Slightly OT: Bastard plagiarists

Rob O'Donnell at
Fri Jan 13 03:15:23 CST 2006

At 21:27 12/01/2006, you wrote:

>In message <012e01c617b5$7d22f440$5f25fea9 at ibm23xhr06>
>           "John Allain" <allain at> wrote:
> > Hey, Free Publicity, right?
>Um, there is such a thing as bad publicity...

It's often said, there is no such thing as Bad Publicity.  Of course, 
you have to take advantage of it ...

Back in the mid to late 80's, I ran a national on-line moderated chat 
room, called "Free Speech", on the British Telecom "Prestel" viewdata 
system.  I think, at the time, it was the only free chat room 
available!  Since actually buying space for this was expensive, (GBP 
500 for 100 off 768-byte pages p.a.) I blagged space from all 
over!  It had started out on the Pan-Am (airline) information pages 
when I took it over, and after a sojourn all over the system, we 
ended up using space on the British Rail on-line timetable 
system!!  Bear in mind, this was 20 years ago, very pre-internet, and 
hardly anybody outside the UK travel industry and a few computer 
geeks had heard of Prestel, never mind knew you could actually do 
anything useful on it.

Anyway, at some point I let through a message asking for adult 
contacts, which while fairly inoffensive by todays standards, 
somebody took umbrage, despite me censoring it, removing contact 
details, and commenting "no more of these" on the bottom, and it 
ended up being shown on TV, on a prime-time, London BBC1 chat show 
"look what I found while looking up my train times", complete with 
computer and dial-up connection on-camera.

B.R. promptly pulled the plug on my space, and totally missed the 
opportunity to utilise that publicity of their timetable service 
which virtually nobody had heard of before and didn't know existed, 
and which was surely costing them a lot of money (because it used a 
direct link to their own systems, rather than being static pages, and 
that cost an awful lot more to set up..)  You couldn't buy that sort 
of exposure at any price, (no ads on the BBC).

Ah well.  I still have all the messages archived, on dozens of 
floppies, even a few tapes.  Some day I will sort them out and re-publish..

"The Mad Sysop"

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