Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What Could Make Me Feel Sorry for IAC

After observing how our society behaved online for over 30 years I often share a simple bit of advice. Before you post ask yourself, “What good will come from this?”. Former IAC PR executive Justine Sacco didn’t know about my advise before sending her last tweet on her way to South Africa.


What made this particular remark exceptional was that Ms. Sacco was soon in the air on a 12 hour flight with no Wi-Fi access. Her tweet generated a social network atomic bomb. She had no way of knowing the firestorm she had created and had no way do to damage control.

By the time Justine landed in the country of her birth, her employer had disavowed her comment and removed her from their website.


This was IAC’s Media Kit web page before Ms.iac5 Sacco left on her flight. Before landing IAC had already updated their PR contact info.(see on right)

Photos taken at the South African airport show her on a cell phone. The offending tweet was soon removed and her account was deleted.

I’m no friend of the company IAC even though they once offered to make me a millionaire. For a while I started to feel bad for IAC. I soon recalled all the Email from frustrated customers wanting help removing the invasive toolbars. As of today, a total of 166,948 WinPatrol users have removed its Mindspark toolbar not counting the same toolbar with different names.

IAC owns a variety of Internet companies but the #1 method of promoting their properties is based on taking over a computers’ search using a variety of toolbars and hijackers. They’re the folks behind and the distribution of different toolbar brands like Mindspark. My major complaint with IAC is their ability to look the other way while affiliates create malware preventing the removal of Ask toolbars and search hijackers. They also have been slow to address complaints about perverts using Internet services like Zwinky marketed exclusively to children.

The first time I reviewed the company Board of Directors I was surprised to see the likes of General Norman Schwarzkopf and William H. Berkman as in the “Berkman Center For Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.”  The board has changed but now includes future presidential candidate Chelsea Clinton. Ms. Clinton did her part representing IAC by retweeting a published response prior to Ms. Sacco’s plane landing.


I felt this story was an important lesson and regret posting it the day after IAC suffered from a second more personal lose. The father of IAC Board Director, Edgar Bronfman, Jr. died on Saturday. The senior Bronfman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999. I’ve followed the family since having a brief connection when Samuel Bronfman was kidnapped in 1975.

After taking some time to gather her thoughts Justine Sacco did publish an apology today. She addressed her apology correctly to the people of South Africa and not the audience on social media. I hope everyone who felt they were a part of this disaster will use this as a learning experience. Many of the comments I read weren’t the most sensitive I’ve seen.

I’ll say it again, before you press Enter or click “Tweet” or “Post” ask yourself, “What good will come of this?” I just need to get this off my chest is not a good answer.

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