Me Media Watch: Sock Puppetry and Astroblogging

Just come back from holidays, and I pop up in an article in the NY Times today about online sock puppetry and general astroblogging.

So, how many CEOs engage in online behaviors like Whole Food CEO John Mackey (who posted under a pseudonym about his own public company and its competitors)? More than you think.

Why? Because CEOs and other executives are very informed about the Interweb’s impact, while very uninformed about the absence of online anonymity and (to borrow a felicitious Watergate phrase) plausible deniability. It is, as ever, very hard to watch someone say critical things about your stock and not do something — Something! — about it. Just ask my friend Herb who has had a few of these adventures.

More broadly, while anti-stock-blogging/posting clauses haven’t yet hit CEO/exec contracts, they will. And soon.


  1. Paul, the answer could be in creating official stock discussion forums that allow investors and prospective investors to amalgamate in professional, monitored environments that are free of profanity, spam and all the nonsense that has destroyed stock discussion forums.
    If it works in the small-cap world for us, I see no reason why it can’t work in the large-cap world.
    Hope you had a great vacation…I’m writing you from Greece right now :-)

  2. Hit “post” a little too fast. Wanted to add that creating an official stock discussion forum allows companies to jump into the discussion and create a true community that discusses both their pro’s and con’s. The conversation may get rocky once in a while as companies run into bumps but – for the most part – it should serve to create greater loyalty and connections with investors.
    Either way, stock discussion forums are not going away, so you may as well manage it rather than let anonymous posters run wild with your message. If you think investors don’t rely on them, take a look at the following survey results from 3 separate metals and mining conferences over the past 4 months: