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Ritholtz: Boycott Overstock.com

A piece by longtime RealMoney contributor and author of The Big Picture declaring he was fed up with Overstock.com and Deep Capture has created quite a stir. We're reprinting the piece below with Ritholtz's permission.


Whatever little patience I had with Patrick Byrne and his overzealous friends at DeepCapture.com has now become officially exhausted.

As I noted last week ( DeepCapture.com Scraping Facebook Friends), this group found the Facebook friends and relatives of any journalist, critic, fund manager or blogger who dared to criticize Overstock (OSTK - Get Report) (or Deep Capture), and then published the list.

The publicized names were not just colleagues and friends, but family members, including teenagers and kids.

Big mistake.

As Gary Weiss discovered, the entire operation was a pretexting scam, run by Judd Bagley, former director of communications at Overstock. His sleazy cyber-stalking/identify theft approach probably violated some law somewhere.

I don't know why I am on the Overstock enemies list. I am in favor of shorting, but I am against naked shorting. I've never said much about Overstock.com (see this and this) as they are mostly below my radar. The massive over-reactions to any criticism shows just how tenuous their business must be.

And whatever legitimacy the anti-naked shorting crowd had is thoroughly undercut by its association with Patrick Byrne. He is an imperfect messenger for what is a small but real problem. Having Byrne lead the crusade against naked shorting is like having Bernie Madoff chair a commission on Wall Street ethics; They are each simply the wrong person to lead any discussion on the issues.

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