by Rupert Insider
This article proposes that all LFC-related sites, other than Koptalk, join together to create an LFC news service.
The service would provide links with full accreditation to original sources of news stories in the mainstream media (apart from the S**) and articles, editorials and announcements in all LFC supporter sites – apart from Koptalk. It would include links to podcasts and broadcasts and books. It would be comprehensive and ethical. The product could be used by all the sites that participated. No funds would be required, just the contribution of time to find, post and organize the links. The blog could act as a neutral meeting-point to get it going, if required.
If you are a regular contributor to another LFC site why not discuss this idea there and bring it to the attention of the site owner or editor?
Despite Koptalk’s loss of perhaps 70-80% of its paying members in the last four months, and 100% of the visitors to its free forums, and despite the fact that it is recording far fewer hits than some other LFC–related sites, Koptalk continues in business.
Its hits have fallen sharply but it is still registering more than some of the smaller LFC sites, still paying for Oldham pies, peas and gravy even without any government unemployment or disability benefits he may also receive.
Anyone interested in bringing about Koptalk’s final demise should understand why some people still use it.
Some of his users are unaware of the facts. This applies particularly to those who have bookmarked Koptalk in the distant past and still log on unthinkingly. They are unaware of recent developments. They do not visit other LFC related sites or use search engines. Many of them are from overseas and are not online when Koptalk’s critics are on online. Some have limited used of English and don’t, therefore, understand all the subtleties of the situation. They renew their subscriptions because Koptalk debits their PayPal accounts automatically.
Some members who know what’s going on intend to quit when their subscription lapses. In the meantime they visit to keep a watch on Oldham, to report on him in this blog and tease him on his own site. Or they use access to his site to contact his other remaining members to tell them about this blog or alternative sites.
Some are new members who came across Koptalk through search engines and fell for the false promises in the Koptalk’s sales pitch. And even if they subsequently discover the truth, as some of them have, they don’t realize that they can cancel their membership and demand repayment of all or part of their subscription. This is particularly true of overseas members. So they, too, stay on to extract some value for their money until their subscription expires.
Some of Oldham’s stunts – such as sending his 17 year old step-brother to hang around in the street outside Melwood and take photos through the fence, actually earn him credit with some users, especially those from Asia who are hungry for any information about the club and the players. They have been taken-in by his false claims to have access to Melwood and don’t understand the geographical or logistical distance between Liverpool, in the North-West of England and Walsall in the North-East where Oldham and his side-kick live and work. And they do not know how much of an outsider from LFC Oldham really is or how deeply distrusted.
But by far the biggest attraction for all classes of visitors to his site is the news service. What he purports to offer is a one-stop source of all current news about LFC.
But as this blog has shown, nothing that passes through his hands is unadulterated. He distorts the original stories, claiming they are his own. When he is short of hits, he make up stories, usually negative stories about LFC.
He uses all stories as a sales pitch, suggesting that whatever has been reported was already predicted in the Gold Club or Insider and the reader should sign up for more of the same insider knowledge. You know the kind of thing.
Most of his readers don’t realize that they don’t need to pay Oldham 30 pounds a year. They can get the same stories free from the same sources he got them, and without his distortions.
All they need to do is change their bookmarks from Koptalk.com to News Now or one of the other free LFC sites.
And if they want the original stuff that Oldham steals from LFC’s Offical Site – liverpool-tv.com – they might just as well as pay a few more pounds and get it legally along with all the live feeds of matches and downloads and interviews with Parry and Rafa and the players.
And they would have the satisfaction of knowing that their money is going to LFC and not to a spiv from Yorkshire presently hiding out in his Ma’s back-garden shed in Walsall.
Oldham always knew that his readers could get everything free from News Now. So he tried to fool News Now and his readers by manipulating News Now in such a way that the Koptalk links dominated the News Now “Top Stories”.
To avoid complaints that he was stealing their stories, and to avoid giving his “rivals” credit, he would suppress the source of the stories and doctor their titles to try to fool his readers into believing that the Koptalk version of the story in News Now had a different angle, or something additional, than the original story featured in the chronological bulletins of News Now (in the centre of the page).
He would also pad out his LFC-related offerings by giving an entirely fabricated LFC spin to stories about other clubs, especially his own club, Newcastle United, in order to garner a few more unususpecting hits from LFC supporters.
In other words, News Now’s “Top Stories” were usually Koptalk links to News Now chronological stories – a vicious circle for the readers but a potentially profitable circle for Koptalk and News Now. (Although, to be fair, some of Koptalk’s links were direct steals from the Liverpool Echo and Post and from LFC’s Official Site. But he had additional motives for suppressing the name of the Echo and Post because of his long-standing feud with these “local media sources”, as he referred to them dismissively).
News Now could profit, potentially, because after clicking on Koptalk’s links in the “Top Stories” column, users might be expected to click on the same stories in the chronological bulletin of News Now because those stories – the earlier, original versions – had different headlines. The user would not discover this until they had clicked. So News Now would get two clicks for the price of one. I’m not suggesting that News Now joined his crooked scheme they may have been as unaware of his doctoring as others – although they had been informed.
In any case, Koptalk’s practices were ripping off News Now, too. Because once a person had clicked on a Koptalk “Top Story” they found themselves being encouraged by Koptalk to stay on the site, using the “forward” and “backward” links to all the other Koptalk versions of News Nows stories. In other words, Koptalk would compete unfairly with News Now – or bite the hand that fed it.
Regular readers of this blog will know that biting the hand that feeds you has always been one of Oldham’s main techniques.
This blog is in discussion with News Now. At the moment, it has cut the links to Koptalk’s podcasts and suspended links to Koptalk. Hopefully that will continue.
Oldham has responded by opening a free page on his site for the sole purpose of offering links to LFC stories. He is now attempting to compete openly with News Now for LFC links. And, as before, the links he offers are taken from News Now or from the online edition of the Echo and Post – or even the S** – one of the rags which News Now does not link to.
Of course, this Koptalk news service service is not offered from the goodness of his heart. He uses it to beg readers to “donate” 30 pounds to Koptalk. And he spoils the stories by adding his ignorant comments and distortions. The hits he receives to his news service earns him significant advertising revenues. Anyone who uses it or visits his site is adding to those revenues.
Koptalk has got away with these rip-off techniques for so long, partly because the owners and editors of other LFC sites have not protested strongly enough. The combined readership of all the LFC supporter sites could be a powerful lobbying tool for LFC supporters. A threat of an organized boycoot might be very persuasive.
But until the blog took up the cause, none had seriously challenged News Now and Google News and the other interested parties seriously enough to make them examine his practices and do something about them.
(A few individuals had tried, notably the editor of kraptalk.com).
But probably more important, the other unofficial LFC sites did not put together a competitive news services that had the same high profile as Koptalk’s.
Of course, Oldham had some unfair advantages. In the first place he could afford to spend all his time watching and waiting for LFC links to appear because of the unemployment and disability benefits he and his group got from the taxpayer, and because he never submitted VAT and never paid personal or business taxes.
In addition to those unfair subsidies, he also invented a lot of his “stories”. And he mixed Koptalk “editorials” and “announcements” with news stories. And such was his manipulation of News Now, he got them to included these Koptalk non-news items in News Now’s LFC related news, squeezing out authetic news or comment about LFC from legitimate sources. And when his silly podcasts started they were added to his News Now listing, too – at least until this blog complained.
One of the services he used to pad his offering might actually have been of genuine interest – that was his linking stories to anyone who ever had any link with LFC including a lot about Houllier and Owen and Diouf and Collymore, not to mention the guys who used to replace the divits at half time.
And as this blog has pointed out, he stole unfair advantage, by breaking the LFC boycott of the S**.
His was the only LFC-related site to cite the S** “stories”. He would give the gist of the story without naming or linking to the S** directly.
Oldham has profited by the lack of coordinated competition from the free sites. His motivation has always been clear – profit. Theirs has not. His business policy towards his “rivals” has always been to conquer them by dividing them.
The free sites have much to gain from banding together to enlarge the pie. They can do this by increasing the total number of hits for all sites, and by referring readers to each other. They could also set standards respecting news, media, copyright and accreditation to which all except Koptalk would happily subscribe.
In the process they could develop a stronger collective voice about information and the media than any one of them could achieve alone. Perhaps, if they were well-organised enough, they could get official accreditation to LFC press conferences and public events for a single “pool” reporter representing all the unofficial sites – except Koptalk.
The point is, there could be an alternative to Koptalk News. And this would be a good time to create it.