Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Am I Out of My Mind, or What?

I don't know whether anyone has noticed yet, but my link lists have grown significantly over the past several days. I've thought about adding at least two others, but held off, at least for the moment. The ones I added are primarily writing-related, most notably Miss Snark, Literary Agent. Julie recommended this blog about four months ago. I had checked it out and liked it, but didn't add it to my reading until now.

Oh, and I see I messed up one of the links. I'll fix it.

So what's all this about? Well, I've been following the Barbara Bauer/Absolute Write saga, even though I don't even know whether I've ever posted on Absolute Write. I posted on some board, somewhere, sometime. I suppose I can Google myself to see, but part of the point of all this is that the AW boards were taken down by the ISP.

Speaking of Google, here's a fun BB link I just read while procrastinating on this entry. In May, 2004, someone who had been asked for an upfront fee from Bauer's agency posted to a forum seeking advice on the matter. Someone replied the next day, without addressing the specific agency, that "The rule is that you should never be charged a fee for representation." No big deal, and that was the end of the thread until March 13th, 2006, when the site administrator posted that Dr. Bauer, or someone claiming to be Dr. Bauer, demanded a billion dollars in damages "for the illegal use of her name on our website." The admin, Angela Hoy, pointed out that Posting someone's name online to ask about their business practices is not copyright or trademark infringement." Later in the day, Angela Hoy reported that "She emailed again this evening, saying the name of her company was used to commit a crime on our website." Since the only mention on the site was the question from the prospective client, Ms. Hoy replied that no crime was committed, no one was misrepresented as being with Bauer's agency for defamatory purposes (as Bauer apparently claimed), and that Bauer might want to have a lawyer (implication: someone who knows that none of this junk is illegal) get in touch with WritersWeekly. And that, apparently, was that. Bizarre, no?

I've been thinking a lot these past few days what I'd say if BB showed up on my virtual doorstep, demanding a billion dollars for writing about her here and contributing to her Wikipedia entry. I guess I would say that the best way to silence her critics would be to provide documented evidence that some of her clients have sold and made money from their books (not paid to have them printed) as a result of her efforts. I would gladly add that to her Wikipedia entry, if she could produce one contract, one testimonial from a real client who was paid an advance plus royalties for a book from a non-vanity publisher. I'm not holding my breath, though. But with so many people writing about her now, she's unlikely to turn a baleful eye on me for a while, if ever. And a lot of bloggers much higher on the food chain than I have made similar suggestions, to no avail.

But I should not talk about bizarre behavior, unless it's my own. Here I have checking the Making Light thread and my Wikipedia watchlist morning, noon and night, instead of getting anything productive done. Along the way I've followed links from BB-related blogs and websites, as well as links from some of my recent comments here. Hence the new links on the sidebar. But I don't have time for this, clearly! I don't have time to keep up with the blogs I read now, or to do any of the other stuff I should be doing. So how the heck can I wasted yet another evening on this stuff? It's just isn't good for me. Here was are at 2 AM again, and I have to be at work reasonably on time for a change, to train a temp to help me with a project. It probably won't surprise you to know I'm not ready for that. So I shouldn't be messing with this stuff tonight. I should have written this entry two hours ago, skipped watching the second part of the Lassie episode with the jaguar and Paul Peterson, and gone the heck to bed.

But the whole Barbara Bauer issue fascinates me, and not just because of the Absolute Write situation, or even the people who get suckered into paying fees in return for extremely dubious services. I'm just amazed by the outrageous claims and demands this woman had apparently made all over the place in her attempts to keep people from saying negative things about her online. Come on, one billion dollars? For mentioning her name and asking whether to pay a fee? This isn't an original observation, but who does she think she is, Dr. Evil?

Absolute Write Support Badge

Maybe not, but she's managed to do some harm anyway. Absolute Write is now seeking donations, having lost advertising dollars, having accrued costs in recovering and moving their decimated website, and having the certainty of legal costs in their future. Here's the link, for any of you who might like to help out. The site's former ISP is still refusing to release their data to them, and just passed a third deadline for doing so. This is not all Bauer's doing, of course, but it's another part of this continuing saga. The behavior of the ISP is another example of proprietors of small businesses foolishly ticking off thousands of people and hurting themselves in the process. Shame on you, JC-Hosting. Regardless of bandwidth and other issues, you shouldn't hold AW's data hostage.



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julie said...

Just wanted to let you know that I'm in the process of moving to a new hosting provider and it will take a couple of days for the domain name server change to get around the interwebs.

I suppose I have Barbara Bauer to thank for this, although indirectly. If my hosting company hadn't had a badly configured server, I wouldn't have lost the data and I wouldn't be moving. The new site will have more bandwidth and space so I may be able to do more things there.

Back to work...

Becky said...

Hmm. Fascinating indeed. (Dr. Evil...hee hee!)