Given the recent “telemarketer incident” with Netfleet, I was interested to read about a couple of other unrelated but similar “incidents” and how they seem to be playing out. In particular, there was this one:
Recent revelations before the US Congress by Michael Horn (US Volkswagen boss) confirmed that “11m diesel VW vehicles worldwide have been fitted with a defeat device designed to cheat emissions tests”.
Volkswagen admitted responsibility and promised to fix. Highly commendable.
But when Mr Horn was taken to task over how and why it happened in the first place, he struggled. He are a few notable excerpts from The Guardian’s coverage (bolding is mine):
I have worked for 25 years for this company,” said the German-born executive. “Integrity, quality and not cheating was always for me a given for this company,” he said. “I don’t sleep at night.”
At first Horn kept to the VW line that two rogue software engineers were responsible for the deception, but under tough questioning by members of the House committee on energy and commerce he admitted that he too found it difficult to believe. Chris Collins, a representative from New York, told Horn that he “categorically” rejected the idea that lowly software engineers were solely responsible and that VW was either incompetent or involved in a “massive cover-up”.
“I agree it’s very hard to believe,” said Horn. “Personally I struggle as well.”
Let’s Compare The Netfleet “Incident”
Here are a couple of quotes from the statement published on their company blog (bolding is mine):
A telemarketer in his first week with Netfleet inadvertently accessed limited data on existing bids in our daily expired domain auction. It appears that he used that information as a benchmark to influence a bid from a third party on a single domain.
Once again Netfleet sincerely apologies (sic) to any clients affected by this incident we wish to assure our customers this is a single incident that has never before occurred and steps have been taken to insure it will not occur again.
Sound familiar to Volkswagen? Blaming the small guy. Never happened before – and will never happen again.
My Conclusion And Belief
- Given that Netfleet admitted to an “incident”, I cannot simply accept assurances that this was the “first and only time” it occurred.
- Who gave the telemarketer his training? That’s the big question. He couldn’t just walk in and know what to do.
- How many other telemarketers have been employed, and did they similarly access “limited data”?
- Does any shareholder of Publishing Australia continue to have access to the back-end system of Netfleet (not just referring to drop platform)?
- Unless there is some form of independent examination of log files and telemarketing records going back at least 3 months, plus an investigation into the RSS feed that certain people had access to for a time, there will always be doubt. Some people (like me) who have bid extensively on the Netfleet platform in the past will continue to think they may have been adversely affected.
- Not only have we possibly been “gazumped” on good domains; but we may have bid more than we wanted to (because of our fears that this type of telemarketing activity was happening).
- You cannot move forward successfully until you have comprehensively addressed the past.
In my humble opinion.