SEC leak case moves forward

Ooops. Sorry. I meant SEC Whistleblower claims agency destroyed files. That's the headline making it's way round the blogosphere right now.

Well, here is the wikipedia article, ripped from the headlines. Matter Under Inquiry .

Matt Taibbi wrote the original article in Rolling Stone, and Darcy Flynn is the SEC man who risked himself to expose the activity in the first place.

Financial Times, though, doesn't mention that a magazine about sex and drugs (and music) scooped them on the financial story of the year.

Senator Grassley quizzes SEC on file purging Aug 17 2011, 10 pmish

Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?, By MATT TAIBBI AUGUST 17, 2011 8:00 AM ET, Rolling Stone

Sorry what was my point?

Taibbi had to get this information, somewhere. He had to get it from someone who leaked it to him.

Somehow, though, this 'leakage' didn't become the story. Instead, the whistleblower became a character in a story about the actual bad behavior of the government. I.E. the headline is not 'SEC leaker under fire', with dour pictures of some schmuck who did naughty things with journalists.

The Headline is that the SEC was destroying evidence in potential criminal investigations. That is the headline, and the Whistleblowers name is in there, as a person to be admired.

Why is this story told in that way, while the Thomas Drake, and other leak stories, have been told differently?

Murdochization - the Wall Street Journal becomes a link farm

How things have fallen. WSJ has apparently become a link/spam farm.

It makes me cry a little bit, thinking of the amazing Wall Street Journal reporters & writers, like Serena Ng, Carrick Mollenkamp, Kate Kelly, Leah McGrath-Goodman, Moe Tkacik, Leslie Scism, etc etc etc etc. There stands their work, like a monument to the ages, to human civilization itself. Their work is near the pinnacle of what the human mind is capable of acheiving, in studying the organization and structure of our own society.

And then, the sour underbelly of Murdoch's new Wall Street Journal. I am writing about this link farm / link spamming stuff. On the following page, someone (or some algorithm) has basically copy/pasted the first paragraph of a story from, and that is, uhm, basically all that there is on the page. And some web banner ads. No exposition, no comments section, no summary. Just a copy/pasted blurb and a bunch of links.

Don't believe me? Here is a screenshot:

The Wall Street Journal linkfarm / linkspam engine page says it is "powered by OneSpot".

What is Onespot?

"Patented community ranking surfaces the best content for your audience"

"Increased revenue by 5 - 10% increased traffic"

And so. There it is. The copy/pasted slashdot story text. Right next to the almost-certainly scam advertisements that say "President Lowers Mortgage Rates." and "Obama helps Moms go back to school". Anyone who studies the history of banner ads long enough will recognize the similarity to the "Get a new mortgage" banner ads of the pre-2008 era... and according to people like Steve Eisman, the "get a student loan" banner ads are of the same subprime-industry nature. In other words, the shitty ads being sold on the linkfarm are the lowest of the low, the bottom feeders, the exploiters of the weak and the ignorant.

Now, there is something strangely familiar about this particular copy/pasted linkfarm page to me. What is it? Oh yes. It is a slashdot article that I wrote. I mean, Wow!!!!! That's my writing, right there on!! I guess I can put the following notice on the front of my blog now:

"Decora is a blogger whose work has appeared on the Wall Street Journal Online."

Just to think - I am helping the Wall Street Journal increase it's traffic by 5 to 10%. I wrote a slashdot article. The Onespot robot vaccuumed this story up into its database. It spat it back out on the Wall Street Journal, alongside ads from the worst companies in the country, advertising some of the worst scams that can be advertised.

Welcome to the new American idea of 'innovation'.

Who runs this One Spot thing anyways?

Matt Cohen, CEO
Matt Cohen is the CEO and Founder of OneSpot. Previously, he was a Partner at G-51 Capital, one of Austin’s leading early stage venture capital firms. Matt has been working professionally with the Internet and digital content for nearly 20 years. He has consulted with companies nationwide on technology and business strategy, was Senior VP of Operations and CTO for New Century Network in New York (a content and advertising network of over 150 online newspapers), and co-founded in 1994, where he registered the first newspaper domain name ( in 1988. He holds a BA in Computer Science from Rice University.

He is active with many professional organizations, and serves on the Steering Committee for the Austin Chapter for the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship.

When not working, he is: spending time with friends, reading, cooking, running on Town Lake trail, listening to Austin’s amazing music scene, organic gardening, or watching movies at the Alamo Drafthouse.

OK. Who else?

One Spot


Silver Creek Ventures

Mike Maples, Sr.
Retired Executive Vice President of Worldwide Products, Microsoft

Pat Horner
Co-Founder & Retired President, Perot Systems

Ken Huntsman
Co-Founder & Retired AOL Fellow, America Online

Board of Directors
Matt Cohen, Founder & CEO, OneSpot

Peter Rojas
Cofounder, Engadget
Cofounder, Gizmodo

Yvonne Tocquigny
Senior Partner & CEO, Tocquigny
Marketing consulting firm specializing in digital marketing, integrated advertising campaigns, and analytics. Located in Texas, USA.

Jim Brady
President, Digital Strategy, Allbritton Communications
Vice President & Treasurer, Online News Association
Former Executive Editor & Vice President, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive

Eric Levine
President, Woodnote Marketing
Former Director of Consumer Marketing, Dell; Chief Marketing Officer, Trilogy Software

Wow. I'd think all these successfull, well spoken, well dressed people would have better business models than link-spamming google with half-copied slashdot articles.

The funny thing is, that after a while, google will start dropping the page-rank of these link farms. I wonder when the managers at the Wall Street Journal will figure out that mass-robot copying of sites like slashdot is not a sustainable way to run a company?