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Scoot claims it's victim of dirty tricks campaign

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Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

Scoot, an online Yellow Pages (but officially that's yell.com), has continued its policy of jumping up and down on anyone that gets in its way. It has now prepared a legal dossier over a dirty tricks campaign it claims to have been subjected to.

It is certainly true that Scoot has been beset by leaks and rumours, widely circulated in both the nationals and the City. They have consistently caused it trouble and one time caused the share price to go through the roof, only to plummet later that day. In that case, it took Scoot the entire day to refute a takeover bid.

There should be a certain amount of sympathy with Scoot - there is nothing more frustrating that people leaking selected pieces of information when you are trying to run a business - however there is something decidedly fishy about the whole thing.

For example, this isn't exactly the first time that Scoot has flexed its muscles when trying to find out why anti-Scoot stories have appeared. In June, the company won a court order to force an online investor site to disclose who had posted negative stories about it. It also leapt on BT when the telco threatened to infringe on its territory and won the case. And despite all this, posted some appalling results not too long ago.

Scoot blames all this negative information on an angry ex-employee - it even threatened ex-employees with the fact that they had signed a non-disclosure agreement. Now, there is nothing nastier than a bitter ex-employee, but is anyone capable of being so bitter as to spend two years digging up information and then leaking it to the press?

It seems unlikely that Scoot is as bad as it has been painted but wise old grandfathers have been known to say that there is no smoke without fire. Of course it is perfectly possible that Scoot, for some reason, is the target of an organised plot to discredit it and it has simply grown sick of it.

We'll look into the affair and the company and tell you what we come up with. ®

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