The Streisand Effect Takes Up Residence In Project Entropia
from the learn-when-to-give-up dept
You would think, after countless examples of the Streisand Effect at work, companies (especially in the tech world) would realize that trying to suppress something online is generally going to have the opposite effect -- getting it a lot more attention than it would have received otherwise. Apparently, the folks who run the online world Project Entropia hadn't picked up on this lesson. A few weeks ago, Project Entropia got a ton of publicity (including from us) about a plan to let people withdraw their virtual money as real cash at certain ATMs. A law professor, Dan Hunter, who also follows the virtual worlds space, wrote up a blog post criticizing much of the coverage, noting that very few looked too deeply into the announcement to realize that it wasn't anything special. Apparently, that didn't sit well with the CEO of MindArk, the company that runs Project Entropia, and he started sending Hunter and his boss at Wharton angry emails, claiming the post was slander. Being a law professor, Hunter knew it wasn't slander, and chose to ignore it. However, the emails kept coming, and reached the point where he wrote about the emails publicly. This is a classic Streisand Effect case. The original blog post was already fading away. However, now that they've made a big stink about how it's slander and should be taken down, a lot more people are going to see it. Not only that, but we're going to read about the various other publicity stunts Project Entropia has pulled in the past -- making us more skeptical of any news about them in the future. For example, we had heard the well-publicized story last year about how someone had bought a place in Project Entropia for $100,000. We didn't post it, partly because the story seemed a bit strange. However, in the blog post, we find out that the part that was never revealed was that the guy who bought the space in the virtual world just happened to be an employee of the company (Update: in the comments this is disputed, but he clearly appeared at places listing his title as "Project Entropia, US Spokesman" -- though, whether or not that was a paid position, a made-up evangelist position or something else is up for debate). There are also a few other questionable activities on the part of the company... none of which we would have known about if they hadn't started nastygramming the law professor and his employer.