A few months before Jose Lambiet left the Palm Beach Post for a more lucrative gig at Radar Online, he broke a story about the DUI arrest of Ed Napleton, who owns auto dealerships in the West Palm area and happens to be one of the Post's biggest advertisers.
Rumor has it that in the wake of the story's publication in late January, Napleton fired back by pulling all of his ads from the Post. We put in calls to Napleton's marketing department and the Post publisher's office for details on the boycott but didn't hear back. The most authoritative (not very) account of the move comes from an online piece by rival car salesman Earl Stewart.
And Lambiet's story? It disappeared from the Post's website. Speculation began to grow, and when Lambiet left his job at the paper,
some in the newspaper-rumor industry started to wonder if he had been quietly sent packing for scaring off one of the paper's major advertisers.
"That's absolutely not true," says Lambiet. "I still am proud to know the Post didn't even call me when I put up that story. The company is not in the business of pulling strings."
How to explain the story's disappearance? "The [Page2Live] site went down in February," Lambiet explains. "A year's worth of material was lost." He says that January's most popular posts -- Tiger Woods, Barry Manilow -- were rebuilt by hand by the Cox company web team in Atlanta. Still, a story about another prominent DUI, by real estate investor Rick Keitel, remains on the site.
But what about Ed Napleton? This is where his company got crafty. See, he wanted the story to disappear -- which it did -- and was allegedly missing out on Post ad exposure. And people -- lots of 'em -- were Googling things like "Ed Napleton DUI" in a search for the vanished article.
So his team made some YouTube videos. And look at the titles.
Lemons, lemonade, you know?