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Saturday, July 18, 2009

BA Bullies.org

I thought my exposure to bullies was over after the 6th grade, boy was I wrong. Currently I am being ganged up on, and it´s the 6th grade all over again for me. I should explain...


A couple of days ago a woman posted a critical review of a couple of my products on a public forum called BAexpats. On this forum, some other virtual personalities (some of them could be represented by one or two people--that is a couple of people having multiple accounts; that´s an impression anyway). I was able to respond to that young woman and I found myself trying to stand up to some dubious complaints from some of those other virtual personalities on that site.


So far, no biggie. I can hold my own when talking about my company or my products. Hell, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on just about anything. I don´t expect absolutely everybody to fall in love with my cookies, but I also find comments like the one below a little dubious.


In regards to the cookies my friends and I have found them bad on all occasions
dry and lacking flavour. They are also overpriced and geared to the expat
market.--harryp

How many occasions? Overpriced and geared to the expat market? My biggest client base, and the target market of mine, are locals. I don't know who harryp is, but if you look up all his posts you will find that 100% of them are just nasty hate filled messages. Where are the moderators expressing how disturbing his messages come across? (I just checked and some of those posts have started to disappear. How convenient. Right now he is at 10 posts and he used to have 14)


I found myself responding to those types of accusations and generalizations about my company on this public forum. My responses were always tempered and respectful. Since I could not be rattled into losing my patience someone decided to delete my last response, then put me on moderated status and would not let my follow up responses through.


Now they are saying:


"Bianca the truth is that we do not close down threads and allow all topics to
be freely discussed. The last thread on Sugar and Spice was closed down due to
inproper languaage used by a member . The only remarks that we censor are the
replies to the deleted comments as they are no longer appropriate due the
comment not being visible."--adminstrationba

However, I received a private e-mail from them saying the following:

Dear SugarandSpice,
You have received a new private message at Baexpats -
Community of Expatriates in Buenos Aires, Argentina from chris, entitled "Rules
of our Site".
To read the original version, respond to, or delete this
message, you must log in here:
http://baexpats.org/private.php
This
is the message that was sent:***************
Our site is not a advertising
portal for businesses as explained by our terms and conditions. We have clear
rules for every member and we do allow that topics that do not relate to Buenos
Aires be rehashed more than one time.
There have been three threads on
this topic since last week and many members have found this disturbing as
has our Board of four members.
Please feel free post but only on
relevant topics.

Furthermore, another quote on another thread makes reference to the advertising angle again. By the way, tell me this does not remind you of Fox News:

Baexpats is the fairest site in South America with freedom of expression on all topics. Saying that that does not give someone the right to attack other members publicly as well as use every post to advertise his business.
This is stated clearly in our terms and conditions.--pericles-E

If you were to look up all of my posts on that forum (which you can, there is the ability to look up posts by persons) you will find that I have 9 posts. One was me responding to a thread from someone from Chicago (my home town) and the rest are of me defending myself. (there was the original post that was deleted that would have made it 10 total).

Now this false argument of theirs regarding their stance on not allowing advertising really falls through after this next bit of news. See, when you first sign up, the very first section is called
"Newcomers Forum, if you are new here please introduce yourself!"
Which is exactly what I did. I was welcomed with open arms. How could I tell you may ask?

from Baexpats.com Webteam
to frank dot sugarandspice at gmail dot com
date Thu, Aug 17, 2006 at 2:12PM
subject from baexpats.com

Dear Frank,

Could you visit

http://www.indextar.com/ba website

and rate some of the companies you have had a chance to deal with? Or may be you can even write a review?

He hope you have enjoyed baexpats.com site. With indextar.com/ba we are trying to build another valuable resource everybody will be able to benefit from.

Thank you in advance.
Baexpats.com webteam.

By the way, our dinner is tomorrow!

From Sugar & Spice
sender-time
Sent at 4:02 PM (GMT-03:00). Current time there: 1:39 AM
reply-to frank dot sugarandspice at gmail dot com
to Baexpats.com Webteam
date Thu, Aug 17, 2006 at 4:02PM
subject Re: from baexpats.com
mailed-by gmail.com
Hello Baexpats,
I actually listed my own company on there and plan on using your site to add some more. It's just going to take me some time so please be patient with me. For now, anyone who looks up the food section will have Sugar & Spice to rate if they want to.

I hope your dinner comes off great. I have a very hard time to get away during those hourse since I am a proud father of two little girls (one is 21 months old and the other is 4 years old) who I don't get to see too often during the day.

Thanks,
--
Frank E. Almeida
Sugar & Spice
Soler 5547 (entre Humboldt & Fitz-Roy en Palermo Hollywood)
4777-5423
www.sugarandspice.com.ar
Tentate & Disfrutá

So back in August of 2006 they were perfectly okay with my very first post introducing myself just like they asked. They even invited me to dinner.

Pericles where was that slap on my hand for "advertising" right out of the gate?

Here is another great quote from them that adds to the argument that they are trying to mislead everyone:

There is a lot of misinformation about this topic but the truth is this is due to big business interests wanting control of the Ba expats forum.--adminstrationba

So now I am a big business interest that is using their site as advertising while scheming to take it over? People, please use a little bit of analytical thinking while reading their site.

Sugar & Spice is a family run business. I not only feel a responsibility to be successful because my own family relies on me, but I also feel a responsibility for the 20 or so families that are represented by my employees.

I also feel a responsibility to my community and frequently give and help local non-profits. I don´t do this for the sake of padding a resume. I do this out of a sense of responsibility.

This same sense of responsibility has led me to face up to these bullies because I am not the only one that they have done this to in the past, and even now as you read this they continue to gang up on other local business owners.

I am also a fairly public figure; I have been interviewed on TV, radio, and print; I have been asked to make presentations at universities to U.S. grad students; I have my picture posted on my blog. It doesn't take a sleuth to find me. I am a very open, and approachable figure.

I am not a superman. This stuff is painful to go through. Yes, Pericles and company, if it makes you feel any better your actions, your name calling and your aggressiveness hurts. It hurts to know that you are actively trying to drag my name through the mud, that you want to actually hurt me and my company and therefor hurt my family and my employees.

What do you think goes through a young girl's head who has just recently been hired when you call her and tell her that her boss and her company is going to be facing a lawsuit?

Are you so small that you have to spread your vile to my employees?

Not everyone has a stomach for a public showdown. I really don't go looking for confrontations.

I just got a second chance in life to stand up to a bully.

Wouldn't you take that opportunity?

And all of this happened because they deleted my posts, as I was just trying to stand up for my company and myself, and kept me from posting more replies.

No, they did not ban me yet. They have just, as you can see from their message above, kept me from responding and standing up for myself on their forum.

One last thing. I don't link to much to their site. They delete posts regularly. It has already started with these threads. I made copies of the posts that are out there and I noticed some are missing now.






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