Your On-Line Reputation

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Many of you will remember the misinformation campaign uncovered by Lottakatz during the ABA competition two years ago. The campaign gave a 100 vote surge and final victory to The Legal Satyricon, a blog run by Marc Randazza.

We also previously discussed the $2.5 million award against blogger Crystal L. Cox (left). Cox was a cause célèbre, as a crusading blogger, with her claims of journalistic privilege and that she deserved protection under Oregon’s shield law. Cox is represented by Eugene Volokh, and Cox’s motion for a new trial was recently denied. Randazza had consulted with Cox on her case, but she decided not to work with him.

According to Carlos Miller:

Cox, who spent several years publishing negative blog posts about Obsidian Finance, damaging the Oregon company’s online reputation in the process, contacted them earlier this year to offer online reputation services at $2,500-a-month.

Cox sent the following e-mail to Randazza:

She offers her services to manage Randazza’s Google Footprint. The strategy is to set up numerous web sites with interconnecting links, and ensure that these web sites turn up first in any Google keyword searches. Ask Rick Santorum how that works. Apparently she offered the same service to David Aman – counsel for Kevin Padrick and Obsidian Finance – and he accused her of extortion.

In addition to, she also registered:


Cox then included Randazza’s wife and registered and Cox then focused her attention on Randazza’s three-year-old daughter, pictured, and registered

In his opinion, Marco A. Hernandez United States District Judge, wrote:

In my discussion, I did not state that a person who “blogs” could never be considered “media.” I also did not state that to be considered “media,” one had to possess all or most of the characteristics I recited. Rather, I confined my conclusion to the record defendant created in this case and noted that defendant had presented no evidence as to any single one of the characteristics which would tend to establish oneself as a member of the “media.”

H/T: VC, Kashmir Hill (Forbes), David Carr (NY Times), Philly Law Blog, The Fraud Files, David Carr (NY Times), The Legal Satyricon.

70 thoughts on “Your On-Line Reputation”

  1. kaysieverding,

    Focus your legal actions on your original tormentor only. Everything else is a waste of energy, and advantages the one that you have the original grievance against.

  2. Dredd

    gravamen n. the basic gist of every claim (cause of action) or charge in a complaint, particularly the failure to perform.

    I’m not allowed to represent myself in the 10th Circuit or in any federal court in the District of Colorado. I’m not allowed to represent myself in the 8th Circuit of federal court in the district of Minnesota so I can’t get at the publishers directly unless I go into state district court which would mean that I would be adjudicated by the same original judge. Plus I would have to go to Steamboat Springs to do that and I am afraid that I will be arrested for violation of the restraining order if I do.

    The only legal venue that I think I have available to me by right is against the feds and I just filed a motion to amend my complaint to state charges under 5 USC 552a e(4)(C) and (I) plus Bivens but I think that most of the judges are prejudiced against me.

  3. “We can now be strip searched for not paying parking tickets”


    Precisely my point. As I’ve related here before in 1973, on the eve of the NBA Championship game, which the Knicks would win, I was arrested in Suffolk County, NY for an upaid traffic ticket that I had forgotten about from three years prior. The Suffolk Police didn’t accept my AAA Bail Card (up to $5,000) and I was thrown in a cell, without clothes for the 6 hours it took to have AAA send over a representative with the $25 bail. The original ticket was for $15.

    Two weeks later when I appeared in court, I went there with a $1,000 in cash because I had no idea what they would fine me, given they had arrested me and I had originally forgotten about this old fine. When they called my case I was almost shaking as I approached the Judge, who heard the charges, looked at me and said the fine was the original $15.

    It was a lesson well learned about the stupid excesses of the Police on occasion and that was almost forty years ago. As you and I have expressed on many an occasion lately, things have gotten much worse.

  4. kaysieverding,

    Have had some experiences similar to yours, but mine pale in comparison. I think what Dredd means is, concentrate your energy.

  5. Anonymously Yours 1, April 22, 2012 at 10:27 am


    Excellent….. And the “pump don’t work because the vandal stole the handle “…..
    And there is nothing we can do about it:

    “Th[e National Security Agency’s] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.“

    (Church Committee, Senator Frank Church, 1975). The freedom pump is down, the handle is stolen by the vandals, and all hell is planned:

    The former NSA official held his thumb and forefinger close together: “We are that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.”

    (Wired). Where have all the warnings gone, long time passing.

  6. kaysieverding 1, April 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I have a big problem with my on-line reputation and would appreciate advice since I am trying to make the best of my life.

    So considering that I have a long life expectancy and don’t want to be burdened by these on-line defamatory articles in either my personal or my working life, what should I do?
    Hunker down as you learn what “gravamen” means, so that you are not all over the place, but instead focused at the proper time.

  7. Mike Spindell 1, April 22, 2012 at 10:19 am

    One of the saddest lessos I’ve learned and re-leared through life is summed up by these lines by Bob Dylan:

    “Don’t follow leaders, watch your parking meters”
    We can now be strip searched for not paying parking tickets:

    In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time.

    (Guardian). So, “watch your parking meters”, because the strip searchers will be.

  8. I have a big problem with my on-line reputation and would appreciate advice since I am trying to make the best of my life. These are the underlying facts:

    1.) I have a degree in city planning. I complained that my former neighbor the president of the city council built a detached two story building with plumbing and heating that included over 1000 square feet that was not accessible to vehicles and that he converted a pre existing unregistered non conforming shed to a detached guest house. Neither of these buildings is listed on the property tax rolls.

    2.) My neighbor called the police and complained that I accused her and her husband of violating the zoning and the constitution while I was standing on the street adjoining my former home in the afternoon. This happened only once and at the time she was with two construction workers and her husband who were actively working on the second floor.

    3.) My neighbor and only my neighbor signed a police criminal summons. The d.a. did not file a criminal complaint and there was no statement of probable cause.

    4.) Based on the above, the local judge issued a permanent restraining order against me. The forms used were for an intimate relationship. No statute was specified. The judge said in court that it would disappear when the criminal proceedings ended but when they ended he refused to dissolve it. My neighbor complained that I violated that by going shopping and the police were constantly investigating and following me. The police budget was controlled by the president of the city council. In 2009 he admitted that he is a convicted felon but that was not public earlier.

    5.) The d.a. was married to a real estate speculator. When I refused to plea bargain she dropped the criminal charges but she issued a statement that there was probable cause and a victim but a trial would be too expensive.

    6.) Colorado statute prohibits the issuance of an injunction without a statutory basis and it prohibits the use of abbreviated procedure except in cases involving an intimate relationship but I did not know this when I first went to court for a hearing I got only three days notice of and was pro se at.

    7.) Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure prohibit a prosecutor from dismissing a criminal charge without an oral hearing but she did it anyway.

    8.) The Steamboat Pilot published about the above and their publications were partially accurate but also included republications of fraudulent statements, i.e. that my neighbors construction complied with the zoning and that there was probable cause and a victim.

    9.) The Pilot expanded the original audience by publishing the articles on the Internet after I had objected to them and they deleted comments I put on the articles and refused to let me make more. I wrote to them and asked them to take the articles down but they didn’t and they told me orally that they can publish anything they want about me because there is nothing I can do about it.

    10.) Colorado pols linked to the Pilot articles and also fixed their systems so that it will not now accept my name as a poster.

    11.) I sued in federal court and my case was assigned to Judge Edward Nottingham who had some sort of sex addiction problem and was publicly involved with prostitution.

    12.) Nottingham dismissed my case with prejudice and ordered me to pay $100,000 to various lawyers but he didn’t write an order, judgment, or opinion that stated any facts showing a basis for dismissal or for sanctions or cited any laws or rules.

    13.) I didn’t understand The Law of Judgments and didn’t appeal as effectively as I would have if I could write it now.

    14.) I filed a motion for relief from judgment in a nonrendering court under Rule 60(b)(3).

    15.) Because I filed the motion for relief from judgment, Nottingham ordered that I be imprisoned and the USMS complied without a warrant, a criminal complaint or a detention order that was defined in the Federal Register.

    16.) The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News published articles about this and me after they cancelled an interview with me. It turns out that their lawyer was the same lawyer who requested that I be imprisoned.

    17.) The USMS entered non existent criminal charges against me into the NCIC.

    18.) I sued the government and they responded that the USMS imprisonments were intentional and government policy.

    19.) I finally figured out that in order to hold me the USMS was required to use the Prisoner Population Management System/ Prisoner Tracking System and that it had published in the Federal Register that the classes of records in the system include those of alleged criminal offenders. The government never published in the Federal Register that the PPS/PTS would include records of alleged civil contempors or records of those who are not alleged criminal offenders. This violated The Privacy Act 5 USC section 552a subsection (e)(4)(I).

    20.) I wrote to every publisher of every article I considered objectionable and explaining the facts asked them to remove the publication from the Internet but only some of them did.

    21.) I can’t afford an attorney and very few attorneys do anything complicated on a contingency or pro bono basis.

    So considering that I have a long life expectancy and don’t want to be burdened by these on-line defamatory articles in either my personal or my working life, what should I do?

  9. When they come for the dogs few will complain or stand up for dogs because they are not dogs. Our dog pack considers a journalist to be someone who went to obedience school and knows the basics of an article: who, what, where, why, when. Just because a human can point in the direction of a rabbit at the right time of day when the loonies with the shooties are standing around and then say “Bunny for your target practice” does not make that person a journalist or a hunting dog. Hardly can this people thing be said to be a hound dog. The similarities with journalism are there for all dogs to take note of.

  10. Note that I did not accuse Marc Randazza of the misinformation campaign, it may have been one of his co-bloggers or commenters.

  11. Mike,

    Excellent….. And the “pump don’t work because the vandal stole the handle “…..

  12. One of the saddest lessos I’ve learned and re-leared through life is summed up by these lines by Bob Dylan:

    “Don’t follow leaders, watch your parking meters”

    The meaning of this line to me is that there is no one that makes their way into public life that should be put on a pedestal, because often the foundation of the pedestal is porous. As for the parking meters part it comes down to the fact that it is the “minor” offenses that will bring you down, so that if you want to stand out from the crowd make sure you’re as
    pristine as you claim to be.

    When I first heard of the Cox case I felt sympathy for her and it was easy to imagine the stereotype of the crusader against Corporate greed being crushed by the Corporation’s assets. That appears not to be the case and indeed her journalistic bona fides seem suspect. As for Mr. Randazza, while I sympathize with him vis-a-vis Ms. Cox domain name ploy,
    his disinformation campaign stains his reputation as well.

    On the general issue of who is a journalist, this is a difficult question. As many here know I am in general Anti-Corporation. However, when people are “anti” anything, it seems to me that they must guard against the tendency to believe that all who seem to espouse their cause are the “good guys” and all “the enemy” may not be intrinsically evil. I discovered this in the 60’s, when I found many who seemed to share my desire to end racism and the Viet Nam War, were every bit as personally fascistic as those we were protesting against. I’ve discovered and re-discovered these truths as the years have passed. After all I did support John Edwards in 2008.

  13. Matt,

    If I recall some of the best detectives have been journalist……

  14. Bfm,

    Did you notice the spelling in her email…. Not that I can complain…

  15. Some responsible individuals act as though one cannot be a journalist unless one’s paycheck is signed by a major medial company like the NYT, WAPO, CBS or NBC etc.

    That has frustrated me because I don’t believe who signs your paycheck or if you get a pay check at all is any indication of journalistic activity. After all, the first journalist in this country worked by posting broadsides on any convenient wall. Frequently they did this at their own expense and to vent their own outrage.

    But to me this case isn’t even difficult. I don’t see how one can claim to be a journalist on the one hand and at the same time claim to be a media consultant protecting the reputation of those you report on.

    But I can think of some other possible job titles: grifter, hustler, extortionist come to mind.

  16. The moral of the story…. Stay away from crystal……unless it’s proceeded by Waterford…….

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