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Source: The New York Post, January 29, 2013 article


HerbaLife registers domain names against Bill Ackman

By MICHELLE CELARIER

Last Updated: 12:29 AM, January 30, 2013

Posted: 11:27 PM, January 29, 2013


Bill Ackman has gotten under Herbalife’s skin.

The nutritional supplements company that Ackman dissed as a “pyramid scheme” has purchased three domain names related to the hedge-fund tycoon.

Herbalife has owned “therealbillackman.com,” “billackman.net” and “therealackman.net” since Jan. 18, according to Go Daddy’s database of registered domain names. So far, the sites are inactive.

“Herbalife shareholders should ask themselves what legitimate company would do this,” Ackman told The Post, which exclusively reported the news on its website yesterday.

The domain names appear to be part of a bigger Internet and social media campaign kicked off after Ackman’s paid search-engine ad “factsaboutherbalife.com” topped Google’s search rankings about the company.

That website details Ackman’s case against the company, including the 300 slides that he presented in a Dec. 20 conference presentation. The hedge-fund billionaire announced the day before that he made a $1 billion short bet against the company because he thinks it’s a pyramid scheme that will be shut down by regulators.

The Internet has become more important to Herbalife in recent years as a way to promote its multi-level-marketing opportunities.

Yesterday, Herbalife’s sponsored link topped Ackman’s on Google. Analyst Tim Ramey of DA Davidson said Herbalife likely paid up to be back on top of the search rankings. Herbalife has also been paying for “promoted tweets” on Twitter.

“I’m sure they’re getting lots of creative advice on how to control the message,” said Ramey.

Herbalife did not respond to a request for comment.

The company may have chosen the three domains because “billackman.com” was already taken. It was registered by Jeff Klaips of Naperville, Ill., on Oct. 7, 2007. Klaips is selling off the name for a steep $10,000 in an auction that ends Feb. 17.

Ackman said he has no interest in purchasing the domain rights to his own name.

After news of the Ackman domain names broke yesterday, a service that allows users to register domains anonymously purchased “therealcarlicahn.com.”

Icahn, who is believed to have bought Herbalife shares at one point, and Ackman engaged in a 30-minute heated battle on CNBC last week, drawing the cable network’s biggest ratings.

Herbalife shares fell 3.4 percent to $38.67.

mcelarier@nypost.com

© Copyright 2013 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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