Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Power of Blogs

"tdaxp and his battle with NationMaster: A Lesson in Networks," by Mark Safranski, ZenPundit, 7 November 2005, http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/2005/11/tdaxp-and-his-battle-with-nationmaster.html.

"Bloggers Break Sony," by Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek, 16 November 2005, http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=174300636.

Ever since my run-in with ended victoriously, I have been paying more attention to the free-speech rights of bloggers, and the power-relationship between blogs and the MSC (Main-Stream Corporations). Many bloggers helped me during the bruhaha, including (but not limited to) Coming Anarchy, Dawn's Early Light, I Hate Linux, NationMaster Scam, Panhandle Pundit, and Sibby Online. Additionally, ZenPundit's Mark wrote

Dan of tdaxp, long a blogfriend of Zenpundit is locked in a consumer complaint battle with an internet information company known as NationMaster. In the day of the dead tree media, there was a saying about the power of big city newspapers " Don't get in a pissing contest with somebody who buys ink by the barrel". Today, an updated version might go like this " Don't get in a pissing contest with somebody who is part of a scale free network"


The aggressive nature of the words struck me, particularly because Mark is such a wise pundit. I trust his judgement more than anyone else in the blogosphere. Yet it still seemed to me that blogs were rather powerless. So imagine my delight when I read this, a news article which closely parrellels Mark's thoughts

Sony's decision to withdraw its controversial copy-protected CDs followed weeks of flames by bloggers.

Sony BMG Music Entertainment said Wednesday it will stop selling 50 CD titles with its XCP content protection software. Sony also said it will remove the discs from stores, and offer replacements without copy protection to customers.

...

"It seems crystal clear that but for the citizen journalists, Sony never would have done anything about this," says Fred von Lohmann, senior intellectual property attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a cyber liberties advocacy group that has been vocal in its condemnation of Sony and may eventually file a a lawsuit against Sony, in addition to three that have already been filed. "It's plain to me that it was Sony's intent to brush the story under the rug and forget about it."

Alan Scott, chief marketing office at business information service Factiva, said, "I think that we're in an entirely new world from a marketing perspective. The rules of the game have changed dramatically. The old way of doing things by ignoring issues, or with giving the canned PR spin response within the blogosphere, it just doesn't work."


Without blogs, rough-shod corporations and politicians like and could even get away with harmful lawsuits without any consequences.

The Citizen-Media, also known as the blogosphere, is an important leveler, extending connectivity to those other than the Main-Stream Media and the Main-Stream Corporations.

Update: ZenPundit's Mark thinks deeper

In my view Dan is correct but he has not taken his analysis nearly far enough. In fairness though, the premise that the blogosphere is the power of vox populi incarnate is shared by the bicoastal media elite who look on with as much horror and loathing as Dan does admiration and wonder. The everyman is really irrelevant here and if Dan was only an everyman he'd have received a subpeona from NationMaster's corporate shyster squad by now.

...



The blogosphere is an aggregator of intelligence and influence
. Primarly, for the moment, blogging is an amusement for these talented individuals but when they are threatened or offended they can respond with surprising speed and intensity. Just ask John Kerry or Dan Rather. Or Trent Lott. They are not the general public which is why the corporate P.R. routine and bigshot bluster backfires so badly with bloggers.


Read the whole thing

Monday, November 07, 2005

NationMaster v. Consumer Protection

"NationMaster v. TDAXP," by Curzon, Coming Anarchy, 7 Novembe, 2005, http://www.cominganarchy.com/archives/2005/11/07/nationmaster-v-tdaxp/.

Adam from The Metropolis Times, Bill from Dawn's Early Light, Brendan from I Hate Linux, Curzon from Coming Anarchy, Ryne from Ryne McClaren: A Weblog, and others, were kind enough to blog on my recent troubles with

As Curzon said:

I say some controversial stuff on this site but I’ve never been threatened (and the comments here are generally awesome, save for the occasional lunatic). Poor Dan of TDAXP has been threatened by jihadists, blocked in China, and now threatened with a libel suit by NationMaster.com. You can read the correspondence that led to this event at the prior link or at the new blog NationMasterWatch.

Was Grendel right that tyranny is just at the doorstep for Americans? No. A negative review of prior services, even if the faulty services have been solved, does not constitute defamation or libel. And if recent suits of a similar nature are any hints, those who file libel suits generally embaress themselves and give the defendant heaps of publicity..


And not only that, Curzon used his artistic wizardry to create a graphic representation of 's recent aggression

tdaxpnationmaster_md

I want to thank everyone for seeing NationMaster's assault and giving advise. Particularly, I was relieved to be assured by the very knowledgeable Curzon that what I wrote was not defamation. With that in mind, here is an excerpt from the original negative review:

Nation Master will bill you even after you cancel.

Confused? Let's try again

nationmaster.com will bill you even after you cancel

I first joined this site when I needed raw data for my graduate thesis. In the end it was useless for me, but the site is a good waste of 15 minutes.

nationmaster.com is not worth the three quarterly payments I made, the two after I stopped using or, or the one after I first demanded a refund.

The bill implies someone named Luke Metcalfe is involved in this scam. Well Lucas, if you're reading, stop it.

Any everyone else: avoid Nation Master.


The transcript of NationMaster's shakedown is at the new blog, NationMaster Watch.