In a show of solidarity, bloggers are showing support for a Norwegian blogger who has received personal threats from Xocai Multi-Level Marketing distributors in Norway AND, scarily, his personal details transmitted to the distributor network.
The Skeptic’s Guide to Universe podcast recently reported on this story of internet thuggery on a few Norwegian bloggers that dared criticise the outrageous health claims of a “healthy chocolate” marketed through an MLM network.
The story on the Unfiltered Perception blog reveals the threats levelled at one blogger in particular, in an attempt to silence his valid criticism of the extravagant health claims of Xocai chocolate.
The blogger – a responsible skeptic who values the truth of his writing – wrote back to the company sending the threats (Sjokoservice – Norge) asking specifically where his story is in error so he could change it to more accurately reflect reality. Such a reasonable request was met with more threats of a lawsuit by Sjokoservice’s American backers (MXI corp); denial of their responsibility to provide relevant information and reports that distributors were engaged in heated discussions on Facebook about what to do about these “untrue and libelous” claims.
The whole time the author of the threatening letters takes the position of ‘we are just reporting this to you, we have no responsibility for what happens next’ despite transmitting the bloggers personal details – including photos of his family members and a Google map of his house – to their 9000 odd distributors.
Much of this insecurity and bullying surfaces from the fact the blogger’s original stories were highly ranked on Google. Sjokoservice successfully forced one blogger to remove his original 201o story, primarily by contacting the blogger’s place of work, thereby causing him great personal distress.
Bloggers have rallied and now the mainstream media in Norway has taken to the story. To remedy this, Xocai distributors appear to have gone on the offensive. Take look at the web search results below for the search term “Xocai threats” (below). It seems that distributors have hijacked website names in order to redirect attention to their marketing nonsense:
Here’s a URL example: http://badscienceblogs.info/2012/07/03/xocai-threatens-nasty-chocolate-in-vermont-with-healthy-chocolate/
It is quite ingenious in its desperation but one simply needs to create a domain name, setup a free WordPress install and hey presto – spam Google search filters with your nonsense (load it with keywords like “threats” to redirect attention away from stories about the Xocai threats).
This is a piece of work – the extreme measures these purveyors (or “artisans”) of natural and alternative health will go to in order to protect their bank accounts. It doesn’t surprise me – the insecurity of the Xocai powers-that-be is valid and this spam blogging and hijacking of website names is a desparate attempt to rectify a situation that could have been avoided if they didn’t make extravagant claims in the first place.