It sounded so clever at the beginning:
As detailed by the Kansas City Star this week, 30-year-old Matthew Creed has developed and launched a site called BlabberMouth in order to bring public attention to local arrests. However, he’s also attempting to financially profit by collecting a sizable fee from an arrested person to remove information like name, home address, date of birth, mug shot and the reason that the person was arrested. On the home page of the site, Creed has included an embedded Google Map that allows site visitors to search for arrested people living in their neighborhood. According to the site owner, the purpose of the site is to deter crime by notifying the public of criminal actions. However, all this information is already public record.
The pricing scale:
According to the pricing information on the BlabberMouth site, an arrestee would have to pay $200 for a complete removal of their profile within twelve hours. A less expensive $150 option accomplishes the same thing, but can take up to four days. The Gold option costs $100 and only removes the home address along with the charges from the profile page. However, people searching the site can still find the arrestee on the Google Map. The Silver option costs $50 and only allows the removal of one item from the profile page.
There is, of course, a punchline:
Creed’s own home address was published within a thread on the popular KSLR forums after his home address was found within a lawsuit filed last year that was also public record. Creed requested that the entire forum thread be deleted, but Erik Radzins, the owner of KSLR, rejected that request. Radzins stated “I feel it’s everybody’s right to know his information if he’s going to publish this information for thousands of other people. It’s just the highest amount of hypocrisy.”
What, he didn’t offer to write them a check? Sheesh.
Now turned up to 11 on the Pariah Scale, Creed has announced a revamping of his site and his M.O.:
The site will be taken down TEMPORARILY on July 4, 2012 at 12:00 Noon, CDT to restructure our company, and we will reopen in approximately 3-4 weeks. We will be in transition to a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization during this time.
As of June 27, 2012, any money contributions received outside of our removal fee will go to victims of families of violent crimes and drunk driving, in addition to grow the NPO responsibility through a financial stewardship model designed by a church leader that I have come to know and respect. There was an initial start-up cost of $3,109.43 for BlabberMouth, LLC. After this initial investment is recovered, our money disbursement will be divided as follows: We will give away 40% to charity, invest 20%, and the remaining will go to pay the employees involved with BlabberMouth, including the owner.
When the site reopens, we will focus exclusively on: DUI arrests & convictions, driving while suspended, sexual charges, drug related charges, and non-payment of child support. We welcome any other suggestions for charges that should be included. All previous features on our site will still be available.
“Oh, well, if it’s a non-profit, that means it’s okay.” You’d be surprised how many people believe that sort of codswallop. (Or, if you’re a regular reader here, perhaps you wouldn’t.)
Update, 5:45 pm: According to Caller ID, BlabberMouthLLC just called here, from a Johnson County, Kansas exchange. Give the man credit for not spoofing Caller ID. He didn’t, however, leave a message. See also this OKCTalk thread.