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Permission granted by author for anyone to distribute this
writing free of charge (including translation into any
language)...under condition that no profit is made therefrom,
and that it remain intact and complete, including title and 
credit to the original author.

Ezekiel J. Krahlin


© 2000 by Ezekiel J. Krahlin
(Jehovah's Queer Witness)

DEDICATION: This true-life account is dedicated to my Internet friend, 
Laura, author of the wonderful, inspiring, and outrageous "Laura's 
NYC Tales" at

Here is a thread of nasty remarks towards my participation in
Mal's e-commerce forum. It speaks for itself . I figured you'd
enjoy a few good guffaws. (I also posted it to various 
business newsgroups on the 'Net).:

level, alt.ecommerce,, alt.internet.


I was initially impressed with "Mal's E-Commerce" shopping cart and 
transaction service, However, some rather nasty attacks 
on me in his message board,, 
have left a bad taste in my mouth (so to speak). Rather than explain 
the situation, I'll just post the thread here, and let it explain itself. 
Let it serve as a warning for those who are thinking about using Mal's 

===begin Mal's thread

Zeke Krahlin (
Date:   03-28-2000 07:58

Hey, I just discovered this impressive e-commerce package offered
by GoEmerchant, at:

I'm talking about the $49.95/month deal, which provides
CyberCash-integrated shopping cart, with dummy-proof "buy-me"
buttons (no programming needed), as well as a complete merchant
account. Includes automated e-mail list for target sales
brochures. Here's a list of their "Internet Merchant" features:

---begin description:'s $49.95 per month Internet Store makes it easy
for you to build your web site online. You don't need to know how
to do any programming. If you can type you can open your own
Internet Store!

$49.95 a month Includes:

Web site (Internet Store)

Shopping Cart

Payment Gateway (credit card processing)

Virtual Terminal

Merchant Account and it simply snaps into any existing web site
with a hypertext link

Plus these other POWER FEATURES:

Pre-Integrated Merchant Account

Built-In Cash Register

On-Line, real-time credit card processing

Virtual Terminal Functionality

Secured transaction processing using SSL technology

Unlimited product search engine

Automated e-mail confirmation to all customers

A hit counter (Customer Counter)

24 X 7 merchant upgrade and edit capabilities

Continuous Internet hosting

---end description


Author: Donny (
Date:   03-28-2000 18:45

>Is this an unsolicited advertisement?

It looks like a nice package, but Mal offers something just like
it right here for about $50/month less!


Author: Mal Stewart (
Date:   03-28-2000 18:50

I think this is Ad, yes. Shall I edit it out? I don't really like
censoring the Forum.


Author: Bill Dalton (
Date:   03-28-2000 23:24

Please edit it out. I for one do not want this type of thing
cluttering up the forum. If you want to sell something build a
site, and keep it out of the forums.


Author: Tim T. (
Date:   03-29-2000 11:23

Take it out Mal.


Author: Katelyn (
Date:   03-29-2000 18:13



Author: The Jewelry Villa (
Date:   03-29-2000 18:23

mal, yes i think you should edit out these ads or everyone will
be cluttering up the forum with them. they are inappropriate.
Sophia at


Author: Trent (
Date:   03-29-2000 23:08

After reading the ad myself I think it was very poor judgement on
that persons part! If it was my website I would be kinda
offended! By the way I wonder if that person actaully uses mals?
I don't think anyone can find a better place on the net were you
can get this kind level of service, quality and nice friendly
online community. (all for basicaly free!)

All Thanks to Mal!

Not to mention the people don't critisize you when you are the
worst speller in the entire world ! =P


Zeke Krahlin (
Date:   03-30-2000 04:44

Donny said:
>Is this an unsolicited advertisement?

No. I am a web consultant, who is taking on his first e-commerce
client. So I've done a lot of homework, looking for a great

>It looks like a nice package, but Mal offers
>something just like it right here for about
>$50/month less!

Mal's service is top-notch, I agree. But he does *not provide the
excellent dummy-proof transaction interface that GoEmerchant
does. Nor does he provide web-hosting. Absolutely no programming
(like javascript or cgi) required...thus freeing the merchant
from always relying on an expensive service to change or add new

Another thing: If you need real-time cc transactions, you must
pay for that service, such as CyberCash. This is an additional
fee of about $35/month. So you need more than Mal's free
service...and if you use real-time cc transaction, you must pay
Mal $5/mo. So with CyberCash and Mal's you now must pay $40...and
you'll still need a web host. Some excellent ones are around for
$15-$25/month. Now, you have a minimal total of $55. Sure, there
are some excellent free web-hosts...but I'm rather wary of them
for my more serious, established clients.

Also: I know of *no free or inexpensive ($15-$25/month)
e-commerce host that provides *all the great features that
GoEcommerce does...and it's only $15/month (if you were already
using CyberCash or similar service). See below for a list of all

But GoEmerchant already includes a CyberCash account...all in
that $49.95/month package. So you are really getting a superior
e-commerce package for just $14.95/month, because you can drop
your first account with CyberCash (or whatever other transaction
service you use), thus subtracting $35 from GoEmerchant's fee.

And since this also includes a very user-friendly service for
setting up your transactions, it's a really great deal. No more
fuss over scripts, and programmer fees!

But if you are a small business that does not require real-time
cc transactions, then I'd say stick with Mal's for your shopping
cart. This is great for very small, or home, businesses. But the
moment you feel you need real-time cc transactions, it becomes a
different ballgame...where GoEmerchant fits the bill to a "T".

Before I discovered GoEmerchant, I was planning to use Mal's
$5/mo. service for real-time cc transactions...and CyberCash's
"Cash Register 3" dummy-proof service. And I will still do that,
for home-based clients, and small business startups.

Mal's is excellent, for what it does. I am not criticizing his
service...only sharing what I have learned, with other e-commerce
folks on this board, who have been so incredibly helpful to me.

Here is a quick list of GoEmerchant's $49.95/mo. service (which
also includes choice of Unix or NT hosting):

Dummy-proof "buy-me" button (no scripting required)

Cyber-Circular for customized e-mail to keep customers happy and
coming back for more

Automated store statistics (including traffic report)

Web site (Internet Store)

Shopping Cart

Payment Gateway (credit card processing)

Virtual Terminal

Merchant Account and it simply snaps into any existing web site
with a hypertext link

Plus these other POWER FEATURES:

Pre-Integrated Merchant Account

Built-In Cash Register

On-Line, real-time credit card processing

Virtual Terminal Functionality

Secured transaction processing using SSL technology

Unlimited product search engine

Automated e-mail confirmation to all customers

A hit counter (Customer Counter)

24 X 7 merchant upgrade and edit capabilities

Continuous Internet hosting


Author: Zeke Krahlin
Date:   03-30-2000 04:51

Mal said:
>I think this is Ad, yes. Shall I edit it
>out? I don't really like censoring the

No, Mal, I am certainly not advertising for GoeMerchant. I am
obviously, very enthusiastic about discovering such a
well-put-together e-commerce service. Just as I am about finding
yours, too. I have enthusiastically recommended your shopping
cart to others, on other message boards. I guess some might think
I was being paid to advertise your service, too.

Sorry that you think I am a surly, no-good salesperson...especially 
since we have had a few friendly private exchanges...and especially 
since I have been participating on your board prior to my finding 

Yay! Go Mal's shopping cart!

Yay! Go GoeMerchant.

Yay! Go PowerSurge.

Yay! Go Red Rival!

You see, I am enthusiastic about a number of e-commerce packages.
Yet none of them know me, nor do I get any commission for my
promotions. Is enthusiasm a no-no, on your board? Does everyone
here take Prozac or something?

However, Mal, since I find your service of high quality and
integrity...and since my enthusiasm impressed you, you might
consider paying me a little reward, for my future recommendations
of your package. Make a bid!


Zeke Krahlin (
Date:   03-30-2000 04:59

Bill Dalton said:
>Please edit it out. I for one do not want
>this type of thing cluttering up the forum.
>If you want to sell something build a site,
>and keep it out of the forums.

I think some people in this group owe me an apology, including
yourself, Bill. You all need to take a deep breath, and lighten
up. Check out my other posts on this board, before projecting
such hostile attitudes.

I received some very good recommendations for web-hosts by others
on this board. Should I accuse them of advertising, too? Their
enthusiasm was no less than mine.

So, in you folks sharing such honest information, I was happy to
find a great service to share with others here, as my own
contribution of worth. Now, I regret doing so...and I'll probably
drop this board from my list. I was delighted to discover such a
useful group of e-commerce folks, after all the mucking around in
seas of spam and sales pitches. E-commerce Usenet Newsgroups are
worthless. Besides Mal's, I've so far only found one other
e-commerce message board that is really great.

Perhaps my first impression of this message board was not
correct. You've certainly given me a headache that I do not


Author: Zeke Krahlin
Date:   03-30-2000 05:02

Tim T. said:
>Take it out Mal.

Gee, I'm rather new to this board. Is this the kind of welcome
you give to all new participants?


Author: Zeke Krahlin
Date:   03-30-2000 05:04

Katelyn said:

The Catholic Inquisition ended centuries ago. Where have you


Zeke Krahlin (
Date:   03-30-2000 05:07

The Jewelry Villa said:
>mal, yes i think you should edit out these
>ads or everyone will be cluttering up the
>forum with them. they are inappropriate.

What the heck is wrong with you people? Such snap judgments and
vehemence against well-meaning participants only give Mal's
service a bad name. This absurd mob reaction is what's
inappropriate, not my sharing information.


Trent said:
>After reading the ad myself 

It was not an ad, dufus. Just because one person suggested it
was, does not make it so. It's a good thing that person didn't
tell you all to jump off a cliff! Talk about "herd mentality"!

What I see here, is not reasonable judgment, but a bunch of sorry
folks all too eager to spew venom at the drop of a hat.

I have not done anything wrong. In fact, I thought I had finally
found a great message board to help me in my novice venture with
e-commerce. Not only am I disappointed, but angered at such
hair-trigger and irrational hostility.

>I think it was very poor judgement on that
>persons part!

Seems to me the only poor judgment on my part, is thinking this
was a great board for e-commerce issues. On the other hand, the
judgment of members here, over my enthusiasm for another service,
leaves me speechless.

>If it was my website I would be kinda

By my enthusiasm? You make no sense. Not surprising at this
point, after having read the hostile remarks that came before

>By the way I wonder if that person
>actaully uses mals? 

No, I don't. I am taking on my first e-commerce client, as I
educate myself on the art of business on the 'Net. I had boiled
things down to several excellent web hosts (recommended mostly by
folks here), with Mal's shopping cart as the perfect completion
to a fine package. Then, two days ago, I discovered GoEmerchant,
and was most excited about it. After all the weeks of intensive
research, I am now able to recognize a great package when I see
one...and that's GoEmerchant. (And I *thought I recognized a
great message board, at Mal's.)

>I don't think anyone can find a better place
>on the net were you can get this kind level
>of service, quality

First of all: Mal's is not a total e-commerce package. So you
*must look for other stuff, like a web-host, and a real-time
transaction service like CyberCash (if that's what you need), and
a whole lot of other features that have nothing to do with Mal's

There is a difference between praising a service like Mal's, and
blindly worshipping it. Your attitude smacks of cultism. After
all, how can you compare Mal's to a full e-commerce package? This
is not what his service is all about. You're irrational.

>and nice friendly online community. (all
>for basicaly free!) 

I agree with the "free" part. But "friendly"? Not by my
experience. Not by a long shot.

Look, there's no way I'll continue participating here, without a
decent apology from those who unduly attacked me. I am a hard
worker, intelligent, and have for years contributed my expertise
in many groups, including message boards...regarding the
computer, the Internet, telecommunications, etc. I have always
been a valued contributer to the mix.

And I *despise hard-sell salesmen, spammers, and their ilk. The
last thing I'd ever be, is an advertisement for any tacky
business. I never recommend any service that I haven't looked
into. This is an ironic joke being played on me.

Mal, as an ethical business person, you need to apologize, too,
for jumping on this hate-bandwagon. Otherwise, you have lost one
of the best participants and promoters you could ever have.
(After all, see how enthusiastic I was about GoEmerchant.) You
ought to look at all my other messages on this board, as proof of
my good participation.

The knee-jerk hate-reaction by members here, do not do your
business any favor. I am pretty much disgusted with how I've been
treated...and certainly, it inspires me to cease appproving your
service. As a web consultant, I have a growing clientele of
associates interested in adding an e-commerce package to their
sites. Not all need the sophisticated features provided by
GoEmerchant...and therefore would benefit by your own excellent

But there is no way I'll continue recommending you to anyone,
without a true apology. In fact, it is up to my client to decide
whether or not to go with GoEmerchant. In fact, she may choose
not which case my plan was to provide a package with Red
Rival or PowerSurge, and Mal's shopping cart. Now, I have decided
to drop Mal.

All this meanness is unwarranted. I think you all need to see a
good shrink. An apology will make you all better people...and in
such a case, I'll drop all charges against Mal's, and continue to
recommend his service. I'm not the type to hold grudges, when a
wrong to me is made right. "Forgive and forget" is a good way to

Anyway, I'm tired of being put on the defense, and dealing with
such nasty, small-minded troglodytes. There's *gotta be a better
message board than this! Where there's life, there's still hope!
This place is haunted with banshees, shrikes, and
hobgoblins...and it ain't even Hallowe'en!

P.S.: I've saved all messages in this thread, to share with my
friends for a good laugh. (My friends in newsgroups, that is.)


Author: Zeke Krahlin
Date:   03-30-2000 06:00


On the title of my thread, I mispelled the company I recommended,
it should not be "" (as in "geo"graphy), but
should be "GoEmerchant" (as in "go" "e-merchant"). An easy
mistake to make, but one which would have lost me a chunk of my
commission, if I didn't correct it! :D

(Hey, just a joke, lighten up, will ya, folks. GoEmerchants
doesn't even *know I'm recommending them.)

Hee-hee. May as well have some fun at *your expense, considering
how you've treated me! I can almost see all your pinched-up faces
screwed up into one big, tight knot of neuroses! I think you all
need a vacation from thinking about've all gone
way over the edge, and now are snapping at any new participant,
as if he were an "outsider", and "intruder" to your tight little


Author: Zeke Krahlin
Date:   03-30-2000 06:05

P.S.: I refuse to apologize for my enthusiasm, you bunch of


Author: Zeke Krahlin
Date:   03-30-2000 06:13

And before one of you brats looking for the least excuse to
further bash me:

I know someone's gonna gripe that I posted GoEmerchant's features
twice; as I know your kind too well. I was reiterating the good
services they provide...and only after I posted that message (to
Donny), did I discover that I had already posted these features
in my original message. But since Mal's has no edit- or
erase-message option, there's nothing I could do about it.

So live with it. I'm here, I'm queer, go drink a beer.

Final Testament
Politcal gadfly, gay activist Tom Keske
Heterosexual myths exposed!
Ezekiel J. ("I couldn't hack my way
out of a virtual paper bag") Krahlin
Zeke Krahlin, web consultant,
gay activist, and hacker advocate
ICQ: 8485235
Fax: 507-226-4426
Voice: 888-830-5746 x8275


Zeke Krahlin (
Date:   03-30-2000 15:36


Believe it or not, I even turned down GoEmerchant's offer to give
me a re-seller package, where I'd get $150 for each new client.
(I had spoken to some sales reps. there, to ask more questions
about their $49.95 e-commerce package...and they obviously, like
yourselves, picked up on my enthusiasm.)

I told them I don't like hard-sell, and for that reason I'd have
to give their service a thorough testing, before I'd consider
being a re-seller. Hopefully, with my first client I'll be able
to do just that.

Call GoEmerchants yourself, at 1-888-638-7867, and ask for Joe
Benigno (extension 2107), or Adam (don't know last name or
extension). Those are the two sales reps. I spoke with...and they
can verify that I am not an ad-spammer...and they don't even know
about Mal's message board. Or e-mail Joe Benigno at

However, I'd appreciate it if you'd all restrain your vulgar
emotions, and try to show some civil politeness in your
communique with GoEmerchant. (Is that possible? I have serious

Or I'll *sue your asses off, for slander! Hee-hee.

===end of Mal's thread

UPDATE: Here are my replies to additional private e-mail generated by reading the above thread: ---------begin msg. 1: Subject: Re: Poor business practice Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 20:07:14 -0800 To: Mal Stewart Mal Stewart wrote: > It all seemed to be getting a bit out of > hand to me so yes I just cut it off. > Whatever the merits of the point you were > originally trying to offer they were well > lost by that stage. My points were not lost at all. Just cutting it off is not answering to the need to tell some members to curtail a nasty attitude to a new participant who only wanted to contribute a good find. All you did was avoid your responsibility as moderator of the board, and as a business person. It was some of your longterm members who were completely "out of hand" before I even replied to their accusations. Your approach to the matter has completely turned me off to your board, and your service. > I really don't think it was reflecting well > on either yourself or the other users. I hardly think defending myself against a bunch of abusive accusations reflects poorly on me. In fact, I just acquired a new client who read my thread (in newsgroups), and said I'm just the kind of spunky business associate he's looking for. Now, I have my second e-commerce client. > It's thesort of situation where someone > could go back in a weeks time, read their > post, and think "I wish I had never said > that". Those who damned me for no reason, as an ad spammer, I'm sure they'd regret what they did. Had you let the thread remain, they might have felt some shame for what they did; and even be motivated to apologize. As it stands, you covered their asses for them...and in so doing, gave them tacit support for their attack...and leaving me completely defenseless. Your handling of the matter is a complete cop-out. Remember, I *was a potential client who could've brought you many others. I don't think you can really afford to be so flippant about this issue. You should have posted a message to those members who attacked me, that you will not tolerate uncalled-for maliciousness. This is not how you want to run a business. All new members should feel welcome, not hated. > If that represents bad business practice, so > be it. It sure as hell does. This, your latest reaction, inspires me to further broadcast the unkind treatment I have experienced on Mal's forum. Good bye and good riddance. ---end msg. 1 ---------begin msg. 2: DATE: Sat, 01 Apr 2000 22:18:10 From: "Ezekiel Krahlin" < > To: "sound_sensation" On Sat, 1 Apr 2000 15:31:13 sound_sensation wrote: > I think it's funny how much humor you find > in the forum thread you included at > That is because I could only laugh at all the ignorant, knee-jerk replies. > I can see from your web site that you work > very hard at trying to "piss off," as you > put it. You're wrong: I don't have to work hard at all, in a society where the majority of people hate gays at the drop of a hat. How could my humorous gay satire piss anyone off, unless they harbor violent notions against gays? It's the same idea as a Jew in 1930's Germany. He tells a Nazi that he is a Jew...and thus, pisses him off. Is the Jew really to blame? You need to re-examine your own attitudes. > However, your post of a competitor's > service at Mal's forum, regardless of whether > you earn commission or represent that other > service, simply shows a lack of sensitivity. Nonsense. Members of that board do not censor other's praise of similar services. We compare and discuss. The service I wrote about is not a competitor, anyway. What you are implying is that we should censor any mention of similar services. That's ridiculous and unnecessary...unless Mal's service is inferior, and can't stand up to any comparisons. > And clearly, from your Gay Rights web site > theme, I would have thought sensitivity was > something you would try to demonstrate. Those who attacked me are the ones lacking any sensitivity. People who act brutish, as those on Mal's have, deserve no sensitivity in return. I reserve my gentleness for authentic people, not bratty adults. Do you also expect gays to be "sensitive" to homophobes? > It is simply bad business ethics to set up > a hot dog stand inside a Nathan's restaurant, > which is analogous to what you did. Nonsense. Like many other participants, I contributed my own impression of what I found to be an excellent service...which in no ways competed with Mal's. They are still free to partake of Goemerchant, and still use Mal's shopping cart...and still have an excellent package with a lot of bang for the buck. Your metaphor is totally unrelated to this issue. I thought I made it clear to you, in my first reply, that Mal's is not a full e-commerce service, and not meant to be. Don't you understand the difference between a shopping cart, and all other aspects of a business site? Mal's only offers a shopping cart. Period. Then again, I don't expect intelligent remarks from those who subscribe to a Microsoft ISP. >I'm sure Nathan's would throw you out, >just as Mal deleted the thread you started. That is not why Mal erased the thread. He deleted it to cover up his own bad attitude, along with those of some other customers...rather than do the right thing and apologize. And in so doing, he tacitly approved of some members' nasty attitudes, allowing them to believe their attack on an enthusiastic participant was quite correct...and that I, indeed, was spamming for He failed to assume responsibility for running an ethical service, which includes his message board. He did not request those who attacked me to calm down and show some restraint towards a new member. This is a poor way of running a board...and thus shows me that Mal may not act maturely in other issues of problems relating to his service. With participants like those who attacked me, Mal is sure to turn off future prospects as well. > I fully expect a retort from you, filled > with curses and other slanderous comments, > which is fine. Curse me out if it makes you > feel better. What an insulting remark you just made. I have not cursed or slandered anyone in my rebuttals. I just told them what small minds they have, to be so knee-jerk hateful. You exaggerate my response, to bolster your own small-mindedness. You know very well those folks acted like would make me their scapegoat. You have not spoken one word to me, against the nasty attitudes of several people on that thread. I had no idea there were such creepy people on that board. But at least I found out early in the game...before I wasted any more time there, and before I had any clients register with Mal's. I have made the following conclusion: "Mal" is short for "malicious". I REPEAT: I DO NOT RECEIVE ANY COMMISSION FROM GOEMERCHANT. THEY KNOW NOTHING OF MY RECOMMENDING THEM. ---end msg. 2 ---finis