Dangerous Online Role Playing - What Did Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Do To Wild Oats?
It looked like a good way to anonymously boost his company’s online reputation while simultaneously trashing his biggest competitor (Wild Oats). In absence of his real identity John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods was able to tap into a very powerful and dangerous area of the social web – “user reviews and testimonials.”
Armed with an anagram of his wife Deborah’s name (Rahodeb) and an Internet connection, Mackey proceeded to Spam Yahoo’s online financial message board by revealing information the government might deem illegal by a CEO. According to a recent Time’s magazine article, Mackey’s role playing even fueled his alter ego to make some “creepy” posts about himself, like …“I like Mackey’s haircut. I think he looks cute!”
In the end, it looks like what he did may have been illegal and surely qualified as unethical. Now, with this new information on the table, the FTC is trying to nix the deal on antitrust grounds. Here’s a video report on the incident.