‘We’re happy with people choosing whatever name they like’

The mystery employee at RackNine turns out to be some guy.

Mr. Minuesa issued a statement as well as a picture and identification Tuesday in an effort to corroborate his identity. “I’ve been working for RackNine for over two years as a lead developer creating web sites, and working with social media,” the staffer said. “I do exist. Attached are a recent photo and a copy of my European Union driver’s license.”

Mr. Minuesa said none of his work is connected to robo-calls. “I have followed the ‘robo-calls’ issue, and can state that I have never had any involvement with the auto-dialing services provided by RackNine. It has nothing to do with my department.”




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‘We’re happy with people choosing whatever name they like’

  1. Where’s Waldo? is the title of the first Pierre Poutine book. Released in 1987, the book was the result of more than two-years of detailed work by illustrator Martin Handford.

    Where’s Waldo? introduces readers to Pierre Poutine, a distinctively dressed man, as he sets off on “a world-wide hike”. Pierre travels to everyday places – such as the beach, the ski slopes and the zoo. The book features 12 detailed 2-page illustrated spreads of the different locations. Somewhere amid the crowded scene is Pierre and readers are asked to scour the detailed illustrations to locate the lost traveler. Each scene is accompanied by a postcard to the reader from Pierre, who introduces the scene and comments on his travels.

    Pierre Poutine sets out on his journey equipped with 12 items to help him on his travels. He carries a walking stick, kettle, mallet, cup, backpack, sleeping bag, binoculars, camera, snorkel, belt, bag and shovel. As Pierre journeys from location to location he loses one of these item, and asks the reader to locate the object left behind in each scene as well.

  2. So it was a case of “This is the name I work under, because my real name is a bit unusual/hard to pronounce/whatever.”

    Okay, I’m actually fine with that. But Christ these people need some media relations experience.  The moment the whole robocall story broke, a smart businessman would have at the very least picked up “Public Relations for Dummies” and read it thoroughly.

    Think about how this would have played out had Meir an ounce of media relations savvy, or simply been an honest and forthcoming fellow?  He could have said, “Rick McKnight is what a contractor who works for me occasionally is known by. I won’t reveal his real name for privacy concerns, but give me your number and I’ll urge him to give you a call to clear this up.”

    Boom. A story that makes you look like a deceitful/pompous ass for a day or two simply never happens.  And odds are that most media outlets won’t run this continuation of the story with anywhere near as much coverage as the “You don’t” bit.. because let’s face it.. this bit is boring. So many people will simply not see it resolved and be left with the “deceitful/pompous ass” impression.

    That’s gonna do just wonders for your business, Mr. Meir.

    • Yet he felt the need to misrepresent himself on his CV. That usually a firing offence.

      • Meh. That’s an internal matter for Meir. Getting a good web-design guy can be hard. Just look at RackNine’s site — they’re using free “off-the-shelf” stuff for pretty much every aspect of it.

        Now imagine if they didn’t even have that guy to find them the free stuff?

        • True but it’s an insult to the company he claimed to have worked at — I guess they won’t be using Rack 9 services anytime soon.

        • Waitwaitwaitwait! 

          Didn’t the Itinerant Spaniard (aka Rick McKnight – a name surely familiar from comment boards of yore) not also claim to be a marketing executive in an Edmonton investment bank? Now that he’s taken off the balaclava, shouldn’t there be a re-direct to Sumex? “Hey, what about this Spanish guy? Was he your marketing guy? Oh….”

          Beyond that, the credibility of RackNine is preeetty much shredded now. Why would anyone, let alone devious, bloodthirsty, scoop-hungry press types, not swoop in on the obvious, glaring inconsistencies Meier is peddling from his shop window?  Surely, “Speak to someone who may or may not be a pixel figment” ought to be of greater concern than their selection of wordpress templates?

    • I don’t think Mr. Meier is worried about the impact on his business from  the lack of “media savvy” you think he displayed in responding to sideshow journalism that now appears likely to have a shelf-life of no more than 48 hours . In fact,  ”media savvy” isn’t really a talent very many of the hundreds of small business persons I know consider to be that important.

      Notwithstanding this, it would be interesting to check in with him in a year or so and find out how all of the (by then long dormant) attention his firm has gotten has impacted his business – I rather suspect at that point he’ll be quite grateful for it.

      • Yes. Which is part of why they stay small businesses.

        • Which is what the overwhelming majority of them prefer.

          • Because, after all, who likes making more money, right?

      • It would also be very interesting how many more government cheques he has received.

      • “In fact,  ”media savvy” isn’t really a talent very many of the hundreds
        of small business persons I know consider to be that important.”

        GreatBallsofScat knows hundreds of small business persons and their opinions of the relative importance of “media savvy”.
        Lying is a lifestyle for these folks.

    • If Meier was media savvy he wouldn’t have published that Facebook picture holding up a government cheque. He also would have suppressed the race car one that makes him look like he needed a block and tackle to get into the driver’s suit.

    • I think there is more to the story which is why it is not simply a matter of PR.  This man is being described as a Spanish contractor, but he also worked on a local CPC campaign and friended a bunch of Canadians and most likely lied about his employment (Sumex claims not to know him, although he lists himself as Head of Marketing for them). Why friend a bunch of Conservative politicians and Canadian media under a fake name you use for professional reasons?  Isn’t that taking the “easier to pronounce” a bit far? Makes me wonder if he was he born on January 1st and if he studied computer science at Stanford as he claims. 

  3. hahahaha

    I love how Meier was so pro-privacy and he’s now just also dishing out on his other employee, Timo, simply because he’s got a ‘different’ name. He’s flipping, flopping and bouncing about like a trout on the shore.

    I find it disturbing, however, that creating an online persona’s to ‘deal’ and ‘relate’ better with a customer base is considered legitimate business practice today. Call me a bit of a throwback, but if I was setting up a business I would just assume it’d be wrong to go and market under a pseudonym like “Xingdun Mong” to help strengthen ties to the Asian business market. Is this what private industry is allowed to do now? Businesses, which are legally considered people in some respects, staffed by non-people who don’t legally exist!? The Facebook picture wasn’t even a real depiction of Minuesa’s face, ‘Rick McKnight’ is a purely invented person…

    What legislation is at fault for not finding out an employee can just use an assumed name in their business dealings in Canada!? I mean, if I knew his name was Minuesa would he need to respond as such or could he just be Rick McKnight? When does KcKnight enter and Minuesa exit?

    RackNine is just an up-and-up quagmire. It’s a big-ole mess that keeps getting messier.

    • Would it make it easier for someone to hide, to shield oneself from the law?  What if you want to sue a supplier and you don’t even have his legal name?  In my business suppliers, and potential employees of course, have to agree to an a background check, so I find this very strange indeed. 

      • This man listed himself as “head of marketing” for Racknine and for another company, Sumex (although Sumex said they had never heard of him).

        I wonder if he is managing to get paid for his time without paying taxes or if Racknine has some kind of real employment number for him so the taxes and such are all above board. Presumably the money Racknine pays to him goes to someone/something real, whether a person or a company.  I’m curious because I’d like to understand how Racknine operates – given their role in the fraudulent calls.

    •  The online persona was a lame SEO trick IMO.  If you check the various places that Rick McKnight ‘lives’ – LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora and Google+ – you’ll see he just posts links to and about RackNine.  The fact that both he and Meier see nothing wrong with any of this is just a symptom of their acute lack of morals and ethics. 

      The LinkeIn profile was severely redacted immediately after this story broke and they realized that journos were trying to verify education credentials and other things.  They thought nobody would figure it out (although it was barely hidden – the user name that comes up when you click on a RackNine blog post supposedly written by Rick McKnight is R Martinez and the url underlying that Martinez name ends in “rminuesa”) and then had to scramble (again) to remove damning evidence before the whole rest of the world zoomed in to check. 

      The hypocrisy in Matt Meier having earlier stated that he would never have accepted a client with “such a stupid name” as Pierre Poutine is hilarious now that he’s been exposed as having knowing collaborated (or requested – he is the employer)  that Rafael Minuesa created and operate this persona.

      And the more Matt is quoted, the more he sounds like a small time sleazy car-salesman.  As far as all of this being irrelevant in the context of the robo-calls, I think quite the opposite.  Here’s the president of the company that contracted with the Conservatives to make calling campaigns and all he’s done since the story broke is fabricate and evade with vague self-serving answers.  If you go back and read the articles in the order they were published, you can see how he’s had to squirm and admit, piece by piece, that his original statements (at least to the media) were misrepresentations that said as little as he could get away with at the time.

      If I were EC or the RCMP, I’d be rechecking everything this guy had ever stated and verifying with third parties.  “Cooperating with Elections Canada” — Oh sure! 

  4. Globe is just catching up today. The name was already out yesterday in the comments of the NatPost article you linked to, so that’s why RackNine decided to respond. See comment by Liilla Pappa excerpted below or see it in context at http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/03/19/who-is-rick-mcknight-no-one-seems-to-know-who-the-mystery-employee-for-robocall-company-racknine-really-is/

    “The hell with McKnight – look at Rafael Martinez Minuesa – who BETTER to use social media and internet manipulation than a Web Developer, who writes under the name Rick McKnight for Google, and R. Martinez for RACKNINE.  Compare http://www.racknine.com/blog/c…            to http://webcache.googleusercont…”

    • Rack 9 took the page down. Too much heat for “I’m Non-partisan” Meier?

      • Lots of his online profiles are coming down, including his Linkedin profile.  For now, one can still get the cached version.

        He’s a bit more than a “Spanish contract worker” for Racknine, as his web presence puts him front and center at Racknine, typically only mentioning him and Meier as the public face of Racknine.

        • First of all, RackNine is not under investigation, no matter how many times you keep saying it is. Neither are any of its employees, and not only that, all are helping out with the investigation in any way possible. The CEO recently traced an IP address on his own initiative and submitted all his findings to Elections Canada. What we need to do now is let the real investigators do their job instead of pointing fingers at innocent people. More info at the following link. I very much doubt you don’t know all this already, but just in case: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Simons+RackNine+under+probe+robocalls+affair/6218645/story.html  

          Second, I haven’t deleted any pages from the blog, that link you posted above is malformed, you didn’t paste the complete URL, it’s pretty obvious we don’t have a post just titled “c”, that’s a broken link, do a simple search on Google and you’ll find what you’re looking for, don’t even know what it is.I haven’t deleted any of the social media profiles either, I’ve made them private, just because the threats and insults were being sent not only against the company and employees, but also against anyone they could find out was connected to it through the social media sites. They even published the personal details of someone in Edmonton whose only crime is that he shares same last name as me, “Martinez”. 

          Rest assured I’m not bothering to close any accounts or delete any pages, and last I checked they were all online. What’s more, I keep receiving lots of contact and friendship requests, both on Linkedin and Facebook, some of them even saying that they worked together with Rick McKnight in the same company, different from RackNine. Whatever, I couldn’t be bothered one way or the other any longer, I’m a very very busy person. 
          I said it before but I will say it again, the only reason I used pseudonyms is for convenience, as it allows me to group all logins under one place. You probably don’t even know what I’m talking about or don’t want to know, but needless to say using pseudonyms online is not a crime. The only benefit I derive from doing that is that it is very convenient. But what really is a crime is to harass people, spread lies, false rumours, libel, all those are serious crimes, and are punishable. And traceable. If criminals have been identified by the police by requesting Twitter to disclose their IP, you can easily figure out the rest of online spaces are no different.

  5. Hi all,

    Thank you for all the attention and links.

    Here’s a couple more you may have missed:
    * Rafael Minuesa’s Blog
    * Rafael Minuesa @ Linkedin

    And yes, I confess to the horrendous crime of using a pseudonym for handling social media accounts while working for RackNine. 

    In fact I have dozens more, one for each of my clients. Why?1- It is very convenient and helps me group all logins and passwords under an account different from my own
    2- If I stop working for that particular client it is very easy to just handling over that account, rather than having to meddle with my own personal profile,
    3- EVERYBODY who is working on social media marketing and has more than a few clients is doing exactly the same thing
    4- I wasn’t really aware that helping out to set up Twitter for the Conservative Party was akin to supporting a terrorist organization. I was told they were actually the Government of Canada.

    One more thing, I am a web developer, I work on the Internet and I have made literally hundreds of websites since I first made the first one on 1999, you can check the links I posted above if you really want to find out who I am and what I do. Making phone calls of any kind is outside my experience, specially in English which isn’t my mother tongue.

    – Regards,Rafael Minuesa

    rafael.minuesa@gmail.com http://rafael-minuesa.blogspot.com/

    • Are you the only person who used the Rick McKnight persona, or was it a shared identity?

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