The Price of Anonymity

When you post on the Internet, no one knows if you're a ceo or just an average Joe. Is that bad?

John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods Market, Inc.

Over the course of eight or nine years, until last August, someone with the handle "rahodeb" posted regularly about the company Whole Foods on Yahoo!'s finance bulletin boards. Rahodeb liked Whole Foods. He didn't care for its competitor Wild Oats. Rahodeb particularly liked Whole Foods CEO John Mackey. "While I'm not a 'Mackey groupie,'" rahodeb wrote, "I do admire what the man has accomplished." This was true, as far as it went. Rahodeb was not a Mackey groupie. Rahodeb was Mackey.

It was a venial sin that would never have come to light except that in February Whole Foods made a...

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