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Carbonite and Howard Stern

Carbonite and Howard Stern

As detailed yesterday, the Media Matters employee spearheading efforts to pressure advertisers to stop advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show considered the March 3 Saturday night announcement by Carbonite that it was ceasing all advertising on Rush’s show to be a turning point.

Just the day before, on March 2, Carbonite’s CEO David Friend had issued a statement which reiterated Carbonite’s long-standing policy that it did not consider its advertising an endorsement of a talk show host’s views.  Friend noted in that March 2 statement that  “I have scheduled a face-to-face meeting next week with Limbaugh” to discuss the issue, but that the pressure was “the worst we’ve ever seen.”

Carbonite’s policy of staying out of politics was critical because its business strategy was tied to talk radio, including numerous controversial figures.

In an April 2011 interview (h/t commenter Eliot Ness), Friend revealed how important Rush was to Carbonite, and how Carbonite entered into that relationship fully aware of the controversies of Limbaugh and other Carbonite endorsers, such as Howard Stern (emphasis mine):

Andrew: One of the shows that you’re on is the Rush Limbaugh show, very controversial. Why aren’t you afraid to be associated with that kind of controversy?

David: Well, we’re also with Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz.

Andrew: I see.

David: We’ve pretty well booked up every major talk radio show host in the country, who knows how to sale. Over 40 of them. It included Howard Stern, I mean it’s the whole gamut. So when we started going down this path I said, “Look, I’m  going to go crazy if I have to sit here and parse the politic leanings of all of these radio show people, because some of them are left some of them are right, some of them are just crazy, and forget it, all I care about is I’m going to give you the money, you’re going to use Carbonite yourself, because we don’t want people talking about Carbonite unless they’re actually users. I’m not going to give you the subscription for free, they’ve got to buy it, and they have to talk about it from the heart. I don’t want any canned commercials. So when it comes time to talk about Carbonite, you stop talking about politics or whatever you’re talking about and you talk about Carbonite for a minute. And that’s all that matters around so if you can sell Carbonite and convince people that you use it, you love it, and you should go try it. If you can do that, we’re going to continue to support you.”

Andrew: And the reason you went down that direction is because you want the reputation of the person who’s on the show to influence the decision of their fans, you want an endorsement?

David: Their fans trust them.

Andrew: Right.

David: And with good reason. I mean, Rush Limbaugh will not advertize any product. He’s spent a good deal of time trying Carbonite, thinking about it, because his reputation is on the line, as are all the other talk show hosts. I mean, Howard Stern, Rachel Maddow.

Andrew: For me it’s Leo Laporte. I hear all the time talk about you.

David: Yeah, these people used Carbonite and they really liked it. When I go down and visit these guys, they want to know how the company’s doing, they want to see all the new products. And can remember sitting with Rush Limbaugh, showing him how he could access all of his files on his iPhone and he was like, “Holy mackerel, that’s what I’ve always wanted.” He said, “I can be anywhere and get anything on any of my computers.” And he had like five Macs, he’s got one at home, he’s got two in the office, he’s got one here, one there. And he doesn’t have to worry about leaving them on anymore. He can get to 100% of all of his stuff no matter where he is. And so he gets excited about that stuff and then when he goes on the air and talks about parley, he’s genuinely excited about this product and it come through in the delivery. You can tell when you’re hearing these guys talk that it’s not soap or something he really doesn’t care about. It’s a cool product and they like it.

The March 3 Saturday night Carbonite press release announcing that Carbonite was breaking its relationship with Rush emphasized concern for Friend’s daughters and civil discourse:

A Statement from David Friend, CEO of Carbonite as of 6:45pm ET, March 3:

“No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady.  Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency.  Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show.  We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”

What changed from Friday, March 2 to Saturday, March 3?  Why didn’t Friend wait until the following week to meet with Rush, as he stated he would do in his March 2 press release?  Given the carnage to Carbonite’s share price, Friend owes shareholders an explanation.

Carbonite also has to explain its double standard.  There has been a lot of attention to the fact that Carbonite still maintains relationships with Ed Shultz and other liberal talk show hosts who engage in personal attacks and uncivil discourse directed at conservatives.

But the connection to Howard Stern has not received much attention.

Stern is notorious for his demeaning antics towards women, including highly sexualized episodes on his show for decades.  Yet none of that seems to bother Carbonite.

Stern also is vicious towards conservative policians such as calling Sarah Palin “a big f-ing crybaby”, “you f-er,” “you c–t” (NSFW):

Yet Carbonite continues to promote its product through Stern and to run spots on his show.  This ad which still is on Carbonite’s website, appears to be for a 2007 promotion:

I don’t want Carbonite to stop advertising on Stern’s show or to break the relationship.

I do want Carbonite to admit the obvious, that it gave into pressure from Media Matters and others under implied if not explicit threat of a secondary boycott, not out of concern for our daughters or the promotion of civil discourse.

[note: the title of this post was changed shortly after publication]


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I think Howard Stern would rationalize the double standard just like Bill Maher is doing. The old convenient “clown nose on, clown nose off” trick.

Maher says there’s a big difference (yeah, I’d say there’s a big difference between the word slut, which I can spell out here, and the word c*nt, which I can’t) and it’s okay for him to use such language about conservative women.

To which I say, oh, please continue to do so.

Put your mouth where your mouth is, Mr. Maher.

And prepare for crash landing, Carbonite. You are toast.

    Ragspierre in reply to LukeHandCool. | March 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

    The Axelrod is aping the line, too.

    Any remaining true feminists after the Clinton debacle should be cleaned out very nicely by this. Leaving only the most obviously Collectivist “feminists” to defend this complete abdication of standards, and showing their “outrage” to be totally contrived.

    katiejane in reply to LukeHandCool. | March 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

    The fact that most filters allow the word slut but few allow c*** seems to escape the Maher defenders. If the insults were equal wouldn’t you think both words would be allowed or both banned?

      Ragspierre in reply to katiejane. | March 16, 2012 at 11:28 am

      “Slut” is a perfectly good word, of ancient origin and usage. It describes a person and/or conduct if used applicably.

      The other…not so much.

      By definition, a slut is:

      1. A slovenly woman (old British use)

      2. A promiscuous woman (as in a prostitute)

      3. A saucy girl (as in a Minx)

      source: Merriam-Webster’s dictionary

        LukeHandCool in reply to Joy. | March 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        The other thing to remember is that the word “slut” does not mean a girl/woman is a bad person … only that she is promiscuous and has “liberal” sexual morals.

        You could call a girl a slut for sleeping around indiscriminately, but that’s not saying she isn’t kind-hearted, generous, compassionate, etc. Surely there are prostitutes who are kind-hearted people who would never hurt anyone.

        However, c**t is a profane, derogatory word meaning that the person is a bad person. There is a world of difference between these unflattering labels. There is no comparison. None.

        LukeHandCool (who would much rather be called a slut than a c**t … and who, had he been a girl, might have been a bit of a floozy … but no doubt a kind, good-hearted floozy).

    Good thread. David friend seems to think some things bother his daughters more than others. What a guy.

    If the comments (Maher’s Limbaugh’s, Stern’s) are hate, then it doesn’t matter if they are comedians or not.

This is a novel new success strategy. It’s called DRIVE Your Customers . . . AWAY! They must teach it at Columbia. Most of the graduates now do regulatory work for the Obama administration — but I think one of them ended up CEO of Netflix and maybe Carbonite too.

I would be curious to know how many Rush fans cancelled their Carbonite membership.

    Jake Blues in reply to Tamminator. | March 16, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I went with iDrive last week and love it. My Carbonite subscription runs out next month and I’m just letting it expire. I wonder how many are doing that, or waiting until they get a replacement backup program in place.

      DizzyMissL in reply to Jake Blues. | March 16, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Make sure you cancel it. They have their system set up to automatically re-subscribe. They will not just let it expire.

        LukeHandCool in reply to DizzyMissL. | March 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm

        And, tell them Rush and the Professor say, “Hello” when you cancel.

        Make sure to tell them why you are cancelling.

    markinsandyeggo in reply to Tamminator. | March 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I have 27 months left on my 3 year subscription. So in Carbonite’s view, I am a person that doesn’t care that they stopped their relationship with Rush.

Sarah Palin attacks David Letterman over ‘sexually-perverted’ joke

Democrats: our bullseye targets on House districts are not like Palin’s crosshair targets

Axelrod: Limbaugh, Maher sexist comments different

Some Democrats must be getting nervous. The Daily Caller, Big Government, Free Republic and a number of other sites have picked up the story first reported by The Yellow Hammer, an Alabama blogger, that the Alabama Democrat Party has now scrubbed its website of the ad promoting Bill Maher, who was going to appear as a benefit to them prior to his show. Maher’s appearance has now been cancelled.

Axelrod was on TV yesterday trying to legitimize the nasty comments by left wing talking heads by saying that they (like Maher) were talking about “public” figures, women in the public view, and that Sandra Fluke is NOT a public figure, just a student at Georgetown. Yeah, right, Mr. Axelrod. Someone who testifies in front of a bogus Congressional committee is just a student, not a “public” figure. Perhaps it would be fair to call her a Democrat plant, since you don’t want to attach “public figure” to her resume.

    Squires in reply to retire05. | March 16, 2012 at 11:55 am

    In every confidence scheme there is a con artist, a mark, a deceit, and a purpose. Sometimes, there is also an accomplish, a person brought in to help manipulate the perceptions of the mark – a shill who pretends to have benefited from the scheme in the past, or a plant who pretends to be a neutral third party.

    The proper word for Fluke is “plant”; that is precisely the role she has played. She is a distraction with a sympathetic facade, whose purpose was to endear herself and her alleged cause into the hearts of the voting public.

    Wikipedia actually has a pretty good entry on the subject:

    “A confidence trick is an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence. A confidence artist is an individual operating alone or in concert with others who exploits characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty and honesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility, naivety and greed. […] The intended victims are known as marks. […] When accomplices are employed, they are known as shills.

    In David Mamet’s film House of Games, the main con artist gives a slightly different description of the “confidence game”. He explains that, in a typical swindle, the con man gives the mark his own confidence, encouraging the mark to in turn trust him. The con artist thus poses as a trustworthy person seeking another trustworthy person.”

    And didn’t Sandy Fluke put so much trust into America, that lone 23, er, 30 year-old coed who marched to Washington, but was turned away by the meany-pants Republicans just because she was a wo-wo-woman?

This is fun, and very Alinsky-esque. Holding the Left up to their own standards. Good times.

myohmymanatee | March 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm

When did Axelrod become the madrassa of moral values? If a liberal calls a liberal woman a slut, it’s a badge of honor and when conservative calls her a slut it’s an insult? Are we living in a world that liberal feminists just become the wh*res of the DNC?

Howard Stern the most dirty and despicable guy on the radio who denigrate women and treated every women like wh*re, second class and Carbonite and still advertise and now worried about his daughters? Wow..just wow.

Normally, Rush is not so lazy; he would talk about it and joke about it and then get callers to use the naughty words. Did he coax the issue out?

Suppose he had not actually used the words himself. The stupidity of the free contraceptives issue might not have been exposed. Never forget: Rush is brilliant.


In Apr 2011, Carbonite’s founding CEO told an interviewer that he had personally solicited Rush Limbaugh as an advertiser!

“How Carbonite Got Over 1 Million Paying Backup Customers” (29 Apr 2011)

Friend described Rush’s due diligence and excitement about Carbonite:

• “Rush Limbaugh will not advertise any product.”
• “He’s spent a good deal of time trying Carbonite, thinking about it, because his reputation is on the line.”
• “I can remember sitting with Rush, showing him how he could access all of his files on his iPhone.
• “He was like, ‘Holy mackerel, that’s what I’ve always wanted.’”
• “And then when he goes on the air … he’s genuinely excited about this product and it come throughs in the delivery.”

Friend also described his dot-com ‘first-mover’ business plan:

==> Carbonite as a perpetual motion ‘money machine!’

• “I’m sure that Carbonite will have a big payoff.”
• “Right now we’re, kind of, number one in the market so it’s ours to lose.”
• “It’s not like we’re catching up and there’s some big huge company out there that’s going to step on us.”
• “It was pretty clear that we could spend a dollar on marketing and get three or four dollars of customer value back.”
• “So I said, ‘Holy Mackerel, we have a machine here where you can put a buck in the top turn the crack and three or four dollars comes out — I want to start shoveling money into the top of this machine as fast as I can.’”
• “I’ve always been a good pitchman, and I love getting people on board with whatever it is that we’re doing.”
• “I talk about things that are in the future as if they’ve already happened today.”
• “[Entrepreneurs] don’t see the future as possible; they see the future as probable or already happened in some cases.”
• “If you’re completely convinced that what you’re doing is going to happen then it’s very easy. You can just speak from your heart [saying]: ‘This is what’s going to happen. So let me explain to you why I see this as so inevitable.’”


SEC reports show that the executives of money-losing Carbonite have paid themselves lavishly.

• David Friend is Carbonite’s founding CEO, President, Chairman of the Board and a major shareholder.
• In 2010, Friend paid himself $515,203 for overseeing Carbonite’s staggering loss of $496,513 per week.
• Friend engineered for himself a “golden parachute” worth $2.27 million, 1.6 million shares of stock, and massive stock options. 300,000 options @ $12.88 107,730 options @ $1.31 235,000 options @ $10.36

Friend has engineered incredibly generous acquisition and severance agreements for himself and his executives — considering that Carbonite loses $100,000 every business day.

David Friend $ 2,270,793
Jeffry Flowers $ 1,040,338
Robert Rubin $ 882,379
Swami Kumaresan $ 773,465
Andrew Keenan $ 643,526

Carbonite executives have received substantial 10-year stock options that will allow them to pick the pockets of shareholders if the stock ever recovers from Friend’s head-on collision with Battleship Limbaugh.


On 8 Mar 2012, at the height of the Limbaugh controversy, Carbonite’s management once again picked its investors’ pockets by conjuring up 1,005,493 shares of stock out of thin air, to be “offered to employees in employee benefit plans.”

“Options, restricted stock, and all other stock-based and cash-based awards may be granted to individuals who are then our officers, employees, directors, or consultants or are the officers, employees, directors, or consultants of certain of our subsidiaries. Such awards also may be granted to our directors. Only executive officers and employees may be granted incentive stock options, or ISOs.”

So, a new verb would be ‘fluke’? As in ‘go fluke yourself’ meaning make a grandstand play and watch as your world goes down the toilet?