It Happened to Me

A Question for the Shareholders

Before I go run out and enjoy this somewhat chilly Friday evening, I

thought I’d make one more entry, and this one goes out to anyone who’s

got shares in Tucows. I don’t know if any of the shareholders — who

were directed here from the Raging Bull site as a result of my Mark Cuban entry — are still reading this blog, but at half a million pageviews a month, there’s always a chance.

In the comments to the “I am Ten Scobles!” entry, I posed some questions but didn’t get any particularly useful answers. I’ll pose the questions again and see what I get.

What would you like to see from Tucows?

  • More active PR concerning our activities?
  • Would

    you like to be directly contacted, say via email if new developments

    arise? Would you want to be notified during the “soft launch” or when

    the launch is made generally public?

  • A more official channel of communications for shareholders to voice their opinions and concerns?
  • All of the above?
  • Something else?

Let me know in the comments (or if you prefer, privately via email at and I’ll pass it along. I happen to be a pretty persuasive guy.

20 replies on “A Question for the Shareholders”

Speaking for myself, I have to say that I hope the rumor about you becoming head of Investor Relations at Tucows is true. We need more direct communication like this.

If the rumor is just a joke, then I’d have to say this blog illustrates the pathetic state of IR at Tucows (which Elliot Noss made a candid confession about on this very blog by sticking his foot in his mouth and saying “if you have the choice between the company sucking and ir sucking choose ir every time!” Why does Elliot tolerate a hopeless IR department when he is so demanding of other Tucows employees? Please answer that Joey.

As for myself, I want Tucows to be more active with PR. The perfect example is the spyware issue that was also written about on this blog and an issue which Elliot Noss ducked completely (maybe he should be a politician). For those who missed it, Elliot graced us with his presence on this blog and he talked about a how he simply wanted to wait for the new Tucows website to be tested before issuing a PR about it but he refused to talk about why he did not issue a PR about Tucows clean spyware/adware policies.

I don’t think any investor wants to be put on a mailing list to be notified about Tucows updates. We want Tucows to issue press releases when anything of any importance happens at Tucows. This will help attract new investors.

IR ought to start a blog.

We want the truth. I get the feeling these launch dates, which have been pushed twice since I became an investor, are mere appeasements. The last launch date I heard about was May 17. Is that a real target date? And are we talking about a soft or ‘hard’ launch?

I don’t need emails. I need PR’s, and some indication that this company is lead by serious people who value investors, are informed, and not afraid to communicate truthfully with us (which means answering emails and phone calls). Grown up companies have IR departments, or at least one responsible liason. Your business culture may not be white collar and stuffy, but few of us are impressed with cavalier attitudes when it comes to our money. Get real, Tucows, and tell us what’s going on. Thanks for your ear.

I agree. I’ve sent 10-15 email messages to IR and I have not received a response to a single one. For a company as small as Tucows, that is a complete joke. I’ve communicated with IR liasons from companies listed on NYSE. My guess is there is no “real” IR department at Tucows and the person in charge of this department, whose name we cannot mention here or our message will be deleted, has other duties. Is this true Joey? Is the IR department a “ghost department” and is the person in charge actually a computer programmer?

Let’s see some press releases and real communication.

It appears Tucows has forgotten who owns the company. We do. We want press releases about launches, general policies, new landmarks in software additions (i.e. “Tucows reaches entry 43,000 in Software Library”). Simple things like this bring the company more exposure.

There is a very anti-investor climate at Tucows. Are we not a part of the beloved “Tucows Family”? I guess we are the estranged parents and you are the kids who just like our money. Give us a break.

That rumour simply is not true — I remain the Technical Community Development Coordinator and not the new head of Investor Relations. I’m simply taking advantage of the readership, reputation and “Google Juice” of my blog (here are Google results for “Joey” and “Joey deVilla”) to promote my company and my work, just as Microsoft’s technical evangenlist Robert Scoble does.

I don’t know enough about the plans for Investor Relations or Public Relations to comment on them, but it is my opinion that we could do more to promote the company. The Tucows-related postings on my blog are my own “outside the box” way of doing so.

Keep those ideas and suggestions coming; they are getting channeled to The Powers That Be here.

Thanks Joey for the channel of communication.

I run a Google news alert for both “Tucows” and “Elliot Noss.” I had 5 news alerts today and thought, “Hey, Tucows is getting off their fanny.” However, just the opposite is true. It seems IR is choking their chain again because Lunarpages announced today that they have chosen Tucows to provide Webuilding Services for their hosting packages. Lunarpages issued a press release about it. Tucows did not. The link to the Lunarpages press release is pasted below (sorry but my link tool is not working on my old laptop).

These small PR do wonders for a small cap stock. Tucows lost 1.10% on today’s trading. A PR like this would turn that into a 1.10% gain. Remember, you don’t climb a mountain with one giant step. Taking one small step at a time is what it’s all about.

Since IR at Tucows is either illiterate or too busy listening to “Let It Be” on their headphones, I have written a Press Release for them. What irks me even more is Eliiot Noss has a quote in the Lunapages PR. Come on Elliot. Issue your own PR for God’s sake!

It is not stock pumping. It is simply making people aware of the new business Tucows is attracting (even if it is a small deal).

Feel free to use my press release tomorrow.

Press Release

Tucows Chosen by Lunarpages to Provide Webuilder Service

Tuesday May 17, 2005

Lunarpages has chosen Tucows Inc. to supply Webuilding Services for their newly launched Web Builder, a complete website design tool that will enable individuals and businesses to easily build professional, functional, and aesthetically pleasing websites, at a very low cost.

“We are pleased that Lunarpages has selected our comprehensive website builder service to add to their affordable hosting packages. Now, Lunarpages’ customers will be able to create and host a professional website within hours,” said Elliot Noss, CEO of Tucows.

Lunarpages’ Web Builder consists of over 10,000 web design templates, and is available in eight languages: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch, German, Japanese and Chinese. Specifically developed to meet the needs of customers with varying levels of website design experience, Lunarpages offers a variety of Web Builder packages.

About Tucows

Tucows Inc. is a leading provider of wholesale Internet services and back office solutions to a global network of more than 6,000 web hosting companies, ISPs and other service providers. As the largest ICANN-accredited wholesale domain name registrar, Tucows offers a suite of complementary Internet services including domain name registration and management, digital certificates, email services and web publishing services. Tucows’ back office products, including billing, provisioning and customer care solutions, enable service providers to automate and enhance their service offerings. Tucows alsodistributes software and other digital content through its global network of affiliates offering more than 40,000 software titles. For more information, please visit:

This news release contains, in addition to historical information, forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements include statements regarding the continued growth and success of Tucows’ business, the ability to further develop and achieve commercial success for the company’s business strategy and the deployment of the company’s resources. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to a number of uncertainties and risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. More information about potential factors that could affect Tucows is included in the Risk Factors sections of Tucows’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements included in this document are based on information available to Tucows as of the date of this document, and Tucows assumes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements.

Every comment posted in response to this entry has been forwarded to management, and I know for a fact that a number of Tucows employees read this blog. People are listening.

I can’t answer the question “When will we start seeing changes?” because I don’t know. I’m not a member of management, so I’m not privy to their decision-making. What I do know is that there’s some serious re-tooling going on right now within the company; we’re taking a serious look at our processes and making plans for the road ahead. Yes, that’s pretty vague hand-wavey talk, but I can’t go into detail without breaking my non-disclosure agreement.

As the developer relations guy, I can tell you that there’s a lot going on: a new client code suite for resellers, a big focus on helping developers build on the Tucows platform, a new developer site, a new games initiative, more and better developer documentation and new and/or improved products in our blog tools suite…and that’s just the stuff I’m working on. That’s what I’ll be pumping like crazy.

Here are the top ten things IR tells Elliot Noss when he catches IR sleeping on the job.

10.”They told me at the blood bank this might happen.”

9.”This is just a 15 minute power nap like they raved about in that IR course you sent me to.”

8. “Whew! Guess I left the top off the white out. You probably got here just in time.”

7. “I wasn’t sleeping, I was meditating on those press releases I am suppose to write.”

6. “I was testing my keyboard for drool resistance.”

5. “I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve investor relations’ stress. Do you discriminate against people who practice Yoga?”

4. “Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution on how to shut down troublemaker Joey deVilla’s blog.”

3. “The coffee machine is broken.”

2. “Someone must have put decaf in the wrong pot.”

1. “Who cares if I sleep on the job? I get paid to do nothing anyway.”


Do you still check this old board? Are you there?

Did you see the latest from IR at Tucows? They posted the PR title for the 2nd quarter earnings on July 25. A few investors picked up on it. The earnings are not due out until August 3. They called the mistake an “inadvertant typesetting error.”

My God! Do you believe them? Come on! A “typesetting error picking up language of an earlier press.” Some typo error. A typo error is a mistake of a letter or two, not a whole god damn sentence. And why would Tucows give an employee such freedom to decide on the title of a press release??? Press releases are fixed by IR.

IR (H.K.) dropped the ball, again.

The hillarious thing about all of this is IR will have to change the wording of their earning’s PR title for Qrt. 2 next week to cover their lame asses.

They don’t have much creativity in writing PR titles to boot. They have used the exact same title for their earnings releases for quite a while. “Tucows reports continued strong results for __ quarter fiscal 200_.” They just fill in the blanks.

Oh boy, I just realized that IR will now have something to do. I can picture it. They are in their offices pounding their heads to decide a new earnings PR title. LOL


Let me help them out since they appear to lack an ounce of creativity. Try something like this:

“Tucows reports record revenue”


“Tucows reports record positive cash flow” (that would be sweet).


“Tucows’ revenue grows 20% year to date”


Do you get the point? Don’t use the same lame ass headlines for every earnings PR. Get a little creative. At least now they will be forced to change their headline.

IR – Use your brain. That’s what it’s for.

Ever since the second quarter 2004, Tucows has used the title “TUCOWS REPORTS CONTINUED STRONG PERFORMANCE FOR (quarter) 2004 (5).” to report their earnings. That is five straight quarters in a row.

On July 25, this same title “mysteriously” appeared on the Tucows website to announce a conference call for second quarter earnings.

Tucows called it a small “typographical error” by a Tucows employee.

This entire matter reaks of the same substance that makes up the Valerie Plame/Karl Rove Case.

We need some answers.

1) At what point did Elliot Noss becaome aware of this matter?

2) Who in IR wrote the memo or email with the title headings that was given to the employee to submit the link?

3) Who was the employee who made the “typographical error?”

4) Where was Hilda when this happened? Did she give the directive for the link title?

5) A typographical error of such epic proportions (approximately 70 characters) could possibly qualify for the Guiness Book of World Records.

6) Doesn’t this force you to change the “real” press release title for earnings come next week? This is probably the only good that will come out of this matter because that same title for 5 straight quarters in a row was getting awfully boring.

So why the cover up? Just tell us what really happened.

How stupid do they think we are?

If you listened to any of Tucows conference calls in the past 5 quarters, you easily noticed that one of Elliot Noss’ favorite words is continue. With the recent flop by IR, this puts Elliot’s word in jeopardy. Why?

Well, for one, Go Daddy recently announced that it has passed 9 million mark in domain name registrations. Secondly, Verisign’s second quarter 2005 results showed a 7% sequential increase in active domains to 44 million.

The point is there is every indication points to the following: “Tucows Reports Continued Strong Results For Second Quarter Fiscal 2005.”

But there is a problem. This is the wrong headline, remember? Tucows will have to change it to safe face.

So what is Elliot to do at the conference call? Well, I’m sure he and the IR department are already digging into a thesaurus.

Let me help.

There is the word maintain.

Tucows Reports Maintained Strong Results For Second Quarter Fiscal 2005

There is always carried on.

Tucows Reports Carried On Strong Results For Second Quarter Fiscal 2005

Or how about Persistent?

Tucows Reports Persistent Strong Results For Second Quarter Fiscal 2005

Oh they all sound a bit funny, don’t they? Continue fit so well.

Wouldn’t it be fun to telephone into the conference call and ask a question? “So Elliot, would you describe this quarter as one of “continued strong growth?” And if so, do you think a headline like “Tucows Reports Continued Strong Results For Second Quarter Fiscal 2005” would be fitting to describe it?

Oh gosh, what fun this company is.

Just for kicks, I’ll listen into the conference call and count how many times Elliot says “continue”. I’ll be sure to let you know the results.


The point is there is every indication points to the following: “Tucows Reports Continued Strong Results For Second Quarter Fiscal 2005.”

Should Read

The point is every indication suggests the following: “Tucows Reports Continued Strong Results For Second Quarter Fiscal 2005.”


The point is there is every indication points to the following: “Tucows Reports Continued Strong Results For Second Quarter Fiscal 2005.”

Should Read

The point is every indication suggests the following: “Tucows Reports Continued Strong Results For Second Quarter Fiscal 2005.”

From this comment:

A typographical error of such epic proportions (approximately 70 characters) could possibly qualify for the Guiness Book of World Records.

Yes, if we were still in the age of mechanical typewritiers. But in the current era of computers, word processors and other-text editing tools, this is also a typographical error: a copy-and-paste error. We programmer types have been dealing with this sort of error for years, and now that computers are commonplace items, you’re going to see them creep into everyday life.

The use of a standard format for news releases isn’t anything novel. In fact, it’s common enough that there’s a colloquial term for it: boilerplate. It’s not what I do for my announcements, but I’m developer relations, not investor relations.

As for talking about the company in financial terms, I’ll have to hold off on that as long as we’re in the current “quiet period”.

With all due respect Mr. deVilla, you have read a great deal into the term “typographical error.” What you are referring to is a copy and paste error. The press release refers to a “typographical error” not a copy and paste error.

A typographical error or “typo” is a mistake made during the typing process. This excludes errors of ignorance, rather being the result of slips of the hand or finger, or in some cases, mechanical failure. Typographical errors typically manifest in the form of an additional or missing character, or the switching of two characters.

Also, if it were a copy and paste error, the title would read, “Tucows reports continued strong results for first quarter fiscal 2005.” It would not refer to the second quarter as it did.

A typographical error would read something like “Tucowss Secind Qurter Fiscal 2005 Financal Results Calll scheduled for Wed, Aug 3”

The point is there is a huge difference between a typo and a copy and paste error. Given Tucows deals with computer related issues, I am sure they are fully aware of the differences between the two and I take their press release at face value. It was a typo and not a copy and paste error.

Actually, it was neither a copy and paste error nor a typographical error.

It was a “inadvertant typesetting error” according to Tucows.

Tucows said it was done by “an employee with no knowledge of the Q2 2005 results.” Geez….what type of people do they hire in IR? Does the employee know the difference between a conference call and an earnings report?

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