Saturday, September 23, 2006

Commentary on Technology, Fighting Mad Merchants and Real Blogs (


A newly invented silicon chip uses lasers, rather than wires to exponentially speed up information at a fraction of the cost. So, why is the credit card cartel initiating promotional gimmicks like caps on fill-up fees when motorists pay over $50 rather than lowering all rates due to advances in technology?

Is it greed, arrogance, or, just because they can?

Moore's Law of cost savings and technology efficiencies is one more reason why the $30 billion dollar annual interchange windfall forced upon consumers and merchants is infuriating many.


During an address to a Las Vegas photo industry conference this week, I heard from many retailers. Their concerns on interchange were interchangeable; each had stories about the fees and were all fighting mad. In all cases, their issues paralleled other retailers I hear from. They are mad as hell and not going to take it any more. One fellow attendee from Boston even mentioned the 1970s film Network and congratulated my partner and I as the very first lead plaintiffs for not just getting passionate, but taking action. I explained how the April, 2005 Wall Street Journal column (front page Marketplace) was partly the catalyst for leading us to become the personalities behind and foundation for this global battle.

His words and personal experience have become a new center piece in our personal battle with Visa®, MasterCard® and their member banks. No other person has ever expressed their appreciation for our role in filing the very first antitrust suit quit like him. He explained that after the horrors of September 11th, hearing stories about people standing up to injustice meant the world to him. His world profoundly changed on that day; his wife was on American Airlines' flight 11 and one of those lost on September 11th.


We learned that the new hit NBC program 'Studio 60' had some technology marketing that was meant to appear as if fans of the show were hosting genuine blogs. Saturday's Los Angeles Times reported that the blog backfired because it was actually written by the network and underhandly was actually a "faux-blog." This is one more way corporate giants are designing unlevel playing fields, although the NBC faux blog was turned off hours ago and perhaps for good..

More about this example of a phony corporate blog from a blog posting:

While we found Defamer doppleganger Defaker, NBC's attempt to virally promote Studio 60 through a blog that seems to report gossip about the show's fictional universe in the form of interminably long episode summaries, an uncomfortably accurate commentary on our own half-assed efforts in the medium, we did unexpectedly discover something on the site to occupy our time: the open comments section of their inaugural post, a weird place where messages indulging the blog's premise (seemingly both from NBC staffers and people willing to play along with the joke), reviews of the show's pilot episode, opinions on the site's execution of its viral vision (verdict: try harder if you're going to bother), and general ragging on Amanda Peet's acting ability uncomfortably coexist. Here's a round-up of our favorite examples from the past couple of days:

Real people, real blogs and honest narratives will always beat out giant conglomerates' attempts to sway opinion. Just look at the credit card cartels efforts and compare it to - The Credit Card Interchange Report. In their cases advocacy groups which enjoyed the financial support of Visa®, for instance, issued press releases and promoted the bank-owned views. Commentaries in newspapers also advocating their point of view must be measured by the people behind the curtain.