NTL has bought protest Web site Nthellworld.com for an undisclosed sum, The Register has learned.
The cableco denies that it has done this to gag the critical site but instead claims that this online forum will help to improve customer service.
Earlier today The Register reported how NTHellworld.com founder, Frank Whitestone, had taken a job at NTL to set up a new site for the cableco.
Now, though, it's emerged that NTL has actually acquired the site (something Mr Whitestone failed to tell us when we first spoke today) - and Mr Whitestone's services along with it.
In the short time since interviewing Mr Whitestone this afternoon he has now found it necessary to post a message on his Web site announcing details of the sale.
Mr Whitestone started work at NTL almost two weeks ago but has only now, following enquiries made by The Register, decided to make details of the sale public.
News that he worked for NTL only emerged two days ago.
In his message Mr Whitestone says that far from being a corporate mouthpiece the "editorial policy remains unchanged. If it’s legal, it appears".
That said, it's amazing how quickly he's managed to pick-up some corporate lingo adding : "Being embraced by the company, NTHW [NTHellworld.com] will now make a genuine difference to improving NTL’s products and customer service."
A "genuine difference" hey? Not just a "difference" but a "genuine difference".
He also says: "The company’s future vision is to earn the right to rename this site http://www.nthelpworld.com".
Earn the right? Come off it will ya. You can bet all the gold in the Bank of England that NTL will ditch the hell bit in double quick time and opt for the more caring sharing Web name. In fact, why not go the whole way and call it ntheavenworld.com?
Oh, and what of all those NTL employees who registered with the site anonymously, who leaked information and generally bitched about their company?
It seems they're not to worry - for "all personal information contained in the forum database is 100% private - NTL do not own this information, nor will it be disclosed".
So if you're an NTL employee with a guilty conscience then rest easy - you have Mr Whitestone's word that your anonymity remains protected. ®