Technically True But Misleading

I am an NFL owner. Really! For a modest sum, I purchased one share of stock in the Green Bay Packers. I would post a picture of the stock certificate, but it is in a pile of papers [See my speech, Piler’s Anonymous, to get the reference 😉 ]  Instead, here’s a screenshot of the email confirmation.

I own "part" of an NFL franchise

I own “part” of an NFL franchise

But putting NFL owner in my bio, while technically true, would be misleading.

What prompted this discussion? I have been asked to participate recently in several  “Book Bombing” campaigns. After discussing this with a friend, she emailed me the link to this article, “The “Book Bomb” Scam: The Fundamental Dishonesty of “Make-Your-Book-an-Amazon-Best-Seller!” Programs, by Peter Bowerman.

Here are some highlights from the article:

… Using a veritable cornucopia of inducements – free ebooks, bonuses reports, multiple copies of the book itself, etc. – the author tries to entice as many people as possible into buying their book on one particular day. All via mass emails with frantic urgings to forward to as many lists as possible – and all with the goal of “#1 Amazon Best Seller!” bragging rights.

For that brief period, and ONLY that brief period, the book sold more than any other on Amazon’s system.

… I can hear some people now: “Well, as far as Amazon is concerned, it IS a ‘#1 Amazon Best-Seller’ … Okay. Sure. Technically, that’s accurate. And you can say that with a straight face? Seriously, there’s more to the story, and it starts with the definition of “best-seller.”  …

But misleading truths are not limited to Best-sellers. They also occur in the realm of internet radio show download statistics. People have figured out a way to use twitter and other social media to trick people (and bots) into downloading a podcast.

Instead of posting a promotional link to the radio show page and giving people the option of listening to the show, a (or other URL shortening link) URL is provided that directly downloads the show mp3. This results in a download … that may or may not be listened to. Downloads per show have increased from a hundred to the thousands, without significantly increasing the number of true listeners. This is technically true, but misleading.

As the graduation for my Judy Carter comedy class, I performed stand-up at the Hollywood Improv. It was open to the public and a sold out show. I did 5 minutes in a two-hour show. Should I advertise that I performed to a sold-out crowd?

I think not. While it would be technically true, it would be misleading.

Living the Dream

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. Perfect, Walt!

    Would you like your spouse or child to be “technically” honest with you, or just “honest”.

    If you have to qualify it in your own mind, well, it’s not really honest.

Leave a Reply to Stephen Hackney