In this eighteenth article in my series on Barter I discuss the widespread attitude and approach in the industry towards keeping skeletons in the closet. I show how the desire to keep factual information about (for example Bartercard’s humungous house deficit) from the public “for the good of the industry” is counter-productive by giving the conmen, crooks and greedy the perfect environment in which to practise their black art. I conclude with commentary on the role of IRTA and how their historical failure to address many of the thorny issues has been a festering wound but with revealations of their deal with Bartercard is now like a full blown abscess. Unfortunately it’s a little ugly.
My blogging about the Barter industry is making waves. Regardless of whether the Bartercard IPO and the Bartercard/IRTA deal goes ahead or not, a lot of people have been reading and talking about the important matters.
My hits have been at an all time high for a sustained period now as people like a thriller literally hang out for the next revelation. I don’t blog for hits. I only looked at my Google Analytics for the first time just now to get a graphic for this post. I probably won’t even look at them again for another month or two after this too, but I DO take note of the increasing numbers of people who respect what I am doing and saying . . . like this Skype request from today:
Hi Dennis A Smith, I’d like to add you as a contact because of your worthy contributions to the barter industry! Cheers, [name withheld]
How can you not befriend someone like that? I blog because I am an author and a blogger. I write because I enjoy it, it is as natural as a fish drinking water and [please bear with me for a moment, I’ll be humble in a minute] I think I’m actually pretty good at it!
I DO have an agenda too. It’s actually NOT to bring down the IRTA Executive, or to destroy the Bartercard business or currency (although those are two quite possible consequences of my blogging). I want to be respected as a straight-shooting, intelligent thought leader in the industry, and by going where others are too scared to go; blogging about things that others are talking about but only in private, I’m taking a leadership role that the industry DESPERATELY needs.
I’m a relentless truthseeker first and foremost. I am not in the industry to make a buck. I have no axe to grind despite what my detractors might try to say. I don’t care if they call me a nutcase or snigger behind ad hominem attacks. I sing from a different songsheet declaring any possible conflicts of interest up-front and then hammering those who lie, deceive, manipulate or try to twist the facts for their own benefit from others.
This is the reason that I have increasing power to influence . . . because I have been building my credibility year after year tackling the crooks and crazies head-on as they cross my path. Yes, I’m ruthless in my pursuit of the real story, but I’m equally determined to get it right and get it out there and make the world a better place.
When it comes to flushing the skeletons out of the closet in our industry, this scares people. Here is a typical communication from an exchange owner received via the Tipline recently. It shows the ‘love-hate thing’ with the brutal honesty that I bring to the table, but reveals the [perfectly natural I might add] fear that the reputation of the industry will get tarnished if the perceived big boy Bartercard goes down (their comments in bold, my replies in italic):
> Keep up the good work –
Thanks. Help me with feedback and corrections as much as you like
> please remember there are mostly legitimate exchange owners out there
Absolutely – this is an 18mth project in which I will be splitting the industry into the good guys/bad guys systemically. I
> that do not want to see bartercard go down because 1. It will taint the industry
Only if the hounds take over. It will be the reverse when it is seen to be done FOR the good of the industry BY those in the industry. The issues of exposure are morally neutral. It is strategic handling of the matters that will determine if the industry goes up or down as a result of their failure. If I’m involved it will go up and the industry will clean itself up. More on HOW I am planning to achieve this later.
> 2. It could cause government regulation and whilst that in theory is reasonable – I have seen first hand dealing with jobsworths is a nightmare and the time alone dealing with this would put many exchanges at risk simply due to excessive legislation and undue regulation and reporting
Government moves slowly. They will be concerned with revenue and accountability. The systems are sound at present. Simply enforce the laws. I’m not worried in the slightest.
> I for one would be happy to submit my exchange to be independently audited every year and the result published to all my account holders – this would sort out the cowboys and thieves without any further need for government or any other regulation – simple !
I don’t think that this commenter is right that submission to an independent audit is the BEST solution to an industry problem but it certainly is A solution. In due course I will be discussing this issue more.
You will note a couple of things from this interchange . . . I am deliberately, consiously and aggressively exposing the crooks which is a [quite divisive] role that I have undertaken personally and I’m thinking in terms of an 18month project.
I’m not going to go away. IRTA Executive, IRTA Board Members, Bartercard Directors and others involved in the subjects of my blogging, please note this carefully. I took 6 months to dismember conman Daniel Evans’ pack of lies and to bring the Ormita fraud to an end. I have all the time in the world and have been working toward exposing the ills of the industry and proposing practical solutions for coming up to a year now. I am not interested in politics or knee-jerk reactions or personalisation of issues
Take this recent engagement with someone whom I called myself a “prickly” rooster:
yes you are “prickly”, but worse, you are so opinionated and assure that you are the only person in the world that could possibly have any perspective on all matters that it makes you untrustworthy.
Now that’s a strong opinion and pretty bl**dy personal and a bit of pot calling kettle black too if you ask me!
But it’s only the ISSUES that really matter . . . the ISSUE that it has been common knowledge in the industry for MANY YEARS that Bartercard’s house account was VERY large – and the industry has kept it hush-hush.
The ISSUE that there were politics and personalities affecting the operations of IRTA – and the IRTA Members have stood by and let it happen, if not even gotten involved TO play politics.
Bringing these festering wounds into the open is a risk, sure, but as they say, sunlight is the best disinfectant.
The idea that holding information back from the public of whom there are increasingly large numbers of people questioning authorities and existing systems and solutions is OLD-SCHOOL thinking. It will fail dismally with the rising generations. They want to see and believe that the people that they deal with are trustworthy and have the goods.
It will no longer be good enough to just be a part of an organisation (like IRTA).
It will no longer be good enough to claim to be the biggest [even though they’re not] (like Bartercard).
It will no longer be good enough to shout to the world that you are the best (like Universal Currency).
People now don’t trust organisations that play politics and small like an old-boys network. People sure as eggs are working out that the more the talk, the more the spin. And they are looking for fresh, honest, simple solutions to their problems of the day, how to build their own businesses, how to make a living, how to find people that they can trust. Hiding skeletons achieves none of that! Flushing them out though does.
In my next post in this Barter Series, I dive into the incredibly brutal, immoral, predatory tactics of the self-proclaimed leader in the industry, Bartercard. Again, I’m sorry it’s ugly and is a real shocker but it’s a must-read for any Trade Exchange Owner who is thinking of selling to Bartercard. There’s only one word I advise them to use in response – it’s, “Goodbye!” After that I turn my attention to IRTA and their currency, Universal Currency. Again there are things in there that the IRTA Members REALLY need to know about. I will be revealing this shortly.
The Barter Series
Make your good reading pleasure even easier:
View an index of all articles in The Barter Series, sorted by Date or by Key Subject.