Whether it's creating a "flog," or posting a shill review on Amazon.com, many people have taken to using the Web to help shape opinion, while also obscuring their own identities. The latest example: John Mackey, co-founder and chief executive of Whole Foods, posted anonymously about his company and the acquisition target Wild Oats Markets on the Yahoo stock market boards beginning in 1999 until last year. Using the pseudonym "Rahodeb" -- an anagram of his wife's name, Deborah -- he routinely bashed Wild Oats, posting nuggets such as "OATS has no value and no future," The Wall Street Journal reports. That particular post was made in February 2005; this year, Whole Foods agreed to purchase Wild Oats for $670 million in February. The information about Mackey's posts came to light this week, thanks to the Federal Trade Commission, which is seeking to block Whole Foods' buyout of Wild Oats, saying the deal would squash competition. But, while criticizing a rival anonymously doesn't seem like an especially noble way to run a business, it's also hard to see how, in these circumstances, it proves an antitrust violation. Unlike the Wal-Mart flog, which was designed to dupe readers into thinking it was just an average citizen's blog, stock boards have never pretended to be anything other than a forum for gossip from anonymous and possibly interested sources. While many boards seem to contain information that comes from insiders, many other posts appear to come from cranks. In fact, some users of the boards suspected that Rahobed was actually Mackey -- in which case, they had even more reason than usual to view his comments with skepticism.