Comment by Patrick Avenell
SYDNEY, NSW: Ruslan Kogan’s attempts to recreate the Wikileaks platform within the retail trade industry has backfired, with his TradeLeaks venture overridden by trolls, phony posters and gratuitous content within hours of its launch.
Unlike Wikileaks, which founder Julian Assange calls “scientific journalism”, TradeLeaks seemingly has no moderation or verification process, meaning uses can post libellous and unverifiable content anonymously and with impunity. Due to the serious legal ramifications that libel incurs, Current.com.au cannot republish any of the claims currently being levelled against organisations on TradeLeaks.
What we can reveal, however, is that Kogan is experiencing a groundswell of negativity as a result of this website. The vast majority of posts on TradeLeaks are non-serious, often comical, with Kogan the butt of many of these jokes.
In only a few hours of it being posted, a ‘leak’ entitled “This is a waste of time!” was voted the most relevant leak on the entire site. The person who posted this leak writes: “This website is a waste of time, and simply an attempt to grab publicity. It should just be ignored”.
Current.com.au has contacted Kogan’s publicist asking whether this site needs moderation and verification processes. There has been no response.
In the meantime, the administrators of this website have posted a banner on the site acknowledging that spam is now consuming much of the content.
Overall, TradeLeaks reeks of poor planning. Whilst there is a justifiable need for more transparency in business, independence is the first criterion of such a vehicle. Kogan is not independent. He is a part of this industry and, as such, he should be held accountable at equal measure, not be the one presenting information, true or not, against rivals.
He could retort by saying that negative comments about himself and his products have been posted, but with the whole site run under a veil of anonymity, how can one know which stories have been posted legitimately and which ones are plants? Without independence, verification and evidentiary presentation, TradeLeaks is nothing more than malicious, self-serving and totally without credit.