Monday, 15 October 2007

Error by FTC gives away Whole Foods’ business secrets

This Sunday’s Observer newspaper in the UK carried a book review talking about innovative business practices that mentioned Whole Foods as an example of using new internet techniques (not sure if that includes your CTO criticising rivals online under a pseudonym?)

Anyway, it reminded me of the bizarre story from August: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) managed to electronically file documents as part of a court case involving Whole Foods Market’s proposed $565 million takeover of Wild Oats Markets. The words looked redacted but were just shaded black.

The accidentally revealed portions included Whole Foods’ marketing strategies, and how it apparently negotiates with suppliers to drive up costs for Wal-Mart stores.

Guess what? The Associated Press managed to download the document before the FTC realised their mistake and replaced it with a clean version. The Washington Post has the full story here.

Come on guys, it’s not rocket science to avoid these mistakes. Is it?

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