#3. Sequoia Voting Machines Vs. Guy Who Fixes Voting Machines
Speaking of Ed Felten, there's absolutely no way that a voting machine company would ever threaten to sue a respected computer security expert just because he was engaging in a perfectly legal check of their hardware and software ordered by a state government, right?
Perhaps realizing Felten was pretty good at finding software fuck-ups (and not just in CDs either, he'd already taken on Diebold on voting machines) E-voting firm Sequoia sent Felten a threatening letter saying that if he said anything bad about their machines, they would, like, totally sue him. Because nothing says democracy like suing somebody so they won't say anything bad about you.
Why won't everyone just leave Ed Felten alone?
Felten, drawing on his rich RIAA experience, no doubt laughed his ass off and then went ahead and in fact found that Seqouia's voting machines could be hacked in seven minutes. Also, it didn't record votes accurately all the time ... even un-hacked.
Seqouia quietly went away. Meanwhile, the machines are still being used and are surely working with atomic-level precision.
#2. Criticize Direct Express? Say Goodbye to Your Privacy
Consumer review websites serve two purposes: to inform consumers about the best values, and to give frustrated and semi-crazy customers a place to vent without making a scene and knocking over a magazine rack. Everybody understands this.
Well, not everybody. When car transportation company Auto Transport Direct saw customers talking trash about them on Transport Reviews, well, they couldn't leave the complaints unanswered. But, hey, that's understandable, right? Reply to the negative comments, give your side, it's all good.
The employee in charge of conducting their response/flame war kind of took the whole thing personally. So they went right for personal attacks against the reviewers, which is kind of a dick move, but also took the extra step of digging up and posting customers' personal information (real name and home town) to just go that extra dick mile.
It wasn't a dick accident, either. After "April" left her anonymous review, Direct Express posted her info and taunted her: "Her choice of words in which to express herself should tell you plenty, which fortunately is now captured on the Internet with her full name and town."
Take that, dissatisfied customer!
Once again the heroes at The Consumerist jumped into the fray, posting the story and eliciting the expected outrage in their comments (including one who dug up and posted the personal info on the business's owner, including how much he paid in property taxes last year).
Before it could turn into a full-blown incident, the company edited every one of their snarky responses and pasted an apology on the front page of their site.
"While we find it frustrating that some people make disparaging comments on the Internet without putting their name to their words, we understand that the Internet works in that way and that we should respect people's right to opine, vent and express themselves in any way they choose. So there will be no more name and town stuff... We get it. And we're sorry."
Hey, they get it, awesome. If only everybody did...
#1. Publicity Firm Fires 16-Year-Old Over Facebook, Gets Publicity it was Trying to Avoid
16-year-old Kimberly Swann started working at Ivell Marketing and Logistics as an "office administrator," i.e. doing the same kind of boring bitch work in an office every 16-year-old intern has to do. She was bored about it, so she updated her Facebook with remarks like "OMG! Shredding is so totally boring!" We're sure this was news to all her friends.
A couple of weeks later, she was summoned to manager Mark Ivell's office and fired. The manager's exact words were: "I have seen your comments on Facebook and I don't want my company being in the news."
Kimberley had never mentioned where she was working by name. Yet, a professional marketer thought that a teenager's Facebook update would qualify as "news," apparently under the impression that they were in the midst of the slowest fucking news day in history.
The most trusted names in news.
Oh, and there's also the question of why he was checking this 16-year-old girl's Faceboook in the first place...
Kimberly Swann, meanwhile, has had her charming 16-year-old face plastered all over the Internet, which means somebody has masturbated to it. Or several thousand somebodies. Everyone wins!
More Dan can be found here.
To see more from the world of corporate douchebaggery, check out The 5 Least Surprising Toy Recalls of All Time and The 6 Creepiest Marketing Campaigns Aimed at Children.
And visit Cracked.com's Top Picks to see some corporate boobies.