Since last week, a number of people have come forward to ask me what the truth is about that Orwellian institution known as mybroadband.co.za. Well, since I have been there a long time, I think its a good idea to explain my experience there over the years. Oh and by the way, they waited until the weekend to ban my previous username- no problem, we just create a new one :D- Can someone please send Spamcaster the memo that banning doesn't work, this is the INTERNET yo!
So, dear reader, this is a long story, but it is well worth the read. Sit back, and enjoy an epic tale of scandal, deceit, corporate sell-out and lies.
2003- The Early years
I discovered the forum in 2003, because, I was active on another forum known as vurtspace.com. Vurtspace closed down, and most of those people there, myself included, moved on to post on myadsl.co.za, as it was known then. At the time I was keen on getting something better than 56k dial up at home and I had already heard about ADSL (back then a paltry 256kbps line) so I began to post there got myself an account in 2004. My first posts are thus:
So of course, back then I was really young, and naive. In 2005 myadsl.co.za began to become noticed as a crusader against Telkom's rip-off prices. I wasn't even married, still lived with my parents, you get the picture.
From around 2005, the site began to get traction, and other people began to notice it. Influential people. I saw famous people like Gregg Stirton (hellkom.co.za) pull in and get involved, and others came out of the woodwork, because myadsl.co.za was the place to be- we were taking on Telkom and all that. Other well known people pulled in, and I stupidly made it known I had previously worked for Telkom. This was around when Debbie Love (the infamous student to take Telkom on in the form of protest) got onto the forum. She joined in March 2005. So by April-May 2005, the site got going and got busy, membership got increased, and I got caught up in all of it. Unknown to others, the scammers also began to pull in, and the event, known as the Celemasiko Episode, would set the stage for the entire future, and how Rudolph Muller would handle controversy.
The Celemasiko Episode
The short version of this is that the site somehow got a scammer on board known as the notorious Peter Lauer, the man that played on people's sympathies. I am led to believe he has long been taken to task for his scams. His last known address was sold in execution in 2009 or thereabouts. This man would spin his well-worn story of being tortured etc at the hands of King Mswati III or some such bullshit, and use this and his failing health to garner sympathy and money from the forum membership. Of course, we were all not THAT stupid, some people already saw this was a scammer, but were ignored and instead labeled as scammers themselves. Eventually the bubble burst, there was some butthurt, and when I asked what the hell was going on, in response to this post, I got swung the banhammer. This is exactly how Rudolph handles questioning voices and dissent to this day.
Before this ban happened, I was already sent messages by others on the forum, specifically David Viaene (he has changed his handle so many times it is impossible to recall what his original handle was) where he told me via private message that he "enjoys diplomatic immunity in SA" and can be very useful to take Telkom on. Of course my bullshit detector broke its needle off, am rather glad that never went anywhere. These days, David, besides being a bully, is involved in politics... odd, but yeah, nothing surprises me anymore.
But even before I got banned, I got private messages from people on the forum that Rudolph has no integrity, his degree is fake, etc.. I didn't really pay attention to that, until later. After all its easy to make a statement like that just to be a dick.
Of course, by now you know me, as not one to take things lying down. And I created many accounts to troll:
and many others I don't recall because Rudolph deleted all of them and their posts. The latter username still survives because I didn't reveal on BBLounge that it was one of my aliases.
By 2006, the forum had already become a household name, but it wouldn't be long before the big guns noticed it, especially Telkom, Vodacom, Cell C, MTN and others.
As my memory comes back to me, I will expand upon this in Part Two - The Years of the Troll