• United States
Assistant Community Editor

Bitcoin company bought site just to delete critical reviews

Jul 14, 20143 mins

Butterfly Labs allegedly bought a site just to remove content that criticized it, a move that will only make its reputation worse.

Bitcoin company Butterfly Labs was recently accused of buying the site with the intention of improving its reputation on search engines. Now, Buttcoin’s previous owner is making sure the opposite happens to Butterfly Labs.

In a recent interview with TechCrunch, a man named Evan, who declined to provide his last name out of concern for the legal implications of the sale of his site, said that shortly after selling the site, previously critical articles about Bitcoin company Butterfly Labs had been altered.

TechCrunch provided a few examples. One Buttcoin article that criticized Butterfly Labs’ hardware and often appeared in results for the search term “butterfly labs scam” now features an entirely new headline – “The $22,484 Butterfly Labs Mini Rig bitcoin miner is a sexy bitcoin mining machine” (the previous headline called it a “huge, broken, unstable piece of s—t”). Another, apparently lazier example of altering content involves a headline changed from “Butterfly Labs demo is literally just hot air” to “Butterfly Labs demo is hot.”

Evan told TechCrunch that he sold the site after someone who identified only as Jeff made a five-figure offer, which he saw as “an overvalued offer.” Shortly after completing the sale, Evan saw the altered content about Butterfly Labs but found himself unable to access the site and undo the changes. “Jeff” had initially told Evan he would still have control of the site’s content after the sale, Evan told Evan now believes the “Jeff” who made the initial offer was Butterfly Labs vice president of marketing, Jeff Ownby, TechCrunch reported.

Evan, for his part, doesn’t seem too concerned with his reputation in the Bitcoin community, which he had long criticized on his site. 

“The bitcoiners on Reddit are trying to use it against me as if I’m some sort of shill and that my reputation has been damaged. I ran a website with a giant butt on the logo, how much worse can my reputation get?”

Ultimately, he says he blew the whistle on the sale just to clear up accusations that he had taken money from Butterfly Labs to remove the critical content, according to the Coindesk report.

If Evan’s allegations are true, it would not only be a futile attempt – first-page Google results for “Butterfly Labs” show negative headlines from Ars Technica, which is just one example of a critical site that Butterfly Labs would likely have more difficulty trying to buy out – but it will ultimately accomplish the exact opposite of the buyout. Now, in addition to its multiple class-action lawsuits alleging unfulfilled customer orders, search engine results will also tell of the company’s silly attempt at whitewashing critical reviews from blogs.

I’ve reached out to Butterfly Labs for comment and will update this post when I receive a response.

Assistant Community Editor

Colin Neagle manages blogs for Network World, including but not limited to those published on the Cisco Subnet, Microsoft Subnet, and Open Source Subnet. He also writes feature articles and blog posts about emerging technologies, among other things, and he usually doesn't write about himself in the third person, so please don't judge him by this bio.