More Judd Bagley: Part 2

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Cyberstalker Judd BagleyOur pal ScipioAfricanus gives us more information on the Overstock.com “Black Ops” activity. Judd Bagley, Director of Communications at Overstock.com, has this nasty little habit related to spyware. He’s been caught embedding images in public message board posts… those special images (not visible if you just look at the face of the post itself) send back to Bagley the IP addresses of those who view his messages.

Now it’s one thing to look at IP addresses for sites you own. No harm there. It’s another thing to use secret spyware to grab the IP addresses of people using someone else’s site.

Scipio revealed that Bagley has a file on a computer he uses with the following directory structure: Continue reading

Overstock.com Cooking the Books?

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This is Sam Antar’s final installment in his three part series on all the “unusual” things showing up in Overstock’s financial statements. Unusual because they don’t align with multiple statements made by CEO Patrick Byrne in a variety of interviews and earnings calls.

The bottom line is this: Byrne and Overstock management have made statements about their inventory that cannot possibly all be true. They are in conflict and cannot coexist, therefore at least some of the statements must be false. Continue reading

The SEC cares when CEOs post on message boards using pseudonyms????

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Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com O.coNote to Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com: Read carefully please.

Note to readers: Check out Gary Weiss’s comments on this situation.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an informal inquiry into the message board postings of Whole Foods Market Inc.’s CEO John Mackey. Mackey has allegedly been posting on Yahoo stock boards using a pseudonym for the last 8 years. His postings included pumping Whole Foods’ stock, praising the company’s financial results, and bashing a company Whole Foods wanted to acquire. Continue reading

The Overstock.com house of cards

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Quite a lot happened this past week at Overstock.com. Is the house of cards finally falling down?

Some think so. Gary Weiss even wrote a blog post entitled “Will the Last Overstock.com Director Please Turn Out the Lights.” And Sam Antar is wondering why people are distancing themselves from CEO Patrick Byrne.

The Overstock.com directors are dropping. It’s always a bad sign when one’s daddy is the first to resign from the Board of Directors, don’t you think? The stated reason for the departure of John J. Byrne was:

On July 31, 2006, John J. Byrne announced his retirement from the Board of Directors of the Company due to his new role as Chairman of White Mountains Insurance Group. The resignation did not result from a disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company.s operations, policies or practices.

It is interesting that the resignation supposedly has nothing to do with disagreements, but in an interview with CNet News a few months earlier, Patrick admitted that he and his father disagreed about his “jihad against short sellers”: Continue reading

Why the Overstock Inventory Issue Matters

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It has been suggested that discussing the inventory issues at Overstock.com is a waste of time. Surely there is more interesting stuff going on. like Sith Lords and such.

So I’ll explain why it’s so important.

Inventory is a financial statement line item that is notorious for being abused. Some companies are loath to record proper reserves, and so inventory may be on the balance sheet at too high a value. On the other hand, when a company has a really good quarter, it may be tempting to overstate the reserve to create a little “cookie jar” for later. (The idea is that we recognize additional expense in this good quarter, since we still have “room” for more expenses. Then during a later quarter when numbers aren’t as good, we can dip into that reserve to pump up the earnings.) Continue reading