Lycos Steps Up Legal Threats To Get Meanypants CS Manager's Photo Down

Somehow Lycos took time off from deleting customer’s emails to send off more photo removal requests, and now they’ve got their general counsel involved.

Look, if you want the photo removed, here’s how it goes down.

1. Apologize to Whitney
2. Restore her deleted emails
3. Photo gets removed
4. Profit!!!

Actually, step 4 is going to be hard for Lycos, but, theoretically, the option is available.

Legal missives, inside.


from: [redacted]@lycos-inc.com
Date: February 2, 2007 1:04:23 PM EST
To: [redacted]@gawker.com
Subject: Lycos Legal Complaint and Request for Removal

Dear Sir or Madame:

I am following up on an issue that I believe has already been brought to your attention, but has yet to receive a response from you. On your website, http://consumerist.com/, one of your users has posted personal information and a photo of a Lycos customer service employee, Michael Jandreau. Since that posting, Michael has received over 50 threatening emails, many of which have contained death threats. In addition, at least 6 individuals have come to our office looking for Michael. Although the text of the blog itself contains numerous false, defamatory, and libelous statements regarding both Lycos and Mr. Jandreau, Lycos is not concerned with censoring this individual’s speech. However, it is very concerned with the posting of personal information and photo of our employee. This goes well beyond what is necessary to voice a complaint about actions of customer service, and unquestionably rises to the level of harassment in violation of your Terms of Use. As such, Lycos requests that Gawker immediately remove Mr. Jandreau’s photo and any personal information concerning Mr. Jandreau from this website. Especially in light of the death threats received, and the potential liability of Gawker if it ignores this request despite knowledge of such threats, I would hope that Gawker would comply promptly with this request.

Thank you and regards,

Mark O. Blais
Deputy General Counsel
Lycos, Inc.

Hello,

My complaint with this has nothing to do with “her”, it has to do with my personal photo being displaying on YOUR website, without any permission, written or implied.

This is against Privacy laws.

You’re free to post whatever stories you’d like, and have your visitors comment all they want, that does not bother me in the slightest. I simply want my photo to be removed from your website, as it’s unauthorized, and jeopardizing my personal safety.

Please comply with this simple request.

Mike Jandreau
Customer Service Manager
Lycos, Inc

Ms. Darbyshire:

I am responding on behalf of Mr. Jandreau and Lycos, and am attaching the text of an email I just sent to your legal email address that renews Mr. Jandreau’s request. As the below text points out, Lycos is not asking that any of the content or substance posted on this website be removed, even though certain of the material on there is in fact erroneous. Lycos respects internet users’, including its own users’, right to voice their opinions, criticisms and concerns without censorship (except where they violate a third party’s rights, of course). However, Lycos believes that the posting of Mr. Jandreau’s photo is out of bounds, violates his privacy rights, and violates your own Terms of Use as rising to the level harassment. If the posting of someone’s photo, which really has no relevance at all to the matter at hand, isn’t harassment, then this term in your Terms of Use is essentially meaningless. Given the photo’s complete lack of relevance or bearing on the applicable issue, there can be only one reason for its display — to harass. Moreover, that death threats are now being levied against Mr. Jandreau and individuals are now showing up at Lycos (thereby disrupting Lycos’s business), the justification to take this photo down is beyond question. Your continued display of this photo, or any personal information for that matter, having no relevance other than for purposes of harassment potentially opens Gawker to liability, especially if something were to happen to Mr. Jandreau. Taking down the photo is a very limited and reasonable request, and does not in any way impede the free speech of your users. Please act responsibly and take this photo down asap. Thank you.

Mark O. Blais
Deputy General Counsel
Lycos, Inc

— BEN POPKEN

Note: Whitney’s original blog entry down to CPU overload, here’s a Google cache.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    Tell them to go stuff it. If you got the pic from his personal webpage then what basis does he have to bitch about? Don’t want your face shown…don’t put it up where it can get picked up by Google….Wanker!!!

  2. csnoke says:

    If they think we get pissed off when they fuck with a total stranger.. they should see how pissed we get when they fuck with the Consumerist.

    You should post pics of this Mark O. Blais goofball.

  3. Kornkob says:

    Mark looks like he’s just doing his job. It’s not his fault that Lycos is employing a douchebag.

  4. testkahuna says:

    Mike J says: *sniff, sniff* “Daddy, (to stepfather Mark O., DGC for Lycos) these mean people at this website have put a picture of me up and are saying mean things and making fun of my favorite movies *sniff, sniff* and I want you to make them stop – Now, Daddy, NOW!” *sniff, sniff*

    Mark O. says “You’re such a tool, but your Mom is a hottie… I’ll write a letter, that always scares people.”

    Keep up the good fight, Consumerist!

  5. *Looking for “Donate Here” button for Grassroots legal defense fund for Consumerist / Gawker to cover legal costs of going to bat with asshats @ Lycos.*

  6. Where’d you guys get the photo? Did Mr.Jandreau post his own photo somewhere on the internet? If that’s the case he has no reason to bitch, he put it out there, someone else just directed attention to it. As with the personal information, he put it out there so he intended for people to see it.

  7. olegna says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I like this kind of stuff. But from my Mass Comm legal course, “meanypants” might be considered slander. Seems to me you’re OK re-posting the pic, but I would be careful with the adjectives describing this individual, including the ones possibly posted on this thread, like “wanker” and “douchebag”. I’m no lawyer, tho.

  8. acambras says:

    LOL — is that why there’s a picture of a puppy in this post? Is it Mike Jandreau’s puppy?

  9. stephen5 says:

    He posted his picture on a commercial website (that apparently he designed), I think that puts it over the line and into “fair use” country.
    The terms of use of his website are written to be funny but aren’t.
    http://www.moviesnobs.net/tos.php

  10. ediebeale says:

    Can we see the letter you write back? Or is this post all that needs to be said?

  11. mikesfree says:

    Right to privacy? He posted his picture on the internet. He chose to make his image available on his site, and now you are using information avaiable to the public to give us information relating to what type of person is doing customer service. The picture illustrates that this is someone in America, or an American looking person giving the customer service. It is relevant in that you can tell its not an offshore resouce where someone might expect subpar service.

  12. adamondi says:

    I love seeing retards involving their company attorneys, thinking that the second someone sees any sort of legal threat, they will comply with stupid requests. Does this douchebag think that Lycos would really initiate a lawsuit on his behalf? I know that if I was his supervisor and I got the bill from the legal department for his little pity party lawsuit, I would take it out of his pay.

  13. Hawkins says:

    I don’t understand why the folks at Lycos don’t just apologize and restore the e-mails.

    They’ve already spent way more on lawyering-up than it would have cost them to be nice to their customer.

    This is the funniest stuff on the Consumerist Show since Vincent Ferarri tried to cancel his AOL account. Except that it’s kind of funnier, because while the suits at AOL quickly disowned the customer maltreatment, the suits at Lycos seem to be defending it.

  14. royal72 says:

    i don’t know what your pissed about mikey, you just got your five minutes of fame.
    mike: your photo is public domain.
    mark: your correspondence is a waste of time, with no legal grounds.

  15. TJF says:

    Hmmmm…I think you guys may have crashed his websites (or he took them down)…I can’t seem to get http://www.mjjdesigns.net/ or http://www.mikejandreau.com/ to open…

  16. bluegus32 says:

    Actually, I now have to respectfully agree with their attorneys. Not on legal grounds but on the plea towards decency. I don’t know where this would necessarily fall in a court of law. As you all can see, there are differing opinions on the subject, mine being only one and admittedly one based on insufficient information.

    That having been said, being a jack-ass does not justify getting death-threats. In light of this, taking the pictures down is the decent thing to do, whether or not it is legally required. Certainly, if Lycos’ attorneys really believe in what they are saying they can obtain an immediate injunction upon a showing that this picture is truly violative of their client’s privacy rights.

    In any event, I think this is one where the Consumerist should capitulate and take the photo down. I think the guy learned his lesson. He certainly doesn’t need to lose his life just because some crazed-overzealous Consumerist reader took matters into his/her own hands.

    Course, if the guy is really that frightened maybe he should capitulate and apologize. Seems pretty simple to me.

  17. csnoke says:

    TJF

    The html document goes asmoething like this:


    What a puss, he’s fearing digg bandwidth charges I think.

  18. Johann says:

    Mark claims the only reason to post the photo is for harassment. That’s just clearly false. When you read a story, it’s nice to be able to put a face with a name. Newspapers and televised newscasts show people’s faces all the time, and even when that person has done something unseemly or criminal it doesn’t mean that they’re trying to get that person harassed.

    Mike is the manager at Lycos. He’s such an important person — of course, we’d like to see his picture.

  19. Amy Alkon says:

    The photo does seem relevent to the matter at hand, but does anyone know the law on that?

    Can you use a photo that doesn’t belong to you (legally, I mean) — or is it a copyright violation?

  20. zibby says:

    I learned something today, and that is that Lycos still exists. Who knew?

  21. Coder4Life says:

    Lycos was on the right for deleting the emails as it states on their website. Yet thier customer service was not right, I think they deserve all thats heading their way.

    Do companeis liek these realize that continual customer service level of this will put them out of existance in 2 – 5 years. and in lycos case maybe even earlier.

  22. Gfreaky says:

    Summary:

    “Lycos is not asking that any of the content or substance posted on this website be removed… Please act responsibly and take this photo down asap. Thank you.”

    This site has not advocated the sending of death threats nor incited the Public into seeking out this man. The fact that he posted his OWN picture on a website, along with his personal information, is his own fault. If privacy is so important to him, why did he do all of that in the first place? Surley a webmaster and someone working at an Internet-based company would know the dangers associated with posting private content on the Web; therefore, it crosses my mind that the “I was ignorant” plea he makes is baseless.

  23. snakeuvs says:

    Google knows all!

    I searched Google for this guy’s web sites to see what was in the cache. Google thinks I meant “http://www.baddesigns.net/”.

  24. Falconfire says:

    You should ask for said emails as proof of supposed death threats.

    I highly doubt they are real. In all honesty I have this suspicion all three emails where generated by the same man, a Mr. Mike Jandreau

    Also just to clear a bit up for their “Deputy General Counsel” His photo IS fair use. I know this all too well from running a College Newspaper.

    If Ben had broken into his house, illegal. Picture posted with his name by the man in question on the web and thus a public domain… legal and authorized by Mr. Jandreau. Posting that picture on the web was like him signing a contract.

  25. cgmaetc says:

    Notice how the ‘threatening emails’ has diminished from 81 to 50. And if our comments don’t bother him “in the slightest”, why is he whining about 81 (50?) emails?

    And any idiot who shows up to his job should be arrested.

    By the way, what’s a Lycos?

  26. georget99 says:

    Like so many situations, if they had just waited a day it would be off the front page of this site.

    Now that they’re making a fuss, it’s big news and will be updated daily, just like Barbara Streisand’s house a while back.

  27. Skeptic says:

    One thing is clear: They either don’t own the copyright to the photo or they know posting it is “fair use” else they’d be screaming “copyright infringement” and DMCA at the top of their lungs.

    As has been stated earlier the “privacy right” to one’s image doesn’t apply to news organizations reporting on a story–otherwise all visual news media–print, broadcast, cable, web–would come to a crashing halt.

  28. Ben Popken says:

    re: this post’s photo: Lycos’ logo is a fully-grown black lab.

  29. dwarf74 says:

    When I was working as a CSR, I sometimes had to tell people things they didn’t like and support crappy company policies.

    I would have been horrified had my personal information been posted all over a blog simply because an unhappy customer didn’t like the way my employer did business.

    I don’t think it’s fair to this guy, whether or not he’s a douchebag. I think the letters are pretty politely-worded, too, without being overly bullying. I’d go ahead and do it.

  30. and that is a puppy.

  31. Although the text of the blog itself contains numerous false, defamatory, and libelous statements regarding both Lycos and Mr. Jandreau, Lycos is not concerned with censoring this individual’s speech.

    Oh PLEASE!

    “Oh, this customer is lying about us but we’re not worried about that…”

    How can they expect us to believe them or even take them seriously when they tell lies like that?

    Hey, if what was said in the original post isn’t true, how about refuting it?

    Given the photo’s complete lack of relevance or bearing on the applicable issue, there can be only one reason for its display — to harass.

    Wrong. Period. Now they’re trying to say that Consumerist is encouraging people to harass him, which is stupid. He didn’t get threats when he put up his photo on that other site, did he?

  32. TJF says:

    In all seriousness, coming from a customer service background, why would you have the guy that designed your website also be your customer service manager (maybe not the whole website, but at least the lycos help page)??

    From my experience (this doesn’t apply to everyone of course), the guys who make the webpages aren’t necessarily who you want as your Customer Service Managers…which helps explain the situation in front of us…

    From his website portfolio:

    Work Done: The site was redesigned in April of 2006, using an application called DeskPro. DeskPro handles the incoming support tickets, as well as publishes the help articles to the web, using a tech Admin interface. My (Jandreau’s) work included customizing the template to fit Lycos’ color scheme, logo, and design standards; removing all unneccessary features in DeskPro; adding more efficient search capability, and performing daily maintenence on the website. The Lycos Help site is visited by 10-15,000 people on a daily basis, and supports approximately 6,500 members via e-mail ticketing on a daily basis. All database work is monitored for abuse, as well as stability.

  33. Chairman-Meow says:

    I smell sockpuppets…..

    I would ask for emails of the “death threats” complete with headers of course.


    With Lycos being a big responsible ISP, it should be easy to track-down people who email death threats…right ?


    What will be even funnier is when Lycos gets a real whiff of this and starts asking Mr. Jandreau exactly *what* he is doing and *why* he is speaking on behalf of Lycos Inc.

  34. stephen5 says:

    Although the text of the blog itself contains numerous false, defamatory, and libelous statements regarding both Lycos and Mr. Jandreau, Lycos is not concerned with censoring this individual’s speech.

    When I saw this, I immediately wondered if this guy is really a lawyer.

    Most lawyers won’t use the words libel or libelous, because in the US libel is almost impossible to prove (See US Constitution, 1st amendment) even if something is technically libelous.

    A quick Google of Mark and Lycos has turned up nothing. Usually if you are the Deputy General Counsel of a company, somebody knows it.

    Also the general feel of the letters “Mark” writes are very similar to the things Mike “The Ass Hat” Jandreau has written…

  35. tourpro says:
  36. TPIRman says:

    Mark O. Blais said:

    Michael has received over 50 threatening emails, many of which have contained death threats

    But Mike said earlier that he had gotten 81 death threats. So I assume by “over 50,” Blais means “over 81.” And by “many of which,” he mean “all of which.”

    That crazy lawyer language! I’ll never understand it.

  37. Kornkob says:

    When I was working as a CSR, I sometimes had to tell people things they didn’t like and support crappy company policies.

    It’s one thing to support a crappy company policy. It is quite another to be a jerk about it.

    I would have been horrified had my personal information been posted all over a blog simply because an unhappy customer didn’t like the way my employer did business.

    If you were a jerk and they made that jerkiness public, you’d deserve it– horrified or not.

    I don’t think it’s fair to this guy, whether or not he’s a douchebag.

    What’s not ‘fair’ here? That he’s been publically outed for his jerkiness?

    I think the letters are pretty politely-worded, too, without being overly bullying. I’d go ahead and do it.

    Yeah– politely worded psuedo-legal threats that contain exactly zero admissions that this guy was, in fact, a jerk. If there was an apology in here somewhere it I’d be with you on this (because I don’t think that Lycos has any obligation to recover the lost email) but there’s no apology here— just baseless threats and posturing.

  38. Brian Gee says:

    olegna: I’m no lawyer, either, but I don’t think terms like “meanypants” can really be taken as slander. Even calling the douchebag a pussy for getting so upset about being called “meanypants” wouldn’t be slander, either.

    But, you know… speaking hypothetically, of course, saying something like “That douchebag CSR verbally abused a customer” might be slanderous if it turned out not to be true, but I don’t think anyone has said anything like that.

    dwarf: The original complaint wasn’t against Lycos’s email deletion policy. Its against this douchebag CSR’s bad attitude he used with the customer. The complaint is specifically about the asshat in the picture shown with the article. I suppose Lycos’s response claiming that the picture was irrelevant confused you. But look back at the original article, at the picture. That’s the meanypants.

    As for the deleted emails, gone means gone. It wasn’t “30 days and we move your mail to the trash folder”. I really, really doubt she’ll see those again.

  39. TPIRman says:

    When I saw this, I immediately wondered if this guy is really a lawyer.

    Mark O. Blais is a lawyer — a Google search for his name and a little digging turned that up. He apparently used to be with the Boston-area firm Goodwin Procter, but now only his wife is listed in their directory. It seems pretty feasible that he’s at Lycos now. It’s not so unbelievable that a small company like Lycos wouldn’t go to the trouble of publicizing their legal team.

  40. Don't be Silly says:

    Now they want us to feel sorry for them. Have they at least apologized and returned the emails?

  41. faust1200 says:

    You can still view his webpages if you type his url’s into google and click “cached” I think he’s hiding under his blankets atm.

  42. Kornkob says:

    A quick Google of Mark and Lycos has turned up nothing. Usually if you are the Deputy General Counsel of a company, somebody knows it.

    Well, I’ve actually tried it another way: I can’t find teh name of any counsel for Lycos, which means the search you made does not preclude the possibility that Mark is, in fact, who he says he is.

    That being said, in addition to libel being tough to prove, I believe libel is a subset of defamatory, making that sentance make less sense. However, I can also see Mark’s message as something he tossed off without much review (especially if he’s a young,chump lawyer who has no specialty in the area) in order to get this manager off his back so he could go back to the business law (or whatever area he picked) he usually practices.

  43. drkkgt says:

    Strange though, we went from “81 death threats since last night” to “over 50 threatening emails, many of which have contained death threats.” So which is it? Did he accidently delete those emails or is Lycos holding them hostage now?
    Oh and “Go to hell” is not a death threat, Mikey. Just want to clarify in case you were confused.

  44. drkkgt says:

    danggit Johnny, you beat me to it.

  45. major disaster says:

    According to the Board of Bar Overseers’ database, there is indeed a Mark O. Blais at Lycos. He’s real.

    http://massbbo.org/bbolookup.php?sl=blais&sf=&sc=&soundex=

  46. Wargazm says:

    This blog kicks ass on so many levels, but this series of posts on Lycos is absolutely top-notch. I just had to comment to voice my approval. Keep up the good fight!

  47. troublz says:

    Mark could be “Deputy General Counsel” but there the man to be is Dan Sullivan, Senior Vice President & General Counsel:

    http://info.lycos.com/management/exec_sullivan.html

    I, for one, feel slighted that Consumerist only received the attention of the “Deputy General Counsel” and not the General Counsel himself. Can we at least get upgraded to the Lycos “Chancellor of the High Council” or the “Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Public Douchebaggery”??

    If we get threats from Mr. Dan Sullivan, then wake me up. I don’t want to miss it.

  48. LawyerontheDL says:

    Perhaps instead of paying their attorney, Lycos should invest in some customer service training. And don’t worry, Mike, your pudgy little face is etched in the Consumerist readers’ collective memory. We won’t threaten or harass you, but we will laugh at you and never buy your record.

  49. Kornkob says:

    Mark could be “Deputy General Counsel” but there the man to be is Dan Sullivan, Senior Vice President & General Counsel:

    “>http://info.lycos.com/management/exec_sullivan.html

    Holy crap– that isn’t a Social Security number on that website, is it?

  50. wasylm says:

    I’m going to have to agree with the person in this thread who pointed out that at this point, removing the picture is the decent thing to do. Yes, the guy is a huge dick, but by posting his picture and name, you’re not exactly being the bigger man.

    You may have every legal right to post it, but if you want to be the “good guys” here, you will just take it down. Not because Mike got mad, not because they threatened legal action, but because you hold yourselves to a higher standard and won’t participate in petty bullying.

    I come to this site to read about the little guy standing up to the man, not the other way around. This guy is just a run-of-the-mill jerk, you have bigger fish to fry than an individual on a tech support power trip. Let it go.

  51. proc113 says:

    When Lycos says: “Lycos believes that the posting of Mr. Jandreau’s photo is out of bounds, violates his privacy rights” does that mean that when they publish pictures of celebrities taken by paparazzi that they are violating privacy rights themselves?

    That is quite the double standard they are promoting.

  52. orielbean says:

    INTERNET POWER ACTIVATED

  53. dwarf74 says:

    Kornkob – If it’s about this guy being a jerk, fine – he’s a jerk. His tone was pretty crappy in those email exchanges and well worthy of being mocked.

    It’s not just about that, though – this is also about the company’s crappy-ass policies, like 30-day email deletion and the hostage email fee. That’s a separate issue from this guy being a cockslap.

    The thing is, those two issues are being conflated here. Effectively, Consumerist is saying “We’ll mock the rep for being a jerk until the company fixes their broke-ass policy.”

    That doesn’t sit well with me. Mock the guy for being a jerk until he apologizes, or call the company douchebags until they retrieve the email, but those two are separate goals imho. Don’t leave the guy hanging until the company he works for capitulates.

  54. ideagirl says:

    They’re using Paypal as their payment system, she should lodge a scam complaint with them just for GP.

  55. bluegus32 says:

    dwarf74: “cockslap”

    Officially my new favorite word of the day.

  56. Mock the guy for being a jerk until he apologizes, or call the company douchebags until they retrieve the email, but those two are separate goals imho. Don’t leave the guy hanging until the company he works for capitulates.

    Good point.

  57. Trai_Dep says:

    Mock. With picture.

    The dude committed the common sin of blowhards on the net: acted all bad-ass hiding behind his keyboard.

    Soon as the veil is lifted, he gets all namby-pamby because Consumerist got meany-pants on him. Aww, poor baby.

    Never say anything online you wouldn’t say to someone’s face, should be the Golden Rule on the tubes…

  58. MarkMadsen'sDanceInstructor says:

    Who is Mark Blais? You would expect a “Deputy General Counsel” to at least have a Martindale-Hubble listing (a directory that ranks the quality of attorneys), but there’s nothing. Also, the Massachusetts Bar states that Blais passed the bar less than 5 years ago. Makes you wonder about the quality of Lycos’ legal team.

  59. SuperJdynamite says:

    “Mark claims the only reason to post the photo is for harassment. That’s just clearly false.”

    I tend to agree. Most of the stories on Consumerist are accompanied by a photo. It’s reasonable to assume that the story about Michael would have a picture of Michael.

    Although if we use Blais’ logic the only reason Michael would post a picture of himself on moviesnobs.net is so that people would harass him. So if he is being harassed, he really did ask for it, didn’t he? QED.

  60. This is classic… don’t address the problem, address the fallout. If you apologize for being a douchebag, recover her stuff, all of this goes away. Instead, you fire up the legal machine, try to scare someone, and just look like a fool for it.

    Didn’t they learn this lesson in grade school? If you get caught lying, just apologize and stop digging a deeper hole for yourself.

  61. major disaster says:

    Also, the Massachusetts Bar states that Blais passed the bar less than 5 years ago

    All that tells you is when he passed the Massachusetts bar. If you search further, you can see that he used to practice in Ohio and was admitted in 1999 there. That’s enough experience to become a partner in a law firm.

    And Martindale-Hubbel doesn’t tell you anything about the “quality” of the attorneys listed there. It’s not a ranking site – it’s just a database. And my nonscientific survey (i.e., looking up a bunch of companies I’ve personally dealt with), in-house attorneys very often are not listed there. It doesn’t mean anything.

    Jesus, can we let this go? He’s a real lawyer. He works for Lycos. God.

  62. Smashville says:

    Why is Lycos legal involved? The picture came off of dude’s personal website. The poor customer service should be what they are concerned about…the use of his picture is none of Lycos’ business.

    For that matter…who knew Lycos was still around? I mean…this is the same company that screwed over NASCAR driver Johnny Benson a few years back by paying him in “stock”, but deciding not to instead…

  63. Smashville says:

    In addition…if Lycos wants to play hardball…does this constitute violating Ben’s privacy rights?

    http://search.lycos.com/?tab=multi&query=ben%20popken

  64. Johann says:

    wasylm says:

    ….by posting his picture and name, you’re not exactly being the bigger man.

    You may have every legal right to post it, but if you want to be the “good guys” here, you will just take it down.

    So, if news outlets want to be “good guys,” every negative story they cover would be about the blacked out silhouettes of John and Jane Doe?

    Here’s how I assign blame:

    * Lycos, and whoever made this policy, are to blame for offering bad service.
    * Mike is to blame for being rude in his implementation of this policy.
    * Whoever is sending him death threats is definitely going way overboard and doing something terribly wrong here.

    Of those, Mike is probably doing the least wrong. However, I don’t see anything wrong with how the Consumerist is handling this.

    You think they should hold back their coverage just because some idiots are sending threatening emails? If they did that, anybody with a negative story about them would claim they were receiving death threats. I’m sure they’d all love it if news outlets were nice to them. But, hey, that’s what you get for being a jerk. Mike could have at least tried to sound apologetic when he told her that her emails were gone. I would think that would be part of his job description…

  65. Sorenso says:

    Hmm, Karma is a bitch isn’t it?

    Not that I am doing the threats, but I think he will be thinking twice before being an asshat again.

    And being pissed at the consumerist is laughable. I mean when are these people going to grow up and realize how the internet works?

  66. etinterrapax says:

    I agree with those who say that the legal issue is weak and flailing, and wanted to add only that I suspect that people are disinclined to take bad press on the internet seriously because they reason that what’s done there can be undone so easily, so they think it should be undone easily, as they wish. If your picture’s in the print newspaper and you’ve gotten some bad press for whatever reason, it can’t be undone. The paper’s journalistic integrity depends on how they handle the irrevocable nature of the medium. The staff here has been very fair about printing corrections and retractions as needed, but erasing evidence of dickish behavior by someone in customer service, at the request of an interested party, is not how to be taken seriously as a consumer blog qua journal of opinion. The involvement of Lycos’s counsel strikes me as boilerplate damage control. They’re right on the case, yessir. But it doesn’t change any of what happened that was reported in the original post.

  67. jwissick says:

    Wonder Twin Powers Activate!

    Form of an Ass Clown!

    Shape of a LART!

  68. SimonGodOfHairdos says:

    Forgive me for channeling my mother, but you’d think that “General Counsel Dan” would wear a tie and comb his hair for his official photograph! Take some pride in your appearance, man.

  69. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    …many of which have contained death threats.

    Sweet! When all else fails, The Consumerist can impose the death penalty. I’ll point this out to the customer service person the next time I’m embroiled in a dispute.

  70. wasylm says:

    Johann says:

    “So, if news outlets want to be “good guys,” every negative story they cover would be about the blacked out silhouettes of John and Jane Doe?”

    My point isn’t that he shouldn’t be outed as an asshole in a public setting. He’s clearly an asshole, I think we can all agree there. My point IS that his being an asshole is completely separate from any issue that you might have with Lycos or their policies. The fact is that this person let their e-mail idle for 30 days, and was subject to Lycos’ policy of deletion. If you want to attack their policy, fine. But the fact that this guy was an asshole about enforcing their policy has almost nothing to do with consumer rights.

    Now, Lycos’ response to their asshole security admin does; they should have at least apologized, and in defending him they are just adding fuel to the flames. But if The Consumerist wasted time with every asshole that any company ever employed, we’d be sifting through a lot of assholes.

    Honestly, I don’t consider this newsworthy to begin with, I don’t consider the fact that this guy was an asshole in an e-mail to be enough reason to post his name and photo on a popular blog (it’s just begging for harassment whether you actively encourage it or not), and I don’t think that the person who reported this story even has a case. Their policy, however lame, seems pretty cut-and-dried to me. Focusing on this guy’s inappropriate behavior is just a scapegoat.

    What if every story about Cingular or Verizon account cancellations also included a picture and name of every tech-support member who the account holder spoke to? Legally it would probably be ok, but do we really care about the personal details, or do we care about the crappy policies they are upholding? You’re shooting the messenger, and I don’t believe the messenger deserves it, even if he happens to be an asshole about delivering his message.

  71. olegna says:

    Brian:

    OK, I think I understand. I can say “Mike Landrau is a whiny little douchebag”, but I’m not protected from saying “Mike Landrau had sex with his dog last week”, unless it’s true, right?

    I was always under the impression that slander involved name-calling and insults in a public forum (like a commercial website) and libel was when you spread misinformation about what a person does (ie “Mike has sex with dogs”). Isn’t there a difference? Or am I confused?

  72. Kornkob says:

    Generally speaking: Libel and Slander are both forms of defamation. One is spoken word (slander), the other is written (libel). Discovery of a more detailed and precise definition of the terminology is an exercise left to the student. : )

    It’s not just about that, though – this is also about the company’s crappy-ass policies, like 30-day email deletion and the hostage email fee. That’s a separate issue from this guy being a cockslap.

    Cockslap— excellent descriptor.


    But I think you’re wrong. In the comments of the original article I got the distinct impression that the ‘delete after 30 days’ was not regarded as a significant issue. Yes, it’s suboptimal but not really a big deal. TOS made this clear and Lycos, as any company can and most do, can choose to implement it as written.

    The biggest issue and the issue that keeps this story alive is the rampant douchebaggery of this cockslap, who has now dragged Lycos’ company tool (I mean, deputy general counsel) into the mix with implications of legal action stupid psuedo-legal arguments.

    Ultimately this story would have died on the vine had Lycos simply apologized from the outset instead of acting like world class cockslaps (thanks again for that descriptor) at the Public Masturbation Olympics.

  73. zl9600 says:

    Biggest surprise to me is that Lycos is still in business. Or did I just wake up in 1998 again?

  74. bokononist says:

    What makes this significant is that Jandreau is the head of customer support. His email claims that he’s the last word on the policy. In effect, his word is Lycos policy, and you cannot separate the man and the man’s actions from the policy.

    Since Jandreau is the last word on policy, apparently being antagonistic is Lycos’ official policy. Until he apologizes, I see nothing wrong with showing that Lycos’ head of customer support is a jerk, and that his policy is to antagonize distraught users.

    Further, this is a situation where an ‘eye for an eye’ does not cause undue harm to anyone. (Angry emails cannot be considered ‘harmful’ in this situation–especially since Lycos sent the first.) If Jandreau wants to stem the flood of angry email, he ought to apologize. Otherwise, he deserves the bile-ridden inbox he’s currently slogging through.

    There’s quite a lot of douchebaggery in the world, and if a few douchebags were called out on a more regular basis, perhaps they’d keep it to themselves instead of inflicting it on others. Making an example out of Jandreau is a good thing, and he deserves it.

  75. easy2panic says:

    I’m sure people have agreed that it is fair-use to post his picture, this is why:

    1. He shares his website link, therefore inviting anyone to go to his website.
    2. Your computer requests information from the website, and the website agrees and gives you the information.
    3. You see the picture because the website allowed you to download it to your computer’s cache.

    The photo is now on your computer with permission, there is no terms of usage that you had to agree to before receiving the picture, so therefore no strings attached, you can do whatever you want with it.