Thursday, December 16, 2010

Internet backlash against site claiming to the business version of WikiLeaks

  • Critical posts on TradeLeaks site
  • Founder will share ranking algorithm
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AN attempt to create a business version of the WikiLeaks website has run into teething problems, with many users posting angry "leaks" about the site's poor design and accusing its founder of being a publicity-seeker. was launched yesterday by online electronics retailer Ruslan Kogan, a 28-year-old who featured on this year's BRW Young Rich list with a wealth of $29 million. The site allow internet users to post documents and tip-offs about dodgy business practices anonymously.

The site is not moderated, with users able to rate and comment on the reliability of each leak.

During its first day of operation, the website registered more than 100,000 page views and had hundreds of leaks submitted, Mr Kogan said.

But a number of posters have protested about the credibility of the site and Mr Kogan.

One post titled "This is a waste of time!" was upvoted hundreds of times and appeared on the first page of the site by yesterday evening.

The post was one of a number of items that were critical of TradeLeaks and Mr Kogan.

By this morning most of the critical posts had disappeared from the front page of TradeLeaks.

Mr Kogan said none of the critical posts had been deleted, but admitted that the site's algorithm was constantly being altered to ensure the best leaks made it to the top.

When the negative comments were removed from the front page, one wag posted a leak to the site complaining about TradeLeaks' ranking mechanism.

The post, titled "Tradeleaks tampering with leak vote count mechanism", was the top item on the site at 8.49am (AEDT) today and had hundreds of upvotes.

"Several prominent and regular posters of the site have broken ranks and revealled (sic) that the leak rating system, used to ensure popular and relavent (sic) leaks remain at the top of the page, has indeed been tampered with to hide or 'bury' unwanted leaks," the post said.

"More information on this startleing (sic) leak when it becomes available."

Mr Kogan hit back at his internet critics and said TradeLeaks was here to stay.

"We have deleted one post and that was specifically defaming an individual and posting their contact details," Mr Kogan said.

"There's people having a poke at our other ventures, there's people having a poke at this venture.

"We've been tweaking the algorithm and how the site will work.

"One of the challenges is to make (the website) as open and transparent as possible.

"There is some very good information on there and there's also some rubbish there.

"We want to develop a site where rubbish flows through to the bottom and great information flows to the top."

Mr Kogan said he would soon post the formula TradeLeaks used to rank leaks and allow users to make suggestions on how it could be improved.

Mr Kogan denied the site was a publicity stunt to promote his electronics business.

"Publicity stunt for what? What are we promoting with it?

"If we wanted this to be a publicity stunt you would be seeing a massive Kogan banner on the top.

"It's very clear to see we're on a mission to open up the marketplace."

Mr Kogan added: "One thing for certain is that this website is here to stay, the interest has been tremendous."


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