I doubt that NC State has a Ranger65

The bizarre nature of the recent revelations of internet postings of Whole Foods CEO, John Mackay reminded me of something that I noted back in December but had never run on SFN.

If you aren’t familiar with the Mackay case – the public company’s CEO used an anagram from an alias for nearly eight years to post messages on Yahoo Finance message boards that bashed competitors and praied everything from his company’s quarterly financial performance to his own haircut.

This Mackay situation harkened memories of an interesting situation that played itself out on the internet message boards of Texas A&M last year.

Robert Gates, the nation’s new defense secretary, confirmed through a Texas A&M spokesman Friday that he occasionally posted messages anonymously on the Web site TexAgs.com while serving as the university’s president. The poster known as “ranger65” revealed Thursday night on the site that he was really Gates.

As ranger65, Gates commented on a variety of topics in different forums – sports- and non-sports-related – within the site. They ranged from opposing moving the Aggies’ annual game with Texas Tech to Dallas to supporting the Corps of Cadets to discussing the university’s plans for the Memorial Student Center hotel and its lawsuit against the Seattle Seahawks over the 12th Man trademark.

The posts referred to Gates in the third person and often used the phrase “I’m told” before delving into details about the issue at hand.

I ran across this back in December while on A&M’s unofficial official athletics message board. This link should take you to the original post where Dr. Gates outs himself.

Given NC State’s administration’s outright fear and loathing of the Internet, I found all of this refreshing to read this. In a nutshell, the outgoing president of Texas A&M — outgoing in order to be the next Secretary of Defense — not only was not afraid of the Internet, he participated in it in an almost Shakespearean fashion; interacting with alums and fans.

I guess that it is worth noting that both of these stories originate from Texas. Mackay is based on Austin and Texas A&M is only about 90 minutes down the road in College Station.

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9 Responses to I doubt that NC State has a Ranger65

  1. Rick 07/20/2007 at 10:50 AM #

    I am not so sure.
    We had a poster that was so supportive of HWNTBN that I wondered at times. His lack of logic also made me think of a certain AD I know. He also like to run down the fans. I am sure it is a coincidence but…

  2. CaptainCraptacular 07/20/2007 at 10:54 AM #

    I found it totally refreshing that Gates would interact with alumni and fans of the school so informally, even if it was semi-anonymous. He obviously loves TAMU and wanted to keep his finger on the pulse of what the people he was serving as president were thinking, and thats a great way to do it.

    I had also read at the time that in the same post that he outed himself, he said he wouldn’t be posting anymore as he was leaving for the Secretary of Defense appointment.


    The John Mackay story is just bizarre though. Anonymously praising your own haircut on a message board? Just plain creepy.

  3. highstick 07/20/2007 at 11:24 AM #

    “We had a poster that was so supportive of HWNTBN that I wondered at times. His lack of logic also made me think of a certain AD I know. He also like to run down the fans. I am sure it is a coincidence but…”

    You noticed that too????

  4. StateFans 07/20/2007 at 2:54 PM #

    It was very disappointing to have to open this entry and delete so many stupid comments. If you don’t know better than that on this website then you probably are better suited to frequent Pack Pride’s “Idiot Boards”.


  5. vtpackfan 07/20/2007 at 6:47 PM #

    Perhaps Mackey get’s his hair cut the same place John Edwards does.

  6. reef2244 07/20/2007 at 7:13 PM #

    Is anyone really surprised that corporations are going this far. Its fairly simple to do and some people will believe anything they see on a forum or website. I personally think a lot of companies are doing this type of stuff. For example there is a guy on the PackPride free board who only posts when it comes to Nike. Bashes adidas all the time and says Nike is essentially the greatest thing in creation. Apparently to him Jesus wore Jordans. Thing is he only shows up when someone posts about adidas or asks an apparel question. How hard would it be for a company to monitor boards and take potshots at the competition?

  7. Clever_Wolf_Name 07/21/2007 at 10:23 AM #

    I have no doubt companies monitor this sort of stuff. If you check reader reviews on a site like amazon, if there is a negative review, it is almost invariably followed by three glowing reviews. And its not just corporate America. A year or two ago Wikipedia had to lock out IP addresses from Capitol Hill because the bios of representatives were be edited by staff members of other representatives.

  8. packpigskinfan23 07/21/2007 at 12:20 PM #

    I hear now that companys have hired special groups to do nothing but search college grads Myspace and Facebook profiles to see what kind of person they REALLY are…

    interesting, but kind of scary.

  9. Primewolf 07/22/2007 at 10:31 PM #

    The A&M president was doing what many good CEOs do in good companies. they get first hand information from employees at all levels, not just the 5-10 they directly supervise. It is the well known approach of getting out to see the troops.

    I doubt if State has a CEO or department head that is savvy enough to show this type of leadership.

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