Oregon

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Nike just did it. The shoe giant is trending on Twitter in a big way for its #JustDoIt campaign, but not just because @Nike retweeted Colin Kaepernick. It’s the content of that tweet and what it represents — Nike is taking a stand on protests against injustice that Kaepernick led while he was in the NFL. No longer employed by the NFL, Kaepernick is still the face of those protests — which may begin again as football resumes this week.

Verizon, AT&T and Sprint are shutting off sales of their mobile customer location data to brokers who resell it to third parties. The companies can continue selling data to end-users. It means data providers are seeing increased public concern about data privacy, but the move doesn’t appear to impact location-based marketing such as geo-location or local search.

Consumers and humans in general are often in a state of frenzy, taken down by the fear of missing out on something someone else has, is doing, is experiencing, and thus falling behind in our conscious and even more unconscious need to be better, stronger, faster and more poised to survive than others in the world around us.

The postal service is not a federal agency. It does not cost taxpayers a dollar. It loses money only because Congress mandates that it do so. What it is is a miracle of high technology and human touch. It's what binds us together as a country. … The letter is mailed from Gold Hill, Oregon. The 1,100 residents of this lingering gold-rush town, mostly mechanics and carpenters and retail clerks in other places, wake with the sun and end their days with walks to the aluminum mailbox bolted to a post at the edge of their yards. In between, Carrie Grabenhorst

I just finished a splendid book, "The Forger's Spell" by Edward Dolnick, about how a mediocre painter named Han Van Meegeren painted a series of "Vermeers" in the 1930s and 1940s and conned the European art establishment into believing they were real. One of his forgeries was the crown jewel in the collection of the world's greatest art thief, Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering. It was a delicious hoax.

When I put the book down and started looking for news stories to pin this column to, I found August was an extraordinary month for hoaxes, fakes, scams, scandals and pranks. Let's start with Wine Spectator.

Thomas Matthews, Executive Editor of Wine Spectator, is pissed. For starters:

Wine Spectator learned yesterday that, for the first time in the 27-year history of our Restaurant Awards program, a fictitious restaurant has entered its wine list for judging. To orchestrate his publicity-seeking scam, Robin Goldstein created a fictitious restaurant in Milan, Italy, called Osteria L'Intrepido, and then submitted a menu and wine list to Wine Spectator's Restaurant Awards as a new entry in 2008. The wine list earned an Award of Excellence, the most basic of our three award levels. Goldstein revealed his elaborate hoax at a meeting in Oregon last week. He is now crowing about the fraud on his own Web site. The story has been picked up in the blogosphere, and now Wine Spectator would like to set forth the actual facts of the matter.

"Facts of the matter?"

Mr. Matthews, you were bamboozled. Hornswoggled. Thimblerigged. Flimflammed. Your awards program is a deeply flawed business model.

Gotcha!

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