FTC Angered By CEO’s Yahoo Forum Posts

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The Federal Trade Commission would like to scuttle the proposed takeover of Wild Oats Markets by Whole Foods, and will point to anonymous Yahoo Finance forum posts by Whole Foods’ CEO as a reason to do so.

FTC Angered By CEO's Yahoo Forum Posts
FTC Angered By CEO’s Yahoo Forum Posts

There is a saying that goes, “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” The anonymity available to people allows them to be something they aren’t, sometimes with good reason, sometimes not.

Using anonymity to criticize a competitor has been a more common tactic as Internet marketing moves into prominence. Ripping someone else represents a questionable strategy at best, with a lot to lose if one becomes exposed.

The Wall Street Journal said John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, posted under the pseudonym ‘Rahodeb’, between 1999 and 2006. An FTC filing against Whole Foods detailed some of those posts.

In one, Rahodeb questioned why anyone would consider buying shares in Wild Oats in 2005. He also criticized former Wild Oats CEO Perry Odak for a perceived lack of business acumen.

The FTC recommended against the takeover in its filing. Meanwhile, Mackey is unrepentant about his posts. He accused the FTC of “picking on us” on his blog.

FTC Angered By CEO’s Yahoo Forum Posts
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  • Sean31

    David – love these real life juicy stories, CEOs being exposed lurking on stock message boards and trashing their competition – great stuff! Makes the web much more fun -Sean

    • David A. Utter

      I’d think a CEO would know better. I’m interested in seeing how this plays out, and if the SEC gets involved. Could be a real blockbuster in the making.

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