Ed Magedson of Ripoffreport.com Avoids Embarrassing Predicament Through Straw-Man & Ad Hominem Logical Fallacies
On November 26th 2014 a Ripoff Report containing clearly false allegations about Professor Eric Goldman was posted on the website. I noticed it for two reasons:
- Professor Goldman is a well known supporter of the First Amendment and has written at least one Amicus Brief in support of Xcentric Ventures LLC, the company that owns the website RipoffReport.com.
- I compiled this list of approximately 1000 URLs recently published on Authorized Statement that open to illegal content, hate speech and extremely offensive webpages on RipoffReport.com. I had been asked by a concerned service contractor to RipoffReport.com to provide any further examples of offensive material on my list. I was simply updating this list and noticed Professor Goldman’s name listed in the ‘latest reports’ index on the website.
All ‘reports’ on the website have a tweet button. I tweeted this ‘report’, as I have tweeted many ‘reports’ that provide examples of offensive and vile material. I was briefly concerned that I would be accused of writing this ‘report’ because I discovered it so soon after its publication and because Ripoff Report is seeking any excuse, however tenuous, to write false material about Michael Roberts and myself. However, I have no interest in using aliases to fight for victims of the callous but profitable ‘business model’ used on RipoffReport.com. I have always used my own name to advocate for victims and for any action in our boycott. Moreover, I have been clear that my participation in this advocacy and our boycott, while separate from my own civil case against Google over false and defamatory material on RipoffReport.com, was motivated by the widespread distress that is caused to ordinary people and small businesses.
Let me be clear, I did not write the ‘report’ on Professor Goldman. I have documented conversations with other victims of Ripoff Report that show I am absolutely against any form of ‘retaliation’ through using tactics such as posting false and damaging material about innocent people, even those who support RipoffReport.com. I will not sanction hurting innocent people, will not participate in it, and indeed, I do my best to convince others that this is wrong in so many ways. I intend to write about this issue on my blog. When I discovered the ‘report’ in the list of ‘latest reports’ that is publicised on the website, I contacted my Australian co-activist Michael Roberts for advice. He subsequently emailed Ripoff Report and asked for Professor Goldman’s name to be removed on compassionate grounds.
The next day, (November 28th in Australia) I checked the ‘report’ on Professor Goldman and his name and that of his wife had been removed. However, it had been replaced with the imputation that I had written this report. This editing was the work of Ed Magedson and referred to me (and Michael) as “nefarious, unscrupulous and disgraced Australians”. It was slightly amusing that Magedson did not mention me or Michael by name and there are reasons for this which I will address shortly. The RipoffReport.com editor (Magedson) is predictable in his vengeance and the changes were clearly made by him. The alterations to this ‘report’ also highlight another important issue: The change of context of the ‘report’ may raise questions concerning the section 230C immunity enjoyed by RipoffReport.com.
On December 1st 2014 I discovered that the ‘report’ on Professor Goldman had been altered yet again. This link opens to the latest version:
‘Nefarious’ Australians and Magedson’s Vengeance
Ed Magedson, founder and editor of RipoffReport.com, has a long history of using the website and aggressive litigation for the purposes of exacting revenge on his critics and on anyone whom he perceives challenges his untrammeled ‘business model’ of cyber-bullying and extortion. For example, Magedson ordered his attorneys to sue legal counsel for simply doing their job and representing their clients in a civil action. Magedson then demanded USD$100,000 from the attorney in an email informing her he required payment to drop the legal action so she could focus on “looking for a job”. This email (and other evidence) is included in California attorney Lisa’s Borodkin’s successful motion for sanctions against Magedson.
Magedson’s terminology in this document is distinctive and similar to the editing on the Goldman report and other ‘reports he has written about his critics. For example this diatribe by Magedson is a response to a Huffington Post article by David Goehst, ‘How Ripoff Report’ Stole the Consumer Voice’. Magedson’s terminology is also similar to the ‘report’ he wrote in which he likened Ripoff Report to a court in response to a Florida’s appeal judge’s decision that referred to the Ripoff Report business practices as ‘appalling’.
So why did Magedson try to impute blame for writing the ‘report’ on Michael and I yet not mention our names? Ripoff Report keeps all IP addresses and surely he would have mentioned that the ‘report’ was posted from an Australian domain if he had the evidence. But the ‘report’ on Goldman was not written by either Michael or I so Magedson resorted to trying to twist the facts and refer to my tweets as ‘evidence’. A regular commentator on the website, ‘Stacy’, was perplexed with the context of the ‘report’. Her comment was ‘Huh?
The reason Magedson did not mention my name is that his propensity for vengeance has resulted in criminal and civil legal actions in the US and Australia and his lawyers have gagged him. There is background to this, which I will endeavour to briefly explain.
- I was defamed on Ripoff Report and, after pleading with Magedson and his attorneys to remove the defamatory material without success, I filed civil proceedings in the Australian courts in 2011 against Google and according to our laws on defamation.
- Google tried to make me ‘go away’ by using legal delaying tactics and ‘deep pocketing’. However, the Google external legal team of two international law firms, a local law firm, two barristers and a QC have failed against us – me and my local ‘small town’ lawyers. A trial has been set down for June 2015 in the South Australian Supreme Court.
- My Ripoff Report victims’ advocacy work with the Australian cyberbullying activist, Michael Roberts arose from a contact he made through my blog in late 2011.
- Around that time Ed Magedson and a paid RipoffReport.com featured writer, Darren M Meade commenced a vicious cyberbullying campaign against Michael, his family, and his associates. Anyone who had any connection whatsoever with Michael was ‘collateral damage’ to Meade’s campaign that was controlled by and paid for by Magedson ($90,000+ according to records obtained by prosecutor). So what was the reason? Well, as far as it can be discerned from the legal documents, Michael simply made Magedson angry by standing up for victims.
But don’t take my word on this. The evidence in the form of hundreds of pages of legal documents and exhibits can be downloaded from this link.
The evidence clearly shows that Michael was the primary target but that I (along with others) was specifically identified for targeting by Meade and Magedson in mid 2012. In 2013 I joined with Michael to implement the most successful victims’ advocacy boycott against Ripoffreport.com to date. By January 2014 most of RipoffReport.com’s lucrative multi-million dollar advertising revenue had been withdrawn. In November 2014, Xcentic Ventures tried to sue Michael in an attempt to stop the boycott. The judge stated that it was deemed protected speech. The court decision can be downloaded from this link and Michael’s testimony in the court case can be viewed on YouTube.
True to form, Magedson took revenge through his website and Michael and I were falsely accused of defaming Australian judges, the attacks against Michael escalated, and in January 2014 Magedson published this ‘whinging report’ saying that we were trying to ‘hurt’ the Ripoff Report.
Why did Magedson refrain from mentioning us by name in his edited version of the Goldman ‘report’? There are two reasons:
- Magedson did not mention us by name because this might cause readers to Google us and find our exposés against RipoffReport.com on this link and this link.
- Civil and Criminal Actions in the US and Australia: From late July 2014 the criminal action in Iowa and my civil court action in Australia emphasised to Magedson’s attorneys that his vengeance now produced implications that they could not control and that have serious implications that threaten the website’s future. The Iowa criminal charges are due to go to trial early in the New Year in the US and in addition to my defamation trial, further civil actions will be filed against Google in Australia in 2015 as a result of the evidence now in the public domain that Magedson uses Ripoff Report for revenge.
So what has Google got to do with this? Surely they are innocent disseminators. Well no!
- Google has known about the use of RipoffReport.com for the purposes of cyberbullying for profit from at least 2008. Matt Cutts, a senior Google employee and the ‘public face of Google’, referred to investigating RipoffReport.com on his blog in 2008.
- In 2013, before our advertising boycott was launched Google stated it had blocked RipoffReport.com from AdWords for ‘unacceptable business practices’. But as shown in this video, Google still served advertisements to the website but these were removed in January 2014 after our boycott produced intense pressure for their clients. The advertising clients were horrified that their brands were associated with the abusive and illegal content on RipoffReport.com and could not get their business off the website fast enough.
- As noted in a legal application to the Australian court, the removal of advertising from RipoffReort.com was followed by another spate of publication of defamatory material about Michael and I on the website. Google has been sent the latest court documents from both the US and Australia and have done nothing. Michael explains the reason for this in his video. However, I have hope that once my defamation trial (and those of at least two other Australians) and the criminal trial of Darren M Meade produces publicity in 2015 Google may re-evaluate their support of RipoffReport.com.
Professor Eric Goldman’s Ripoff Report and Section 230C Immunity
The final question is perhaps the most interesting. It is clear that Magedson substantially changed the Goldman ‘report’ on two separate occasions and is now using it to attack us. I have documented the ‘report’ versions before and after Magedson did his hatchet job. They can be downloaded from a cloud drive (a paid subscription to adrive.com and virus free) by using this link.
This is not the first ‘report’ that has been changed by Magedson to protect his interests. In 2008 Chris Bennet wrote that the Google owners, Sergey Brin and Larry Page were the subjects of a ‘report’ alleging offensive and inappropriate behaviour. Magedson subsequently changed the names in the ‘report’. The altered version is on this link.
RipoffReport.com redacted the name of Will Devries, Privacy Counsel for Google, from a ‘report’ alleging he is a sex offender within hours of its discovery by a SEO blogger. This is the redacted report.
Of course there are literally thousands of men falsely named as pedophiles and women called ‘sluts’, ‘whores’, ‘prostitutes’ (and worse) on the website that do not enjoy the privilege of having these serious and false accusations removed despite RipoffReport.com’s latest spin about preventing cyberbullying.
The question is does this affect the section 230 immunity defence for RipoffReport.com? That is a question for the US legal system but from the research that I have conducted, Section 230 immunity may be lost if the meaning is changed through editing. In the case of the Goldman ‘report’ it appears to me that Magedson has certainly altered the meaning. Moreover, there is substantial evidence that he has edited reports for years to satisfy his lust for revenge.
This is some of the latest opinion on Section 230 immunity:
From the EFF;
From the DMLP: