Thursday, July 12, 2007

John Mackey Sows Wild Oats Anonymously Online

John Mackey, vegan co-founder of Whole Foods Market, posted anonymously on an internet message board and his ruse is being used against him by the FTC as he tries to buy his chief competitor Wild Oats Market. Besides posting opinions about Wild Oats executives, he also had some Glenn Greenwald worthy sock puppetry going:

At the same time, he wrote glowingly and anonymously of John Mackey.

“I like Mackey’s haircut. I think he looks cute!” Rahodeb wrote on April 28, 2000.

“You must not patronize any of WFMI’s stores,” the writer continued, using Whole Food’s stock symbol. “Tatoos, piercings, unusual dress and interesting haircuts are everywhere in the stores. In comparison, Mackey looks like a model for Brooks Brothers!”

Rahodeb’s final remarks were posted last August, after he lost a bet to another correspondent, Hubris12000, over Whole Food’s stock performance.

“Surgeon General and Boston Cowboy — you were both right about my true identity all along,” he concluded. “Congratulations on your cleverness.”

The only people who are truly anonymous on the web are Russian mafia hackers and even they get caught sometimes.


Jon Harmon said...

That Mackey's behavior was irresponsible is without a doubt. Whether it was also criminal is the issue. Mackey deliberately used his anonymous attacks to hurt his competitor, and likely to drive down the value of a stock Whole Foods would try to acquire.

Will the blogosphere's defenders of transparency rush to condemn this unethical behavior by a supposedly "good guy company" with the same fervor that was directed against other larger corporations? Don't you think Wal-Mart's "flogging across America" was pretty tame by comparison?

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Jon Harmon

David said...

How could he stand to spend time at a Yahoo stock board? Every time I've looked into one of these, I've come out feeling like I need a shower.

Melissa Clouthier said...


More than that, who really believes that the silliness posted by one anonymous blogger would affect the stock price? I mean c'mon.