Cheating is for those who can win without it...

Dick Lutz and Main Street WIRE Caught Stealing

Updated 49 weeks ago Peter McCarthy
Public Domain image / CCO license
Public Domain image / CCO license

An innocent trip to the Deli lead to shock at how creepy Dick Lutz (rhymes with "nuts") can be when he thinks nobody is watching.

Creepiness, a Daily Event for Dick Lutz

At the end of a quick chat at Bread & Butter Market as our publisher waited for a bagel and Frank Farance waited for cold cuts, Farance said, "You know, Lutz registered 'Roosevelt Island Daily,' and he's got it on his server."

Lutz's server is an internet connected device on which he hosts websites.

At first, it just seemed goofy, the antics of the assumed to be extinct dinosaur who used the Main Street WIRE to benefit himself and his political prejudices for two decades.

This online newspaper's address is "rooseveltislanddaily.prosepoint.net" and is hosted by our business partner ProsePoint. Lutz registered "rooseveltislanddaily.com" as an independent website. It's a slimy form of internet cheating but is usually nothing more than an inconvenience.

But a follow up investigation showed something worse. Much worse.

Lutz and the Main Street WIRE are trying to steal revenue from the Roosevelt Island Daily. And there's only one reason anyone steals. It's because they can't win legitimately. Otherwise, why bother?

Uncovering the Theft

Managers here at the Daily were not overly concerned, knowing that Lutz is too lazy to put together the resources necessary for a daily newspaper or, honestly, sufficiently aware of the community around him to report on it.

But we found, soon after hearing from Farance, that Lutz did more than register a internet domain name.

He intentionally arranged to have assets legitimately earned by the Daily secretly transferred to the WIRE.

The dinosaur we believed to be extinct, known locally as "Dick Lutz," used the domain he'd registered, not to build content or to inform anyone of anything, but to grab web traffic aimed at this newspaper and redirect it to the WIRE.

In short, if you type "rooseveltislanddaily.com" into your browser's menu bar, which many do out of habit to find this newspaper, you will be taken to the Main Street WIRE's homepage instead.

It appears that the WIRE's publisher and editor for the last two decades does not believe his publication can draw enough traffic on its own merits and has to pirate to catch up. He's right.

This solves a mystery for me. My search traffic recently dropped noticeably. Searchers are being pirated by Lutz and delivered to his newspaper's online edition. This veers close to what is known to internet experts as a "black hat tactic."

That's just plain "cheating" to you and me.

But Is It Stealing?

On the surface, Lutz's creepy behavior may seem like nothing more than dumbbell meddling by a loser, sleaze ball tactics aimed at annoying and inconveniencing a competitor, but there's a big difference.

Readership views, the measurement by which a website is valued, is critically important because both newspapers are supported by advertising, and views are how we get paid. When you steal mine, you steal my income and make it yours.

It's that simple.

Who Is Involved?

Because Lutz isn't smart enough to pull off the stunt by himself, he needs help. And to be clear, there is no reason to believe this is the only scam he has going. Paranoid about rivalries with the Roosevelt Islander blog, Cornell Tech and who knows who else, Lutz may be running black hat tactics elsewhere.

First suspect for helping Lutz out is Jeff Prekopa, web master for the Main Street WIRE and on Lutz's payroll. Hoping that Prekopa is as ethical as we found him to be during our tenure with the WIRE, we asked him by email to pledge that he was not involved in the theft. He has not responded.

The current content editors and writers at the WIRE? We don't know Kelly Turner, but we'd be surprised to find Dana Agmon, now listed as Publisher, involved.

Briana Warsing? Read the let's call it "peculiar" mash note she wrote to Lutz in the most recent hard copy edition of the WIRE to get a sense of what goes on with that relationship. At best, Lutz did it to help her. As she was almost certainly an active participant in Lutz's attempt to con us into taking over the WIRE under false pretenses, earlier this year, the balance is in favor of her knowing, although Warsing is in no way capable of assisting.

What troubles us most is the association with the WIRE's original publisher and financial backer Dr. Jack Resnick, an admired and respected physician who has repeatedly been informed of Lutz's antics, including this one, without responding or, apparently, objecting.

We will update this story when more information becomes available.

What Can Roosevelt Islanders Do About It?

Step One: Boycott the WIRE's advertisers, beginning today.

Although Lutz's tactics described here are unethical, they are of probably too small a scale to attract prosecutors, most of whom have bigger thieves than the presumably extinct dinosaur to contend with. We assume that we will have to act on our own to punish the WIRE.

The best, most direct and honest way to do so is to cut off their air supply of advertisers. For that reason, the Roosevelt Island Daily today announced an active boycott of all WIRE advertisers.

There are other good reasons for this. WIRE advertising rates, reflecting a captive audience, are much higher than they should be and are sold under a questionable appeal to need, not value. This includes inflated circulation numbers.

Any advertiser can get better rates with the Daily or the Roosevelt Islander blog and both publications earn more readers than the WIRE. Readers on either site are always voluntary, not force fed with junk mail to which they never subscribed.

In the coming weeks, the Daily will encourage all readers to disconnect from supporting the WIRE's tactics by boycotting any business that continues to advertise with them. As part of that, we will publish an updated list of boycott targets on our home page.

As a courtesy, we will also contact each WIRE advertiser and inform them about Lutz's tactics and advise that they will be boycotted if they continue.

We believe that only a small minority of Roosevelt Islanders are willing to be associated with thieves, and those few are the usual suspects tied to and benefiting from their connection to Lutz and the WIRE.

We believe most of our neighbors are decent citizens who want nothing to do with stealing under any conditions.

 

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