extensive relationship with DTCC, Boyd says DTCC’s Goldstein has personally denied as much to him on multiple occasions.
    What remains unclear is why, for 18 months, Goldstein has insisted on answering my questions through Roddy Boyd.
  3. While I reported that the publication of Roddy’s review of Gary Weiss’s second book appeared to be timed to support the launch of DTCC’s January, 2006 PR initiative targeting critics of naked short selling, Boyd denies this.
    Indeed, it is reasonable to consider the possibility that instead of Roddy timing the publication of his review of Weiss’s book to coincide with the launch of DTCC’s January 2006 PR initiative, the initiative itself might have instead been timed to coincide with the publication of Roddy’s review. This is a likely explanation, given Weiss’s apparent foreknowledge of the review’s publication date.
  4. While I reported that Boyd and Weiss had a relationship that predates Boyd’s review of Weiss’s book, Boyd says he and Weiss didn’t connect until just before January 22, 2006, and that Boyd received the book not from Weiss himself, but from the publisher sometime in early December, 2005.
    I based my reporting upon an email exchange between Roddy and Floyd Schneider (
    read this to learn how I came to posses emails between the two) which leaves no doubt that by at least January 15, 2006, Boyd knew enough about Weiss know he and Schneider were friends, and that Boyd could confidently ask Schneider to dig up negative information about public companies featured in stories Boyd was working on at the time. Boyd insists that knowledge came not from his relationship with Weiss, but from reading Weiss's book, which prominently mentions Schneider.

Though Roddy and I may not completely agree on our respective interpretations of the facts surrounding this episode, I appreciate his willingness to address them with me on the record.

Finally, I would suggest that anyone entertained by DTCC’s bizarre approach to public relations read this exchange between Stuart Goldstein and Fox Business News host Alexis Glick, to see that I’m far from the only person receiving inadequate responses to reasonable requests for comment made of Stu Goldstein.

15Jul/08Off

Gary Weiss: his DTCC ties and lies

Possibly the biggest single “a-ha!” moment I’ve had while writing this blog came in late January of 2007, when I discovered that one week earlier, Gary Weiss had edited Wikipedia while logged in to a computer on the network of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC).

The basis for that conclusion is explained here.

This may not seem like a big deal to most, but it turned out to be a huge deal to those of us who had spent a full year enduring Weiss’s attacks without any clear understanding of his motivation.

We knew his aim was to discredit and marginalize high profile opponents of illegal naked short selling. Yet his book, which seemed to be the launch pad of Weiss’s campaign, was quite critical of both hedge fund and prime broker culture: the two obvious sides of the naked shorting equation.

So who was paying Weiss to spend all day, most every day, publishing his attacks via his blog, message boards, and Wikipedia?

Nobody had ever considered the DTCC.

But once we knew Weiss had used a DTCC computer – given the uniquely Fort Knox-like nature of the institution, and the fact that it could not have happened unless Weiss had official access – everything fell into place.

Suddenly, we noticed a very striking set of coincidences, commencing January 22, 2006.

On that date:

  1. Roddy Boyd, then business writer at the New York Post, published his review of Weiss’s book Wall Street Versus America (an unheard-of six weeks before the book would be available in print). In his review, Boyd writes:

    "The most provocative argument in Weiss' book is that naked shorting — or short-selling a company's stock without being able to borrow it first, per long standing rules — is not only a good idea, but a necessary one...This is guaranteed to send Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne and the other disciples of his "stop naked short-selling crusade" — Weiss dismisses the lot of them as the "Baloney Brigade" — into further spasms."

  2. Weiss published the first naked short selling-related post on his week-old blog.
  3. Weiss Yahoo! Finance message board IDs lamborghini751, cupandsaucerwithsugar, and baloneysmasher were created and immediately put to use attacking opponents of illegal naked short selling.
  4. One day later, DTCC issued the first of what would be eight naked short selling-related media releases over the next seven months. By way of comparison, during the seven months prior to January 23, 2006, DTCC issued zero releases on the topic.

Further examination made it clear that Weiss had an unusual relationship with those DTCC media releases, in that Weiss would promote them via his blog, stock message boards and Wikipedia articles in a rather systematic way, often long before anybody else was even aware of them.

Here’s an example:

Taking all these factors together, I’ve concluded that January 22, 2006 represents the beginning of an aggressive public relations campaign by DTCC, aimed at countering a growing perception that the organization is a key enabler of illegal naked short selling. I further conclude that a that time, Gary Weiss was operating in support of that effort and likely remains so today.

I requested a comment of DTCC spokesman Stuart Z. Goldstein – the likely architect of the above-mentioned PR campaign – but received only two strange responses, neither of which addressed my question.

When I persisted in asking Goldstein for comment, his came – and I cannot overstate how shocked I remain by this even today – from reporter Roddy Boyd, then of the New York Post.

It read:

From: Boyd, Roddy
Date: Feb 09 2007 - 1:03pm
Subject:
-----
judd,
I spoke to corp comm at DTCC and they told me, on the record, that weiss is not, nor has he ever, been employed or used by DTCC in any capacity, formally or informally. They categorically reject it and tell me that none of them have any recollection of ever talking to him, meeting with him or having any dealings with him.
categorically rejects it.
thats a big hump for a real reporter to get over.
let me put this politely:
As an investigative reporter, laughably per PB, you really,really are a much better PR person

In case you’ve forgotten, it was Roddy Boyd’s six week premature review of Weiss’s book, published January 22, 2006, that seems to have been the launching point of the DTCC’s PR campaign, described above.

For his part, Weiss called my conclusions of a relationship between him and DTCC a “malicious lie” and “absolute crap.”

At that point, I had a ton of circumstantial evidence pointing to DTCC as Weiss’s patron, and direct proof that Weiss had used a computer on DTCC’s network.

I also had the strangest denial, on the part Stuart Goldstein at DTCC, that I’ve ever seen.

But most importantly, I had the benefit of an extremely low-set hurdle to cross in order to prove that Weiss, Boyd and Goldstein were all engaged in a ridiculous lie.

After all, as Goldstein said through Boyd, nobody at DTCC has “any recollection of ever talking to [Gary Weiss], meeting with [Gary Weiss] or having any dealings with [Gary Weiss].”

What follows is the story of how we’ve sailed over that particular hurdle, thanks to some emails from Gary Weiss to paid stock message board basher Floyd Schneider. (Read this to learn how I came to posses these emails).

********

In addition to being the month in which DTCC launched its PR campaign against opponents of naked short selling, January of 2006 is also a significant time in that Mark Mitchell, then assistant managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, started work on what would go on to become The Story of Deep Capture.

Back then, as now, Gary Weiss seemed to be about the only non-pseudonymous person willing to go on the record in defense of naked short selling, which naturally made him a frequent point of contact for Mitchell.

Mitchell recalls as many as a dozen conversations with Gary Weiss in the first couple of months working on the story. In several of those conversations, Mitchell remembers Weiss awkwardly seeking to gauge Mitchell’s opinion of any recently-published DTCC media releases.

Among the topics Mitchell discussed with Weiss was Dr. Susan Trimbath, a former DTCC employee turned outspoken critic of that organization’s role in enabling illegal naked short selling. Mitchell recalls being surprised by how much the subject of Trimbath seemed to bother Weiss.

Given that bit of background, consider the following email exchange between Gary Weiss and Floyd Schneider.

It starts on March 13 at 9:41 AM, when Floyd emails Weiss a reference to a speech Dr. Trimbath had given a few months earlier.

To this, Weiss replies:

From: garyrweiss@verizon.net
To: Floyd3491@aol.com
Subject: Re: (no subject)
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 09:49:27 -0500
Received: from unknown (HELO maincomputer) (garyrweiss@verizon.net@151.202.90.90 with login) by smtp101.vzn.mail.dcn.yahoo.com with SMTP; 13 Mar 2006 14:49:22 -0000
-----
Say, what is with this Trimbath? I ask because a particularly dimwitted reporter for Columbia Journalism Review is doing a story on media coverage that is widely expected to lean toward the balonies, and he is relying heavily on her.

Floyd immediately begins to pepper Weiss with every googled reference to Trimbath he can find – all of them quite positive – to which Weiss replies:

From: garyrweiss@verizon.net
To: Floyd3491@aol.com
Subject: Re: (no subject)
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 10:49:12 -0500
Received: from unknown (HELO maincomputer) (garyrweiss@verizon.net@151.202.90.90 with login) by smtp103.vzn.mail.dcn.yahoo.com with SMTP; 13 Mar 2006 15:49:08 -0000
-----
Yeah, all pretty innocuous, which is she is a perfect front woman. I presume she expects to cash in as an expert witness or somesuch for the balonies.

The next day, DTCC issued a media release attacking Trimbath’s expert status and minimizing the importance of the position she held there.

The day after that, Weiss places a standing order with Floyd for any negative information on Dr. Trimbath he can find (searching for this sort of information is how Floyd spends an alarming portion of his days, by the way):

From: garyrweiss@verizon.net
To: Floyd3491@aol.com
Subject: Re: Aha!
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 13:38:35 -0500
Received: from unknown (HELO maincomputer (garyrweiss@verizon.net@151.202.90.90 with login) by smtp101.vzn.mail.dcn.yahoo.com with SMTP; 15 Mar 2006 18:38:29 -0000
-----
Incidentally this Susanne Trimbath is the primary source of info on nekkid shorting for a complete idiot who is wriiting a story for the Col. Journalism Review. If you can think of anything particularly wacky that she has said, let me know.

A few minutes later, Floyd responds with something fairly unremarkable, to which Weiss replies:

From: garyrweiss@verizon.net
To: Floyd3491@aol.com
Subject: Re: Aha!
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 13:47:54 -0500
Received: from unknown (HELO maincomputer) (garyrweiss@verizon.net@151.202.90.90 with login) by smtp103.vzn.mail.dcn.yahoo.com with SMTP; 15 Mar 2006 18:47:49 -0000
-----
You know, the thing that is bad is that this statement below would not be considered extreme by the doofus doing this article for CJR. Several of us are concerned that it is going to be a total baloney-piece. He is a real ham bone.

After Floyd sends still more non-scandalous Trimbath references, Weiss replies:

From: garyrweiss@verizon.net
To: Floyd3491@aol.com
Subject: Re: Aha!
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 14:00:54 -0500
Received: from unknown (HELO maincomputer) (garyrweiss@verizon.net@151.202.90.90 with login) by smtp103.vzn.mail.dcn.yahoo.com with SMTP; 15 Mar 2006 19:00:49 -0000
-----
It has to be something fairly extreme. This guy really has me (and others of us a lot more than me) worried. I've drummed into this nitwit's head about O'Baloney and it all just bounced off his concrete skull.

About an hour later, Floyd sends the prior day’s DTCC media release to Weiss, prompting this reply:

From: garyrweiss@verizon.net
To: Floyd3491@aol.com
Subject: Re: the whole article with link
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 15:09:17 -0500
Received: from unknown (HELO maincomputer) (garyrweiss@verizon.net@151.202.90.90 with login) by smtp103.vzn.mail.dcn.yahoo.com with SMTP; 15 Mar 2006 20:09:12 -0000
-----
Yes I sent this to the bozo at CJR earlier today. The jerk emailed back indicating that he is chewing away at baloney. Very depressing.

In his emails to Floyd, Weiss makes it clear that he’s involved in active consultations with other individuals, who feel deeply concerned about the prospect of Dr. Trimbath’s influence on Mitchell’s story.

Because Dr. Trimbath addresses illegal naked short selling almost exclusively from the standpoint of the DTCC’s role, it’s very difficult to imagine that, when Weiss refers to “Several of us” and “others of us,” he’s not referencing officials at DTCC.

Armed with these emails as confirmation that Goldstein was not being honest, when he stated, through Roddy Boyd, that he “categorically rejects” the idea that anybody at DTCC has so much as spoken with Gary Weiss, I again asked Goldstein for a comment.

Goldstein refused to answer the question.

UPDATE: Roddy Boyd responds to points raised above.

14Jul/08Off

Gary Weiss, Usenet Troll

This email from Gary Weiss to Floyd Schneider isn't significant for what it says, but for what it reveals (which is explained at the end).

Here, Weiss is telling Floyd about his inclusion in Weiss's forthcoming book.

From: garyrweiss@verizon.net
To: Floyd3491@aol.com
Subject: Re: (no subject)
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 16:18:47 -0500
Received: from unknown (HELO maincomputer) (garyrweiss@verizon.net@70.23.42.100 with login) by smtp101.vzn.mail.dcn.yahoo.com with SMTP; 29 Dec 2005 21:18:48 -0000
-----
Well, it so happens sir that you are featured prominently in two chapters, so I don't think they would be up for the project! I will get you a copy when one is available.

What's most noteworthy about this email is the IP from which it was sent: 70.23.42.100, which is the same I claimed proved Weiss established his pattern of online deception and sockpuppeting long ago as a poster to several Usenet groups.

It also reinforces my claim that Weiss writes the blog Mediacrity.