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Feature Story August 10, 2001
 
COMBED OVER!!!
By Matt Taibbi Browse author
 
Page 2 of 9
 
But the eXile's most common modus operandi is outright verbal abuse. In one case, we harassed a British reporter stationed in Moscow named Giles Whittell so mercilessly that he agreed to publicly bribe us -- and be photographed waving an American flag -- if we would only stop writing about him. We did the deal and now he's off the hook. A similar incident occurred this year with another British reporter named Rob Cottrell (of the Financial Times), but his bribe offer was too low and so we continue to abuse him from time to time. More often, regular targets of the eXile simply leave town.

You can read a comprehensive review of the eXile's tactics in Reason magazine (online version, www.reason.com/0101/cr.sm.from.html), or, if you like, you can simply get the full story by ordering our popular book, published by Grove Press and entitled "The eXile: Sex, Drugs and Libel in the New Russia", on Amazon.com or any other major internet bookseller.

In any case, we'll think of something interesting to do to you between now and Aug. 9, when our next issue comes out. You came to our attention quite by accident, when a friend sent us an e-mail containing an excerpt of that LA Times article. The e-mail, headlined "There are way too many assholes in this world!" read as follows:

"'The Internet is an important cultural phenomenon, but that doesn't excuse its failure to comply with basic economic laws,'" said Thomas Nolle, a New Jersey telecommunications consultant. "'The problem is that it was devised by a bunch of hippie anarchists who didn't have a strong profit motive. But this is a business, not a government-sponsored network.'"

The line about the "hippie anarchists who didn't have a strong profit motive" was enough to qualify you as an eXile target. So lie back, relax, and get ready for an enjoyable experience. You have entered the lair... of the eXile.

Sincerely,

Matt Taibbi

editor-in-chief

the eXile

Nolle didn't answer my letter, and I promptly forgot about him.

Fast forward two weeks. The lead for this issue was supposed to be part one of a two-part article commemorating the 10th anniversary of the August putsch, using the eXile Zaporozhets rally as a narrative thread. Space was left open for what was supposed to be a lengthy Zap article as late as Wednesday evening. Vaguely remembering my promise to "do something" to Nolle, I assigned the task of fucking with this low-level loser to Jake 'Sex Machine" Rudnitsky, not wanting to deal with it myself.

That's when Jake found Nolle's picture.

Based in the depressing Philadelphia suburb of Voorhees, New Jersey, Nolle runs a company called CimiCorp -- an impressive-sounding name for an outfit that is really just Nolle and his opinions on the telecommunications market, sold over the phone or in meetings at hourly rates. CimiCorp's office is actually Nolle's house at 6 Andover Ct. in Voorhees (a property assessed at $286,100, we subsequently learned from the Voorhees town offices), and the only other employee of the company we could find is what appears to be Nolle's wife, Linda, who is listed in the company's articles of incorporation as its incorporating officer.

The business is basically a modern version of the old snake-oil trade. Nolle writes a monthly newsletter called "Netwatcher", for which he charges the outrageous subscription price of $195 a year. The high price is part of his sales technique; he continually hints, throughout the mangled text of his crudely-designed site

Nolle's self-image featured a sleek humanoid with a 30 hp electric brain

(www.cimicorp.com, a travesty of web design given Nolle's status as an internet "expert"), that the "Netwatcher" column contains valuable insider trade secrets that can and should be bought only at a very high price. He hams things up further by offering a reward of $500 for any information that "leads to a successful prosecution of copyright infringement regarding "Netwatcher" -- a ploy which further enhances the air of mystery surrounding Nolle's "insider" column, despite the tactic's transparent absurdity. After all, not even the owners of intellectual properties a thousand times more valuable (say, Britney Spears's record label) offer such rewards. Nolle's whole sales technique is clearly aimed at the kind of person who would be impressed by such vast sums as $500, people who are, in other words, not the cream of the tech stock investor crop, to say the least.


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