Remember Baybrook Remodelers, Ken Carney's Connecticut-based construction company who bully and sue disgruntled customers who leave negative reviews on Yelp and other sites? Well, now they've hired an SEO creep called Todd Ramos, who is hassling Techdirt to try and get their post about Baybrook taken down.
Ramos's campaign tactics include smearing Baybrook's victim (referring to her over and and over again as a "crazy woman"), and inventing imaginary conversations with Boing Boing in which we are said to be considering removing our own coverage. For the record, we are not. He also claims that we were hired by Baybrook's victim to post uncomplimentary things about Baybrook (we were not). And he claims to have "600 bloggers and 20000 blog as ranging in pr 4 to 7" through which he will smear Techdirt if they don't remove the post.
The most cack-handed part of this whole thing is that its founder, Mike Masnick actually coined the term "The Streisand Effect" to describe the knock-on publicity that arises from censorship attempts, because the attempt at censorship is often more newsworthy than the information that is under dispute.
Furthermore, Ramos' tactics are equally questionable. His claims of slander have no basis in reality, and his tactics suggest he hasn't had much practice approaching non-review websites with takedown requests. When it became apparent I wouldn't yank the entire post, Ramos shifted from friendly to threatening, claiming he would organize his army of bloggers to write negative things about Techdirt. Even worse, he tried to promise me things he couldn't possibly deliver, like dropping a lawsuit. He didn't help his case by continually referring to Kristen's mother as a "crazy woman" and failed to bring any evidence contradicting what I had posted, other than the same letter than Kristen had posted on her own website. If this was as damning as he made it out to be, there would be little reason for Baybrook's lawsuit target to post it on her own site. Furthermore, despite his continual reference to Boing Boing, our friends at Boing Boing tell us they haven't actually heard from anyone asking to have their post (that links to ours) taken down.
As it stands now, Baybrook may not have directly forced the city's hand on this issue, but that's only according to Baybrook's own statements. The chain of events seems to suggest otherwise. The company definitely appears to have been instrumental in motivating the city of Milford to dig deeper into zoning ordinances after its initial attempts to have the critical signs removed failed. (See the original post for the original, completely ridiculous legal threat.) But we can be more certain about one thing: putting Ramos in charge of cleaning up the company's reputation may not be working out quite as well as Baybrook Remodelers may have envisioned.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.