Wow. I got home from a poker game in the early hours of this morning, and idly wondered if busted shill/"executive editor" Olin Coles might have replied to my polite request for his side of the story with regard to his hopelessly dishonest excuse for a website. What I found was that Mr Coles had instead chosen to post on the Benchmark Reviews forum, in a thread entitled "Forever banned: Hall of Shame". The thread describes itself thus:
"Like any writer, our work comes under fire from time to time. Most of the criticism is taken to heart and used to improve future work, but occasionally the critic can go overboard and begin making personal threats and accusations. This thread is intended to show our visitors that their accusations and threats do not remain anonymous."
I had of course made no threats whatsoever, made an enquiry rather than an accusation, and had invited them to offer an explanation using my real name, not anonymously. Benchmark Reviews' response to being caught red-handed printing press releases under the guise of a review, however, was to not only ban me from their site, but to publish my name, address, email address and phone number, implicitly inviting people to harass me or worse.
It's hard to imagine a guiltier response, or a more cowardly one. I think we can safely assume from this deranged outburst of panic that we've caught Benchmark Reviews with their grubby little hands right in the cookie jar.