by Rachel Alexander | December 13, 2011 1:16 pm
One of the problems with the wild west nature of the internet is some website owners do not handle content on their sites responsibly. Once they have built up their website traffic to popular levels, many develop an attitude that they can do what they want, regardless of how hurtful it is to others.
Investors Hub is one such site. The administrators of that website do not adequately police comments left on that website. Anyone can sign up for an anonymous account on the website and leave untrue comments about other people. Because the website is highly trafficked, ranked the 947th most popular website in the U.S. according to Alexa, any comments about a person will show up in the top Google search results for their name.
Website owners have an ethical duty to ensure that libelous comments are removed from their websites. Granted, policing every comment may be too time-consuming. But when a libelous comment is brought to their attention, they have a responsibility to assess the situation and consider removing it if the facts warrant so.
When my good friend Steve Nickolas told me that there was a: clearly libelous comment: left about him by a cowardly anonymous user on the Investors Hub website, I sent the website a letter, explaining that I was Steve’s attorney, and asked them politely to remove it. The libelous comment shows up at the top of Google results for Steve’s name, unfairly hurting his business. They declined to do so, and told me I would have to seek legal remedies, e.g. suing them for libel.
This is the epitome of why our legal system is so clogged up and expensive. It would have taken them less than 30 seconds to remove a clearly libelous comment, yet their arrogance prohibits them from taking a perfectly reasonable step to resolve an unfair situation.
The cowardly commenter calls my friend Steve a “con artist” when it comes to investing. This is flat out false. Steve is a dear friend who would never rip anyone off. Unlike the cowardly anonymous commenter, I am willing to put my name behind my comments about Steve. I am a former prosecutor and hold others up to high standards. If I thought there was any chance Steve might not be worthy of investing with, I would not be writing this defense and expose of him.
Steve is not a fly-by-night beverage distributor. He has 35 years successful experience in the beverage industry. There is an extensive bio of him: here. There has never been a lawsuit against him for taking someone’s money. He has a very good reputation in town, living in Scottsdale over the past 21 years, and he still has the same cell phone number he had in 1995. Not exactly an indication of someone trying to run from his past. He has been at the same office location since 2005.
He is well-respected in the political circles in town where I first met him working on the JD Hayworth political campaign. He is regularly quoted in news articles and industry magazines about the beverage industry. This criticism of him is related to his brief association with Nutripure, from January to March of 2008. Steve was inappropriately forced out by others at the company, which ended up in a year and a half of litigation. He was exonerated of everything, which is documented in public: federal court pleadings. What Nutripure has done since then — such as a reverse split of penny stock shares — has nothing to do with Steve. “Kenyatto Jones” and the Nevada address the commenter references are Nutripure associations, not Steve’s. Steve now works for XND Technologies, a subsidiary of Nutripure, and keeps a healthy distance from Nutripure due to their earlier mistreatment of him.
There is always room for another opportunity in the beverage industry. Steve is innovative which has carried him quite far in this field. His next venture will be coming out soon and will be something not yet seen in the bottled water industry. He is honest, kind, smart, ambitious and the kind of person you feel very comfortable doing business with. I would trust him in a heartbeat to invest my money, and I don’t say that lightly since I’m not wealthy. He is the last person who would rip you off, and his long established reputation alone backs that up. There isn’t anything else out there on the web that backs up what pectonline is accusing him of. The commenter’s beef appears to be with Nutripure’s reverse split of stock shares, which was done after Steve was forced out.
It is telling that the commenter has not left any other comments on that website. He is not using the website to discuss investing, he went there solely to leave one libelous comment about Steve. Steve cannot think of who would have left the comment. If he has enemies, he does not know who they are. He is an all around easygoing guy who gets along well with everyone (more than most of us can say for ourselves!).
I explained all of this to the Investors Hub website, and they still refused to remove the comment. What does that tell you about that website? It is not a website that should be trusted. A quick Google search about Investors Hub revealed a lot of complaints about the site, including “IHUB Mods are Slanted Bashers,” “Information extremely slanted,” and “Freedom of speech not respected.” Read complaints: here,: here, and: here. I suggest that readers steer clear of it. Unless they need to trash someone’s online reputation within five minutes, anonymously and without consequences.
Click here for my interview with Steve about the food and beverage industry and investing
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