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What's Up (or Down) at Freecycle?

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 31, 2005

Check out these mostly critical comments on the Freecycle Network. That’s the widely praised Tucson-based group that helps people create local Web sites where they can give away and get stuff that might otherwise end up in a landfill. Sounds like there’s a fair amount of strife at the (apparently) loose-knit group. Says one commenter: “They’re in the midst of a great upheaval, groups right and left are leaving them and starting independent groups of their own. The founder hasn’t gotten it through his head yet, that you can’t “own” this concept, and the control he tries to impose is too much for many of us who just want a grassroots movement.”

This is the first I had heard of any problems at the network, which seems a pretty innovative and worthwhile endeavor. Maybe I just wasn’t paying real close attention. One story outlines some philosophical differences among Freecyclers, especially over a grant to Freecycle from Waste Management, to which founder and executive director Deron Beal responded rather testily. And a Technorati search reveals some hints of strife here and there in the blogosphere. Even one defender who posted a comment seems to concede some Freecycle groups are splitting off.

UPDATE: On further research and response from “freecyclers,” it appears folks are also angered by Beal’s seeking a trademark on the Freecycle name and taking what some view as a heavy-handed approach to managing Freecycle discussion groups. That has caused at least some to start separate organizations. There’s more back-and-forth in the Comments below and in the previous post.

I haven’t yet been able to reach Beal to ask him about the fuss. I’ll let you know what I hear. Meantime, any other folks in Freecycle-land care to add their two cents?

Reader Comments


September 1, 2005 5:45 AM

Mr. Beal has my "ersatz" compassion for his plight. Founder's syndrome can strike even the best-intentioned, well-meaning business developer.
Those of us who have left his dominion wish him well. We can no longer honorably serve him.

Many of us, troopers in his army of free volunteers, who freely gave away countless hours of our time and thousands of dollars worth of our talents and community-building skills, to build his freecycling network, did not understand that our commander-in-chief, the visionary Mr. Beal, seems to have had a different concept of the definition of grassroots. We were quickly becoming weeds and apparently becoming a nuisance.
So he began "weeding" us owner/moderators out. His ersatz friendship with some of us was coming quickly to an end.

When he called us to "round up," we could hardly have suspected that it was the industrial-strength, commercial-grade trademarked product which would be applied to us owner/moderators, the leaders of his "grassroots" enterprise. The communities we had built with the sweat of brow would be soon be considered the trademarked property of Mr. Beal and his newly incorporated Freecycle Network. Our local efforts were gifts to be given over to him in homage for his visionary concept. Such lavish tribute was, it seems, according to all the positive press our communities brought him, his due.

E-cycling is a global movement driven by local leaders whose efforts to reduce waste, exchange surplus wealth and keep things out of the waste stream shall continue to be driven by the grass roots. We, be we nuisance weeds or not, shall persist to successfully: Reduce our waste; re-use each others surplus wealth through the mutual exchange of our communities' local resources;
and recycle freely in our online communities; and we shall do so with local sovereignty, with or without the Freecycle Network.

Although we are a bit worse for wear, those of us who are willing are stepping forth to stay the course and to continue e-cycling with a new resolve.

I wish each of us engaged in this endeavor the best, freecycle or not.

Eric Burke

September 1, 2005 6:10 AM

Many of the groups leaving FreeCycle are showing up in the directory at Over 110 new groups have been added to the directory in the past 2 weeks.
I'll allow others to explain the reasons for the mass defections as I wiped my hands clean of the FreeCycle network back in February when they took a $130,000 grant from Waste Management Inc.

Eric Burke

Paul Hurteau

September 1, 2005 7:50 AM

I find it ridiculous that Deron Beal makes it so difficult for people to give things away and how it is that so many people are affected by his greed. The FreeCycle concept is great, but once greed enters the picture the concept takes a back seat.

He has far too much concern for the trademark and getting a non-profit status so he can “quit his day job.” That is his concern, not saving the planet.


September 1, 2005 9:37 AM

How big will this story grow?

As big as the Media wants to play it out into one of the largest tragedies we've all ever seen.

And that, is the saddest part of the situation.

Portions of this article that point to blogs from both sides of the fence are very interesting, to say the least. Let's examine the 'negative' one:

This person's totally irate because he was put on moderation. It's a great odds-on favorite bet that this person couldn't follow simple guidelines set in place by that particular Freecycle Group on a repeated basis and had to be set that way. Blogs are wonderful, but sadly they don't afford any replies from those they choose to slam - unless the blogger gives it to them. I'd bet a simple investigation would turn up the fact that the situation was justified.

Note that it's very possible it was a mistake, this has happened in other Groups in the past where someone who runs them goes overboard in their handling of their membership. But with little explanation from the blogger of what he thinks he did that got him in that position, my money goes on self-infliction.

Next we have the other blog thread, which shows the much larger problems that exist. Those who leave or oppose the current Freecycle setups, most of whom either ride the panic wave set in motion by disgruntled Owners/Moderators with personal agendas or vendettas or who have left or been asked to leave because of actions they've taken on their own, don't ask their membership what THEY would like to see happen.

In many cases most of these Members, the people the Owners/Moderators of the Freecycle Network need to realize are the folks who make their Groups work, have no clue what's being done. And if they knew, at least a percentage would switch back if they were provided information.

Recently there have been giant 'Administrative' posts by the operators of Freecycle Groups, some of these turned into actual polls of their membership. If you were able to read one of these large 'statements' and had little or no clue of the story from either side behind them - you'd be happy to agree to moving that Group away from TFN.

Why? Simple. Read the long post and you'll be entertained by a massive anti-freecycle explanation wrapped up in a question about making a change. If I read one of those and had little other information to make an informed decision, I would raise no objection as they strip down any facts or figures into making the Freecycle Network and its current leader look so bad you wouldn't want any part of them.

Again, this is sad in the fact these 'explanations' provided to the people who make Freecycle or any other recycling group flow are about as biased as you could imagine. Top that off with the fact a percentage of those providing the explanation have done something to cause their departure from TFN, they convieniently leave that information out. And then as other Owner/Moderators see these explanations fly around and read posts from these sources, they believe them as fact and perpetuate the problem further.

There is a sect out there just hell-bent on seeing the absolute destruction of Freecycle in any form and they continue to post instructions on how to get yourself kicked out of the Freecycle Network, how to hack and trash anything related to TFN and pump out continual misinformation and outright lies in order to get more TFN Owner/Mods to 'bail out'.

Recently, this sect went wild when one person reported a mass-unsubscription of Members from their group and immediately pointed the finger at Freecycle for doing this. One more of the fearmongers 'confirmed' this to be a true story and the fur flew. A day later it was discovered that in most cases it was their own Moderators 'cleaning house' of inactive Members and just didn't inform the person in charge it had been done. Not a single apology for the accusations has ever been made, don't expect to see one either.

During this 'incident' the fuel for a staged bail-out of several large TFN Groups occurred and used that situation as an excuse to leave without real notice or accurate explanations to their membership. At no point since then has anyone from those Groups who departed provided any proof that this had actually happened to them, nor proof of the source of the problem.

So this story will undoubtedly continue and feed the Media's need to report it as it's the prime material for getting a reader's attention. And we'll rarely hear the other side of the story, simply because 'if it bleeds, it leads'.


September 1, 2005 12:04 PM

Mr. Hof,

This comment in your story hits it right on the nose:
Says one commenter: "They're in the midst of a great upheaval, groups right and left are leaving them and starting independent groups of their own. The founder hasn't gotten it through his head yet, that you can't "own" this concept, and the control he tries to impose is too much for many of us who just want a grassroots movement."

Here is a copy of what most are sending out to their groups to let them know why we are leaving the Freecycle Network and how we've all basically been had by someone only out to make a buck off of the members backs, while the rest of us are working our butts off as volunteers.

Effective immediately, we are no longer affiliated with the Freecycle Network, Inc.

This has come to pass for many reasons, some of which are below. Obviously, there is a great deal of sadness associated with this change due to lost opportunities. However, as one chapter closes another opens and we believe there will be new opportunities that simply never were
realized by or the Freecycle Network Inc.

What the change will mean to members?
Essentially, nothing. The lists will continue as before, a place to offer or seek items that no longer need be consigned to our bulging landfills. Everything will continue to be free; no commercial announcements will be welcome.

What the change will mean to prospective members
For a time, it may be harder to find us. We anticipate this will be a temporary phenomenon, since we will be embarking upon a rather aggressive public relations campaign with the
help of each of our members!

Why was this change necessary?
To understand how this came about, a little history is in order.
The original Freecycle list was originated in May, 2003 in Tucson, Arizona. A local non-profit organization called Rise Inc. began to offer a service designed for businesses to get rid of surplus items by giving them to others rather than
discarding them. Fairly quickly, this was opened up to individuals as well as businesses. Others heard about this in other places, and started Freecycle lists of their own.

The idea soon attracted hundreds and ultimately thousands of others around the world but not without its problems. Such fast growth was very difficult to stay on top of, and it took many dedicated, experienced, and energetic volunteers
to build. However, the organization in Tucson quickly reached the level of its managerial competence but has resisted all attempts to make it more reflective of the members everywhere. For one thing, the original Rise Inc. staffer involved Mr. Deron Beal establishing a nonprofit
Arizona corporation to serve as the parent organization for the entire network. The Board of Directors consists of Deron, his wife, and a close family friend. List moderators and list owners elsewhere simply need not apply, nor have
there been serious efforts to attract outside Directors.

Originally, the agreement was that volunteer leaders from all lists were to make major decisions through polls and votes. Very few were held, and most of these were imposed upon the group by Mr. Beal without entertaining discussion
or additional input. Until recently, it had been about a year since the last such poll.

Meanwhile, a substantial cash grant was sought and secured from Waste Management, Inc., over the objections of many people involved in Freecycle around the world. That company may today be trying to reform, but a cursory examination of
its history indicates it has a rather unfavorable ecological record at best.

However, the desire to provide Mr. Beal an income overrode any serious discussion on the matter, and the grant was accepted without any examination of whether other alternatives existed. Thus,two-thirds of the Freecycle Board of Directors sets their own family income from a grant that was unwanted by a large group of Freecycle local leaders, with no review by
disinterested Directors possible under the current status. Furthermore, the corporation has never posted its Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws, let alone meeting minutes further
complicating issues of transparency that should be so important for a volunteer organization. Keep in mind, please, that Mr. Beal remains the only salaried employee of The Freecycle Network Inc. Several organization groups or committees have been created, such as the Group Outreach
Adminsitrators or GOAs. These individuals serve as trouble shooters where there are problems with local groups.
Relatively quickly after this designation was created by Mr. Beal, that became the primary focus of interaction rather than the larger group of local list administrators. However, this group also became somewhat disenchanted with the status
and complaints of the lack of transparency and the lack of input from the local level has resulted in the imposition of yet another group, called by Mr. Beal the Hub. This group consists of hand-picked leaders of the various activities
within Freecycle. Meanwhile, many of the most experienced organization leaders have either left Freecycle entirely, curtailed their activities beyond their local list, or have been shoved out because they have dared to suggest that change was in order.

Meanwhile, a number of groups have already left Freecycle, and still more are in the process of doing so. There has simply been a loss of credibility of sufficient magnitude regarding Mr. Beal that it now appears to be irreversible.

Thus, with sadness, we have concluded that this step is necessary if we are to continue to be responsive to local needs and, perhaps, to become a more meaningful voice in the communities we serve.

What about your membership?
If you want to stay members of the existing lists, you may do that by doing nothing. The name will change, but that is all. If, however, you want to become members of affiliated Freecycle lists, we feel relatively sure that replacements
will be created within the week as seen from previous history.
If they follow the pattern established over the past few months,there will be no local list owners for these new groups, although they will attempt to get local individuals involved
to moderate them. However, when these lists are established, we wish them well and have no animosity toward them or to those who wish to join them.

The fundamental principles involved in the local lists we agree with. We believe, however, that a supremely important aspect of the movement lies with keeping its direction as close to the individual members as possible. We believe that
no centrally-directed decision making that does not allow for ideas and needs to be expressed from the individual list and list member upward is in the ultimate interest of our

We have waited and watched the tremendous ferment going on throughout the Freecycle network. With all the uproar, we had hoped that a new course would be taken. Unfortunately, no such thing has resulted. Our conclusion has been that the
demands upon Mr. Beal have simply far exceeded his
experience and his present state of knowledge, and that he appears unwilling to learn.

Therefore, we will stop being involved in the drama, but will take this step to disaffiliate and focus our energies and our attention where it belongs upon the needs of our members and our communities.

If you have any further questions you may contact me directly.


When I joined freecycle and created my group it was the greatest thing going. There were no major rules and regulations handed down by Freecycle other than to keep it legal and keep it free. Then as time passed, more and more regulations were being handed down on how to run the group. Most were ignored by me as I've run groups on Yahoo for many many years and never had a problem. There was one rule that I did take into effect and that was to have a second owner/moderator incase something happened, so I promoted to owner someone I trust to not hurt the group. All was fine, then I start getting e-mails from Deron and just recently one of his flunkies telling me that I had (HAD) to make Deron a full owner of my group otherwise I would be in danger of my group suddenly disappearing, which has happened as they seem to have an in at Yahoo to get groups deleted if they are not following Deron's rules, using the violation of trademark spiel. Thing is, there isn't a valid trademark yet.

Here are some of the links where previous freecycle groups are now being listed:

As you can see this is not some fly by night movement away from Freecycle. I know you will be hearing from Deron and his Bealites as they will be putting quite a spin on what's going on, almost to the point of making you believe that there has only been a loss of one or two groups. Unfortunately, you really can't tell by looking at his webpage because as one group leaves he creates a replacement within days. The member count, well, the count is completely off as I know for myself, I'm counted at least 7 times, as all they do is include the count of the group, not taking into account that most are members of more than one group. I see this on a daily basis when I see the same post 3, 4 sometimes 5 times in my inbox as they've posted the same message to each group.

I can go on and on, but I think you've gotten the drift of things.

Thank you

Paul Hurteau

September 1, 2005 12:04 PM

I live in Massachusetts. I was dismissed from the Arizona FC Network because I refused to have someone I did not know from Arizona as a co-owner. I had someone in my community as a co-owner and was comfortable with that. Deron Beal was not, so I got the ax. Why would I want some corporation running my community from Arizona? It is as per FCN rules locally owned and operated.


September 1, 2005 12:07 PM

None of the free recycling groups would be here had it not been for Freecycle. Freesharing feeds Freeshare by creating fear in Freecycle moderators and members. This fear technique opens the door for Freesharing and other such groups to harvest members from Freecycle and all in the name of fear. To Freeshare and other such groups, it is not about the members but the NUMBERS. This is all about power and nothing more for those who are working to bring Freecycle down.


September 1, 2005 12:23 PM

Freecycle started and grew as an open grassroots movement. Freecyclers everywhere flocked to the idea of freecycling to help out their neighbors and themselves. The term freecycle came to be known as "to recycle by giving something to another for free". Lots of people had lots of stuff (still do) they they don't need that is taking up room. It is convenient and easy to freecycle such stuff -- easier then selling it (time is money).

Then The Freecycle Network changed into one that attempted to go a more (non-profit) corporate route that wanted more control with trademark claims, trademark enforcement, money, a single user ID that could be used to "own" every group in The Freecycle Network. This extra control took significant extra resources. These resources partly came from Waste Management in the form of money and even more so from a brave band of noble volunteers that tried to coordinate all of this. But all of this was too much work and most of those volunteers got burned out. Plus the feedback/change control mechanisms were not sufficient to fix problems that were arising. So most of the top volunteers within The Freecycle Network flamed out -- they realized that what they were helping build had corrupted itself. Various power trips had gotten out of control. Folks wanted more of a voice in the process.

The very nature of freecycling encourages activists who want things to be as free as possible. The control aspect does not sit well with them. Plus freecycling is an easy thing to do that you can do just about anywhere and not need The Freecycle Network to accomplish. Anyone can set up a freecycle group and freecycle groups themselves are a piece of cake to run. That's why so many have popped up so quickly.

Thus the explosion and now dispersion of lots of top central volunteers within The Freecycle Network.

Freecycling is still a great thing to do and will undoubtedly continue -- hopefully forever. It is rare when a new popular term such as "freecycle" is coined. Freecycling still best describes what is now returning to be an open movement with,, and many others in many areas of the internet. Enjoy!


September 1, 2005 12:23 PM

I am one of the "defected" moderators. I did not poll my group members to see if they would like to switch. I created a new group and invited my members to the new group, the same work, less politics. Those that wished to leave with me did and the ones that didn't, didn't.
One of the Rules of freecycle is everything must be free, well for some reason that still has yet to be explained to me. Mr. Deron Beal decided to take a BIG check from Waste Management for sponsorship. Of course reasons were tried to be explained, like a new improved website, lawyers,yadda yadda yadda. We all know how cheap you can buy a domain name for, and how cheap it is to to maintain it. Oh not to mention that he needed a paycheck. But he is in a sense making $ off the members that give things, their things away to their neighbors for free. While I sit by and settle arguments, offer advice to other moderators, promote freecycle, manage 2 groups of members, approve posts, and memberships, not to mention a few things I'm sure I've left out. He makes a paycheck. I make nothing. No, I'm not upset that I make nothing, just as not upset that anyone should be that I took my group and left. I made it freely and volunteered my time and energy. I have decided to not do it for Deron Beal anymore. MY group MY choice.


September 1, 2005 2:24 PM

Any wildly successful concept is going to have its detractors. No surprise seeing Paul Hurteau and some of these other trolls posting here.

These folks are a small, highly vocal, jealous bunch who were excluded from Freecycle after they were unable to follow the most basic rules.

What's amazing is how munch energy they spend in tearing something down instead of building something new.

What's also amazing is the lack of facts and vast quantity of rumors and outright lies circulating by those who were unable to get Deron to do what they wanted him to do.

Reading their rants, is it no wonder they were excluded. Freecycle is merely trying to protect its name and the quality of the service to its members from these unscrupulous profiteers. Freecycle is the *only* group registered as a non-profit and with a pending 501(c)3 before the IRS.

Anybody who has done any non-profit work will quickly recognize that the $100,000 grant Freecycle received from WM was paltry and is badly needed at this point in Freecycle's growth. WM gave it with no strings attached and no tax deductions for itself.

A small minority of Freecycle volunteers have left their central volunteer positions when it became clear they would not get paid for their work anytime soon, nor would they be promoted to a small, central decision-making forum. It's too bad their pride got in the way of their helping such a great massive paradigm shift in our economy. Now they have formed their own for-profit (not non-profit) organizations in hopes of capturing some moolah and power for themselves.

Too bad for the members of the groups who thought they were members of Freecycle groups and now find themselves hijacked into being members of something entirely different without any choice on their part, just a unilateral misappropriation of their membership by their moderator.

Paul Hurteau

September 1, 2005 3:31 PM

Quote: "Freecycle is merely trying to protect its name and the quality of the service to its members from these unscrupulous profiteers. Freecycle is the *only* group registered as a non-profit and with a pending 501(c)3 before the IRS."

Freecycle is the only group making money off the back of volunteers.

It is ONLY registered as a non-profit in Arizona.

And as far as "Quality of Service", well the lies told by Deron Beal speak volumes about that. None of the other groups fear constructive suggestions.

"Pending" does not mean approved and it should not be assumed that it will be approved based on what I have seen in the FCN.

For full details about funding, please visit:

I have asked time and time again to see the financial statements from FCN and have not heard anything.

FCN is late in filing its financial statement with Arizona according to the Arizona Government web site.

To call people who only want the truth "TROLLS" is like calling Deron Beal an honest man.

Paul Hurteau
70 Quaker Street
PO Box 528
Millville, MA 01529


September 1, 2005 3:34 PM

I am one of the first to defect from fc back in Feb. I at that time started I was one of those that worked for many hours a week for the grassroots movement. As I saw things starting to change and addressed it I was badmouthed by Mr. Beal as filled with negativity! Sure when you donate tons of hours a week for a cause you believe in and see it turning into a Monster (the exact word I used with Mr. Beal) you start opening your eyes.
The minute, FC took Corporate money from one of the largest polluters in the USA, maybe the world, without talking to any of the owners of the thousands of groups, it was time to leave. It was no longer about grassroots, but about money and power.
I tried to work with Mr. Beal but was treated like the garbage that WWI hauls away. Just as anyone else in ownership or management positions, high or low, were.
Anyone in the help group “The Modsquad” that said anything about what was going on that did not agree with FC was put on moderation and then removed, by the dozens! Of course this will be denied, and done quietly!
Then as the top folks in FC started to see what I saw months ago and got tired of doing Mr. Beal’s bad deeds, and started leaving themselves and others were fired because of support of those leaving, the doors opened, wide!
The lies started to be exposed and folks started to see the new fc, the "work for me for free so I can take a nice salary from WWI" fc. Groups started leaving, some on their own and some to those that had the foresight to leave months ago.
As time moved on I saw shoot off group after shoot off group start up. This is what happens when folks are treated unfairly and want to continue to serve their community.
I like many of the other groups have seen enrollment grow greatly in the last couple of weeks. What is sad is that many have been ruined by the lies and treatment by fc that they just want to start their own group “Mom and Pop Recycle" and are afraid to join one of the larger groups as those mentioned previously. So Sad.
FC has had Yahoo shut down groups by the hundreds! Take away ID's so folks lose all of there saved emails and groups under that ID. It is done unfairly and without warning. I know this is fact because it has happened to me, FOR NO REASON other than using the word “freecycle"! Fc does not own the TM on the word! I have written letters to corporate Yahoo founders, via snail mail. I have done this twice with no response at all. So one has to ask, what person does fc have in Yahoo doing their dirty work? When it is brought to corporate attention in writing with documented proof by more than just me and it continues to happen, it has to make you wonder. Is it all about the money at Yahoo also?
Do they like fc's inflated numbers, so bang the little guys? Fc's numbers are so inflated it isn't even funny, it is sickening. You have folks that belong to 3-6 groups, some under multiple ID's and each one is counted as a member. Does Yahoo not see that fc's numbers are so ridiculously inflated it is hilarious. The funniest part of all is fc is using WWI to move fc out of yahoo and onto it’s own server! How do you like them now Yahoo? Continue to remove the groups that plan on staying with you and support the ones that plan to take thousands, NOT millions as claimed by fc away from you. Good corporate decision.
Now that I speak up about the treatment of Yahoo to the little guys there may be no more SiG! Who knows? If it does happen I will be sure to post it here!
I am a low key person that started SiG and am paying for it out of pocket because I believe in the concept and the people that do also. I do not go looking for fc groups, or use scare tactics, I let word of mouth let folks find SiG and if they want to join the SiG Network, great if the want to be listed as "Mom and Pop Recycle" they are welcome to have your group listed.
In closing, fc started a good thing, but money, lies and greed got in the way. That will ruin any good thing. Some of the real insiders, the previous GOA’s if willing, can really shed some bright light on the inner workings of fc. I hope they have the courage to do so. Then the world will know the truth, not what comes from fc drones that are still under Mr. Beal’s disillusionment. Come on folks, open your eyes as the others have and get real and see what is really happening with fc.
Thank you for running this story and giving us the opportunity to comment on it.

Nora Child

September 1, 2005 3:39 PM

I am a bit miffed at reading the comment suggesting I left because of any other offshoot group posting negative comments. That is so far from the truth that your ignorance upsets me!

I left on my own because of the deception and the dirtiness I experienced FIRSTHAND!

When I wrote to Mr. Beal about my concerns with what was going on and why I left the NGA position, I got the royal brush-off. Next the State GOA tried to join my group. I did allow that, but because Mr. Beal would not reply to my questions I demoted Mr. Beal to mod status with no privileges. Thank goodness for that, or Mr. Beal would have next instructed the GOA to remove me from my own group!

I then asked my members what they wanted to do. THEY opted for the name change. Our group was removed from the FC Network before the name change. When a group was set up to replace ours, I looked to see the start date. It was 3 weeks prior to there being any issues with me, the NGA position, or my group that I was aware of. Of course I was assured by the GOA that they have these spare groups just lying around just in case they need them. No, I don’t believe that lie either…

Since then, we have moved off Yahoo to our own forum. We have chosen to be affiliated with Sharing is Giving. This organization does NOT try to control our members or owners. The founder is supportive and allows us to do our own thing in our own way. He answers questions that are asked in a timely manor and has one set of rules for all SIG owners – that everything stay FREE. This is how it should be. Maybe Mr. Beal should ask for some lessons from the founder of SharingisGiving?

Nora Child
San Antonio Neighborhood Recycle – Sharing is Giving


September 1, 2005 3:56 PM

The previous poster Paul (not Paul Hurteau) seems to forget that Freecycle is only a non-profit in the State of Arizona and not the rest of the country. Deron's application hasn't been approved by the IRS, just as his trademark application hasn't been approved either.

Also I would like to say, that my group and I are still in the Freecycle Network, so I'm not a troll and not dishing out lies and mis-truths. I'm just saying that I don't like what Deron is doing which is going to bring Freecycle down to its knees and he's doing it all in the name of a paycheck.

He has lost site of the original goal when this was started and when I became a member.

Thank you

Charlotte Hess

September 1, 2005 6:39 PM

A few thoughts:

First who I am: I am a Former Freecycle group owner who has now left the Network as of 8/22/05.

I opened our group in May 2004. I became involved in The Back office work, around July of 2004. My first job for Freecycle was as the Database Administrator. I worked along with GOAs, the Group Outreach Assistants. Some of the work I did was to remove groups who were not in compliance per GOA order.

Non compliance could be:
Failure to add Ersatz Friend as co owner.
Doing things that did not go along with Freecycle guidelines.

Use of the Logo after you had been declared a
rogue. A rogue was originally a group that did not get Freecycle sanction to open. It became the term for any group who used the name, or the logo.

If you were removed for failure to do what you were asked/ordered by a GOA, your link was subject to removal from the website.

If you were removed, and you did not do what you were asked within a certain time period, you were then replaced by a 'Parallel' group, of which Ersatz Friend aka Deron, was the only owner.

After this happened, you would then receive a Cease and Desist email. I sent those, in fact I wrote the first ones used. I personally sent out
290 of those to groups who were labelled rogue.

At a point in time, Freecycle gained access to Yahoo, in other words, Yahoo was asked and agreed to delete groups whom we had sent these notices to.

And Yahoo did follow through. On one day at the beginning of Freecycle's success, about 60 groups were deleted in one day. My last knowledge is of a day where 300 plus more were summarily deleted.

My second job was as part of a three-person fund rising team, our purpose to gather information and leads to garner more money, grants, funds for Freecycle.

My third job was as the New Group Approver for the State of Florida. I was nominated and elected by my Florida Mod peers for that one. I also stepped in to assist with the State of Idaho in this same position.

Those of us who did the back-office stuff, like the GOAs, NGAs, etc and have since exited Stage Left, are now able to tell each other things that we were under advisement/order not to share with the others.

Example: What the GOA does, they do not tell the NGA of. And now that I know more, much more than I ever wanted to know, I am glad of that
advisement. Had I known these things earlier, my tenure with Freecycle would have been much shorter.

Why did everyone leave that left?

Because we could no longer trust in the direction we were being led from the top. Because as the things they were asked to either do, participate in, or operate in full knowledge of; became ugly and tainted.

This departure you are seeing is not a case or taking our toys and going home. It's simply a gradual realization that we no longer could
be a part of the behind-the-scenes plans and schemes.

When trust goes, respect quickly follows in its footsteps. When respect and trust are gone, fear comes in. When fear comes in, you have two choices: Stay and ignore your little voice, that by now is screaming at you. Or leave, keep your integrity, and your dignity.

The more you know, the harder it becomes to stay. For group owners and mods, it can be easier, especially if you do not pay mind to what goes

My departure was not a kneejerk reaction in any way. I made myself wait, I made myself hang on, to see if I saw a turn of the tide.

When it became apparenent that it was not forthcoming and that those who asked questions were now on the 'Bad List' I began my prep to leave.

When I demoted EF, which was about the same time I saw the Chat of the GOAs in the plan to remove Deanna, that gave me good reason to realize
my list could be compromised. I am not saying it WAS compromised, but I took that ability away for it to be downloaded, or for me to be removed. No sense being caught with my pants down.

What really, really made my decision to finally leave was when after removing EF from my groups, the EF person, whoever was in control of
it on that particular day, CAME BACK onto the Titusville list.

I had already removed him/it/her whatever that personna is. Yet days later, I get a notification of a New Member. And it's none other than
EF. I certainly did not invite him/it/her.

Now my question, which still remains unanswered and puzzles me, perhaps someone here can help, or give a thought on.

WHY did EF come back to the Titusville group?
What was the purpose of that move?

Was it hoped that I had a Co Owner who could be asked to re promote Him/It/Her ? And thus regain control of the group?

Unfortunately, if that were the case, and the plan; my co owners were not the type that would have done that, as we had spoken of this move for weeks, and I had already been urged months ago to leave the Network by my most trusted and revered Co-owner on the groups.

I'd like to hear anyone's thoughts on why the EF persona came back to Titusville.

Here I have included the screen shot of my moderator log from the Titusville Freecycle group.

It was still a Freecycle group at this time.

It clearly shows:

Date I added him as Co Owner
Date I removed him as Co Owner
Date he returned to the list
Date I banned him.

I also know of a large group in North Florida where a green light had been given to remove the owner at any time the GOA felt it prudent.

Whether this green light is still in effect right now, since the GOA has left, is unknown but I was given this info from the 'horses' mouth.

Hope this finds all well, and regardless of your affiliation, either still within Freeccyle or having left, I consider all still my friends
and still have the same respect for you I always did.

Melbourne, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach and Titusville groups

Brevard County Florida

Now back to a grassroots group, with Local moderators and owners.


September 1, 2005 6:51 PM

Very simply - I think it's really sad when someone's ego sets control issues in motion and gets in the way of doing something good and worthwhile. But... there is no monopoly on giving things away and helping others. So to the "boss" - keep the ego, keep the control factor - "freecycling" goes on.....without you.

Let's Get Real

September 1, 2005 6:58 PM

Welcome to the 'spin zone'!!!

'Only non-profit making money off the work of its volunteers'?? Who thought that bad spin up?

Freecycle as an Arizona non-profit Corporation with a pending 501c3 IRS certification has 'employees'. Ya know, those people who work for a living and get paid for that work.

Let's see. So that means if this isn't 'right' in some folks' eyes, especially those who had their hands out as well no matter how hard they try to deny it, then we have to kill a few other organizations too!

American Red Cross - paid employees with volunteer staff. Hell with New Orleans - they're money-grubbing pigs at the top and it's time to go.

United Way - paid employees with volunteer staff. No more giving at the office with some of your paycheck! Rotten communists, kill them all.

Goodwill - oh, forget it. Screw the whole lot of those self-centered bastards! Why should they get free stuff and resell it in those stores? And actually pay a few people here and there to operate the stores, like a manager to ensure it all doesn't walk off? The hypocrites!

How many more, especially smaller organizations with staff setups like Freecycle, do we need to go hunt down and eradicate? My God, it could take years to hunt them all down!

This 'opposing force' can't get out of its own way with infighting, insults and squabbling. They do the same tricks in the name of 'freedom and grassroots' that they cry foul claiming someone connected to Freecycle did nasty things to them. They have no direction or goals, other than to see what they think they should own being completely destroyed.

We can all post here until poor Rob Hof's head explodes but it's still going to come out the same way. Freecycle - love it or leave it. And if you leave - turn out the light, shut the door, shut your mouth and make a real difference by showing us something more productive?

And those who've left, unless you only have a personal agenda to destroy, why not move on to your 'freedom'? Guess it's more entertaining to keep going back and trashing what it is you think you've created.


September 1, 2005 7:00 PM

The Freecycle problem is very simple. A lack of communication, a need for control, and a inability to be truthful and honest is causing these problems. Everything listed above are symptoms and not the cause. They are fixable, but the damaged cause has led to the loss of very good people willing to give much of themselves and their time to this vision.

Only the people in charge of Freecycle have the ability to make things better.

Charlotte Hess

September 1, 2005 7:32 PM

A few thoughts:

First who I am: I am a Former Freecycle group owner who has now left the Network as of 8/22/05.

I opened our group in May 2004. I became involved in The Back office work, around July of 2004. My first job for Freecycle was as the Database Administrator. I worked along with GOAs, the Group Outreach Assistants. Some of the work I did was to remove groups who were not in compliance per GOA order.

Non compliance could be:
Failure to add Ersatz Friend as co owner.
Doing things that did not go along with Freecycle guidelines.

Use of the Logo after you had been declared a
rogue. A rogue was originally a group that did not get Freecycle sanction to open. It became the term for any group who used the name, or the logo.

If you were removed for failure to do what you were asked/ordered by a GOA, your link was subject to removal from the website.

If you were removed, and you did not do what you were asked within a certain time period, you were then replaced by a 'Parallel' group, of which Ersatz Friend aka Deron, was the only owner.

After this happened, you would then receive a Cease and Desist email. I sent those, in fact I wrote the first ones used. I personally sent out
290 of those to groups who were labelled rogue.

At a point in time, Freecycle gained access to Yahoo, in other words, Yahoo was asked and agreed to delete groups who we had sent these notices to.

And Yahoo did follow through. On one day at the beginning of Freecycle's success, about 60 groups were deleted in one day. My last knowledge is of a day where 300 plus more were summarily deleted.

My second job was as part of a 3 person Fund Raising team, our purpose to gather information and leads to garner more money, grants, funds for Freecycle.

My third job, was as the New Group Approver for the State of Florida. I was nominated and elected by my Florida Mod peers for that one. I also stepped in to assist with the State of Idaho in this same position.

Those of us who did the back office stuff, like the GOAs, NGAs, etc and have since exited Stage Left, are now able to tell each other things that we were under advisement/order not to share with the others.

Example: What the GOA does, they do not tell the NGA of. And now that I know more, much more than I ever wanted to know, I am glad of that
advisement. Had I known these things earlier, my tenure with Freecycle would have been much shorter.

Why did everyone leave that left?

Because we could no longer trust in the direction we were being led from the top. Because as the things they were asked to either do, participate in, or operate in full knowledge of; became ugly and tainted.

This departure you are seeing is not a case or taking our toys and going home. It's simply a gradual realization that we no longer could
be a part of the behind the scenes plans and schemes.

When trust goes, respect quickly follows in it's footsteps. When respect and trust are gone, fear comes in. When fear comes in, you have two choices: Stay and ignore your little voice, that by now is screaming at you. Or leave, keep your integrity, and your dignity.

The more you know, the harder it becomes to stay. For group owners and mods, it can be easier, especially if you do not pay mind to what goes

My departure was not a knee jerk reaction in any way. I made myself wait, I made myself hang on, to see if I saw a turn of the tide.

When it became apparenent that it was not forthcoming and that those who asked questions were now on the 'Bad List' I began my prep to leave.

When I demoted EF, which was about the same time I saw the Chat of the GOAs in the plan to remove Deanna, that gave me good reason to realize
my list could be compromised. I am not saying it WAS compromised, but I took that ability away for it to be downloaded, or for me to be removed. No sense being caught with my pants down.

What really, really made my decision to finally leave was when after removing EF from my groups, the EF person, whoever was in control of
it on that particular day; CAME BACK onto the Titusville list.

I had already removed him/it/her whatever that personna is. Yet days later, I get a notification of a New Member. And it's none other than
EF. I certainly did not invite him/it/her.

Now my question, which still remains unanswered and puzzles me, perhaps someone here can help, or give a thought on.

WHY did EF come back to the Titusville group?
What was the purpose of that move?

Was it hoped that I had a Co Owner who could be asked to re promote Him/It/Her ? And thus regain control of the group?

Unfortunately, if that were the case, and the plan; my co owners were not the type that would have done that, as we had spoken of this move for weeks, and I had already been urged months ago to leave the Network by my most trusted and revered Co Owner on the groups.

I'd like to hear anyone's thoughts on why the EF personna came back to Titusville.

Here I have included the screen shot of my moderator log from the Titusville Freecycle group.

It was still a Freecycle group at this time.

It clearly shows:

Date I added him as Co Owner
Date I removed him as Co Owner
Date he returned to the list
Date I banned him.

I also know of a large group in North Florida where a green light had been given to remove the owner at any time the GOA felt it prudent.

Whether this green light is still in effect right now, since the GOA has left, is unknown but I was given this info from the 'horses' mouth.

Hope this finds all well, and regardless of your affiliation, either still within Freeccyle or having left, I consider all still my friends
and still have the same respect for you I always did.

Melbourne, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach and Titusville groups

Brevard County Florida

Now back to a grassroots group, with Local moderators and owners.

James Bond

September 2, 2005 1:29 AM

I joined "Freecycle" in May of 2004 long before the EF requirement. EF was never added to my group
nor was it ever mentioned I had to have him
I (as I understand) was the first Texas Group
to vacate "Freecycle" right after Nancy Castleman
left her "mother hen" position and a long chat with Deron that I had on Yahoo Messenger where Deron again lied to me like he had several times

I now believe the WMI grant has gone to his head.

Deron is ALL ABOUT MONEY, not the movement's main

Freecycle HAS gotten away from its own structure

Freecycle HAS all but become just the opposite of the concept of "Free"

I only left after I was offered several times
positions in FreeCycle (GOA and NGA positions)
that NEVER happened
I was also invited by Deron to be a Mod in the "modsquad" the day I joined the network
it never happened either.


Some think but how can that be right?

September 2, 2005 4:04 AM

Those owners that have a beef with Mr. Beal, how can they feel that allows them to take their group and move them WITHOUT asking them first? It's their problem that has now been made the problem of an entire group of people anywhere from 100-13000+, like it or not How does that make them any better than the man they are complaining about? Those that made a new site and invited the members to it, leaving the original site intact, are the only ones that can feel good about their actions. Those that changed the name of their group, removed the Freecycle logo and did not ASK their members how they felt about it are just plain WRONG. The members were told half truths and other falsehoods much like those the moderators claim Mr. Beal had told them. Now you have a group of members that do not know what to do or where to turn because their original group has disappeared and they have no choice but to believe the owner of the group who felt just in their actions. They tell of a man whose power has gone to his head, it has blinded him. He has some corporate syndrome thing that makes him act this way. But if you look at their actions, are they not just as blinded as they claim him to be? Are their actions all that different? Isn't it another case of the top people controlling the mass per se? Mr. Beal has finally made it so he is making a wage from his hard work, are we sure this is all about him losing his vision and not a bit of: Where's my piece of the pie? Remember there are always two sides to every story. Before any judgments are made, it should be the entire story, not just bits and pieces here and there that that an opinion is drawn from. This is just one person's observation. One that has heard from some of those members that woke one morning to find "they were not in Kansas anymore Toto," and home was nowhere to be found!

Paul Hurteau

September 2, 2005 10:25 AM

It is TRULY AMAZING that the people defending FCN are not willing to publish their names and are calling those that have commented on FCN stating that there is corruption and lying by Deron and his crew "trolls."

The fact is that we are moving on, but having our eyes opened have chosen to warn others that FCN is not interested in keeping things out of the landfill's, RATHER, trying to TM an idea that would have raised as much anger during the '60s and '70s had someone tried to trademark the word "Peace" or the symbol.

I PROUDLY stand beside those who expose the fakes and the greed that FCN has become.

Anyone who hides their identity must not be truly committed to their cause.

Paul Hurteau
70 Quaker Street
PO Box 528
Millville, MA 01529

Nancy Castleman

September 2, 2005 1:01 PM

We changed the names of the main HudsonValley freecycling group and our companion bulletin board on August 18th, due to differences that we have with the way The Freecycle Network(TM) is being led. Both local groups remain totally intact, and our focus on making it really easy to keep perfectly good stuff out of landfills and build a more reuse/recycle-conscious community has continued without pause.

We appreciate everything we learned as a part of The Freecycle Network, but feel as though Deron Beal, who came up with the Freecycle idea, is taking the organization in the wrong direction.

I worked very closely with Deron for over a year, contending with the 2,000+ percent increase in membership and tons of problems that developed along the way. I feel very badly about everything I did to "enable" Deron to pursue his vision -- as opposed to the vision of the thousands of Freecycle moderators.

I resigned on August 1st from my work as Freecycle's Head Moderator and "Mother Hen," because of what I have since learned is called "Founder's Syndrome." (For the symptoms of founder's syndrome, visit: I'll always have a soft spot for Deron, think he came up with a fabulous idea, was extremely generous in sharing it, and do not agree with those who think he is being driven by a profit motive.

Together with moderators from around the world, we are charting a different course to a better planet. The direction we're heading in is one where there are fewer organizational problems and more shared decision-making. Our primary goal will remain the same -- making it very easy and pleasant for people to find new homes for things they no longer want.

The Web site we are creating is called:


September 2, 2005 1:04 PM

Bob is probably right in saying most of us probably would not be here if not for freecycle but he is totally off base when he states that Free Share is about numbers.

First off there is a difference between Free Share ( and Free Sharing (, not much (in my opinion) but they are different groups, as are the other groups he refers too, but the one thing I believe we all have in common, (I could be wrong) is that we all support one another, we share links, we share information and we encourage free and independent ownership and operation of any and all groups listed with us, unlike freecycle corporation.

Free Share may be the original such group to spring from the Freecycle idea. Free Share is about gathering and sharing links/urls/listings to other free locally owned non-business groups by any name. Free Share does allow Freecycle groups to be listed but Mr. Beal has sent us and those group moderators e-mails demanding the link be removed. Freecycle/Mr.Deron Beal/Erzatsfriend are not interested in building or aiding communities, recycling or saving landfills, it is all about making a profit, so much so that he won't even allow Free Share to help promote his cause by sharing the link with the world.

Worldwide Free Share, located on Yahoo server, has had to rebuild several times because Freecycle had somehow convinced Yahoo to close them down, because it is Freecycle who is in "competition" and for every group that leaves them Freecycle reopens a competing group for the same area, unconcerned that one free group is enough for the area, their only concern is the numbers as Bob puts it.

Worldwide Free Share was so NOT competitive and more concerned with helping people locate free groups that when a Freecycle group listed themselves on Free Share they were welcomed with open arms, but were warned that Freecycle and Mr. Beal would be contact them and threaten them for doing so, and they did. Freecycle is so concerned with being the "one and only" they have even begun threatening totally unrelated on-line groups with names or concepts the least bit simular to their own. According to Freecycle you can not be a community owned group, in any area, and give items away for free because they "own the concept", according to Freecycle you can not even use the words "Free" and "recycle" together in your group name in any order or even the word "phreecycle" on a private discussion group. It is outrageous to say the least and the fact that Freecycle convinced Yahoo and others that they have some legal right to close down groups, e-mails, user accounts based on their invalid trademark claim is an injustice that can never be fully compensated.

Freecycle is concerned about numbers and member counts and boast them to the press and on their main website, not Free Share. It is Freecycle who tracks the collective tonage of the items freely given away by its members so they can use those numbers to solicit money from private parties, companies, corporations, and municipalities to line Mr. Beal's pockets.

I see letters from Freecycle supporters like Bob all the time who spew Deron Beals lies about "disgruntled" ex-freecyclers or try to minimize the number of people who are anti-freecycle and filing complaints and no matter how much they try to counter the truth with Beal's lies, the fact remains and the truth is coming out and eventually those hardcore freecycle supporters will see it and Free Share will welcome them because we do not hold a grudge because at one time we too believed in Freecycle, but no more.

Thank you Business week for joining the other few, but ever growing, media sources willing to report the real story, that which is not covered by Freecycle's Media Release packages.


September 2, 2005 4:31 PM

Wow! Where do I start? When I first heard about Freecycle I was quite impressed. I thought what a giving and great thing to do for our environment and community outreach in such trying times. As I am in recovery due to some health issues, this was a way I could give back to my community from my home.

As time went on, my local group went from a non-freecycle group to a Freecycle group. Later I became an NGA, which stands for New Group Approver. From there, I went on to become a GOA, which stands for group outreach assistant. I was truly proud, and the comradery seemed great in the beginning.

I began to realize that things were not as they appeared. Some still with Freecycle will tell you there was no in-fighting. This is NOT true. If a GOA or an NGA did not agree with something they were gone! Then a horrid story would appear as to something they had done that justified this type of action. Nobody seemed to question them being gone, and if they did, they too were soon gone. Some quit because they could not take the deception anymore. The stories given the overall group where all moderators met were not the same as how I remembered things as a GOA and an NGA.

I began to realize that this was becoming very cultish in nature. It was what would WWDBD instead of WWJD . I saw people idolizing Deron, and if you attempted to say anything that was not of *like-think* or *like-jargon* I knew all too well I could also end up on the *list*.

I remained quiet all too long. I knew this would look good on my resume' when I finished college, so I tried very hard to ignore it. I listened to those I had come to know cry and feel so much anguish that they had spent all of their awakened hours volunteering their time; Many of these since the creation of Freecycle. Finally one night I spent the whole night talking someone out of committing suicide via the telephone because they had given all of themselves to Freecycle and thought they had found something to live for in spite of some disabilities.

Finally I could not sit on the fence anymore and withdrew from Freecycle. I believe Freecycle will go down in history as one of the largest and most sophisticated online cults since the beginning of the internet as we all know it.

Many I got into this movement and did my best to help them get out. One of the people I got into the movement took her group out of the network, only to be assaulted by the head of the back office for Freecycle. This was the first time she had known a lack of harmony being posted to her group.

One of the questions that keeps coming to my mind is this. In the beginning of Freecycle it *appeared* to be about starting our own groups for the purpose of keeping good stuff out of the landfills and goodwill towards others. If this in fact true, why is Freecycle having Yahoo shut groups down? About a month ago we were in a GOA meeting (chat) and they were bragging that a member of their staff had an in with Yahoo and 650 groups were shut down by Yahoo. People are even afraid to put *This group is no longer affiliated with Freecycle* on their groups for fear that Yahoo will shut them down. Something to do with trademark violations on a trademark which is not theirs to claim at this time. I also question how Yahoo would dream of doing this, even based on freedom of speech. Do we not have the right to state we are no longer affiliated with a specific organization?

At any rate I could tell you the realities of how ersatzfriend is being used, but will save this for a future post.

I feel as if a ton of bricks have been lifted since I left Freecycle and discontinued my volunteer service for them. It will be a long time before I will be able to understand how they could trashtalk so many dedicated volunteers who gave until they had nothing left to give.

Thanks for listening

David Neeley

September 2, 2005 4:50 PM

I am the author of the long notice that others are using to explain the decision to leave the Freecycle network (although I could have sworn my original didn't have so many grammar errors!). I am also the founder and list owner of the original Freecycle list in the Dallas/Fort Worth region, now known as rEcycleDFW. It presently has approximately 14,000 members. At the time we left the Freecycle network, we were either the largest or certainly one of the top two or three in membership in their organization.

Many untruths have been posted here by Freecycle partisans. Surely some of them must know they are not true, as I find it difficult to understand how some could make these assertions while not bothering to verify their facts.

It is significant, though, that most of these are in posts done with complete pseudonyms.

In my case, the fact is that I was thoroughly involved during the early formative stages of the Freecycle movement. Because I am a writer, I was able to compose many policies and concept pieces that are still in wide use within the network.

As for the idea that I had done something "against the Freecycle policies"--that is absolute hogwash. Others who have been dismissed from their organization have committed such heinous sins as to call on their moderators' list for expanding the Board of Directors of The Freecycle Network Inc. beyond the founder, his wife, and a close family friend. For this, that individual was removed through a particularly graceless arrangement made behind her back.

The simple fact is that Mr. Beal seems to have a nearly pathological fear of letting go of any control. That his prior experience was as a paid staffer with a local recycling nonprofit--and by no means a manager even there, it seems--is immaterial. That many people with much more experience have been totally unable to help institute policies of open communication and transparency is regrettable. And that responses to very sincere people who have worked very hard have been so petty is inexcusable.

In the nearly three years since I started the DFW list, I have personally put in thousands of hours on this movement. Many interesting and worthwhile proposals have languished for too long--and our group of online communities in Texas and elsewhere are moving quickly to realize some of these opportunities for the betterment of our communities.

David Neeley


September 2, 2005 5:05 PM

After the departure of our dear Nancy Castleman, I left the Freecycle movement. I too had been privy to many goings-on inside the Freecycle inner-circle and found that I could no longer dedicate any time to a man that I no longer respected nor believed in. I did not "burn out". I am not a troll. I am not jealous. I simply do not wish to be associated with the likes of Mr. Beal any longer.


Paul Hurteau

September 2, 2005 6:05 PM

The Following is a message I have sent to CNN, the AP and local news organizations in my area. This is just an idea but I am moving forward with it here in my area. I suggest at a time like this we put down our petty problems and stand up to the call.

If any of Deron's people are here, I would like to invite him to let his groups target a date so that maximum coverage can go out.

People are in need.

Now it the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country men.


FreeCycle Earth and Associates will be holding a yard sale September 18th to raise funds for the Victims of Katrina. ALL donations are welcomed and all proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross.

I suggest all others similar groups set this date as a target date in order to get some news media involved and get people involved.

The more people that hear about this effort the more people will get involved. Your assistance in making this information available would be greatly appreciated.

Paul Hurteau
70 Quaker Street
PO Box 528
Millville, MA 01529

A New Beginning,,,


September 2, 2005 10:37 PM


My name is Deanna. I used to be the Group Outreach and Assistance team member for several states including Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas as well as the past New Group Approver for the state of Connecticut, the state modsquad list starter and co-owner mod for the state of Connecticut and an individual involved in other special projects for Freecycle including the training of new GOAs.

I am mentioned by a couple of people who have written in thus far.

I am the person who dared to bring up the issue of a board of directors. This email, that follows, is what brought about my immediate moderation on Freecycle discussion groups and lead to the ultimate planning of the Freecycle Hub getting rid of me quietly at high noon so as not to ruffle any more feathers inside the Freecycle organization.

I also want to make it clear, that before I brought up this issue, I had done my best to try to reform the several issues that have been crippling the organization, such as the lacking of communication, organization, direction, training, job descriptions, etc. etc.

Hi all,

For those of you who may not know me, my name is

I have been a GOA (Group Outreach and Assistance) team
member for nearly a year, and have worked in Arizona,
Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Connecticut.
I have also worked to train a few GOAs and have
participated in many “top-level” discussions about how
GOAs can better assist moderators and members.

I have also been a New Group Approver (NGA) in the
state of Connecticut from the first day that NGAs
started, until about a month ago, when I turned it
to a wonderful woman in CT so that I could pick up the
GOA role in that state.

There have been some serious issues lately in the
Freecycle world, issues that cannot be attributed to
burnout or a lack of time. One of the issues that
should be investigated is the recent departure of over
a half a dozen hard working, well intentioned
Freecycle officials (I am using officials as a blanket
statement for those who have worked directly with
Deron in any capacity higher than group moderator so
as not to downplay or overplay their contributions.
All were important, I can assure you) including Nancy,
Lynnie, Judy, Val, Kelly, and Linden.

I have also submitted my two-weeks notice and have
been thinking about what I can do during these two
weeks to most help Freecycle. What I see as a key
problem has to do with the fact that we do not really
have a functioning board of directors, which should be
developing policy, seeing to its implementation, and
generally leading the organization.

The current board of directors consists of Deron, his
wife and someone I assume is a good friend of his.
It’s not unusual to start a nonprofit organization in
this way, but it is now over two years later, and I
believe it is time that the leadership came from us,
our pool of moderators. I am sure, that with the
thousands of moderators across the globe, that we have
many who are qualified to sit on the board.

Regardless of the current state of the organization or
the quality of work that has been done by Deron, it is
most important that there is a quality board of
diverse members so that this organization is moving in
a direction that we can all be pleased with. There is
a need for board committees to work on key issues such
as the new website as well as on projects that could
raise money for a core staff, such as the store.

We all work very hard in our roles in this
organization, and we deserve to lead in the decisions
that are made about how it is run, as what is done
today will affect the outcome of our future growth.

The following links lead to some information regarding
boards of directors for those who would find learning
more on this important subject helpful:

Free Complete Toolkit for Boards:

Checklist to Evaluate a Nonprofit Board of Directors:

Nonprofit Board of Directors – An Overview

Where Can I Find Information on Nonprofit Boards

If anyone has any other information to add to this,
please share your knowledge with the rest of us! We
are a team, and if we work as one what we can
accomplish for the future of our Freecycle Network
will be totally amazing!

Let’s discuss what is needed on the board here and
perhaps those of you who are interested, could post
campaign letters on this group of why you want to be
on the board, and why you should be on the board.
Please include your qualifications so that we can all
understand what you bring to the table. If you have
someone else to nominate, I think that’s fine if you
explain why that person is qualified.

Are you ready?

I am ready to make the first nomination, although I am
not sure if she will accept, she is certainly
qualified to be on the board, as she is the person who
has worked most closely with Deron at the top of the
organizational ladder for over a year. This woman has
the most extensive knowledge of the organization and
its members as well as the passion of what the
Freecycle Network stands for. She also has a
background in nonprofit organizations and fund

I would like to nominate Nancy Castleman. As a
nominee, I would like to ask that she be invited to
rejoin this modsquad and an invitation sent to each of
the current members of the board of directors so that
they are able to participate in this discussion... or
if this discussion would cause distraction or asked to
be ended on this group we can continue it on a Yahoo
group set up specifically for this purpose and called
something like FreecycleBOD.


Since our discussions were not welcome on the modsquad I did start a group entitled FreecycleBOD in Yahoo groups, where I invited a slew of mods, NGAs, GOAs, Deron and the current board members.

Contrary to what has been stated about the invitations to the group, I did not hack, steal or otherwise illegally obtain mod email addresses for invitations. I sent the invitations to all those who asked for one, all those that I personally knew as well as to all those who others asked me to invite. I received lists and lists of people to invite from several mods across the globe and because of this I did end up inviting some people more than once, for which I apologized. I invited somewhere around 2,000 people and ended up with a group of about 600 or so.

The discussions on this group were very much targeted at reforming the current Freecycle organization in a way that would be beneficial to everyone, including Deron. (I have several hundred email from that group saved, and there are people who have stated that they have all of the digests from the life of the group, if there are any questions regarding the type of discussions in the group.)

Deron was not happy with the group that I set up and started making accusations of me, that I mostly chose (or tried ) to ignore.

I was still an active member in GOA at this time, although moderated for all but a couple of hours until I said something else that was not “appropriate.” I went to the weekly GOA chat on Yahoo Messenger, as usual, and it was just a mess. GOA members requested to discuss the board of directors and what was going on and were told no, and then were hit with a flurry of information for the next hour and then told that they would be seen next week, and see ya later!

Since I had been booted out of the chat a couple of times due to a thunder storm in my area that affected the phone lines, I downloaded the chat file from GOA soon after it was posted to see what I had missed. I was shocked, shaken, awed, shocked, in a state of disbelief, shocked (and did I mention shocked?!?!) at what I was reading. Intermingled with the social period, pre-chat was the hub chat where Deron and others were delightfully planning on quietly removing me from everything to do with Freecycle at high noon. It was also mentioned that all those who were openly a part of the FreecycleBOD group were not team players and that they were too far gone to be part of Freecycle.

I immediately changed the name of FreecycleBOD to NamelessBOD to keep Yahoo from deleting it for Deron, I separated the social chat from the private chat and X’d out the names of others not really involved for privacy reasons, sent the chat out to the NamelessBOD group, which was then deleted by Stephanie (the Hub coordinator and a paid member of the Freecycle staff), thennnn… I demoted EF from my local group and banned him, at which time I was told to leave immediately and either turn over my group or it would be replaced by the Imod team (a team of moderators who replace Freecycle groups for a variety of reasons).

Since this time everything from the hub members were a part of gallows humor because they were uneasy about the situation so they laughed about it to take the stress off to Deanna only went to the chat with a plan to publish it to Deanna removed lines of the chat to make it look worse than it really was, has been thrown out there.

That chat was bad enough speaking for itself and did not need my help or “improvement ideas,” and had I planned on making a private chat public that I had no idea was going on I may have been better providing my skills to Sylvia Brown or Jonathan Edwards rather than the Freecycle Network.

I had nothing to gain by putting myself in a position to be thrown out on my butt after over a year of dedicated service to the Freecycle Network. I am a single disabled mom who wanted to help my community and ended up being pulled further and further into the Freecycle Network, effectively giving up all of my “well” free time and in fact completed most of my “work” from bed.

I did not want or need the stress of the drama surrounding the political nature and financial obligations of the Freecycle Network.

It is not what I or others signed up for.

At this time I continue to answer hundreds of questions that have been asked of me from individuals all over the globe about past events and recent statements made about me on the new private OIDG group (fondly known by some as Deron‘s Oh I Did Good group - which is how I remembered the correct lettering of it) by Deron, Emily and perhaps a couple of others; but am mostly enjoying my local groups and members. I am working on a grass roots website for my home state, It is really a rough draft right now. The mods and members have lots of ideas and I am adding to it little by little as my time and health allow.

I have also joined up with Nancy Castleman, Linden, Lynnie, Lorretta, David and others (I do not want to name anyone who may not want their name out there, but am thinking of you all as the great team of strong and thoughtful individuals that you are!) all across the globe in setting up as a listing place, as well as a moderator support group.

At this time there is an idea out there for us to get together and draw up a vision statement once a year, so that the current groups involved will always feel a part of what we are doing, which I think is a good idea. We are not planning to TM anything and since we have no reason to bring in money we have no need to file any 5013c papers or anything similar.

Basically we are just people online coming together to discuss thoughts and ideas that will help each other in our respective communities.

Most importantly of all, people are starting to love what they are doing again.


September 4, 2005 7:04 AM

I try to stay out of group politics, but I guess I needed to know some of this - and it explains things. I joined the group that creates the trademarked logos for Freecycle groups. I like creating graphics.

One group that had a request in our database replied rather tersely when contacted, and the designer was hurt and confused.

Also know why I was told in ALL CAPS not to solicit any projects from groups that aren't "TM compliant".

I don't regret the time I've put it. It's been good therapy since my mom's recent death, but I guess I'll need to investigate further and evaluate if I'm giving my time wisely.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to post this info.

God bless us, every one.

Anonymous FC Mod

September 5, 2005 1:45 AM

The above message of someone who "joined the team" is the sort of part of the problem. Please understand I am not blaming the poster, nor do I think the graphics team is neccessarily bad. It is just a sign of the pattern; as the line in The Postman goes something like: "they're joining up without bothering to ask who they're replacing or why."

People buy the party line and even become a defender of the "testy" quips and responses of Deron Beal which are commonplace and almost never answer any of the quite direct questions which are asked.

Cynthia Armistead

September 5, 2005 2:08 PM

Many volunteers, including those who worked the most closely with Deron Beal for the longest time, have left Freecycle because they were asked to participate in, observed, or were the target of unethical behavior instigated by Beal.

Anyone who disagrees with Beal has no place in the organization.

It is telling that Mr. Beal has refused to participate in any discussion forum but those that he controls, even when he's desperately trying to spin this situation to his advantage.

Charlotte Hess, Melbourne, Florida

September 6, 2005 4:35 AM

Of late, the comments about the dissenters, aka those who have left due to what they saw, found out, were asked to participate in, or saw done to others, I've heard are now being referred to as bad apples by a Head Mod of the Mod Squad.

The replacements for those who were the GOAs, NGAs, and IMODs, will be a new crop, who hopefully will not be a new target or bad apple, when they too begin to question what they see.

But I've seen a pattern, that appears to be repeating itself.

Those of us who have left, are still very involved in our local communities, and our groups. As that's what this was all to really be about. But somewhere along the line, the grassroots begin to be farther and farther away, as it became more and more controlled and corporate in nature.

That was not the gig I signed up for, and the attempts to trademark a grassroots group, made it so very un grassroots in nature that it's not even in the same ball park.

Release the word Freecycle back to the public domain where it was promised when earlier screenshots of invited you, to start your own network for your city. There was no mention of being controlled by a larger one.


September 6, 2005 10:18 PM

I have read and re-read what has been said. I have discussed the things I read. For the most part, I am seeing a bunch of adults act like Jr. High cliques. What Mr. Beal did to some of the top people was atrocious no doubt. Some I have had help me, some are now claiming the way they treated me and others was due to Mr. Beal. We all say BS to that !

Mr. Beal did not tell you how to word, phrase, say or otherwise write what you wrote. He merely said this is what needs to be done. How you did it was all your own doing and you should own it !

Aside from that, your leaving the Freecycle Network is of no concern to us. However, the manner in which Mr. Beal treated you is.

Mr. Beal is the person that should be owning his actions and it's just too bad the Freecycle Network is paying the price. Mr. Beal is the person that should be confronted and the entity that should be destroyed, not the Freecycle Network.

Any of the other groups are trying to ride the wave, so to speak, the ones saying, "our organization is nothing like that, our organization would never do that, our organization, yada yada yada." What a load of smelly stuff !

Each person that feels they were treated unjustly should say their piece and MOVE ON by pouring all their newly found free time (they claim to have given tons of hours to Mr. Beal) into their individual communities instead of wasting their time hashing Freecycle over and over again.

All of the names out there are going to "crash the polls." All of the other organizations are going to try and get their name to the top of the heap. If you deny it, well, you know what you are. Tim, Paul and the others out there, turn your energies to the hurricane victims or your own sites and leave the rest behind. You fail to see this is not making you look any better than those you badmouth.

The only ones with a need to say anything have said it, and said it, and said it again. All right already, he gone and done you wrong ! Are you going to continue to wallow in it or get on with it? You all seem like fairly intelligent people, so the choice shouldn't be all that hard to make.


Charlotte Hess

September 7, 2005 1:41 AM

I find it so very odd that the Trademark and the use of the word Freecycle is so very important, that Yahoo will do as Freecycle asks, in particular Emily of the Trademark Team. Emily and I worked together when I was Database Admin and she was beginning the TM team. The first Cease and Desists were drafted by me, and I regret very deeply my involvement in that.

After I came up for air, removed the veil so to speak; I realized that by the Freecycle Network asking Yahoo to have the groups deleted they considered a 'rogue' was inherently against what we ourselves promoted.

(A rogue could mean a group which had removed themselves from the network and still used the name, or the logo or some combination thereof - Or a group that opened without Freecycle approval and sanction.)

We effected through our influence with Yahoo the mass deletion of hundreds of Yahoo groups. These were groups who were recycling and reusing items within their communities. If the Freecycle Networks' main claim to fame is to encourage this, why would it be a reason to celebrate when we caused all of these members to be cast adrift, as their groups were deleted out from under them.

Is it so very important to Freecycle to 'protect' their name, and that shiny elusive trademark, that this is done? I just do not understand how this can be a good thing. Isn't imitation the most sincere form of flattery?

Shouldn't Freecycle be promoting this concept rather than seeking to destroy it? Something does not ring true here. The fear that someone, some bad person will use the name and make a buck, seems at best a unproven worry for Deron.

With that, I share a post to the New Group Approvers own Yahoo group of which I was a member where celebration abounds as Yahoo did our bidding. And I took no oath of confidentiality there so don't consider it a breach. I do consider it time for some of us to do the right thing, and be upfront on what we know to be the truth.

I apologize for my involvement in this and wish I had seen it earlier, but my eyes were clouded and I thought I was protecting Freecycle. I was wrong.

An early email to me from Deron on January 12, 2005. After the very first set of groups were deleted: about 89 on the first swoop by Yahoo.

"oh mahgod this is too good. This and the deleting of rogue groups in one nite. Too much goodness. must celebrate....
deron "
[end quote]

From NGA group: New Group Approvers of Freecycle

"I just wanted to drop a note...
652 groups were recently removed by Yahoo for
copyright infringement. These are mostly groups that were originally rejected by the approver or went rogue. Dean and the database team worked VERY hard on this- it was a lot of work, and it's not over yet.

HUGE KUDOS to Dean, Dorothy, Judy, and Loretta for
their tremendous efforts (and special thanks to Judy for her heroic and time-consuming continued work on this). Thanks to Judy's work and the C&D letters, this number was narrowed down from more than 3,000 entries in the database!

This is a huge accomplishment and will certainly help our cause in many ways (including demonstrating our responsibility to the patent & trademark office).

Three cheers!!


[end quote]


September 7, 2005 1:55 AM

I thought this comment by Deb Sawyer was very interesting: Deb is the Head Mod of the Moderators group on what is commonly known as the Mod Squad.

The Freecycle Network to my knowledge does not request that Yahoo delete groups. Group that have been rejected as official groups (or are NOT listed on which may includes groups that never applied for approval to use the name) are sent a series of letters asking them to remove the Freecycle Trademark, name and copyrighted materials. Once they fail to do so, they are at some point reported to Yahoo for trademark/copyright infringement. Yahoo may
request that the materials are removed or they may
take other actions including deleting the groups from their servers. The Freecycle Network has no control over the actions that Yahoo takes.

Freecycle Modsquad Coordinator

Nancy Castleman

September 7, 2005 1:33 PM

While I'm spending most of my time moving on, every now and then, an assortment of really egregious things come up, and I feel as though I just have to speak up. This is one of those times.

EF and that silly poll are beside the point, imho. Of course group owners should be free to do what they like! More to the point:
* There is still no board of directors that represents mods worldwide.
* There is no free speech.
* Folks who have bravely spoken out and/or shared an inkling of the secret goings-on are portrayed as villains and are blacklisted. While many of us feel terrible about what we did in the name of Freecycle, we do not deserve to be called names. But if you must call us something, we are whistle blowers, as Char recently pointed out. Over time, more and more mods will be humming to our tune.
* The MS, which was supposed to make all policy decisions, has still has never voted on many key issues. For example, should there even be a non-profit organization? If so, what should its priorities be? Staff? Budget? What should the rules be for Freecycle groups? Who decided that full moderation is a no-no? Is the trademark worth pursuing? And then there's the Web site ... .
* TFN is moving ahead on a Web $ite that mod$ did not vote for and may not even want. Who know$? Maybe folk$ would rather cut a deal with Yahoo, and $ee tho$e buck$ go to Habitat for Humanity.
* Speaking of Yahoo, why does Freecycle's Start a Group still instruct folks to set up Yahoo group fairly early in the process? Many of them will be told to take them down and will receive the aforementioned C&D letters. This was supposed to be changed almost a year ago! Why Yahoo tolerates it is beyond me.
* Key decisions continue to be made in secret by Deron alone or by Deron and his oligarchy.

As I said, I am spending most of my energies moving ahead -- both with the group I have here in New York's Hudson Valley and with many other formerly-known-as-Freecycle-mods. Together, we are building a new umbrella organization -- -- which I hope will eventually make it easy for groups to do much more than freecycle.

Our goal is to create a truly participatory democracy via our mod group -- -- where all the members of the group will have an equal say in all the key decisions. It won't be easy, but we are working on it! It's hard to shed the ways we all behaved in the past. We are learning to give each other the benefit of the doubt.

Right now on, we are deciding whether or not to allow mods from Freecycle groups to join. Compare our approach to the poll on the MS for a good chuckle:

"In the spirit of keeping this group as democratic as possible, let's vote on issues as they come up. Here's one: If a group is still a part of The Freecycle Network(TM) and also wants to be listed on and to give its owners and moderators access to this Yahoo group, should we allow that? None of us know what the repercussions will be for the group owners and moderators from TFN, so it would have to be "enter at your own risk" if we do allow Freecycle groups to join. I think the leader of at least one Freecycle group has already joined us, fyi. My best to y'all! Nancy

*Yes, we should allow Freecycle groups to join.
*No, we shouldn't allow Freecycle groups to join."

I've been urging all folks concerned about FC who haven't been to this BusinessWeek site, or haven't been here lately, to check out Rob Hof's story -- "What's Up (or Down) at Freecycle?" -- and the responses to it. BusinessWeek is quite an interesting publication, and I am glad that so many folks who might not otherwise, are now checking it out. (Full disclosure: BusinessWeek was one of the first publications to feature our work on mortgage pre-payment, and its editors were very helpful to Marc and me ... some 20+ years ago ... when a lot of you were still in grade school. LOL!)

While I feel so much better to be moving on and working on something that I feel is genuine, my hat's off to the mods trying so hard to save TFN, many of whom are close friends! I continue to wish them the best of luck -- they need it!


Linden R Gibson

September 7, 2005 11:06 PM

I was involved with TFN from March of 2004 until August 17, 2005. I was invited in late July of 2005 to join the GOA as the GOA for North Carolina. I lasted about 2 weeks. I asked too many questions. I left the GOA without having done one single GOA activity other than sit in on a couple of rather famous GOA "chats". Maybe it was because I had spent nearly 30 years in the management ranks of Fortune 500 companies (the last one a pharmaceutical, some of the trickiest players around) that I could pretty quickly sense the perfidy and lack of ethics of Deron and Co. I am the one who published the infamous "secret chat" to the ModSquad. Nancy called me "Paul Revere" - actually it felt closer to Martin Luther nailing the 95 theses to the church door. I knew that I would be instantly branded heretic and ousted by the Powerful One.

I don't regret a bit of it. I am back to doing what I wanted to do in the first place - hook people up with other people's used stuff that they can use rather than trash. Pretty simple. Too darn bad Mr. Beal needed to find a way to shore up his ego and quit his day job. It could have stayed simple all around.

If you need to know more you can contact me at which is on a private non-Yahoo server and thus out of the span of control of Mr. Beal. I really hate it when I get deleted LOL!

Keep on recycling and freecycling too for that matter.

Linden Gibson, Raleigh North Carolina

(who lives by the motto of the late Shirley Chisholm - "Unbought and Unbossed")

Freecycle Fan

September 8, 2005 5:18 PM

The Freecycle Network (TM) asks simple things. Keep the groups friendly and spam free. Keep the posts FREE, Legal, and Appropriate.
Members should be considerate and follow these simple rules. So should the moderators.
So many people decided that "they" should be the one to make decisions about how things happen. So many people, so many ideas. There HAS to be some form of control over it all. Why not make sure that "official" groups are doing what they are intended to do? Why not assure members that when they join a Freecycle group, that they will get properly formatted, reasonable requests for used items, and a place to give away theirs?
WHY not ask that each group that is approved by Freecycle have the stamp that says this is a spam free, no begging, no abuse area?
I am proud that the group I moderate has no conflict or spam on it. I am proud that I can volunteer in my community, and help people out.
All these whiners need to stop bashing Freecycle, and do what they will.
So 1% of the mods left. Because of a few who did not like the fact that their ideas were not implemented. They stomped their feet and held their breath, and when they did not get their way, they took their members (without asking them) and left. I have news for you, Freecycle is just fine. Stop your feeble attempts at destroying it, and do your thing.

Oh ya thats appropriate

September 8, 2005 6:49 PM

Well, well, well.

So the underbelly of former Freecycle folks have won! Congratulations!

It appears the ever-qualified and man who has no journalistic integrity - Mr. Hof has made the following statement:

Quote from Hof's email:
"Thanks. I'll be in touch before too long on Freecycle. Appreciate
your thoughts. And no, Freecycle won't be on the list (at least in
the magazine; we can't remove choice from the online survey,
unfortunately). Too much weirdness for us to recommend it as a Best."

There you have it! People speak with their votes and BusinessWeek still decides what's 'best' for everyone in the end.

Say, doesn't that sound very reminiscent of what all these yoyo's here are crying about being under Mr. Beal's thumb at Freecycle?

No, couldn't be. Not BusinessWeek, one of the most respected publications in the industry. And not Mr. Hof, who wouldn't jump on a hot story and then rig the results because his professional integrity is on the line!

I fully expect this NOT to be published here as a response and be censored by BW. Sad, simply because it is apparent now that Mr. Hof and BW run just like they claim Freecycle does, but hey look at the 100's of posts from those who couldn't get a grip if we gave them one. All of them use this as their forum, yet they're off making claims that this is theirs and not Freecycle's forum.

Major Double standards all around.

Mr. Hof and BusinessWeek. If you're going to trash the results of your Poll and taint this article in this fashion, its time to remove a couple of other recent additions to that list as well. At least if you want to have any shred of respect from your readers.

Oh yes, amybe it should now be mentioned that a competitive publication group to BW has taken an interest in this matter because of the large black eye that will result from the censorship and dishonesty that now is apparent?

Can't wait for that piece to show up once this edition hits the streets!

Nice job freedomcyclers, you've managed to try to kill a good thing in both the recycling industry and now the media as well. Pat yourselves on the back as you always do!


September 8, 2005 10:19 PM

Note to Fan: The folks who did leave, were the folks who built TFN. They aren't disgruntled nut cases ... collectively, I'd bet they put thousands of hours into the national (global) effort. Mr. Beal, could not have accomplished anything without these people and their talents. Betrayed, stripped of their dignity and devalued for their hard work ... they, like you, with nothing to gain but satisfaction of connecting folks, forwarding the "movement," simply wanted the respect of being told the truth. Mr. Beal seems not to have really gotten it ... that this movement is NOT him, cannot be owned, and more ... that it is larger than him ... larger than any one person. You cannot be so naive to think that Freecycle was the first ... nor is it the last ... group of folks who are concerned about our planet. Most of us wish him well. The smart ones are taking the movement back where it belongs ..... to the people.


Rob Hof

September 9, 2005 12:43 AM

To the person identifying himself/herself as "Oh ya thats appropriate":
By not paying attention, you've jumped to conclusions and wrongly impugned my and my magazine's integrity. There are two distinct lists we're doing here for our Best of the Web package: One is an online survey, for which we are posting results as they come in. We're not altering those results in any way, even though it's apparent that some sites are encouraging their users to vote, rather than letting it happen organically. Those results are what they are: a tally (if an unscientific one) on what sites people are voting for. Plus, we got many interesting suggestions from this survey that we hadn't thought of. All goodness.

The other list is a shorter one of top editor's picks that will appear in the magazine. By their nature, they're going to be more subjective. These judgment calls are what our readers expect and deserve.

Two different lists, each with value of their own. No rigged results here. OK?

Frankly, with the sort of back-and-forth I (and many other folks, judging from the many comments) have seen among Freecycle fans and foes, it's pretty clear something's awry. Some of this infighting is intrinsic to any community, as I know from writing about eBay. But how on earth can we recommend a service in which so many the participants seem to be at each other's throats?

BTW, folks who read your comment might put a little more stock in it if you didn't hide behind a fake name.

Eric Burke

September 9, 2005 11:36 AM

Hi Rob,
First I wanted to thank you for including in the poll. It is really an honor even to be listed as an option.
The reason I'm sending you this note is I have just seen what may be 'vote fraud' in the poll which is entered.
I have been watching the poll with some interest, and refreshing the results page rather frequently to see how the site is doing.
I just saw an aproximately 100 vote increase in the tally for in the span of about 20 minutes, which is a bit more than what a statistical anomaly could justify.
As the webmaster for I would much rather have an honest 11% show in the results than a possibly fraudulent 30% due to the actions of someone running a script.
It is apparent that both Freesharing supporters and the folks at FreeCycle have been spreading the word about the poll and encouraging folks to vote, and I see no problem with that, but running a script to inflate the numbers is defeating the purpose.
I would humbly suggest that you check your logs for between 10:45am EDT and 11:15am today, and if the votes seem irregular, please void them and bring back down to the ~11% it was at before this anomaly.

Best Regards,
Eric Burke
webmaster -

Oh ya thats appropriate

September 9, 2005 8:11 PM

Mr. Hof,

First let's address this 'Best Of' situation.

Below is the exact quote from the ending of
the survey section at BW, stating that the
results will help BW create a Best Of package.
It makes no mention and more eludes to the
fact all these voting results from the polls
will be a weighted factor in what's provided
as BW's 'Best of the Web'. There is no
distinct difference stated on these supposed
'two lists' as you mention. So I'm paying
attention quite closely to that fact.

"Most of all, we hope you'll suggest your own favorite sites and categories. And as you think of more, you can keep coming back to offer suggestions for each survey in the series until mid-September, when the results will be used to help us write a Best of the Web package, with stories both online and in the print magazine."

Next let's examine the fact that a majority of
these comments published are from those who
actively oppose Freecycle and have made a career
of finding new ways to trash the joint and leave
nothing behind.

If you, as they're claiming, are reading those
posts in that group then you should be seeing
their continual bashing comments and requests
that people take actions like 'hacking into
freecycle', etc. that appear there.

Freecycle has some issues, but its running just
fine without this band of misfits beyond the
fact their quest to kill what they've left
behind requires them to continually con more
people into their way of seeing things. As
someone mentioned here, about 1-2% of them left
Freecycle and 'who cares'. But they continually
find themselves offended by something and have
the need to vent their vengance in their actions.

You mention eBay and its problems, as you have
written about it over quite some time. But with
those same problems there, and the infighting
and the rest of it being similar to Freecycles
current situation, I don't see any hesitation
for BW not mentioning eBay in any breath its
deemed possible to do so. That's another double
standard right there.

So if you're going to take the position on behalf
of BW to exclude Freecycle from any Best Of's
done in the near future, since the anti-freecycle
activity comes from such sources as FreeSharing
one would certainly hope they're going to be
excluded as well. In fact with the entirely
incorrect claim of 'ballot stuffing', the whole
poll is just about worthless and invalid, no?

The Freecycle Community is just fine, with some
issues to resolve and progress has been made
even just today. The Anti-Freecycle Community
is alive and well, set on destroying Freecycle
at any costs and by almost any means. There's
your story and since its got such lovely negative
themes that's why we're reading all about this
and being entertained with the slew of comments
behind it. If it was just routine problems
within Freecycle, wouldn't even make the birdcage
pages. But since theres blood to be had, here
it is in living color.

Mr. Hof says - "But how on earth can we (BW)
recommend a service in which so many the
participants seem to be at each other's

This one is very simple. You're recommending
a functional service that serves its members and
not those who run it for them. They are very
important to the equation, but not why it all
has grown to the point it is.

Members are the 'participants', not all these
posts from more of the management level that
have left because they couldn't get it all their
way and stomped off. Some had valid reasons for
leaving, but they have been lost in the mire of
all the vindictive actions they take and call
for. So they're not 'participants' and so
your statement here is way off base.

Mr. Hof says one last thing - "BTW, folks who
read your comment might put a little more stock
in it if you didn't hide behind a fake name."

I doubt it, most of the anti-movement hide behind
fake names and happily publish false information
in order to convince those who remain with
Freecycle that its world has come to an end and
its time to leave as quickly as possible. Many
of them have shown their true selves and have
openly admitted to what they've done since they
left. But still that goes unreported and just
the 'Freecycle Bad' image is what's portrayed
because that makes the headlines.

I am readily available, the posting here requires
an e-mail address and I haven't seen a single
thing from you prior to releasing my previous
point. Instead, it's as gleefully slammed up
here with a choice response whitewashing the
situation as those in Freedomcycle who happily
posted your e-mail about excluding Freecycle and
now happily post only your response here as
'take that' and call me a coward, etc. That
speaks volumes on credibility alone.

This blog and subsequent comments are ten times
the volume of any others currently shown. And
a majority of the comments is from the supposed
opposition who quite frankly left the Freecycle
system and no longer have a say in its future,
be that a new beginning without them or its
eventual self-destruction.

Those of us with Freecycle don't see anything
close to self-destruction and are working just
as hard as those who have left to continue the
changes and progress that needs to be made to
provide the best service to our members, the
people. Some of the same ones who read BW and
may be its subscribers as well.

BW does not exist without its readers, Freecycle
does not exist without its members. It simply
comes down to that.

Freecycle Fan

September 9, 2005 11:26 PM

You said "You cannot be so naive to think that Freecycle was the first ... nor is it the last ... group of folks who are concerned about our planet."

I said nothing of the sort. Freecycle is not trying to destroy any other recycling group. Only the folks at "Freedomcycle" are. What about the posts that are being sent in from a former GOA, copied from confidential discussions on that group? What about the effort to ask Mr. Hof to REMOVE Freecycle from the poll?
The people who left have done nothing but whine about Freecycle...they talk about it all day long, bashing it and laughing (he he). Sound familiar? I have no respect for anyone who is or was on that group.
Sharing confidential information is wrong.
Why can't you all just do your thing and since you left Freecycle...LEAVE FREECYCLE ALONE?
You know, move on with your life?
Some of us are willing to work WITH the system to make things better. Instead of taking our groups and jumping ship. It is still good.
What about the vote that ended today, ersatzfriend is no longer required on any group. How many left because it was? Their loss. Before you say it was put to a vote because of the people who left... wrong. It would have been put to a vote, regardless. Due to the obvious disagreement there was with the policy.
I will keep EF on my group, as I have nothing to hide, and no reason to be afraid.
As I said, please move on. I wish you all the best.


September 10, 2005 12:47 AM

Dear Fan and the other anonymous guy: Since you're both obviously members of the Freedomcycle group ... since you've both accessed and spread posts from that group ... you MUST have SOME interest in what all those folks have to say. Otherwise, you wouldn't be there. Speaking of moving on ... why don't YOU move on. You both must have seen, had you read the preface to this blog, that BW and Mr. Hof had concerns about what they'd been hearing re TFN well before they heard from anyone posting here. WELL before.

A couple more points .... you say you're willing to work WITH the system. Has it occurred to you, that the TFN system isn't the only system? That TFN isn't the ONLY way to put forth this movement? That the way TFN's "system" is being run, it actually makes sense to go out on one's own to protect one's group? I guess that's what gets me, and perhaps, tho I can't speak for others, what got them .... the top insiders who actually built TFN .... that TFN was very happy to use their talents and creativity and time ... and then plotted their demise rather unceremoniously and with absolutely no class ... simply because they dared ask 'when will we see a board of directors?' can we see the articles of incorporation and bylaws for the organization to which we devote our lives? Since we built TFN while you were working at another job, can we have a little input into how it works?'

Yup, there are those at Freedomcycle who are kinda 'out there.' The top leaders who left, though, if you'll read carefully, are constantly trying to redirect the focus from anger and vengeance ... to constructive and passionate moving on ... as you put it. Those folks, as I, do wish TFN well. Are grateful for the experience, have been deeply impacted by the opportunities to be so actively involved in their communities. And simply wish to create an alternate "system."

Apparently neither one of you has read all the posts there ... or here for that matter ... many of which have not been posted with bitterness, but as an explanation of their own experience. Again, there are the ones who can't seem to let go. I'm the person who suggested removing FC from the BW survey. You'll have to search long and hard and fruitlessly for any post I've made any where that belittles TFN. UNTIL the other morning, when I read that Delaware had prohibited any posts about aid for Katrina victims. That even ONE group in TFN prohibited those posts, seemed to me, utterly, completely, ridiculous and callous. Considering what other orgs are doing, Craigslist for example .... TFN, having incredible power to actually bring thousands and thousands of resources to help .. not only doesn't step up to the plate, but then quashes their own members' desire to help. Had we not left TFN by then ... we would have done so after that.

One more thought ... if you don't even have the courage to say who you are ... why should anyone take what you have to say thoughtfully? ALL of the former leaders of TFN have revealed themselves. You're both hiding here, and on Freedomcycle. Arguing for arguing's sake isn't well received .... here, or over there. To know this, you would have to spend time doing some actual reading, rather than simply picking up snippets here and there. I promised myself last night that I didn't have anything else to contribute here, but since you addressed me personally ... how about we meet up over at Freedomcycle? I'll be there, and easily recognizable .... guess I'm challenging you both to be a man (or woman). Or are you afraid that if it's known that you're participating at Freedomcycle, that there might be repercussions from TFN for you? Now that, I might understand.
Linda ... known to both of you as Recycler.


September 10, 2005 3:54 PM

Hmmm .. it just occurred to me. Maybe ALL the anonymouses who refuse to reveal themselves are actually Deron Beal himself! On both sides of the the story! Here and over at Freedomcycle. Posts meant to inflame passions, bring out the worst of people's emotions. In fact, I'm presuming at this time that they ARE Deron Beal himself, using pseudonyms.

The process going on in this forum, and over at Freedomcycle .. is called the grieving process. As in a divorce, each side alleging broken promises, it's all your fault;, no, it's all YOUR fault. Or when a parent dies and there are unresolved issues. Recrimination after recrimination. Everyone grieves in a different fashion in any case. There's a need to vent, or to defend, or to have regrets. Emotions run high. As in any loss, death of an ideal, broken promises, whatever ... folks grieve at their own pace.

The facts are ... there IS a lot of upheaval at Freecycle ... and there ARE more groups every day dropping away to become independent; looking for a more flexible way to keep the movement going in their own communities. Ways to connect from their communities to the world at large ... ways that Freecycle as it stands now, does not permit them to do via The Freecycle Network. Beal did promise, after all, that groups would be free to conform to their own communities. As it stands, you conform to Beal's rules, NOT decided by his volunteers, not TNF's rules, but the three-person (family) board of directors' rules ... or get out. Well, quite a lot of us have gotten out.

If you are NOT Deron Beal posting here or there ... reveal yourselves. Because as it stands, one must presume that you are Mr. Beal himself. :-) You cannot question Mr. Hof's integrity if you have none yourself.


Paul Hurteau

September 11, 2005 4:16 AM

There is not one person here that has identified themselves that has tried to "Kill" the FreeCycle idea. We are just annoyed at Mr. Beal’s greed and lies. We have not "Stomped Away in Anger", some of us left saddened and ashamed that we were duped and lied to by someone who had only one agenda and that was self serving.

NO ONE wants to "DESTROY" FreeCycle. We just want a less controlled environment, less greed and NO LIES!

I am very proud about the actions I have taken to have a more open environment of letting people know there are other groups out there that are not cloned from what one person perceives to be The "ONLY" way to do things. I have no MOD Squad, no demand of inclusion, no "Set Rules" other than to do the right thing.

To call me a "Rouge" or a "Darksider" is to infer that I am doing something underhanded or bad.

I stand in the light and say that to condemn someone who is doing the right thing throws a shadow on what you believe to be good.

Paul Hurteau
70 Quaker Street
PO Box 528
Millville, MA 01529

Lynnie Jones

September 11, 2005 8:13 AM

Freecycle Fan,

You said:
"The people who left have done nothing but whine about Freecycle...they talk about it all day long, bashing it and laughing (he he). Sound familiar? "

Let's examine "he he". My advice for you, if you have not already done so, is to read that horrible chat and then you will see the cruelest use of "HE HE" EVER USED. Or, perhaps you don't have to read the chat because you are one who participated. Or perhaps you were even the one who "he-he'd". Giving you the benefit of the doubt, please do your homework before posting.

You also stated:
Mr. Hof says one last thing - "BTW, folks who
read your comment might put a little more stock
in it if you didn't hide behind a fake name."
I doubt it, most of the anti-movement hide behind
fake names"

Let's give you a bit of a reality check, there, anonymous person:

People who have been posting what they know or feel about Freecycle and signing their very real, and very recognizable names:

Nancy Castleman,Linden Gibson, Deanna,David Neeley, Char Hess, Tim, Pastor Ken (PK), Nora Child, Loretta, Lynnie Jones, Cynthia Armistead, Linda, Eric Burke ,Paul Hurteau, a few folks that I don't immediately recognize (but have no reason to doubt that they are signing their real name such as Katherine, Larry,franceska,James, and Patricia) and only a very small handful of "screen names", anonymousconcernedmod, Anonymous FC Mod, and IS.

Now, People who are posting FOR Freecycle:
Freecycle Fan, Oh ya that's appropriate, Some think but how can that be right?, Let's get real, Jessie, Bob, and Dave. For the record, Dave is the only one of you that signed your "real" names that I even recognize, and I was part of TFN for a very long time. At least Dave has pride in the organization that he defends and does not hide behind a fake name, thereby keeping the respect that I've come to have for him.

But, I digress...

Now, it seems to me, Mr. or Ms. anonymous person, that being a Freecycle member, you and your cronies have nothing to lose by speaking out FOR Freecycle...and hide behind fake names. Perhaps you are ashamed to be a part of Freecycle or ashamed of the things you have said or done in the name of TFN.

The folks who have recently came out and said that they do not like what is going on at Freecycle have never hid behind fake names, despite the fact that some had a lot to lose. Some have been harassed and most have been slandered without mercy. We are the folks whom you have known and recognized for quite some period of time. We could have made up fake names but we have no reason to hide. We have nothing to be ashamed of, despite your best attempts to make it appear otherwise. We gave of our time, our love, our energy, our spirit, our talents and our wisdom. Many hours. Many efforts. What we got in return was a swift kick in the rear.

What is it that you have done for Freecycle again? Oh, that's right. We wouldn't know, because you haven't the guts to let us know who you are. My guess is that you, yourself, have done quite a bit behind the scenes for Freecycle and Mr. Beal, but I doubt the things you have done are much to be proud of or else you would be happy to sign your name.

Lynnie Jones

Myles Griffith

September 12, 2005 2:51 PM

There is a similar site to freecycle opening up on the web known as The FreeBay. This site was built only for UK members but it is rapidly growing and aims to improve on alot of The Freecycle networks flaws. Check it out at


September 15, 2005 2:31 PM

How low will Freecycle go? This low, read below. This was sent to my Sharing is Giving yahoo email address, not a group address. They are so concerned about the environment but they are now using false accusations with yahoo to attempt to get my email address deleted for SiG which has nothing to do with any FC groups. Notice the address, it is not to yahoogroupblahblahblah, it is directly to This is because this address has nothing to do with any FC (no not the lying TFN name they try to use) but FC groups. They do not and will not own the name freecycle! This is a personal attack by Derwood and his goons to try to disrupt another free giving group!
Some day it will all come tumbling down and all will see that it is not about recycling but greed that FC is really all about. I sure hope that truth is seen soon.
As the wave of groups by the hundreds have left have seen. Note, some left because they wanted to, some because FC had Yahoo delete them. That was over 560 as bragged about by their hit squad. That’s right FC had over 560 groups deleted by yahoo because they could, why, money! The best part is many were removed because they refused to have ER as co owner, now that isn't even a RULE anymore so all these poor folks were thrown into the street for nothing! Picture that! When Derwood was asked if others should be invited back his comments were NO! They don't deserve it, they were all BAD moderators/owners! What a guy!
Also, by the way many upper level folks finally saw through all the garbage (pun intended) and left, you know something was rotten in FC Land. They all have a story to tell and are telling them. This is freaking FC out and they have come out swinging.
Much earlier in this string it was mentioned how the FC people were cowards and do not use their real names, so fitting for FC. Those of us who are running the alternative groups like , freeshare, Free Sharing, FreecycleAmerica, and so many others, we use our real names. We are proud of what we are doing and do not have to use threats and intimidation for our groups to grow. They speak for them selves and folks are coming to use everyday.
I should be honored that Sharing is Giving is doing so well that FC has decided to attack me personally. But I am not, I am saddened that this is the way FC continues to run (ruin)itself. Intimidation, the power of yahoo ad money to give them the power to have yahoo delete groups and ID's unfairly and under a lie that FC is TMed, not that it would make one bit of difference! They can not own the TM of the WORD!!! Period! Yahoo, why can't you get that through your corporate heads!

Oh BTW this is the first time FC has contacted me at this address, not the 2nd. Not that it means a thing to Yahoo or anyone else.
The only thing that matters is MONEY! What a racket, making money on others kindness. Shame on FC and Yahoo.

Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 22:14:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Second Notice: Trademark Infringement Issue, Freecycle (TM)
From: "Trademark" Add to Address Book

SUBJECT LINE: “SECOND NOTICE: Trademark infringement Issue,

Dear Owner of the MSN/Google/Yahoo group Sharingisgiving:

This is your second and final notification to cease and desist using
trademark-protected Freecycle(TM) name and logo, any confusingly
derivations thereof, and The Freecycle Network’s(TM) copyrighted
texts/rules/guidelines in your MSN/Google group, including in the
title/name/URL of the group. Please do make the necessary changes to
group name, group URL, and applicable texts to avoid any confusion with
Freecycle services or delete the group immediately.

Realize that unauthorized use of these protected materials is confusing
the public and may be damaging the Freecycle Network’s reputation and
goodwill. Moreover, your unauthorized use is a violation of the
Terms of Service, and a trademark and copyright infringement report
be filed with MSN/Google if we cannot verify that these materials have
been removed with 48 hours of the sending of this notice.

As we noted in our first letter to you, you are welcomed to continue
operation of a gifting or exchange-oriented site similar to that
by our organization. However, any Freecycle mark, logo or name, as well
any and all materials copyrighted by The Freecycle Network, must be
removed before the end of the 48-hour period.


Trademark Infringement


September 15, 2005 4:11 PM

Below is the letter I sent to yahoo, regarding this letter from FC, I also included the string above written here. So they know it is being talked about in cyberworld. I will keep everyone posted as to the responce from Yahoo.
FC Flamers, keep your yaps shut unless you are willing to identify yourselves, you might like to send along your email address's:)

Thu, 15 Sep 2005 13:03:58 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Sharing Is Giving" Add to Address Book
Subject: Freecycle harrassment!

To whom it concerns, and those it may not. This abuse buy has to stop. Yahoo uses the excuse because it did not come from one of their emails there is nothing they can do about it, baloney!

I have already had several groups and an ID taken by Yahoo because of FC's dirty AD money, no other reason! This must stop!

Now they are blatantly bragging that they have had over 560 groups deleted! Shame on Yahoo for that! SHAME ON YOU!

If the almighty dollar is worth more than integrity, seems to be, then keep up the good work.

Yahoo had better do some home work on FC Trademark-THEY HAVE NONE!!! You are deleting groups and ID's under unfair practices. Have you not stopped to think that when you delete a group of 1000 for FC you are cutting your own throats? Then to do it 559 more times!

FC has plans to remove their groups in the near future to their own servers so all the groups you are deleting now would still be with you when FC is gone, jokes on Yahoo, FC wins.

Yes, you will see this has been sent to a few other agencies and news columns that may have interest in all that is going on for FC's account. But what you don't see is those that it was Bcc'ed to. Wonder who? Wonder if it matters?

Please don't send me your canned "we can not help" response I have heard it all before when writing to you from other ID's which you so kindly deleted on FC's request.

If you bother to check look at the Sharingisgiving Yahoo groups there are thousands of members in them also. So do you want to keep doing FC dirty work while hurting 1000's of your other members and groups? If this keeps up, all of the alternative groups are going to move to google, msn, or forum type groups, is that what you really want to happen? If this ID is taken because of FC or any other reason SIG will be next to move on to a company that will stand by their groups and group owners and not listen to lies. Again I remind you to have your leagal team to look into FC's LACK of TM benifits. If they ever do get a TM, which I doubt very much, it will only be the logo. They will never TM the word Freecycle! Will NOT happen, so you have deleted all of these groups and ID's unfairly. Oh yes, your TOS says for any reason, "money", I forgot it doesn't have to have anything to do about right or wrong, only "money"!

Do you really want to push us all away from yahoo to other avenues? Not a good corporate decision I would think? Many have already done so, and many more are doing so daily,good business sense.

While you are at the site listed below you can see some of the other things FC has been up to. From those who have been there. Then see how associated you want to be with FC. Does the "money" really mean all that much to Yahoo's integrity? I sure hope not! But your actions thus far are showing differently.

BTW a copy of this letter and whom it was sent to will also be sent to Rob Hof.

The insanity has to stop!

Owner of SIG, PK


September 15, 2005 6:02 PM

Here is my first response from Yahoo! This is just unbelievable! Now I am spaming Yahoo while trying to get their help! What is going on here world? This is completely ridiculous.
This is what we all have to put up with while dealing with the wonderful world of FC!

Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 13:48:23 -0700
To: "Sharing Is Giving"
Subject: re: Freecycle harrassment! (KMM21467587V17272L0KM)
From: "Yahoo! Customer Care" Add to Address Book


Please cease your spamming of Yahoo! Please refer to your Yahoo! Terms
of Service.


Yahoo! Customer Care

For assistance with all Yahoo! services please visit:


September 26, 2005 5:18 PM

First I am still a Freecycle Mod though each day, I wonder why I am still connected with Mr. Beal.

I've always heard Deron say he thought this all up, which I doubted, but went along with. Then I heard some say, ok, he didn't invent it,
but he was the first to put it on the internet.

After looking this most excellent site over today, it appears that maybe Deron saw this, and took much of his 'idea' from it. The site was
established in 1998. Also the recent Freecycle Finder Tool which is the same as we voted against on the Mod Squad earlier this year, is also used on this site.

Makes me wonder why Mr. Beal continues to say that he made this all up, when in fact he did not.

After all the actions taken on behalf of 'protecting' his Trademark, deleting sites that use 'his' word, it seems that he did not practice what he preaches. Taking someone's idea and then saying it was yours first, is hardly the same message.
The site has taken it all the way though, and offers much more than just exchange of items. It's sponsored by local recycling companies.

Here are a few excerpts from the site which seem very familiar to Freecycle's mission statement.

This seems so much like Freecycle that it has me wondering if Freecycle was a copy of this site, but rather than use the easily used interface,
Yahoo was used as it was free.

If the new site looks like this, I'm going to really do more than wonder if the idea was copied outright.

They say imitation if the most sincere form of flattery, but it's always best to give credit where it's due.


"The Free Market is a listing service for residents who want to give or get free reusable goods for the home, garage and garden. It is part of an effort to reduce the amount of reusable goods being thrown away"

"The Free Market SM is a listing service connecting free, reusable items with people who want them. It is part of an effort to reduce the
amount of reusable goods being thrown away. The Free Market cannot accept items for trade or cash sale"

"The Free Market website allows you to see what items people in your community are looking for or what items people have to give away, and
how to reach them so you can make an exchange. You can add your wanted or available items to the list, so you can be contacted by someone who
has an item that you need or someone who is interested in an item you have to give away.

The Free Market does not give out your address under any circumstances. Those people interested in your listing will only see your email
address, and if you authorize it, your phone number.

The Free Market does not transport or store any items.

Typically, the person requesting the item will make arrangements to pick up the item directly from the person giving it away or to meet at
an agreed upon place to complete the exchange. (For more specific instructions on how to use this website, see "How can I look for free stuff?" or "How can I give something away?", below.) "

How do I give something away?
You can start by searching the catalog to see what others have told us they are looking for. If you do not find a match there, list your available item in the catalog.

To search the catalog: go to the "View Listings" page and follow the instructions to view the list of wanted items. Select "All Categories" to search the entire catalog or select the category that your item falls under ("Furniture" or "Lawn & Garden" for example).

You will see a list of items people are looking for. Contact them to make arrangements for the exchange to take place.

To list your available item in the catalog so others can see what you have to give away, go to the "List Items" page and fill in the blanks
as instructed. The information will be posted in the catalog so that anyone interested in acquiring your item can contact you directly.

How can I look for free stuff?

Search the catalog to see what others have to give away. If you do not find anything you want there, list your wanted items in the catalog so others can contact you when they have something to donate.

To search the catalog: Go to the "View Listings" page and follow the directions to view the list of available items. Search the entire catalog by selecting "All Categories" or simplify your search by selecting a category of items ("Furniture" or "Lawn & Garden" for example).

You will see a list of items that others have to give away. These items are stored at the homes of the people who own them. Contact the donor and make arrangements to pick the item up.

What If I don't find it?

You can list your request for an item in the "Wanted" section of the catalog. Go to the "List Items" page and follow the instructions. You
can list as many items as you want. This will allow others who have a matching item to contact you.

How can I perform a 'keyword' search on the Free Market?
You can use your web browser to perform keyword searches on the Free Market. This can be helpful in looking for specific items within a certain category. For example, if you are looking for a refrigerator, you can go to the "View Listings" page and begin your search by selecting "Available" items and the "Appliances" category. This will return a listing of ALL appliances currently available on the Free Market. You can scan this list rapidly for listings containing the word "refrigerator" by using "Find On This Page" feature of your browser. If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer, you can find
this feature by clicking on "Edit" on the browser tool bar. Select "Find (On This Page)" and entering the word "Refrigerator."

After you have entered the keyword, click on the "Find Next" button and the browser will jump to the next listing containing the word Refrigerator." You can repeat this process until you have seen all of the listings for refrigerators currently available on Twin Cities
Free Market.

The Free Market is very interested in tracking it's success. One of the key ways we measure our success is by determining the number of
pounds of material that are diverted from the landfill through this program each year. It is important that every item be listed with an
item weight.

Tim Oey

September 28, 2005 4:37 AM

Hi all,

Below is the email the Sunnyvale moderators sent to our group to let the group choose whether to
1) stand firm, keep our freecycle name, and defend freecycling for all or
2) change the group's name to avoid the issue.

The group is currently voting overwhelmingly (90% to 10%) in favor of keeping the name and using freecycle as a generic term.

I hope that you all will take inspiration from this "small" group of 2200 members and do your part to return freecycle to its grassroots.

The City of Sunnyvale reviewed our group and has even included a link to it from their city pages at:

When you have a link to your group from your city's web site and also from lots of other community groups and organizations, who needs

Finally, my trademark legal counsel says we are on very solid legal ground in doing what we are doing to firmly establish that the term freecycle is generic:
1) we have the right to express our desires in this area (free speech trumps trademark law) and can encourage everyone to use the term "freecycle" freely in *any* way they choose.
2) the term has clearly become generic based on simple Google searches that he did and that the trademark office should do
3) when a term is established as generic, there is no further possibility of it being a trademark in that area of commerce (whereas a trademark requires constant vigilance and money to defend)
4) the best thing for us to do if we want freecycle to be generic, is to use it far and wide as a generic term.

If you would like to let the trademark office know that freecycle is generic, please send a letter, referencing registered trademark application 78475113, to:
Commissioner Of Trademarks
P.O. Box 1451
Alexandria, Va. 22313-1451

If you would like Yahoo to know, please tell them to not delete any freecycle groups based on the term freecycle because that term is generic. Contact them at:

Please also note that all the files within freecyclesunnyvale at:
have been rewritten and cleansed of any TFN copyright issues. Plus you all are free to reuse any of the materials in our group to establish/rework your own freecycle groups and you need not ask our permission to do so. We are in the process of putting all our content into the public domain although some parts are still under Creative Commons licenses. We also have links from our group to other freecycling directories. Being listed in multiple directories helps so that Google and other directories will pop your group to the top if people search for "freecycle ".

I do encourage you all to keep freecycling free, legal, and relatively local as this leads to the most successful freecycle experience for all. Good freecycle groups will attract and retain members. Bad freecycle groups will lose members. If everyone is free to set up their own groups, then the good groups will survive and the not so good groups will fade away -- your members can vote with their feet and no central "big brother" is needed. Also, really big groups pose bigger security risks where as small groups tend to be safer in lots of ways -- as a rule of thumb, a population base of between 20,000 and 100,000 is probably a pretty good area to cover.

If any moderators need freecycling help with their groups, please join any of the following groups for assistance or advice:

Please feel free to forward this entire email to anyone you wish and especially to other freecycle moderators. Nothing would make me happier than for this to get out on all the modsquads -- freecycle, you are unchained!

Whoo, hoo! Keep on freecyclin'!

Power to the people...


>From: "Tim Oey"
>Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2005 08:31:17 -0000
>Subject: [freecyclesunnyvale] ADMIN: The Freecycle Network problem
>Dear Members,
>Due to overly strict policies within The Freecycle Network (TFN), the
>freecyclesunnyvale group is no longer a part of TFN. I'm sure this
>will come as a surprise to you as the Sunnyvale group has been
>running extremely well and is a model of good freecycling etiquette.
>Basically a number of rotten things happened within TFN that caused a
>large number of volunteers and groups to leave TFN including most of
>the original top TFN volunteers and many of the original groups
>including Cleveland, Bakersfield, Dallas-Fort Worth, Toronto, many
>groups in Texas, many groups in New York, and more. And now Sunnyvale
>as well.
>TFN made a number of fundamental mistakes:
>1) Freecycling was billed as an open grassroots movement, but instead
>TFN became a corporation.
>2) The network is composed of members & moderators who are often
>activists and vocal by nature. TFN dictated a number of policies to
>them rather than letting them vote on these policies. When many
>called for a democratic approach, they were essentially kicked out of
>3) The term freecycle was used broadly and thoroughly as a generic
>term for nearly 2 years inside and outside of TFN before TFN started
>trying to protect freecycle as a trademark. Many moderators objected
>to this because it would force everyone within the network to use it
>as a trademark and not a normal word (freeycler, freecycling, etc).
>We did not think it was proper to kick lots of good members and
>groups out of TFN because they were freecyclers. Open generic use
>meshes well with a grassroots movement. It does not mesh well with a
>corporate approach. Plus it is late in the game to try to recapture
>freecycle as a trademark and it wastes money to do so.
>4) TFN started pursuing money and ended up getting a small grant
>(130,000) from Waste Management -- not the most attractive of
>"environmental" organizations.
>5) The corporate approach runs contrary to the fundamental spirit of
>freecycling (it is about letting go) and to the general recycling
>movement's approach of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". Instead TFN has
>wanted to have more tightly controlled "ownership" of its groups and
>to build itself up further with more money and bureaucracy.
>Now that we are no longer a part of TFN, the moderators have decided
>to give you, our members, the opportunity to make a very important
>decision for the freecyclesunnyvale group and vote in a very special
>poll. We can have a democratic approach even if TFN does not.
>The question is: Should freecyclesunnyvale...
>A) keep its existing name?
>B) rename itself and stop using the term freecycle?
>Advantages of option A:
>- there are lots of links to
>that would break if we change our name
>- we would keep the email address
>- we would support the open freecycling movement and the goal of
>keeping the term "freecycle" generic so everyone can use it freely
>and no corporation can trademark it in the area of commerce in which
>freecycling (as we know it) exists (freecycle -- to recycle by giving
>away stuff for free so someone else can reuse it)
>Advantages of option B:
>- we would avoid the possibility that TFN will ask Yahoo to delete
>freecyclesunnyvale because TFN claims "freecycle" as a trademark
>(note that the moderators are keeping backups of this group so if it
>were deleted we could quickly set up a new one and notify everyone
>currently on the group)
>Since freecycle groups are not a good place for discussion, if you
>would like to discuss this situation please do so in the new group:
>Your moderators


September 29, 2005 3:22 AM

Just a quick question...what is the status on the TM crap? Has Beal really copyrighted the word Freecycle? A group in a neighboring city (500+ members) was deleted by Yahoo last week. They weren't doing any harm. They were only recycling and helping their local community, but just happened to be calling themselves CityXFreecycle.

They got a cease-and-desist notice about a month ago and a second one about 2 weeks later, giving them exactly 48 hours to clean their group of all "patented" and "copy-righted" stuff. But within an hour of receiving the notice, the group disappeared from Yahoo. Vanished into thin air. They have sinced regrouped again under a different name, but this action makes me very angry. What is up Beal and his cronies' @ss? Is it more important to control your patent? What about those 500+ members that were working to keep clutter out of their city's landfill and whose group you took from them? You don't really care about the environment, do you?

Beal and his buddies talk about giving and then get acquisitive about the trademark? Why is Yahoo going with this? What is their cut in all of this? Who's the insider that is busy ILLEGALLY removing groups at Yahoo?

ex modnngas hubby

September 30, 2005 2:14 AM

I find it interesting that he wants to move off of yahoo to avoid the ads and commercialism to one where he gets paid per click with targeted and directed advertising.

nahhhh he's not dollar-driven.

Charlotte Hess

September 30, 2005 3:15 PM

The finder tool is the same thing the mods voted against when it was proposed earlier this year by an outside party. Now it is in use as a beta tool, with google ad sense ads accompanying it.

In all correspondence with the Mods of Freecycle, Mr. Beal has repeatedly said, his goal was to get the groups off of Yahoo, and one key reason and benefit was to not have the members subjected to the ads that Yahoo has on the group pages.

This is just a transfer of funds from the ads, instead of Yahoo profiting, now Mr.Beal, aka the Executive Director, and 1/3 of the Board of Directors; will receive the monies garnered from these clicks. Will the google ads be on the new proposed website as well? Will there also be a google search box? Both of these are pay by click revenues.

What happpened to no money being involved in a
'grassroots' movement?

Can the groups survive being added to a large database and absorbed? Will the groups then lose their hometown feel, and will grassroots be gone from Freecycle?

Stay tuned, as Deron says, it's going to get interesting.

Freecycle Mod Watching with Dismay

October 7, 2005 7:57 PM

Re: Freecycle Finder Tool

I just was on this and since i livce in Pa and was wondering what it would do..i
tried it.
well, I got tons of post from somewhere in NC..Kingston i believe..Well last
time i checked..North Carolina and Pa were way more then 20 miles apart..
But..i even went one step further..
someone was offering an item..and i said to my self..lets check this out..
So i click...
I then filled out some form to foward it to me..and guess what..i can now email
that person for the NC..
And i do not belong to that group...
So, no offense..but i think you still have lots of bugs to work out.I wont be
adding my group to this..I perfer local..after all..Thats why i became a help Locally..not someone in NC..not that i wouldnt..8)
but its not what i do..

I also must address one thing..
I wish you would take this off the main page...
For the groups that dont will spell trouble..
and for the groups that do...will as well..
I wont be sending anymore folks to the main page anymore either..

We should have voted on this..The mods worldwide should have had some sort of
say if this is the way we should use a gift grabber..Or since only mods with
groups can use it..then at the very least...voted on weather or not to have it
on the main page..
I dont think its fair..sorry..after what i seen..just my opinion..
a gift grabber is not something i want on my list..after all ..thats all it
really is..want after want..
and for places far far from m home town..

and btw...I can and did do all this on webtv no less...Imagine what a person
on a computer with way more tech knowledge then me can do with this.


October 7, 2005 8:43 PM

Looks like the mods don't like this Freecycle Finder tool at all. And I've noticed that our Newswire that previously was on the front page of the site is gone, replaced by this 'tool' We should have been able to vote on this, it's wrong to shove it down our throats Deron, it really is.

From the Mod Squad in the last few days:

"I have a question about this........
When you put in a zip code and a list of items comes up, don't you have to be a
member of the group in order to reply to the message???
For example, I put in my zipcode. I get a list of items, and the first on the
list is a WANTED from a group one town over from me. It doesnt let me click the
link to reply to the member that I have the item they are looking for. So I am
guessing, I have to go and join that group in order to contact that member.
Is this correct??? .......or am I missing something here???
Isnt this going to cause members to join groups outside their local area??
I hope this all made sense lol"

"This is exactly why I didn't (and don't plan to) join my group up.
I was afraid of this. And in general I didn't/don't like the theory,
the "gimmes", etc.
Good luck to those who are trying it, but my group is staying "finder free".

"I've also decided not to use the FreecycleFinder on Freecycle Newburyport.
When I first saw it I thought it was great fun. When the pressure is now
mounting for groups to use it, I realize we have no need for it.
For my group, where we are beginnning to be more restrictive about geography
and membership, it has no value.
As far as I can see, FreecycleFinder can do nothing more for us than the
search box on the message page already does."

"When I put in our zip code, I get a page that pops up with a list of
things from Washington,DC..IN, MS, and other states...not one item listed is remotely close to Palestine, TX. WOW! Anyone else with this

"I'm already not liking the way the Finder is pulling up different items
in different groups in DIFFERENT states, not even close to our town.
Is there anyway to BACK OUT after you've signed up"

"Yes, when I put in our zip code I get everywhere but here lol I think I will
wait for a bit before I sign our group up with this. Seems like it might cause
confusion with the group that I'm not ready to handle at the moment lol"

"I just put in a search for "toilet" with my zip, and I got one post from a group in my state, plus posts from Oregon and Tucson! I'm in New Hampshire. LOL"

"OMHO, there seems to be an inherent conflict in ideology between the Finder and
Freecycle. Members are both discouraged (and in some groups, forbidden) from
crossposting, and discouraged from joining groups outside their area, in order
to keep Freecycle local. (Remember "Think globally, Act locally?") Now a tool
is being encouraged and even pushed on us that allows members to search a much
larger area to "shop" for items. This seems to directly contradict the concept
of keeping Freecycle local.
I moderate two small Freecycle groups and one larger one in Northwest Indiana,
and to my knowledge, we have never had a problem finding enough people to receive the offers that are posted. Why would we feel the need to open them up to a larger area?"

"Well there are going to be bugs. I think the important thing is to be
supportive of efforts to unify Freecycle. Many of us are batting Rogue
groups, Spin offs and the like. By moving forward as a whole and with a
unified voice we'll be able to move past our growing pains.

By Supporting the technology initiatives in its early stages so that we
can be better prepared for the Unified website that will pull us all off
of Yahoo groups. Which will give us the advantage over the copycats.

Think of it from a user stand point. If one group is a valid Freecycle,
and the other isn't but both are a yahoo group... or one is found at and is so cool you can't help but dump your rogue... Wow,
wouldn't that be the spectacular?

We need someplace to learn and grow. Face it gang. With more than 1.5
million members world wide, we need to start thinking past 'grass roots'
to becoming a mature organization.

Think of the success sites like Ebay and Craig's list have in common.
What have they done to become powerhouses in their respective fields?

For one, Ebay has used technology to it's advantage. By the time they
became a household name they had already come light years ahead of their
clones. Working at it. Adding Features. And thus, gaining users.
Once critical mass was reached, there was no stopping them.
And Craig's list never let their franchise out. While you won't find
Craig's list in every city, if it's Craig's list... it's a Craig's list.
No if's and's or but's. I could start Karlie's list someplace, but
I'm pretty sure I'd dye out as an unknown as soon as Craig and company
expanded to cover the area I was trying to populate.

Change happens. We can't stop it so we might as well be part of a the
greater solution if we can.

By letting the beta group know what your concerns are, they can work
towards finding a solution. We can't all have our cake, but we can be
part of the solution by contributing feedback in a positive way."

"I tend to agree. To me it's like your telling your group not to cross post
but then you go to this finders tool and it goes everywhere. Like you, I think
I will decline this offer of joining them. Maybe when more of the kinks are worked out I might consider it then.

"I joined this yesterday, and so far am not impressed. How do unsubscribe my group now"

" I also must address one thing..
> I wish you would take this off the main page...
> For the groups that dont will spell trouble..
> and for the groups that do...will as well..
> I wont be sending anymore folks to the main page anymore either..

I have to say that I agree with this. I don't like the idea of it
being on the main page either. Especially since many groups will
*not* be using this tool. Not only that but it's only a temporary
tool anyway.

> We should have voted on this..The mods worldwide should have had
some sort of say if this is the way we should use a gift grabber..Or
since only mods with groups can use it..then at the very
least...voted on weather or not to have it on the main page..

I agree with this as well. Not only do I think that IF it was going
to be on the main page it should be voted on, but I"ll go one step further. I think that the whole concept should have been voted on in the first place. I could be wrong, but I don't believe it ever was.
This is of course my own personal opinion, but I truly see this as an issue that should have been brought to all the moderators to vote on,
should this tool even be available or not? I really really think it goes against what Freecycle is about, no matter what spin you put on

"From: XXXX
> Change happens. We can't stop it so we might as well be part of a the > greater solution if we can.
It's great to participate in a tool that's a solution.
FreecycleFinder isn't a solution, so it's not time to introduce members to it.

After reading your post, XXXX, I'm wondering: what is the problem that FreecycleFinder is meant to solve? And how does this tool fit with the
Freecycle mission?"

"Much has been made of the fact that people using the finder tool will need to join a local group in order to respond to the posts that the
finder brings up. This statement has been used to justify the existence of the finder on several occasions.

However, I run an open membership list. I figure that the first post moderation will catch spam bots and people posting from 3 states away.
It doesn't prevent people from out of the area joining and responding directly to offers, but up until now there hasn't been much motivation
for someone from North Carolina to join my quiet little XXX, VA Freecycle list, when there are much better targets like Richmond or DC. In the IT world we call it "security through obscurity," or in other words, "if nobody knows that it exists
except the people who are supposed to know, then nobody will attack it.
While it's not perfect, it works, and it's easy.
However, this finder changes all that. It now makes it possible for the guy in Rocky Mount to TARGET my list because the finder told him that
someone is offering a widget on my list. The finder, at least in its current state, DRAWS people to my list. People who are already members of my list will simply use the search box on the web page to find people to give their widgets to. People from around the country who are hunting for widgets will join my open list, and start replying directly to my members.
The solution to this is also simple, to approve memberships, and ask people for zip codes. BUT I DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO DO THIS! It's more work for me, that until the creation of the finder, I didn't have to do.
So for now, I'm not adding my group to the finder. I don't think it adds anything to the group members that wasn't already there with
Yahoo's search box."

"I don't think XXX (MI) Freecycle will be using this either. We already have enough people trying to claim all the "good" stuff. We don't need outsiders trying to claim it, too."

"Like this first attempt. Idea was great, but for the most part all I'm hearing is it sucks. Do we really want to try the whole she-bang with
so many unknowns? I don't think so.
So I encourage you to talk with the beta folks and see what we can do to correct the issues it's having.
While my views may not mesh with you or even Deron it is something to take into consideration.
We need to find out if we are stronger as individuals fighting out every battle in the trenches, or if we can be stronger by working together on something that will eventually unify us."

"I dislike the finder tool. I also don't like the fact that it comes up with items all over the U.S. when I am in Ohio. I put in "paper cutter" and got all kinds of unrelated stuff from as far away as Florida. I also don't like all the Google ads. It's like everything else on the net...take a good idea like Freecycle, and bugger it up with all kinds of garbage...kind of like polluting with pixels! Just because you CAN do something like this doesn't mean it's a good idea.
I hate those sites that used to be lean and functional that are now cluttered with Google ads, and in-your-face commercialism.
Nope, my group works efficiently as it is. The finder tool is definitely NOT an improvement."

"I think if given the opportunity to use the finder tool, our group would opt out as well. It's already like dialing a radio station as fast as you can to win something on our list, despite our suggestions that members gather posts
and not go with the first to respond. Ultimately, the person with the responses makes their decision. Sounds like the new "tool" would give them the option of giving their item to a first responder states away. That doesn't seem to fit with the FC concept IMHO"



October 9, 2005 1:14 AM

I run a Freecycle group in Southern California. I decided to do this because I had to go on disability, and wanted to feel useful and give something back to the community I live in. I didn't enforce many rules, and for the most part things went pretty well. Then the group grew and it started attracting some really strange types. We had people using the group to find things they could turn around and sell. We had a member harrassing kids that posted offers to the group. The last straw was when someone posted porn to the group. I had avoided enforcing rules up to to this point. I got a lot of E-mail from members who wanted rules and wanted them enforced to keep these types out. I gave them what they wanted.
In my search for different rules and policies I joined the main Modsquad, and was just amazed by what I saw there. Everybody thinks they are in charge. I worked for the government a good part of my life, I saw to much of that during that time. No way I was getting involved in anything any higher than my own local group. Somewhere along the way it seems everybody forgot that Freecycle was a community service. I had to wonder what these people do in life, maybe stay at home moms, gas station attendents? It's like some of them were given positions they've never had before so they get carried away with it. What I saw were to many power trips. That's where all the bickering and fighting is coming from. Everybody thinks they are in charge and all seem to take it very seriously. I've seen it on the local level, too. When I had to deal with the lady who was harrassing kids, I went on the state Modsquad to vent. Just because I figured we were all mods and everyone could relate. What I got was someone telling me I should never ban anyone. This was a situation with a possible pedofile, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I had left her on there to harrass other kids. This is the community I live in, I had to ban her to try and keep kids in my community safe. It's possible she was just an immature person who thought it was funny to pick on kids that posted to our group, but it's also possible that this was a real pedophile. I didn't ask for advice, I did what I felt was best in that situation.Which is what we agreed to do when we became group owners.
For you people on the power trips, shame on you. You need to get over yourselves. It's about community, it's not about you and your power trips. It's not about you. I get tired of seeing these people act like little kids when they don't get their way. I get tired of seeing new mods getting jumped on by the power trippers when they ask questions. I don't see any of this as community building, I see this as serving your own selfish needs to control others. If you put your own community first there wouldn't be all these problems. It's about community. You are volunteers, you don't get paid, it's not a job, it's a community service.

Eric Burke

October 12, 2005 3:47 PM

Just a reminder to folks who are getting fed up with FreeCycle that there is a Sane and true grass roots alternative over at
All groups are locally controled and operated with NO oversight or nit picking from
The rules for being listed in the directory are simple: all items must be freely offered; no porn, spam, drugs, or illegal items; and the group must serve a local community.
If your group meets these basic conditions, then you are welcome to be listed in the directory.
There are currently over 265 groups in the directory serving over 123,000 members.
For more information, please visit and read the FAQ or you may email me directly.

Best Regards,
Eric Burke


October 13, 2005 2:32 AM

Regarding the Freecycle Finder, which I do not want on my group, and will not be adding. I was out looking for recycle and reuse sites, and found this site. Apparently it's exactly as the Finder is, but they've been around for awhile. Was this copied by Deron and the Beta team? It looks almost identical to the finder.

And now our Newswire is gone. That certainly was not mentioned that it would go away, and it serves a much better purpose for sure.

Where is this all going? It doesn't feel like the same Freecycle I signed up for.

Lisa Brindisi

October 14, 2005 7:57 AM

Some say that freecycle is a group that has no agenda other than to keep stuff out of landfills and build communities, Apparently ONLY if you fit their Christian and svelt beliefs.

People are being dimissed because of their weight and desire to be loved. Below is a message from a "ModSquad" member as to why she dismissed a request to join. hmmm Does not discrimination raise a chanes to loose ther "Non-Profit Status"?

>Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2005 15:00:08 -0500
> From: cowtown/
>Subject: pending member
>got a request to join our freecycle from a woman who has an adult
>profile and a suggestive picture.
>shes not naked but i find the picture very objectionable for freecycle
>with the appropriate for all ages philosophy.
>before she is approved she has to reply to an email asking for
>zipcode/city and gives them an option to tell about about themselves if
>they want, which is never posted to the list. her profile says looking
>to cuddle and appears to be a BBW and has her breasts mostly exposed.
>to me its a typical sluty picture. i don't care what her deal is, i
>don't care that she is "looking" or why, im only looking out for the
>kids on our list and families, and would love to have a "canned" reply
>for lack of a better term, to email to these folks who feel they must
>flaunt sex, or themselves (another potential had info about his latest
>bj in his profile and i denied him immediately)
>any suggestions as to what to say, do others on here have something
>they send that gets the message across? or should I just deny her and
>let her read the denial letter which would tell why shes denied?
>Laurel from
>Calumet County Wisconsin Freecycle

Paul Hurte

October 16, 2005 9:13 AM

Rather than challenge my use of the term freecycle in the courts, the members of freecycle have taken to using a backdoor approach accusing me of SPAMMING their members to the company that hosts

A very well orchestrated and many times used attack that does not allow for due process. However, this has now crossed the lines of being legal in that it violates my right to due process and further constitutes slander.

Does this sound like a group that has high standards or any regards as to what is legal?

I think not. These are the antics of a cult gone wild.

Paul Hurteau
70 QUaker Street
PO Box 528
Millville, MA 01529


October 19, 2005 1:22 AM

Has anyone noticed that quietly, oh so very quietly Deron, Stephanie, and the GOA's are permanently removing mods from the modsquad and OIDG without warning? They are making accusations against mods- without proof and giving no due process. They then request that the mod give them their freecycle group. Shhhhh! It's a big secret!

Deron's been baldface lying to the freecycle mods and yanking them around so much they've either completely stopped reading messages or are glued for the next "clue" that the freecycling that they all love is about to be yanked away from them.

Is anyone compiling a list of how many groups are gone?

Tom Smith

October 25, 2005 1:20 PM

This is in response to Lisa's comment about Freecycle discriminating against individuals. The dialogue she posted was taken from the "ModSquad" group. This is a group of Freecycle Moderators that discuss issues and seek advise from other Moderators. That particular Moderator did indeed reject someone who wanted to join based on their adult profile (Freecycle is supposed to be for all ages - that was the basis). That Moderator was seeking advise, asking if she did the right thing. Many Moderators (including myself) answered her, advising that it is not our job to screen people based on lifestyle. As long as the member follows the rules, lifestyle is a non-issue. I just wanted to clarify that this was one Moderator from one group and not a policy of discrimination by the Freecycle Network.


October 26, 2005 12:30 PM

regarding Kelly's post on how many groups have left Freecycle either on their own or shoved out:

3. Char Oct 26, 11:21 am show options
From: "Char" - Find messages by this author
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2005 15:21:28 -0000
Local: Wed, Oct 26 2005 11:21 am
Subject: Re: Ersatzfriend question,,,,,
Reply | Reply to Author | Forward | Print | Individual Message | Show original | Report Abuse

I can list the ones owned by EF only in Florida. And a real good idea
on the Texas groups I helped pull out of the network.

Florida at my last count:
Ft Lauderdale
The Keys
Cocoa / Merritt Island
Lady Lake
Mount Dora
North Port
Pasco / New Port Richey

The new tactic is to delist you if you are disagreeable, or speak out against his pursuit of trademark or make any of the Head Mods or the HUB upset. After delisting your group, you are replaced by a parallel group. All the above are parallel groups, aka replacement groups.

After you are replaced, you are no longer sanctioned so will receive a Cease and Desist. At that point, you either remove the word Freecycle or face deletion by Yahoo on Freecycle's order.

Says a lot for the whole concept. Like a cult, you are either 'With Us or Against Us' What happened to Deron saying the more the merrier? There can not be too many groups of Freecycle's type?

Money is what happened. And... if we the group founders still own the groups, he could not force us to go to his new server where the group owners will be done away with. No need for an owner when it's all in a database format. Many Freecycle groups will be left with their mouth hanging open when the ax falls. Not that they did not get fair warning, but most are still either in denial or gulping too much Kool Aid to see the light.

This is one case when a 'Kool Aid Smile' will not be a cool new look.


October 26, 2005 1:06 PM

I am an owner of a FC group that is thinking of taking it off the FC platform. I have seen, been the brunt of Deron comments and to say all is not well in Freecycle land is an understatement. FC seems to allow owners who kiss up to them, owners who keep members on moderation so they can take things before members see the post and will remove good, hardworking mods and owners over a higher up person that is with FC and Deron. Lets see. Deron.........a little man who seriously needs to grow up. I have had the displeasure of emailing him over things and gotten the oh so wise answer of WHATEVER!! Please, my child is young and would never answer that way. And money from Waste Management. Hmmmmmmmmmmm guess Deron and company need any and all money they can get. I work hard at my group for FREE!!! And do not want money. That is or was the whole point of Freecycle......keeping it FREE and legal. And maybe if members of freecycle groups knew how they are talked about in secret ( shhhhhhhh) yahoo groups, IE: whiners, beggars, if they ( meaning the members who basically run FC ) don't like our rules, then leave. If other businesses ran their companies the way fc is run, well would be no employees. Maybe the brave owners and mods who talk about members on MODSQUADS should post the brave posts to their GROUPS and MEMBERS. Hmmmmmmmm nah then Deron and his minions would have to get involved. Could get ugly. I see fc going down the drain. Just a matter of how long now.


October 27, 2005 4:30 PM

Hello folks, just an addition to Eric's comments. There are several alternatives to fc like Eric’s great site. I co-run, Eric and I have each others as well as others like us listed on our sites. We also list each others groups on our sites, this is what freecycling is all about. Sharing with others, not power trips.
Fc has gone out of control with members making false accusations, deleting groups and members. Also having Yahoo delete groups and email address' without them even being able to have a say about it. They are doing this under the pretence of owning the TM on FC which is not true. They do not and it doubtful they ever will. If they do get it, it will only be the logo NOT the generic name. Many people are freecyclers and love freecycling, but have nothing to do with fc. Yahoo has a wonderful group community, it is a shame they are letting fc talk them into deleting groups under false pretenses. I know many folks, including myself, that have been affected by this. It is unfair and hopefully the procedure will be stopped soon. Someone in the hierarchy of Yahoo, will become aware of this and put a stop to it. They are only hurting themselves, their reputation and their members.
I think it is great that folks are creating alternatives to fc, but I think it getting out of control. I think it is time for folks wanting a change to look at the existing alternatives and give them a try. If you don't like it move on, but with so many folks leaving fc and recreating the wheel it is starting to backfire.
All I am asking is that if you are tired of the things you see going on in fc you look at Eric’s or our group and the links we have for the others before starting something on you own. You will soon see how much work it is to manage when you have 100's of groups to take care of, let alone 1000's. Don't reinvent the wheel become a spoke and watch your group grow. At this time we need unity not confusion. So please look at alternatives that you already have before starting a new wheel, you just may be pleased with the results.
I am just sharing my very humble opinion


October 29, 2005 6:08 AM

The control freakery has reached here (England). The local group in Leicester got deleted with 300 people active. Guess they don't care all that much about keeping things out of landfill as much as they care about keeping control.

Paul Hurteau

October 30, 2005 4:34 PM

Deb Sawyers has committed a crime in the name of freecycle and they condone that. Fine. It shows the morals and righteousness that this group has.

I on the other hand have invited all to sign a petition that follows a legal way of doing things and is the right way to do it. By Deb Sawyers actions I have lost two years of work,, Customers data bases and important information worth thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I am a law biding citizen and though the wheels of justice may turn slowly, they do turn.

Anyone interested in signing a petition which I will hand deliver to the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office is welcome to view, and if so inclined sign our petition. At:

If you follow the law and do what is right,, you will always prevail.

Paul Hurteau
70 Quaker Street
PO Box 528
Millville, MA 01529


November 1, 2005 10:15 PM

As we now have google ads on the Freecycle site, and more to come in the new website being planned. Does this mean that Deron lied when this was placed on in 2003? Or has it all changed to a profit motive? No ads Deron?

Courtesy of the

"The Worldwide (!) Freecycle Network is open to all cities and to all individuals who want to "recycle" that special something rather than throw it away. Whether it's a chair, a fax machine, piano or an old door, feel free to post it. Or maybe you're looking to acquire something yourself! One constraint: everything posted must be free. Just pick your city on the right and it'll link you to their website, or sign up with that city directly by e-mail below. And, as Abe Lincoln once said, "Think globally, recycle locally."

This network is organized by "Downtown Don't Waste It," a nonprofit RISE recycling organization in Tucson, Arizona. It is run by local volunteer moderators across the globe who make each local group what it is — Grassroots at its best!

If you'd like to start your own Freecycle Network we've provided instructions below. E-mail with comments or call Deron Beal at 520-791-2569 for questions or improvement ideas! Soon we hope to make it possible for you to have your webpage for free (with no ads!) directly on this site. I'm getting donations together as we speak. For now, this site links you to the Yahoo Groups site. Have fun. And, Keep on Freecyclin'!
Sign up!


November 1, 2005 10:26 PM


Date: Tue Nov 1, 2005 4:34 pm
Subject: From owner to moderator?? jctsmom

When I added ersatzfriend as the "owner", I looked recently and now I am just the moderator and ersatz is the only owner. How does this
happen and how do I fix it???


Debra Sawyers
Date: Tue Nov 1, 2005 5:19 pm
Subject: Re: [freecyclemodsquad] From owner to moderator?? debsawyers
Offline Offline
Send Email Send Email
> When I added ersatzfriend as the "owner", I looked
> recently and now I
> am just the moderator and ersatz is the only owner.
> How does this
> happen and how do I fix it???

Wow, that's really wierd. It is possible if you were
changing your own membership settings (email settings,
notifications), that you could have accidentally
clicked the link to change yourself to moderator. I'm not sure what kind of confirmation it makes you give.
It won't let you remove yourself if you're the only owner, but it's not too picky if there's another.

Uh huh, now that was a mistake adding him as an owner. Thought most Mods figured this one out already.

You can go into the Management link of your group, go to moderator activity and search for Demoted. That would show you if it was something you did

You can contact your GOA at Vermont@... to
request to be reinstated as an owner, or email
addEF@... and explain what happened.

Modsquad Moderator


November 2, 2005 7:02 PM

Section 1. Name. The name of this corporation is The Freecycle Network (the
Section 2. Offices. The known place of business of the Corporation is at P.O. Box
294, Tucson, AZ 85702. The office may be changed from time to time by the Board of
Directors, and the Corporation may have such additional offices as the Board of
Directors may designate or as the activities of the Corporation may require from time to
The Corporation is organized and will be operated exclusively for charitable and
educational purposes as defined in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of
1986, as amended. Specifically, the character of the business which the Corporation
intends to conduct is that of promoting reuse and recycling on a noncommercial basis,
at the local level throughout the world, utilizing an internet based system of giving and
The Corporation shall be a membership corporation. The Members shall consist
of those individuals who agree to be bound by the membership criteria as adopted by
the Board of Directors, and as may be amended from time to time. Such Members shall
not have voting rights. In the event there shall ever be no Members of this Corporation,
or if the membership shall, in the opinion of the Board of Directors of this Corporation,
jeopardize the continued tax-exempt status of this Corporation, the Board of Directors of
this Corporation may declare that this is a nonmembership corporation and be so
governed by those provisions of Arizona law applicable to nonmembership nonprofit
Section 1. General Powers. Subject to the limitations of these Bylaws, the
Articles of Incorporation and the laws of Arizona, the affairs of the Corporation shall be
managed, and all corporate powers shall be exercised, by or under the direction of its
Board of Directors. The Directors need not be residents of Arizona but shall be
Members of the Corporation. No Director, officer or agent of the Corporation shall
authorize or allow any corporate funds to be expended for any purposes other than as
set forth in the Articles of Incorporation or for purposes reasonably incidental thereto.
Section 2. Number and Vacancies. The initial members of the Board of Directors
shall be those persons named in the Articles of Incorporation. Thereafter, the Board of
Directors of the Corporation shall consist of not less than one (1) and not more than
fifteen (15) members. Any vacancy on the Board of Directors shall be filled by a majority
of the remaining members of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors may leave
any vacancy on the Board of Directors unfilled. All members of the Board of Directors
shall have equal and full voting responsibilities as members of the Board of Directors.
No decrease in the number of Directors shall have the effect of shortening the term of
office of any incumbent Director. The number of Directors may be increased by the
Board of Directors at any duly convened meeting. A newly created seat on the Board of
Directors shall be filled in the same manner as a vacancy on the Board of Directors.
Section 3. Election. At the annual meeting, the Board of Directors shall elect the
new Board of Directors. The outgoing Board of Directors and any Member of the
Corporation may, but is not obligated, to submit nominees for the purpose of electing
the new Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall not be bound to elect members
of the Board of Directors from the list of nominees. Said list of nominees shall be
submitted to the Executive Director or Secretary of the Corporation no later than ten
(15) day prior to the date of the annual meeting. Each Director so elected shall serve for
a term of one year, or until such Director's earlier resignation or removal. An individual
may be elected to successive terms on the Board of Directors.
Section 4. Resignation. Any Director may resign at any time, either by oral tender
of resignation at any meeting of the Board of Directors or by giving written notice
thereof, at any time to the Executive Director or the Secretary of the Corporation. Such
resignation shall take effect prospectively at the time specified therefor and, unless
otherwise specified with respect thereto. The acceptance of such resignation shall not
be necessary to make it effective.
Section 5. Removal. A Director may be removed, with or without cause, by a vote
of a majority of the members of the Board of Directors at any time.
Section 6. Annual Meetings. The annual meeting of the Board of Directors shall
be held no earlier than January 15th and no later than June 15 of each year. The annual
meeting shall be in the place and at the time specified in the notice of the meeting.
Section 7. Special Meetings. Unless otherwise provided by resolution of the
Board of Directors, all meetings of the Board of Directors other than annual meetings
shall be special meetings. Special meetings of the Board of Directors may be called by
or at the request of a majority of the Board of Directors or by the Executive Director,
and shall be held at such place and time as a person or persons calling such meeting
shall specific.
Section 8. Notice. Notice of the annual meeting of the Board of Directors shall be
given at least ten (10) days, but not more than forty (40) days, prior thereto in writing,
delivered personally, by overnight courier service, by mail, electronic mail or by
facsimile to each Director at his or her mailing address, electronic mail address or
facsimile number as give to the Corporation by said Director. Notice of special meetings
of the Board of Directors shall be given at least five (5) days, but not more than twentyfive
(25) days, prior thereto in writing, delivered personally, by overnight courier service,
by mail, electronic mail or by facsimile to each Director at his or her mailing address,
electronic mail address or facsimile number as give to the Corporation by said Director.
If mailed, such notice shall be deemed to be delivered three (3) days after being
deposited in the United States mail as so addressed with postage thereon prepaid. If
sent by overnight courier, said notice shall be deemed delivered the next day. If sent by
electronic mail or facsimile, such notice shall be deemed to be delivered the same day
as transmitted by electronic mail or facsimile. The attendance of a Director at a meeting
shall constitute a waiver of notice of such meeting, except where a Director attends a
meeting for the express purpose of objecting to the transaction of any business because
the meeting is not lawfully called or convened. Unless otherwise required by law or
specified by the Articles of Incorporation or the Bylaws, neither the business to be
transacted nor the purpose of any meeting of the Board of Directors need be specified
in the notice or the waiver of notice of such meeting. Notice of any meeting may be
waived by any or all of the Directors.
Section 9. Quorum. A majority of the number of Directors actually serving shall
constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting the Board of
Directors. The Board of Directors may continue to transact business during a meeting at
which a quorum is initially present, notwithstanding the withdrawal of Directors if any
action is approved by at least a majority of the required quorum for that meeting.
Section 10. Manner of Acting. The act of majority of the Directors present at a
meeting duly convened at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the Board of
Directors, unless the act of a greater number is required by law, by the Articles of
Incorporation of by these Bylaws.
Section 11. Compensation. By resolution of the Board of Directors, expenses of
attendance of all Directors, if any, at each annual or special meeting of the Board of
Directors may be allowed.
Section 12. Informal Act. Any action required by law to be taken at a meeting of
Board of Directors, or any action which may be taken at a meeting of Board of
Directors, may be taken without a meeting if a consent in writing, setting forth the
actions so taken, shall be signed by all of the Directors. Such action by written consent
shall have the same force and effect as an unanimous vote of the Board of Directors.
Such written consent or consents shall be filed with the minutes of the proceedings of
the Board of Directors.
Section 13. Participation in Meetings by Means of Conference Telephone.
Members of the Board of Directors, or any committee of the Board of Directors, may
participate in a meeting of the Board of Directors or of such committee by means of a
conference telephone or similar communications device whereby all persons
participating in the meeting can hear each other, and participation by such means shall
constitute presence in person at such meeting.
Section 14. Adjournment. A majority of the Directors present, whether or not
constituting a quorum, may adjourn any meeting to another time and place.
Section 15. Presumption of Assent. A Director of the Corporation who is present
at a meeting of the Board of Directors at which action on any corporate matter is taken
shall be presumed to have assented to the action taken, unless his or her dissent shall
be entered in the minutes of the meeting, or unless he or she shall file his or her dissent
to such action with the person acting as the Secretary of the meeting before the
adjournment thereof, or shall forward such dissent by certified mail to the Secretary of
the Corporation immediately after the adjournment of the meeting. Such right to dissent
shall not apply to a Director who voted in favor of such action.
Section 1. Titles. The officers of the Corporation shall be an Executive Director,
an Assistant Executive Director, a Secretary and a Treasurer, and such other officers
and assistant officers as the Board of Directors may deem necessary.
Section 2. Election of Officers. The initial officers shall be elected by the initial
Board of Directors. Thereafter, the officers of the Corporation shall be elected annually
by the Board of Directors at the annual meeting of the Board of Directors. If the election
of any officer is not held at such meeting, such election shall be held as soon as
conveniently possible thereafter.. New offices may be created and filled, and vacancies
may be filled, at any meeting of the Board of Directors. Each officer shall hold office until
his or her successor shall have been duly elected and qualified, unless such officer is
otherwise removed. Each officer shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors.
Section 3. Removal. Any officer elected or appointed by the Board of Directors
may be removed by the Board of Directors, with or without cause, whenever in its
judgment the best interests of the Corporation would be served.
Section 4. Resignation. Any officer may resign at any time by giving written notice
to the Executive Director or Secretary. Any resignation shall take effect at the date of
the receipt of that notice or at any later time specified in that notice; and, unless
otherwise specified in such notice, the acceptance to the resignation shall not be
necessary to make it effective.
Section 5. Executive Director. The Executive Director shall be the chief
executive officer of the Corporation and as such shall exercise general supervision of
all operations and personnel of the Corporation. The Executive Director shall sign on
behalf of the Corporation all agreements and contracts of material importance to the
Corporation's business, and shall do and perform all acts and things which the Board
of Directors may require of him or her.
Section 6. Assistant Executive Director. In the event of the Executive Director's
absence or inability to act, any of the Assistant Executive Directors shall have the
powers of the Executive Director. He or she shall perform such other duties as the
Board of Directors may impose upon him or her.
Section 7. Secretary. The Secretary shall keep a record of the minutes of all
meetings of the Board of Directors, shall give notice of meetings as provided by these
Bylaws, shall have custody of all books, records and papers of the Corporation, except
those in the custody of the Treasurer or some other person authorized to have charge
thereof by the Board of Directors, and shall perform such other duties as may from
time to time be assigned to the Secretary by the Board of Directors.
Section 8. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall receive and disburse all corporate
funds and shall keep an accurate and detailed record of all receipts and
disbursements, which records shall at all times be subject to inspection by any
member of the Board of Directors. The Treasurer shall deposit all corporation funds
coming into his or her hands in such bank or banks as may be designated by the
Board of Directors. All checks, drafts, notes, or orders drawn against the accounts or
funds of the Corporation shall be signed by the Executive Director or such other officer
authorized by resolution of the Board of Directors.
Section 9. Additional Officers. Officers and assistant officers, in addition to those
hereinabove described, who are elected or appointed by the Board of Directors, shall
perform such duties as shall be assigned to them by the Executive Director or the
Board of Directors.
Section 10. Compensation and Expenses. Expenses incurred in connection with
performance of their official duties may be reimbursed to officers upon approval by the
Board of Directors.
Section 11. Vacancies. A vacancy in any office due to death, resignation,
removal, disqualification or other cause may be filled by the Board of Directors at any
Section 12. Employees. The Board of Directors may establish such positions of
employment as it deems desirable from time to time and shall fix the compensation for
such positions. Subject to the control and direction of the Board of Directors, the
Executive Director shall hire and discharge employees necessary for the proper
conduct of the business of the Corporation.
Section 1. Committees. The Board of Directors, by resolution adopted by a
majority of the Board of Directors, may designate and appoint one or more committees,
each of which shall consist of one or more Directors and such number of persons who
are Members of the Corporation, as the Board of Directors may determine.
Section 2. Removal. Any member of a committee established under this section
may be removed by the Board of Directors whenever in their judgment the best interest
of the Corporation shall be served by such removal.
Section 3. Term. Each member of the committee established under this section
shall continue as such until the next annual meeting of the Board of Directors or until his
or her successor is appointed, unless the committee shall be sooner terminated or
unless any such member is removed from such committee, or unless such member
shall cease to qualify as a member thereof.
Section 1. Contracts. The Board of Directors may authorize any officer or
officers, in addition to the officers so authorized by these Bylaws, to enter into any
contract or execute and deliver any instrument in the name of and on behalf of the
Corporation, and such authority may be general or confined to specific instances.
Section 2. Checks. All checks, drafts or orders for the payment of money, notes
or other evidences of indebtedness issued in the name of the Corporation, shall be
signed by such officer or officers, agent or agents of the Corporation in such manner as
shall from time to time be determined by resolution of the Board of Directors. In the
absence of such determination by the Board of Directors, such instrument shall be
signed by the Secretary or Treasurer (or an assistant of either one) and countersigned
by the Executive Director or Assistant Executive Director of the Corporation.
Section 3. Deposits. All funds of the Corporation shall be deposited from time to
time to the credit of the Corporation in such banks, trust companies or other
depositories as the Board of Directors may select.
Section 4. Gifts. The Board of Directors may accept on behalf of the Corporation
any contribution, gift, bequest, or devise for the general purposes or for any special
purpose of the Corporation.
Section 5. Loans to Directors and Officers. No loan shall be made by or to this
Corporation and no evidences of indebtedness shall be issued in its name, unless
authorized by a resolution of the Board of Directors. Such authority may be general or
confined to specific instances. No loans shall be made by the Corporation to any of its
Directors or officers.
The fiscal year of the Corporation shall begin July 1 and end June 30 of each
year, except that the first year shall be the start year commencing on the date of
delivery of the Articles of Incorporation to the Arizona Corporate Commission and
ending June 30.
These Bylaws may be altered, amended or repealed, and new Bylaws may be
adopted only by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Board of Directors.
Unless the context requires otherwise, the general provisions, rules of
construction, and definitions in Title 10 of Arizona Revised Statutes, shall govern the
construction of these Bylaws. Without limiting the generality of the above, the masculine
gender includes the feminine and neuter, the singular number includes the plural, the
plural number includes the singular, and the term "person" includes both a corporation
or other organization and a natural person, except for the purposes of Section 9 of
Article IV of these Bylaws, in which a person shall refer solely to a natural person. The
rules contained in the current edition of Roberts' Rules of Order govern the Corporation
in all cases in which they are applicable, and in which they are not inconsistent with
these Bylaws, the Articles of Incorporation, or any existing law.
Adopted: 3/12/04



Freecycle Board. Why so small?

Although portrayed by us in a rather positive/optimistic light,
we have indeed received a rejection letter from the IRS which states
that we have 90 days to prove we still deserve to be a 501c3. We
have letters of support from the EPA, several state agencies and
numerous municipalities, thanks in large part to your help saying we
should still receive our 501c3. If we don't receive it, we will
*not* be tax-deductible and will have to change our business model

The model which is second in line is a "foundation" rather than
a "501c3". This status is easier to receive but much more encumbered
with reporting and spending constraints. For example, all money must
be spent each year, etc, no reserves and so forth. It wouldn't be
great but better than nothing. What would this mean? It would mean
the ideal board would have a much different make-up than an ideal
501c3 board with different requirements for board members, different
degrees of liability for board members and a whole slew of different

Further, what if we don't receive the Foundation status either? This
is unlikely but could happen. If we do get rejected, what then? The
option that remains is to reestablish The Freecycle Network entirely
as a co-operative. While this sounds exciting and has cool elements,
it has tricky legal implications as a co-operative is not a
nonprofit which can accept donations in the sense of a 501c3 at all.
It means that each member is a part owner of the overall Network. It
also means that we would have to have an entirely new board which is
voted on by the co-operative members - this means kicking out the
current board per se and starting over. It's easy to vote with the
other board members to fire ourselves because there are only three
of us now, but with a full-fledged group of 10-12 with other
interests in self-preservation, this could look much different. For
these reasons it would not be wise to grow the board until we know
which business form we will ultimately have.

If we had had a ten-member board I would have had to call a meeting,
wait ten days to have it, educate the seven members who are not up to
speed and then likely plan a board retreat with them and a consultant to
plan restructuring for the hub. In other words, I would just now be in
the first meeting with the board to consider the hub, rather than moving
forward with the team as we are now. It would be difficult to keep the
organization together. An online movement consisting of thousands of
volunteers requires fast action to remain stable at this point in
time as you all know all too well!

Our lawyers advise us to remain small until we have organizational
stability as does our accountant. Our board agrees for the above
reasons noted.

Show us our audited financials, Deron.

We have none. Audited financials could only be completed after the
first full fiscal year. These numbers are not complete yet for our
first fiscal year - it just ended in June, fyi. *And*, fully audited
financials would cost us about $5-7,000 to have done. Since we are not
yet a 501c3, it is also not required or even advisable to have fully
audited financials. In fact our auditor says it is a waste of money
for any budget under $100,000, as even the IRS would not require
this at this level even if we *were* already a 501c3, which we are
not. As our fiscal year ends in June, our total income for the year,
which didn't really even start kicking in until March for real, will
likely be under $75,000. Our accountant and our auditors instead
recommend a fully audited "financial report" which is different than
a full audit. It is more basic and "only" costs about $2000 or so.
This is absolutely sufficient for the IRS and leaves us with an
extra $3-4,000 to plow into Web site design.

Show us the budget!

It would not be a good idea to put the detailed current budget out
into the public realm right now as we defend our trademark rights
in the US, Canada and the European Union. Understand that the
"Freecycle" name is worth tens of millions already. We have only
small sums to defend it. If these exact sums are known, then those
with interest in co-opting the name need only calculate how many
times they need appeal a decision before we are broke. I am however
glad to divulge that my own pay is $45,000; we currently have about
$2,000 in monthly expenses for the current site bandwidth and upkeep
(300,000 hits a day on average); and that we have roughly $15,000 set
aside for the new website design; that we'll likely need $40,000 for
hardware when the new design is done; and that we'll need to hire at
least one expensive engineer when the site is complete. Our total
budget is currently $150,000 for an entire calendar year. That'll have
to do for the basics.

ERSATZFRIEND - Why and how
Will it delete my group?

Nope. Never. Ask on any complaints group. The only thing that EF was
ever, ever used for in its history was on two lists downloading a member
list when a moderator said they were leaving and taking their members with
them. Nancy requested this be done, by the way to Judy. Nancy felt it was
unethical for the moderator to do so. However, because I didn't feel this
was a wise public policy choice, I made sure we didn't use these lists to
set up new gruops after we indeed lost the old ones. This was in Rockport
MD and somewhere else I don't recall.


Copyright (c) 2003-2005 The Freecycle Network
( All rights reserved.

Freecycle and the Freecycle logo are trademarks of
The Freecycle Network in the United States and/or
other countries.


November 2, 2005 7:05 PM

: [freecyclemodsquad] ADMIN: FreecycleFinder Question
Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2005 22:26:35 -0000
From: freecyclederon

The folloiwng question was asked and I felt it would be good to copy
in a response here:

"As a local group owner, I was disappointed to see Google Ads being
run on the Freecycle Finder tool. Where does the revenue from these
ads go?"


Good question asked to

All income (in past three weeks about enough for a pizza) goes
towards bandwidth and coding / maintenance of the tool. We
anticipate further bandwidth/coding needs that could approach $500-
1000 per month -- we just don't know yet. It is our hope that the
google bar on the right will cover some portion of these costs.
However, it doesn't currently look like this will even cover the
current expenses. The viability of this tool will help us determine
the viability of the new Web site which is currently being designed.

We will never have banner ads or the many annoying varieties thereof
like Yahoo does. The Goal: a PBS-style site with underwriters and
foundation support. But we do have to cover the costs and we ain't
even close yet to doing so....

Our 501c3 IRS status is still pending which also means
donations/grants are not tax-deductible even though we are a
nonprofit. This means we can't fall back on such funding sources
yet. Keep your fingers crossed for us though....

Recall that our goal is to get away from the commerciality of Yahoo
Groups and into an entirely nonprofit realm. This is a small step in
that direction.



November 2, 2005 8:29 PM

Another Freecycle Moderator not happy with the way things are going.

Deron, I have no problem with your defense of the Freecycle trademark.
That's quite appropriate to this situation. But you have been getting
more and more heavy-handed about insinuating that other gifting groups
are somehow less worthy because they are "not a nonprofit".

While the topic of your post is ostensibly the trademark, you used the
word trademark only 4 times, while you referred to the irrelevant status
of being or not being a nonprofit no less than 11 times!

You implication is clearly that if they aren't nonprofit, then they must
be in it for the money they're going to make, which is ridiculous. And
please don't tell me that's not what you meant when you tossed in the
uncalled for remark "(which is not a nonprofit by the way)", and then
repeated *10 more times* that Freecycle is "the *only* nonprofit gifting
network," the other network "is not a nonprofit," etc. etc. etc. The
overemphasis in the extreme repetition clearly shows there's a subtext.
You can't claim that you're not trying to make the point that the other
network(s) are not as good as Freecycle because they are not nonprofits.
There is no other point in what you keep saying over and over and over.

Freecycle was not a nonprofit either when it was at the grassroots stage
those other groups are at. Having a grassroots movement means
individuals or groups acting independently for the common good -- acting
at a local level rather than from a center of activity. When Freecycle
became a corporation, it ceased being a grassroots operation.

"'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a
scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor
less.' 'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean
so many different things.' 'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which
is to be master- that's all.' " --Lewis Carroll in /"Through the

You can try to use "grassroots" to mean whatever you want it to mean,
but in reality one can have a grassroots movement or one can have a
nonprofit corporation -- but the same organization can't be both,
because a corporation is by definition centralized. I have never before
complained about your insistence that Freecycle is both, but you went
too far overboard here.

Of course those groups are not nonprofits -- they are true grassroots
groups, with zero funds and zero budget. Their organizers are not in it
to make money for themselves, or even to provide an income for
themselves. They just want to have independent gifting groups with no
money involved in any way, shape or form -- no grants, no income, no
trademark, no nonprofit status -- just grassroots gifting groups, the
same as you had when you started doing this, when you warmly invited
others to create freecycle groups of their own whenever and wherever
they wanted, and wished everyone happy freecyclin'.

So please give that issue a rest. When you're discussing trademark
violations, discuss trademark violations. When you're discussing
dissenting groups and ex-Freecycle mods, discuss dissenting groups and
ex-Freecycle mods. You want to say phooey on them, say phooey on them.
That's all fine. But leave the nonprofit issue out of it, because it is
NOT RELEVANT to any of the independent groups you're referring to. If it
becomes relevant at some time in the future, that's one thing -- but it
is not relevant to any of them now. You have begun to alienate me with
these off-topic, heavy-handed and unjustified insinuations, and I doubt
I am the only dedicated mod who is starting to feel that way.

Thank you for allowing me to say my piece.

Freecycle Moderator: Name withheld to protect her.


November 4, 2005 6:04 PM

I am curious about all the obvious dummy groups created all over the world. In particular, the one in Bejing China. Since they have very strict internet access laws, how did Bejing get in there?
Then there's the group in Lithuania. Created by someone in Canada (from another group) that had ancestors from there and a few posts by another person in the U.S. that had ancestors from there. There are a few other groups that look odd as well. So is this TFN setting up dummy groups to try to reinforce their claim to TM? Are they created to inflate their membership figures?
Seems like anyone anywhere in the world is free to make a FCN group for any area they feel like as long as there's not one there already.
Just look at the list of international groups at their site and click on "go to" for any that seems odd.


November 10, 2005 4:42 PM

freecyclechennai in India, a vast spam pit. Obviously it's just there to say they have a group in place. Now if you're looking to refinance your home, hire an engineer, outsource your business or find an Indian bride, you are all set!

Tim Oey

November 11, 2005 12:13 PM

Please help freecycling be truly free

Hello folks,

What faces us now is a battle for the heart and soul of the original freecycling grass roots movement.

The Freecycle Network (TFN) is most afraid of people knowing the truth. Because in this case the truth can set us *all* free. And people, all of you, do have the power to change this if you take a stand now, let everyone know the truth, and you keep on freecyclin' -- in word and in deed.

This is why TFN would like to shut down freecyclenext and also does not allow this kind of open and honest discussion on any of the modsquads or OIDG. TFN would probably never allow a vote in the main freecyclemodsquad about whether to pursue the freecycle trademark or not. And if it did, most of the people who know better have been shut out of the system and so their voices will be hard to hear.

TFN does not want *anyone* using the generic words freecycling or freecycler. TFN does want tight corporate trademark control over the word.

TFN no longer really supports a free and open grass roots movement. TFN wants to be a corporation.

TFN no longer supports freecycling at all levels in how it operates internally. TFN wants tight trademark and copyright restrictions on its own stuff -- in contrast to others who are willing to give intellectual property materials away for free (be good freecycle role models from top to bottom).

TFN no longer wants to allow moderators/owners the right to choose. TFN wants to be the parent and make choices for others -- it knows better.

TFN no longer really wants local ownership. TFN wants strong central ownership.

TFN could not get funding through normal channels. So TFN scrambled to get money from any source it could (Waste Management).

TFN said the reason to get off of Yahoo Groups was to avoid ads. Now TFN is going down a road of being ad supported for its new systems.

TFN has said it wants the trademark control to fend off other corporations. But where is the money? And what has TFN mostly done so far with its trademark? It has used it to hurt many good groups, many good people, many freecyclers like you and me. TFN itself has become the corporation that it said would try to control freecycle.

Freecycling like recycling and sustainable growth is best when folks think globally but act locally. This means local control and local decisions that are informed by everyone's best practices.

Letting TFN have tight trademark control (via trademark registration) of the word freecycle means that they can pretty much do as they please with any freecycle group regardless of what the owners/moderators might want (especially for the groups still within TFN). This is really a make or break time for TFN in terms of its ability to forcibly control others. This control is even stronger than ersatzfriend because it covers all groups outside of TFN & Yahoo as well as inside.

Plus TFN can be a success, probably even more of a success, if it follows its own advice and actually applies the freecycling ethic to itself. There are other paths to success open to TFN. If we all can freely be freecyclers, we all win.

What we need now is power to the people. If you really care, you can make a difference.

Please use freecycle freely as a regular word and let all the freecycling groups and members in your area, both inside and outside of TFN, know what is really happening. Please let Yahoo know that freecycle is a generic term. Spread the word.

Please let them know about:

If anything happens to either of these groups, you can also go to the following locations for updates:

Tim Oey


November 11, 2005 6:07 PM

Concerning the "dummy" groups set up to inflate numbers....I found this at tfn's site concerning the rules for making a group:

"Also note: there absolutely cannot be more than one group per owner and the owner must, of course, actually live in the area that the proposed group covers. Sorry folks, again, no exceptions."

Now why isn't Deron's goons sending C&Ds to these sites that are obviously set up by people not living in the area?


November 16, 2005 8:24 AM

MSNBC discusses problems with Freecycle:

Recycling movement at crossroads?
'Freecycle' deal with Waste Management smells to some

Got a garage full of stuff you don't need? Try posting it on Freecycle. No Freecycle group in your area? Start your own.

This has been the happy mantra of Freecyclers since the grassroots online exchange started up in 2003. More than a million people all over the world have become members, via some 2,600 local groups. Thousands of tons of useful goods have been kept out of the garbage. The media has been charmed.

But behind the scenes at the Freecycle Network, as it's formally known, the honeymoon may be over. Founder and executive director Deron Beal recently accepted the network's first corporate support, in the form of a $130,000 sponsorship from the largest garbage company in the U.S., Waste Management, Inc. While some say the move is necessary for success, others are crying "hypocrisy" and leaving by the score. Meanwhile, moderators of local Freecycle groups, which have long operated independently, are bridling at a move toward centralization. Has Freecycle run its course?

First, the funding: Beal says WM came to him with the sponsorship proposal in 2004. At the time, he was gearing up to secure the trademark on the Freecycle name. Success in that endeavor has been elusive: an unrelated Florida company beat Beal to the trademark office by just a few months. He plans to mount a legal challenge to prove he has a prior right to the name, and said the sponsorship money is critical to that battle. The first check arrived in February, and visitors to will now find WM linked as a sponsor. Actually, as the only sponsor.

The money also allowed Beal to quit his day job and begin drawing a paycheck from Freecycle. He had been working for a program in Tucson, Ariz., that combined recycling and job training, run by Rise, Inc., a Minnesota-based nonprofit. Shifting to Freecycle full-time, he said, will mean better service for the network's 4,000 moderators and 1.2 million members. The money will also help improve the website, which has until recently been somewhat rudimentary.

The garbage giant announced its sponsorship in late April and, says company spokesperson Heather Browne, plans to roll out a public-relations campaign that will urge people to cut down on waste by using Beal's creation. "We have to exhibit a daily commitment to environmental stewardship, and Freecycle allows us to be able to further exemplify that," Browne said.

Indeed, WM has a long history of funding environmental causes; it has been a leading sponsor of Earth Day for years. But in 1990, it was denied membership in the Environmental Grantmakers Association, the group of foundations whose support is critical to the movement. The association said WM had "engaged in a pattern of abusive corporate conduct involving repeated violations of both criminal and civil laws, with the effect of endangering and degrading the environment," the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported at the time.

Recent events suggest that the Houston, Texas-based company, which posted $939 million in profits last year, hasn't changed. For nearly 20 years, it has been plagued by scandal, from accounting misdeeds to chronic pollution problems to allegations of mob ties. In 1999, for example, it was accused of illegally dumping medical waste in a Virginia landfill not suited for that purpose; in 2003, Texas levied its largest-ever landfill fine for noxious odors at a WM dump near Austin; and this spring, fire erupted underground at a WM-operated dump in Hawaii, where state officials also found fluid leakage and said the dump had been overfilled, making it unstable.

'Modsquad' not allowed to vote
The new sponsor hardly seems a good fit for a movement like Freecycle, some members say. While the community of local moderators, known as the Modsquad, usually gets to vote on important administrative matters, it wasn't allowed to vote on the grant. Beal said there wasn't time, and that it wouldn't be appropriate to have moderators vote on such "binding" matters.

"I certainly felt a bit deceived," said Eric Burke, founder of the Freecycle group in Anderson, S.C. "Had the sponsor been an environmental benefactor, a software company, or just about anyone else, I think most of the [local group] moderators would have seen it as good news."

Since learning of the WM grant, Burke has left Freecycle and founded, one of several splinter groups that serve as refuge for disillusioned Freecyclers. Accurately measuring the dissent is difficult; one former moderator estimates that hundreds of local groups have left the network.

"It's terribly disappointing," said fellow defector Rosemary Hill, who founded the Freecycle group in Bakersfield, Calif. She, too, has left the network and renamed her group. "Freecycle was a good thing, a wonderful thing. I think it's all about money now."

But others say the sponsorship is not such a bad deal. "Waste Management does not have a good reputation in Alabama," acknowledged Tami Tilkin, Freecycle moderator in Birmingham. "The name is practically synonymous with a notorious hazardous waste landfill in the western part of the state. However, I don't think the relationship ... is a negative association. As I see it, Waste Management is paying money to 'greenwash' their image a bit. They have not bought control of Freecycle."

Beal echoed that, saying WM's sponsorship allows the company to claim it is addressing all three "R's" in the recycling triangle, including reuse. "They have the right to tell the world what a wonderful thing they are doing in support of us," he said. "We have our first underwriter, and we're tickled about what that enables us to do for our members."

This conflict illustrates that environmental grantmaking is a "messy business," said Robert Brulle, associate professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. "Corporations only give to enhance their public image. That's sort of a general rule, and there's nothing surprising about that," he said, adding that many green groups rely on grants from corporations with imperfect records. The key, Brulle said, is whether the gift comes with strings attached, and whether it reflects the first step toward gaining a controlling influence. In this case, he pointed out, "on the basis of one grant, it's kind of hard to say." However, past appointments of WM executives to the boards of the National Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation have generated controversy.

Fast, cheap ... and out of control?
Control is also at stake in the other major issue currently eating at Freecyclers. Most local groups operate under an umbrella run by Yahoo!, with the moderator having control over member info and transactions. But last summer, Beal required every local moderator to add him as an "owner" with full moderator powers. Beal said this was essential, because some moderators had abandoned their groups, or failed to control spammers.

Though the Modsquad approved Beal's change, many moderators worried they'd be giving him power to collect private information, distribute advertising, and take over their groups at any time. Beal said he has no such plans. "I only initiate the bare minimum rules that we all need to follow for this thing to work," he said.

While Freecycle functions like an online discussion forum, its structure is unique. Such forums are often like a train; they might add more cars, but the train remains under the founder's control. For example, Craigslist, the wildly popular discussion and advertising forum born in the San Francisco Bay Area, expands to serve other cities only when the founders see sufficient demand; each new city is moderated by Craigslist, not a local person. In other words, Craigslist is always driving the train.

Freecycle, on the other hand, basically said, "Take the name, but drive your own train." So it became a community of small discussion groups, each with its own conductor. Now, two years later, it's hardly surprising that some people don't want another conductor on board. Those who refuse to add Beal as moderator have been told to stop using the Freecycle name, and in some cases, he has convinced Yahoo! to shut down groups that don't comply.

Despite Freecycle's growing pains, Tilkin said most moderators and users remain unruffled by the changes. She calls Beal a "wonderful role model" who has guided Freecycle through incredible growth, while keeping its purpose intact. "It's not the same little grassroots effort it was, but Freecycle remains true to its mission," she said. "It provides a 100 percent free service to keep usable items out of landfills."

And though many former boosters are now feeling down in the dumps about Freecycle, Beal tries to remain positive. "There's a hell of a lot of flying by the seat of your pants going on, and we're doing the best we can to work with all the interests and wishes that are out there," he said. "It really is half a miracle that this is working at all."

Matt Weiser is a freelance writer based in Sacramento, Calif.
© 2005, Grist Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved.


November 19, 2005 1:06 AM

Date: Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:50 pm
Subject: Yet another Moderator stepping Down :-(

I am appalled and very upset at what Freecycle has become,
especially locally.
Freecycle no longer represents what I had initially joined Freecycle
for… I still believe in the concept of Freecycle and will continue
to do my part but not under the Freecycle name. I believe in doing
what we can to save this planet of ours.

… I have come back from a two-week vacation to find many upset
members… I understand that many members have left Freecycle as well…
I also come back to find my only LOCAL co-mod Becky (no offence to
the girls who have helped out, you were fabulous for looking after
the site while I was away, Thank you so much) anyway my only local
co-mod has quit. She had posted an admin on the Kingston site and
got a strike and was put on Moderation on both the Napanee (keep in
mind she is the local Mod of this group) and Kingston sites … that
is Pathetic... if a mod ever posted an Admin to the Napanee site and
it bothered me that much, I would ask that they please ask for my
permission next time, not give them a strike and put them on
The Admin was legitimate as items were being taken from her porch or
mailbox that were Freecycle items, she had asked that people do not
take items not belonging to them, or words to this effect… anyway
the Freecycle "MEMBERS" were so kind and receptive as to help
replace the items that went missing…. my co-mod was so surprised at
the outpouring of generous helpful people. The GOA/Kingston mod on
the other hand gave her a strike and put her on moderation… how
bazaar! It seems that Freecycle frowns on community spirit as well.
I believe in community spirit as well as helping to clean up our
planet it goes hand in hand.

We are volunteers… meaning we do what we do because we believe in
something, we do not get paid… is there any kind of respect at all
regarding this?

I am upset and I feel like I am being punished for having to step
down for personal reasons for a while from the Napanee Group that I
started this year in May and painstakingly set up for the members to
use, when I was ready I wanted very much to carry on what I had
started…but alas, I am not allowed to be the owner of the group I
started, what is that all about? I have kept quiet about this until
During my time off from moderating (at which time Becky was the
only local moderator and took over where I left off) I was still
very much involved with Freecycle as a member and the Waste
Reduction Week event that Becky and I had worked hard on... my co-
mod (Becky) and I went to council to approve that the dates be moved
up for Large item drop off to coincide with Waste reduction week… we
got the dates approved and the Napanee Freecycle Members helped to
save 33 tonnes of useful items in six days from ending up in the
landfill… my co-mod worked so very hard during this week as well,
she was up at the Landfill site when I could not be there as I was
working some of the days. Between us we covered the week, along with
a couple of new mods from the Belleville site that came the last two
days to help out. Shame my co-mod had to quit!

I will continue to give useful items away to people rather than have
it end up in the landfill, I will spread the news around about the
concept as well but not under the Freecycle name, be happy knowing
that I still care for the cause and remember no matter how many
groups there are out there and what they are called as long as we
try and help save this planet of ours, this is the main thing ...
this seems to have gone by the wayside, too much bossiness and worry
about which group started first. Just to put it straight, the
Napanee group came into being not because of the Kingston site but
by our local Napanee Waste Management Newsletter, had it not been
for this newsletter I would not have known about any of the other
Freecycle sites. Quinte group was my first experience in the
Freecycle and the moderators were great at helping me out when I
first started out.

Locally there seems to have been a disaster, due to persons taking
there liberties a bit too far and I am having no part of this
silliness I do not need the stress, Freecycle should not be about
stress or who has POWER but this seems to be the case.

There are many many wonderful people on Freecycle and to you I
apologise and keep doing what you are doing, we all make a

All landfill saving groups are equal in my eyes there is no one
group better than the other because we are all trying to get the
same end results… let us remember this, it is not about who is in
charge of what… people need to come together a bit more. Again we
are all volunteers.

You will be happy to know that I no longer wish to have the Napanee
group back, so please keep the rights to it as it is so very
important that I do not get ownership of a group I stared. How weird
is that?

I may just be venting and I apologise but I have nothing to loose at
this point by speaking my mind… it is awful to think that I knew
something would be up when I got back from my vacation and sure
enough something was up.

People need to take it easy and not let the so called "power"
positions take over and thus ruin it for every one, I should not
feel like I have to answer to someone when I have created my own
group, put on probation so to speak, it is ridiculous. The turn of
events has put me off of Freecycle all together.

Fiona Coleman
Napanee Freecycle in Ontario Canada


November 29, 2005 6:25 AM

I tracked you down after reading about dissent in Freecycle. We have just started an organisation that is interested in helping bring people togther. I won't lie to you and say we aren't trying to make a profit but we want to build a community and e profit from the knowledge and experiences these people bring. We want to reward people's kindness by prizes and discounts from their favourite vendors. We are open to new ideas, and being just one month old we're fresh and wide-eyed. Stroll along.Give us some feedback. We're free.

Nancy Castleman

December 20, 2005 9:07 PM

Thought y'all might like to see this piece that was included in the current issue of my newsletter. Hope so! Nancy

Nancy's Long, Strange Cyber-Trip*

Marc and I first heard about freecycling in March 2004, when some 39,000 people were using local Yahoo! groups to find new homes for things they no longer wanted. We thought it was a fantastic idea, and since there wasn't a group in our region, we immediately set one up, so it'd be easy for people to get rid of "stuff" - be it a ceiling fan, hand-me-downs, or exercise equipment -- and to ask for things someone else might have just lying around - say, a fax machine, paperbacks, or a bird cage.

I soon dropped everything, and began working on the cause way more than full-time. Marc and Linda had to pick up on everything else around here, as I was online all the time (about 15 hours a day, seven days a week), feverishly trying to help The Freecycle Network (TFN) cope with its tremendous growth and all the problems that went along with it, many of which were due to something I now know is called "founder's syndrome"

By the summer of '04, I was a head honcho, known as TFN's "Mother Hen." Much of it was exciting and fun, but as I look back on it, I feel as though I inadvertently helped turn a good idea into an online cult, where many key volunteers who put in hundreds of hours were used and hurt behind the scenes. I'll always feel terrible about that.

By the time I quit, in August of 2005, there were around 1.7 million freecyclers participating in over 2,000 groups, and TFN, which all along had been a media darling, was coming under increasing criticism - particularly from others who had been leaders of the cause.

Many former-TFN groups are coalescing on sites that make it easy to find nearby groups, but have fewer organizational problems, for example, Sharing is Giving [],
FreeSharing [], and Recycle Central [].

Although I'm not ready to write more about my cyber-trip addiction now (I assume I will at some point), I am happy to report that our local
Hudson Valley []
group is going strong. There are great places to turn to if you're curious about went on behind the scenes - for example, a blog on BusinessWeek's site (of all places)
and the Wikipedia

*Reprinted with permission from The Pocket Change Investor

Jim Dermitt

December 22, 2005 9:26 AM

It seems like it's just easier to give the stuff to the thrift store. For me it doesn't make sense to list stuff I want to discard on a website. I have some old golf clubs that somebody might want. They will end up at a St. Vincent DePaul store. I guess I could put them on a website for free, but I'm not going to. They still work. The thrift store might get a dollar or two out of them.

Norm Ruttan

December 22, 2005 11:21 AM

Re: Jim's comment

We build and operate complete online reuse systems-including hosting, security, updates and upgrades, support and assistance. Each system has a control panel so a local administrator can operate it. The system doesn't rely on Yahoo or another advertising supported, remote system to run. We run our own servers. The system keeps track of waste diverted, and provides statistics on Greenhouse Gas diversion, Waste Management costs saved, etc.

Our systems are the platform for in the State of Washington, for in Madison, Wisconsin; for in Newton, Massachusetts; for and indeed the growing network in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada (;; more to come soon)

I understand and agree with Jim's comment that Reuse Charities are a good service, to a point. But if that were working completely, we wouldn't be discarding all the waste that we do.

The websites (; The Freecycle Network, others) provide a different service from the thrift stores. Because of limited space and the cost to provide, maintain and operate it, thrift stores have to be selective about what they will take. Heating a warehouse costs a lot of money.

In places where we operate online reuse services, we advertize the Thrift Stores as a different and complementary service to the website and vice versa.

We offer our service under two models. The first is a direct fee for service under the line. This is available to anyone who wishes to quickly setup and operate an online waste (resource) exchange-residential, industrial, reusable building materials, etc. Even something like our new

The second ( )is aimed at environmental groups-who usually don't have a lot of money-so the site is advertising supported with Google Adsense. This is an experiment for us to see if we can break even on server and development costs using this model.

We are planning to expand our Reuse Network to other environmental groups, and are taking applications now. Each group is locally managed and free to set their own policies. Eventually we will need to set up a broad, community based non-profit Board of Directors for the network, but we're not there yet.

Best wishes to everyone who is working to make our earth a more sustainable place to live-whether you be government, business, NGO, or an individual just doing your thing.


Norm Ruttan (in development) (in development)

Jim Dermitt

December 22, 2005 4:14 PM

I'm not knocking what you guys are doing. Knock yourselves out. Recycling is great, I respect that. It just seems that running all sorts of servers and building "hosting, security, updates and upgrades, support and assistance" services so people can give away unwanted stuff isn't cost effective. I can call the Vietnam Veterans of America and they will have a truck and a couple of guys here in a few days to pick the stuff up. I don't think they even have a website. All you do is call 800-775-VETS.

I can't see why people would want to ship stuff around the country that isn't worth what it costs to ship. It sounds like Sanford and Son 2.0 or something. Good luck.

Norm Ruttan

December 26, 2005 1:51 PM

Hello Jim,

Our materials (waste) exchanges are always local, so no material is shipped beyond a short distance. In most cases people make direct contact and pick-up or drop-off items.

Our exchanges are also used for Industrial Materials and for Reusable Building Materials-one company's waste Hydrochloric Acid is another company's raw material.

Our experience has been that some areas have methods for dealing with what otherwise would be wasted, but some don't. That's why North Americans are disposing of about 1 ton a year of waste material per person in residential waste, and about 33 tons per year per person in Industrial Waste-despite the Vietnam Veteran's service.

Edward Schwarzmann

January 9, 2006 8:50 PM

This is a reply I sent to regarding her threat to delist my TFN group because I disagree with certain policies of TFN, and am not afraid to express my PERSONAL OPINIONS.


I freely admit that I have made statements OF PERSONAL OPINION on any forum on which I may be at any time, both those of TFN and those not related to TFN.

I freely state that it is my PERSONAL OPINION that the word "freecycle" is generic, and I will continue to so believe until a court of law recognizes TFN's claim that their attempt to register a trademark on a stylized version of that generic word as their logo constitutes grounds for granting exclusive usage of that word to TFN.

If it is the intent of TFN to regulate what a person thinks, I would like to remind the staff and management of TFN that they have no power to do so without violating the US Constitution's rights guarantee of free speech.

If it is the intent of TFN to regulate those groups to which a member of TFN may belong, I remind the staff and management that this is a violation of the right to free assembly guaranyeed by the US Constitution.

I have never actively encouraged others to do anything except to stand up for their rights in any way they feel appropriate, and to suffer the consequences of such action.

I have expressed opposition to certain policies of TFN, and made suggestions for changes which I felt would benefit the organization. This was at the specific open request to all members from Deron Beal, the founder of TFN, for suggestions.

>Therefore, we must ask that you step down as the owner and as a moderator
>of the Freecycle Mays Landing Freecycle list. We would appreciate your
>cooperation in your making arrangements to transfer the ownership to
>another local moderator as soon as possible and confirming that you have
>done so. The cafe should be passed along to this moderator, as well.

>Should you decide not to step down, Mays Landing will be removed from the
>Freecycle Network and a new local replacement group will be set up in its

If you will check your group membership list, you will find that there is no group named "Freecycle Mays Landing", so you are totally free to remove that group name from your rolls any time you please. My group's name is "MaysLandingFreecycle", and uses no TFN material other than in the group name and logo, which is in conformation with TFN rules and guidelines, and verified by

Furthermore, our cafe group is NOT AFFILIATED with TFN in any way, including the use of any copyrighted material or the use of TFN's corporate name, so you have no grounds uopn which to threaten any action against that group., NOR TO MAKE ANY DEMANDS WHATSOEVER OF THAT GROUP.

>Should you decide not to step down, Mays Landing will be removed from the
>Freecycle Network and a new local replacement group will be set up in its place

This is the exact action that was allegedly taken against the Sunnyvale, CA group, and constitutes punishing the entire group for the OPINION(S) of a single member, who happens to be the list owner. IN MY PERSONAL OPINION, such action is entirely reprehensible, and not the action of a self-proclaimed member-friendly organization which is operating within its own rules.

Edward Schwarzmann


This is the original notice sent to me:

In a message dated 1/9/2006 3:29:33 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> RE:
> Ed,
> This letter has been a long time coming. We can't help but believe you've
> been testing us and expecting it, in a way.
> As a volunteer representative of The Freecycle Network(TM), you have
> publicly requested and supported the position that members actively
> campaign against the organization obtaining the trademark it has filed
> for.
> You've chosen to be extremely active on groups such as FreecycleNext where
> you have displayed anti-Freecycle sentiments and a member on lists such as
> darkside_of_free-cycle. You've gone above and beyond in providing
> information showing that you think this organization is on the wrong
> track.
> You repeatedly violated the rules -- and trust -- of the ModSquad and OIDG
> to the point of having to be moderated completely on both lists. You
> broke that trust with your continued verbal abuse of your fellow
> moderators.
> We have numerous emails from you which you sent, or attempted to send, to
> our list as well as emails from other sources outside TFN. These emails
> show the total discontent you feel with the direction of the organization
> and how you feel things should better be handled.
> You have actively encouraged others in going against Freecycle(TM) and doing
> things which you hoped would be to its detriment.
> Your actions have been contrary to the mission of this organization to
> keep the trademark free from external corporate use and solely open to
> local members of The Freecycle Network and counterproductive from the
> aspect of working together with the Network.
> Therefore, we must ask that you step down as the owner and as a moderator
> of the Freecycle Mays Landing Freecycle list. We would appreciate your
> cooperation in your making arrangements to transfer the ownership to
> another local moderator as soon as possible and confirming that you have
> done so. The cafe should be passed along to this moderator, as well.
> Should you decide not to step down, Mays Landing will be removed from the
> Freecycle Network and a new local replacement group will be set up in its
> place.
> We hope you'll decide to do the right thing and allow the members of Mays
> Landing to remain within the Network.
> Please attend to this matter no later than Wednesday by 5:00 p.m. Eastern
> time. If we've not heard back from you by that time, Mays Landing will be
> delisted from the website. Should you wish assistance in
> making required changes, let me know and I can help you or, if you prefer,
> we'll get your GOA to do so.
> Thank you,
> Stephanie
> Acting GOA Coordinator
> --
> Stephanie
> Hub Coordinator


January 9, 2006 9:26 PM

Well yet another Freecycle group owner is being threatened. Seems he didn't agree totally with EVERYTHING Deron Beal said. So he's been asked to step down by Deron's only other paid employee other than himself, Stephanie. Hired gun these days to you Sir!

The Mods now know with no doubts that if they speak out or do not support the deletion of groups who did not wish to support an attempt to trademark the word Freecycle; they too will be removed from the network.

After removal from the network, next step is deletion by Yahoo at Freecycle/aka deron's order.

Who will be the next Mod to speak up?

Who will be next to be forced out?

Only time will tell. I would guess most Mods will shut up and not risk the ire of the Network/aka deron; as making Deron angry gets you removed.

This all started in a big way in August when over 300 groups walked out. But has continued on, little by little as Mods start to see the writing on the wall. Some will ignore their little voice inside, and stifle the urge to speak out or up.
Most will follow this, until more and more see their fellow Moderators forced out, just one too many times.

And then will begin to make the hard decisions.
Can they continue to be under the thumb of a group of what should be a fun lovin freecyclin, grassroots effort. But has now turned into a regime. Freedom of speech guaranteed to us in the US is not a right as a Moderator of the freecycle network. In fact, freedom of speech costs you your group. You'll get your walking papers as many before you have done. You'll be removed from their site and before you can turn around, you'll be branded as a rogue. You will receive your Cease and Desist and you'll get your group of generous giving, freecycling folks deleted by Yahoo at the order of Freecycle/aka Deron. Or you'll change your name and save the group, but you are forever rejected and branded a traitor to freecycle.

So the choice is hard for many Moderators. They want to say something, some want to very badly but just can't risk it. It's scary for them to think of being an outcast.

A Confused Moderator

January 12, 2006 12:34 PM

I read this blog because I was trying to understand what is going on with freecycle and how it's affecting the world of gift recycling. All I can see are attacks by former members and current people defending what looks to me to be a reasonable position. I don't think that the word "freecycling" will be "illegal" forever because that doesn't make sense. I doesn't make sense because TFN is fighting a legitimate fight for intellectual rights NOW but won't be doing that in the future. Intellectual rights. You see, I understand that. I am an artist and as an artist, I own the intellectual rights to anything I make. If I were a photgrapher, same thing. So if I go on the internet, snag some image and make a picture from it, intent on using it for myself (non-profit or not) and don't give due diligence to the photographer who took the original shot, then I would be in violation of copyright infringement. Freecycle is Deron's idea. Until one of you "disaffected" can change that, then I think that TFN has every right to defend it's idea and do what it must ... within bounds. So you got your group delisted? Either change the name so you are not using the intellectual property rights of Deron Beal (his photograph) or follow his rules (pay for the photo). It seems simple to me: It's his idea (photo) he can do what he wants with it.

Waiting for someone to change that truth...


January 14, 2006 5:34 AM

The truth as I saw it... was: he gave it away, told everyone to start their own, build their community,
help keep stuff out of landfills, and keep on freecyclin'.... unfortunately when he found out he, his spouse and their friend could make a buck or two
become the "board" for TFN... and pay all their household expenses and his salary as well... then and only then did he decide that this wonderful movement was his and proprietary.

and I have seen his database and his budget..firsthand.

Eric Burke

January 17, 2006 8:51 PM

Simple steps to freedom.

I havent read this page for a few months, and after skimming the latest posts, it seems there is still alot of stress coming from the FreeCycle camp.
If you are a mod and feeling trapped and afraid to speak out against TFN, there is a very simple solution: Walk Away, but do so carefully and watch your back as you exit.

Here is some advice on the process:

Before you leave, do NOT have a poll or ask the members if it's OK. Many times before the poll has ended TFN will already have your group deleted by Yahoo (Sunnyvale is an example of this). Also do not give Freecycle any advance notice of your departure, doing so will give them time to download your membership list and invite all your members to their replacement group. They typically spread misinformation in the invite letters as well.

Remove/Ban the user Ersatzfriend from your group. This is critical if EF is an owner as he can delete your group directly.

If there are any GOAs or NGAs as members of your group, you should remove them as well. At the very least place them on moderation so they don't post any attacks/flames to your group after you have made the change.

Preferably late at night, change the name of your group to something that does not contain the word freecycle. Also remove all Freecycle logos, files, graphics, and so forth. The only mention of Freecycle on your page should be "This group is not affiliated with Freecycle". Anything more than that will be used to get your group deleted. Varients such as Freecycling have also gotten groups deleted.

Once your new group is 'Clean' create a new group with the same name as your old freecycle group. Lock the membership down in the group, and post in the description that your group has moved, and post the link to the new group. This will assist people who miss the Yahoo email notification in finding your group.

At this point you may feel the urge to tell Freecycle that you have escaped and are free. This can have mixed results and I would not personally advise 'poking the dragon'.

Once you have walked away, send a note to and so we can list your site in our directories. There are over 390 groups in the directory, and there is room for many more.

Some mods worry about how the members will react to the changes. In the several transitions that I have witnessed, about 98% of the time the members don't even bat an eye, and could really care less if they are an 'official' freecycle group or not. In that other 2% the problems are generally started by TFN NGAs or GOAs stirring up trouble, which is why it is wise to moderate or remove them prior to the change, and keep a close eye on the messages for a few days after the change.

If there is anything I missed, of if you require assistance, please just drop me a note at:

Have a great day, and keep on FreeSharing,
Eric Burke

Bessie Chronopoulos

January 18, 2006 12:09 AM

I like the concept of freecycle.
It is a simple method of exchanging items which would likely end up in the landfill.
It is a logical way for nice folks to connect and help each other.
I don't understand how something so logical, so simple, so right can be turned into such a mess.
I plan to continue with my local group in Illinois' DeKalb County. I've been able to recycle some items, I got a nice coffee table for myself, and I was able to help some friends who are expecting triplets.
How in the world can this be made into such a mess?
Freecyclers of the world...go for it!

Freecycle Mod USA

January 21, 2006 1:45 AM

From: "freecyclederon"
Date: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:12 am
Subject: SPECIAL NOTICE / ADMIN: WANTED: pro bono legal aid in N. California freecyclederon
Offline Offline
Send Email Send Email
This special notice is not an easy one to write. It relates to our trademark. But it is also very important for you to have this info.

We have a trademark and have applied for its further registration with the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). Registration of a
trademark strengthens one's legal right to the use of the name and/or logo. Before a trademark (or TM) becomes an "R," or registered trademark, it is first published for opposition for a period of one
month by the USPTO. Our trademark for this nonprofit organization has now been published. As was to be expected, Tim Oey, a former local
volunteer mod in Sunnyvale, is opposing our registration.

In a letter from his legal counsel, he demanded from us as an organization that we renounce our trademark and allow Mr. Oey to use it for his own group. If we did not comply with his demands he said he would oppose our trademark registration. This letter was in October. Our trademark registration which has been pending for about
1 ½ years was published for opposition two days ago and he is indeed opposing it. *But* he is also suing us in the US District Court of Appeals of Northern California (more later on this one).

Now, the opposition of our registration is a case which will go before the USPTO to determine. This will cost both sides tens of thousands of dollars. The outcome will either be that the trademark is registered or that it is declared generic. On the most basic level, it would mean that countless local and overlapping Yahoo
Groups could then be set up in every community with any methods, rules or purposes which they like. Whether for monetary gain, for-
sale, items, fees, for-profit interests: all would be fair game. This would naturally lead to intergroup flaming amongst competing group
members, the splintering of groups, and other messy scenarios, etc.
You get the picture. This would then also mean that the goodwill that each of you have worked so hard to establish as associated with the
name and the free and volunteer community nature would be lost to any commercial concern with the investment capital to invest in a site. It would be a tragic and singular loss of what is a movement of caring and compassionate people.

But, well beyond this loss, Mr. Oey also is suing the organization in the US Federal District Court of Northern California. This is an
entirely separate lawsuit. He is suing for damages resulting from "trademark infringement" supposedly by us as a nonprofit using our own name and claiming it as a trademark. This goes well beyond
the USPTO opposition. It also enables Mr. Oey to seek monetary damages from The Freecycle Network. In other words, if he should win, he could get anywhere from just legal-related expenses to say a
million dollars in damages. It really doesn't matter what the sum, because even the lowest end would lead to our bankruptcy as an organization and, lacking an organization, a legal entity, a right to the name, it would likely be the final blow to this movement as a whole. To be clear this goes well beyond his earlier expressed
intent "merely" to oppose our trademark with the USPTO. It is a court case which would not only cause us to lose the trademark but also to
have to shut our doors as an organization. This is quite serious.

I just found all of this out yesterday. I'll be meeting with our pro bono lawyers here in Tucson on Monday or Tuesday. But there is little
they can do as this will be a case in northern California in the Bay Area, not in Arizona and they don't have a license to practice in
California. This means we need to do our darnedest as an organization to find a really good pro bono lawyer in the Bay Area who is a patent
and trademark specialist and is a litigator. Mr. Oey has a lawyer with one of the ten largest legal firms in the world which also specializes in this field. If you have any leads on finding such a
lawyer, please let me know personally at deron@... .

Obviously this situation will dramatically hinder current projects which take time or funding, such as the current website design project. All bets are off until we are able to deal with this legal issue. We'll need every penny we can get. From here forward for the coming months, my time will also be extremely limited as you can imagine.

Sorry about the bad news. I'll let you know as I learn more. This will not be fun, but is extremely critical to our survival to pursue our legal defense as best we possibly can.

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, right?



January 21, 2006 5:17 PM

From: Tim Oey
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 23:22:47 -0800
Subject: [fcnext] A public statement that you may forward...
Hi all,

Here is a public statement that you may forward to whomever you wish as long as you forward this email in its entirety. It would be great if folks could forward this to the same lists that got Deron's post as it would clear up many misconceptions about what is happening.

Knowledge and education are good things.


Regarding FreecycleSunnyvale vs The Freecycle Network (lawsuit and trademark opposition)

We are not wrecking freecycle -- we are working to keep it free and legal -- that is the goal.

It is very important for everyone to stay true to their own principles and to have principles they can stay true to. It drives me nuts when people do not think through the consequences of the choices they make. It is also my belief that the best leaders lead by example, not by slapping folks. Honey works better than vinegar.

Here is my brief take on what has and is happening with The Freecycle Network (TFN):

In the beginning, freecycling was open, free, and a true grassroots movement.

Then it started going down a corporate path as The Freecycle Network (TFN). To enforce more goodness on people, TFN wanted more control and wanted to take back what it had given away for free (the word freecycle and its logo). Power and money started corrupting the system in subtle and not so subtle ways.

Freecyclers objected and were hurt and kicked out by TFN. A good group like TFN can still do bad things.

Then the grassroots movement fought back and filed a lawsuit and trademark opposition with pro bono support against TFN via the FreecycleSunnyvale group (a great group which TFN hurt).

While the final outcome of this story remains to be seen, a few important learnings are:

If you want to lay claim to a trademark, you must use it correctly from the very beginning and pick one that the public is unlikely to use in a generic fashion.

Don't give away things that don't belong to you. And don't be hypocritical. At the same time that TFN was punishing non-TFN groups with copyright infringement claims for using snippets of material that might have had TFN origins, TFN was itself violating copyrights by re-publishing hundreds of news media articles in their entirety without permission on its (this republishing started in 2003 and finally stopped in December 2005).

Don't give things away and then expect to pull them back later. This is just wrong.

If you are going to run a movement, you have to stay true to your roots -- freecycling is about freely giving your own things away, not owning things or taking things back. If you violate your own principles, you'll find the activists who supported you vigorously, will fight back just as vigorously.

6) If TFN learns to make lemonade out of lemons, they could:

Build a huge amount of positive goodwill by acknowledging that giving things away is one of the core values of freecycling and thus freecycle is free for everyone to use. This would also save them a ton of money and work now and in the future. FreecycleSunnyvale has repeatedly offered to negotiate but TFN has turned a deaf ear.

Reduce much of the work they are currently doing trying to police people into being good and instead be educators and good role models. This would also make it much easier for them to be recognized as a 501(c)3 -- their current business model of running an online free advertisement system supported by advertising plus sponsorship does not cut it.

Recognize that while there will inevitably be some misuse of the new word freecycle, it is just a word like recycle. People are not stupid. They quickly understand what freecycling is about and will join groups where it is done well. TFN can easily defend the name "The Freecycle Network" and this can be used as a well recognized trademark.

Take advantage of the huge marketing opportunity that comes from coining a new word -- they can rightly claim that their work made the word hugely popular.

So basically, we're doing this so that freecycling will be really free and legal.

Some facts:

1) On 1/17/2006, The Freecycle Network's (TFN's) proposed trademark registration was published for opposition in the Trademark Official Gazette at:

2) On 1/18/2006, the unincorporated non-profit association FreecycleSunnyvale filed a formal opposition to TFN's trademark registration with the USPTO. You can read it at:

On 1/19/2006, FreecycleSunnyvale also filed a lawsuit against The Freecycle Network in federal court (US District Court, Northern California). We will point you to a copy of this filing as soon as we can.

Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP (one of the 10 largest law firms in the world) are the attorneys for FreecycleSunnyvale and are providing their services pro bono. None of the members of FreecycleSunnyvale (which includes Tim Oey) are spending any of their own money for the opposition or the lawsuit. You can read more about the law firm at:

Anyone else who wishes may now file an opposition to TFN's proposed trademark registration (please note that there is a fee to file such an opposition). If you or your group has been harmed by TFN, you may also file a lawsuit of your own against TFN.

Since a lawsuit and an opposition are now underway, the members of FreecycleSunnyvale may be restricted in what they say.

If TFN chooses to negotiate, these cases could be settled in a few months. If not, they may take many months.

Redistribution license:
Copyright 2006 Tim Oey

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Tim Oey on behalf of FreecycleSunnyvale


January 22, 2006 4:43 PM

We mods who are still with Freecycle are being asked to post this admin from Deron to our groups. The Group Outreach/GOAs are sending these messages out.

We're asked to do two things, help get a free lawyer to defend Deron, and if our members want to contribute to the legal fund, we sure are not to discourage them. Yet if our members give money,it's not tax deductible.

I'm tired of being used by Deron to make more and more money. Deron you got yourself into this mess, get yourself out of it!

We the Mods and the Members could care less about that Trademark business. It all worked just fine without it. And it seems to me, the minute that you took that money from Waste Managment, it all started to change.

And if you do lose, it has no effect on our groups. So please stop trying to say that it will all go bye bye if you don't get that danged Trademark. Yahoo still let us use their groups and we don't need a new website.

I'm one of the Mods who is about to take my group away from all this. We just want to freecycle and so do our members.

I think you forgot who this was all about a long time ago.

I'm not going to ask my group to help.
I'm not going to give you any money.
You had 150,000 given to you, what did you do with all that?

And if Waste Managment is so in your corner, why haven't they paid for a lawyer? There must be a good reason they don't want to. Maybe all this turmoil is getting to be more trouble than it's worth.

Just let us Freecycle and stop all this.

A mod who is tired of all this.


January 22, 2006 8:15 PM

I thought freecycle was to be totally free???? That no money could exchange hands at no time. And he wants a handout now? This defeats the whole purpose of the rules that he has pushed on so many people. He has pushed so many people out of the freecycle groups because they wouldn't follow his rules, but yet now he is breaking one rule that he made himself. I for one am glad I left the freecycle network months ago.


January 23, 2006 5:33 AM

There are allegations, and there are facts. The fog of allegations began to clear when I searched out for myself the facts regarding the origin and ownership of Deron has repeatedly used as a bogeyman to frighten freecyclers into thinking his way is the only way. He has repeatedly said that if his plan to completely control all usage and derivations of the word "freecycle," then will rear its ugly, greedy for-profit corporate head and devour poor little TFN.

One day I got curious, and looked up in Network Solutions' Whois database. I learned that was in fact registered as a domain name THREE YEARS before Deron ever used the term for his regifting group in Tucson. More curious than before, I went to the web site and discovered it is linked to various endeavors, including a regifting organization.

Conclusions drawn only from previously cited facts:
(a) Deron did NOT coin the word "freecycle"; therefore he cannot and should not own it, control it or trademark it.
(b) is in fact no threat to or TFN. It was there first, it has in no way crimped TFN's growth and it has made no move to crush the "poor little non-profit" TFN.

I spoke these truths in the TFN forum designated for discussing these things, and Deron as much as called me a liar. Call Network Solutions a liar, Deron. I'm just the messenger. Then I spoke out against Deron's plan to have yahoo close down a group which allowed people to speak freely of these issues (the former "FreecycleNext" Yahoo! group) and for that I was immediately silenced and expelled from TFN.

For those who believe moderators who have left TFN were "bad mods" as Deron characterizes those he has discarded, I have written proof that all it takes to go from being one of the praised flock to one of the "bad mods" is to point out an awkward fact or defend free speech.

Thank you to the people who pointed out additional awkward facts, like the Twin Cities Free Market and the abcfree web sites. These show Deron not only didn't invent the word freecycle, he didn't invent the concept of online regifting, or even the process and guidelines TFN is using.

Thanks also to the person who shared that historical perspective on freecycling's origins. It inspired me to pen this bit of allegory:

In The Beginning (of freecycle) there was the Tucson Freecycle Network. Deron invited others to found their OWN Freecycle Networks. And they did. And he saw that it was good. And the multitudes did flock to freecycle their treasures. And the groups multiplied and helped to replenish the Earth. And he saw that it was good. So good, in fact, that he decided to eat of the fruit of the tree of Control; and so began expelling or estranging the founders of the other Freecycle Networks who would not also eat of the forbidden fruit. And so Paradise has been lost.


January 23, 2006 1:58 PM

And Deron has the nerve to post a monetary beg here.

Eric Burke

January 23, 2006 5:40 PM

A Green Ribbon Campaign has been started to spread the word about the legal battle against The Freecycle Network.
Ribbons and info can be found at:



January 23, 2006 11:20 PM

The only problem that's occurring with Freecycle is that there is a splinter group of never-do-wells that are trumpeting the trademark defense as the end of the world, faulting Deron as the destructor of this movement. But one need not look any further than the group that is contesting the trademark application for the real culprits.

In true "taking-my-ball-and going-home" style, the attempted fight to deny Freecycle a trademark that's aimed to guard the movement from commercial takeover, is a self-fulfilling prophecy of destruction at their own hands. If you simply read the illogical rants of this opposition, it's easy to quickly understand its baseless claims as what-if's and sky-is-falling victimization

It just goes to prove that we should never underestimate the extent to which powerless people will go, whining anonymously behind a keyboard, to destroy anyone, and themselves, that dare oppose them.


January 24, 2006 1:05 AM

Now the Mods group is telling us they did not ask us to post the Admin asking for money. That's just not true at all. Though I would never ask my members to give their hard earned money.

Why is it that each time one thing is said and if anyone on the outside of Freecycle finds about it, we're then made to feel it just never happened?

Things change so often in Freecycle anymore, I can't keep up.

Why if Freecycle is in the right do we need to keep it all such a secret? If Freecycle is in the right, they should show the world the truth.

But now on Mod SQUAD we're told we shouldn't even ask things anymore.

Honestly, this is just getting too weird.

Festering Bliss

January 24, 2006 1:21 AM

Here's a thought:

You can't save a movement by trying to destroy it just because the leadership wouldn't do everything your way.

Either you believe in this movement or you don't. There's no two ways about it. The opposition sings the refrain "let the populace retain the name, we abhor potential commercialization" - laughably posturing themselves as morally superior - in the same breath they say "give up the name or we'll destroy you with our lawyers. But it's your fault, you made us do it." Interestingly enough, they also say the movement will survive no matter what happens to the trademark. Then why bother expending the energy fighting it? This is the incongruity of their rationalizations to oppose the trademark. And like any good delusional zealot they believe nobody can parse out the nonsense because they're so devilishly clever.

Don't like where the organization is going? Then if you just can't find a way to work it out, then for the betterment of the movement as a whole start your own and survive on your own merits, your own hard work. That's morally superior.

That is free market values which the opposition insists they hold close to their hearts. Yet on the other hand in true corporate fashion they hire a big law firm to squash those they oppose so they can then run a for-profit industry on the broken back of a grassroots movement. The very thing the trademark application is intending to prevent.

And this corporate styled opposition and negative political campaign can't be denied as fighting fire with fire. Freecyle is strictly in defensive mode in this scenario. This is a wholly owned and devised smear campaign simply because the powers that be didn't agree with them and apparently they haven't yet learned how to deal with disappointment.


January 24, 2006 7:33 AM

I am a Freecycle Mod and can't believe what has become of Freecycle. Things have gotten so out of hand it's unreal.

I am to the point that I feel the trademark shouldn't be pursued. It's a terrible waste of money and resources.

I personally feel it should be a generic word. It has become a part of our language regardless of what Deron says we are freecyclers who love to freecycle. It was actually gifted to us to use for our groups imo. Deron is the one who said use it to create an area group, let me/us know and I will link it.

Then Deron suddenly changed his mind and wants to take it all back. I don't think that's right. We can't email someone we gave something and ask for it back on the list.

I think the money has went to Deron's head and all he see's now is green dollar signs. It seems as if he is the one who is so concerned about anyone making a profit off Freecycle. That to me screams that's what he wants to do with it.

The fact that TFN has had groups shut down was dirty considering he was supposed to be concerned with saving things from the landfill. When a group is shut down that is actually doing good for their community the that's just more things not being saved. It's like Deron is on a major power trip.

Now for this letter Deron wrote requesting a lawyer..... What and the world happened to all the money TFN got from Waste Management? There isn't a new website or anything else. It certainly doesn't take 100,000 a year to keep up website. Especially when Yahoo and Mod who are volunteering to take care of their local groups is doing all the work for him. Oh I forgot him had to give himself a salary!

Since there are Goas, Bods, Mods, probono lawyers and anyone I may have missed doing all the actual work for him, Then I guess Deron is being paid by himself to do interviews and write an occasional post to the various Mod, Goa, Bod, groups.

All I have left to say is Deron get over yourself and bring Freecycle back to what it was meant to be before it blows up in your face.

Thanks you Business Week for allowing me to be able to speak my piece.


Nancy Castleman

January 24, 2006 12:25 PM

Three Cheers for Tim Oey and about Yahoo TOS Violations

Many thanks to Tim! What an incredible job he's doing steering the fcnext group (formerly known as FreecycleNEXT). I not only support his efforts to keep freecycling free, and will be there to testify if called, I also agree with his decision to severely limit the TFN-bashing that some of us fall prey to. My apologies in advance if the facts that follow seem to be doing that.

The reason I asked for a clarification on fcnext about how Deron's plea reached groups is because I was hoping to catch him in a Yahoo TOS violation.
It's sad it's come to that, but it's the truth.

I never for one minute meant to imply that I didn't believe the message had appeared where folks here said it had appeared. Trust is
hard for many of us, as we come to terms with our experiences with TFN, particularly with Deron. I am very sorry if my interest in the details implied a lack of trust.

As some of you know, my nancy_castleman ID was removed by Yahoo, at TFN's request. Here is what Yahoo wrote to me about it:

"On 11/04/05 and again on 01/10/06 has notified Yahoo! that you were posting content on Yahoo! Groups, which appeared to contain material trademarked by also has notified Yahoo! that it did not authorize any such use of its trademarked material on Yahoo! Groups.

By participating on Yahoo! Groups, you agree to abide by the Yahoo! Terms of Service. The Terms of Service can be found for your review at: and provide in relevant part:

'You agree not to do any of the following while using Yahoo! Groups: f. upload or transmit any Content that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights ("Rights") of any party.'"

Yahoo later wrote: "Any inquiries regarding the allegations or complaint in this matter can best be resolved between you and The contact information for the complainant/agent was provided in our initial correspondence to you,
which is again provided below:"

No matter how snippy Yahoo wants to be, it hadn't mentioned trademark@, and of course, I did not violate TFN's trademark or mess with copywritten material! Anyway, I wrote to trademark@, with a copy to Deron, and here's the reply: "I'm sorry but we too have lost Yahoo IDs as a result of such reports. We encourage you to write Yahoo Groups with your concerns."

When I originally wrote to Yahoo, after it yanked
HudsonValleyFreecycle -- which had received zip notice in advance from TFN or Yahoo -- I got no reply at all, nor did my co-owner. So I see the above as progress! But given the stance that TFN is taking, Yahoo will not give me back my nancy_castleman ID.

I see this as another abuse of e-power on the part of TFN. I am weighing my alternatives, am intrigued by the notion of a class action
suit, and believe that excellent pro bono counsel will be interested in the legal issues that have been raised by what I see as TFN's manipulation of Yahoo. I urge all others who have been mistreated by TFN to consider doing likewise.

When I say TFN, please, please know that I do not mean TFN mods. There are many terrific people within and apart from TFN leading great groups. It really boils down to bad decisions made by one person. (I thought Char raised a very important point on fcnext the other day: what will
happen to TFN if Deron dies, and everything is in the hands of Jenny and Jolie, his wife and friend?)

Tim got me thinking today about how great it'd be if TFN listed the whole array of free and recycling groups all over the world. Why not?
Folks could join all the groups in their area and decide! It won't cost users anything more to sample their options, and the sea change in TFN's attitude could sure save it a bundle while it helps the earth!

Who could make that happen? TFN mods are the only ones! Imagine if there was a board of directors representative of mods making the key decisions! Yup, I'm back to thinking about Imagine by John Lennon ( with extra special thanks to Tim! What a fantastic leader he's been. Imagine if TFN had that.

Nancy -- PS: You're welcome to reprint this wherever you think it may help.


January 24, 2006 12:26 PM

To clarify and dispel yet another fabrication by those opposing the trademark application, Deron made no request for funds or donations in his recent ADMIN. Period. The ADMIN he sent out is dutifully quoted above for easy reference. His only request is for pro bono legal assistance, nothing more.

If you want to remain credible in your opposition to smear and destroy Freecycle and the movement as a whole, no matter how much you want to believe them it will serve you well to avoid parroting random accusations you've read. Especially when they are so readily verifiable as pure fabrication.


January 24, 2006 4:34 PM

This is all soooooo depressing. Freecycle was/is a great idea. I started my group because it was a great idea. Because I live in Vermont and historically people dump unwanted items on the side of the road. I wanted to see that stopped and Freecycle offered an opportunity to reach many people and change this practice. I'm very distressed over all the bickering and fighting and I see the only outcome the complete and total demise of a terrific idea. How pointless and stupid to let all the complaining ruin it. I will stay a moderator of my group as long as that remains possible. If Freecycle goes up in smoke I will be very depressed but I refuse to get involved in all this nonsense about who got money and who's doing what to which group. My god people! You are concerned Deron has lost sight of his original idea but maybe YOU have! Are you willing to let it go so easily? Yes there are other ways to do this kind of thing but you'll be on your own dealing with the same issues and problems that have come up over the year at Freecycle. Some things don't change and human nature being what it is, everyone wants to feel they control their own group and how they choose to run it. That's fine but when you're so focused on who is in control you LOSE control because the focus has shifted. Since when are charities and non-profits run for free? There are always administrators at the top who receive pay while the "workers" are volunteers. Nothing new in that!

My focus is keeping perfectly good items off the side of the road and out of landfills. Isn't THAT the point?


January 25, 2006 10:06 AM

Freecycling is a fabulous initiative, a great way to help the environment and get something you need at the same time. However there's now a much easier way which cuts out all of the problems which have beset! Have a look at GreenGonzo, a new website at which provides a searchable database so you can just enter a keyword and find what you need. No more poring over endless yahoogroup mailing lists, no more moderators and no more fuss. There's a computer up for grabs in the North London area. Its a non-profit organisation too, none of its services will cost you a penny.
Go have a look:

Eric Burke

January 25, 2006 7:26 PM Hits 400!!!

I just wanted to announce that has just added it's
400th group!!!
Thanks to everyone for spreading the word!'s first
anniversary is still a few weeks away, and it's already gone thru three
major format changes and with the latest conversion to a database
driven MySQL/PHP format it now has the ability to easily manage and
sort thousands of sites, and can still be run in my spare time without
any need for any GOA's, NGA's, or TLA's. It's amazing how simple
running a Free Recycling directory is when the operator doesn't try to
micro-manage every group.

Well, I just wanted to thank everyone for their support, and let you
all know that things will be run the same way when hits
1000 groups or 3500 groups.

Have a good one,
Eric Burke


January 26, 2006 5:55 AM

Deron/Yahoo beat out Google? How on earth did he get a freecycle group set up in Bejing looong before Google got into China?

Nancy Castleman

January 28, 2006 4:00 PM

Yet Another Abuse of E-Power

I've been hearing from lots of TFN mods lately, which I love, but what they're telling me is just awful! Many are very afraid. They don't like that's been going on, but worry that if they ask questions, they'll be the next ones targeted for delisting and having their groups removed by Yahoo.

The sad truth is, as many of us here can attest, they have good reason to be afraid! The latest casualty is a group of over 4,000, which was delisted yesterday because Deron and Stephanie have a problem with one of the mods -- not because of any alleged trademark violations. I hope that mod is taking some comfort from
knowing that her fellow moderators chose to leave TFN, rather than to ditch her.

Without the MS or a board of directors charting TFN's course and holding Deron accountable, it's likely that the current pattern will continue. Tough questioning ----> moderation ----> delisting -----> and if you don't change your group's name, to its removal by Yahoo.

If you really become a threat, you may also have your identity removed by Yahoo on TFN's instructions. (See fcnext message #2842.)
As far as I know, I'm the only person who has been treated to this particular abuse of e-power, but anyone could be next. So it's no
wonder mods are frightened!

The good news is that if your group is humming along within TFN, that will continue once you leave it. You'll be able to list your group on many directory sites -- look at how many of them are listed in the Freecycling & Recycling Directories folder under links on fcnext!

The number one emotion mods seem to feel once they have left is relief. Number two is amazement at how easy it was, and number three
is a feeling of wonderment that it took them so long to get out from under TFN's control. If you want a hand, there are plenty of people willing to help with the transition and/or to help mod your group.

There's plenty of comraderie "on the other side," with many of us still in close contact with the folks who were our friends while we
were in TFN -- plus many new friends who left a long time ago. There is no GOA, NGA, IMOD, or other part of the alphabet soup telling you
what you can and can't do. Also, no strikes, wet noodles, or dashed hopes!

Wanna stay with TFN? There is so much that you can do, even if you are afraid. How about getting together with other mods on the side,
and picking an issue to research, say, the board of directors. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made about it. For example, how will folks be chosen? Imho, the staff should be answerable to the board, so folks who serve as staff -- like Deron, GOAs, and NGAs -- do not belong on the board.

A group of you, say "the BoD working group" will have more success than any one individual who is easy for them to pick off. Don't be scared. The worst that can happen is that you'll join us, and we're a pretty nice bunch, contrary to what you may have heard!

Remember that whether or not you choose to stay or leave is your decision. When you're ready, we are here for you! Please help me spread the word! Forward this at my request and feel free to post it on boards/forums where you know TFN mods will see it. This way, you can blame me! What else can they do to me?!


Jill Weir

January 31, 2006 2:02 PM

If you are thinking of leaving TFN it might be worth looking at a site mentioned above ( ) which completely does away with moderation and uses a centralised web-based system instead. This would seem to be the logical way forward.

Lena Boucher

January 31, 2006 8:15 PM

BTW, if you like but live in US or Canada – you’ll want to use .
This site provides a centralized web-based interface with an option of an email subscription if desired.
It’s available for any area in US or Canada, self-moderated, allows you to browse by keywords or categories, see the location of items on the Google map of your area and never exposes your contact information due to an enabled double-blind communication between users. Try and if you're starting a new group or moving away from an umbrella organization, please consider it as an alternative to Yahoo groups


February 5, 2006 5:04 AM

In The News (freecycle) Being Sued!

At present freecycle is in a court battle and being sued by
FreecycleSunnyvale for damages incurred by freecycle falsely claiming
trademark infringement toYahoo. In Deron Beal's (freecycle owner) own words
on this page you will see that this could be the end of freecycle should
FreecycleSunnyvale win the lawsuit. You can read the legal filing here in
Adobe format

Further at present freecycles trademark applications have been extended.
But it does not look good for freecycle as the evidence has been collected
in this case against freecycle. Just read the .pdf above.

From: Tim Oey
Subject: Important: freecycle trademark opposition & lawsuit
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Hi folks,

As you probably remember, The Freecycle Network (TFN) took issue with
Sunnyvale's great freecycling group. Below are some consequences that TFN
now faces. FreecycleSunnyvale continues to believe that it is best for
freecycle to be free for everyone. The freecycle grassroots movement should
stay true to its own freecycling philosophy.

1) On 1/17/2006, The Freecycle Network's (TFN's) proposed trademark
registration was published for opposition in the Trademark Official Gazette

2) On 1/18/2006, the unincorporated non-profit association
FreecycleSunnyvale filed a formal opposition to TFN's trademark registration
with the USPTO. You can read it at:

3) On 1/19/2006, FreecycleSunnyvale also filed a lawsuit against The
Freecycle Network in federal court (US District Court, Northern California).
We will point you to a copy of this filing as soon as we can.

4) Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP (one of the 10 largest law firms in the
world) are the attorneys for FreecycleSunnyvale and are providing their
services pro bono. None of the members of FreecycleSunnyvale (which
includes Tim Oey) are spending any of their own money for the opposition or
the lawsuit. You can read more about the law firm at:

5) Anyone else who wishes may now file an opposition to TFN's proposed
trademark registration (please note that there is a fee to file such an
opposition). If you or your group has been harmed by TFN, you may also file
a lawsuit of your own against TFN.

6) Since a lawsuit and an opposition are now underway, the members of
FreecycleSunnyvale may be restricted in what they say.

7) If TFN chooses to negotiate, these cases could be settled in a few
months. If not, they may take many months.

Tim Oey on behalf of FreecycleSunnyvale


Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 17:12:41 -0000
From: "freecyclederon"
Subject: SPECIAL NOTICE / ADMIN: WANTED: pro bono legal aid in N.

This special notice is not an easy one to write. It relates to our
trademark. But it is also very important for you to have this info.


We have a trademark and have applied for its further registration with the
US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). Registration of a trademark
strengthens one's legal right to the use of the name and/or logo. Before a
trademark (or TM) becomes an "R," or registered trademark, it is first
published for opposition for a period of one month by the USPTO. Our
trademark for this nonprofit organization has now been published. As was to
be expected, Tim Oey, a former local
volunteer mod in Sunnyvale, is opposing our registration.

In a letter from his legal counsel, he demanded from us as an organization
that we renounce our trademark and allow Mr. Oey to use it for his own
group. If we did not comply with his demands he said he would oppose our
trademark registration. This letter was in October. Our trademark
registration which has been pending for about 1 ½ years was published for
opposition two days ago and he is indeed opposing it. *But* he is also suing
us in the US District Court of
Appeals of Northern California (more later on this one).

Now, the opposition of our registration is a case which will go before the
USPTO to determine. This will cost both sides tens of thousands of dollars.
The outcome will either be that the trademark is registered or that it is
declared generic. On the most basic level, it would mean that countless
local and overlapping Yahoo Groups could then be set up in every community
with any methods, rules or purposes which they like. Whether for monetary
gain, for-sale, items, fees, for-profit interests: all would be fair game.
This would naturally lead to intergroup flaming amongst competing group
members, the splintering of groups, and other messy scenarios, etc. You get
the picture. This would then also mean that the goodwill that each of you
have worked so hard to establish as associated with the name and the free
and volunteer community nature would be lost to any commercial concern
with the investment capital to invest in a site. It would be a
tragic and singular loss of what is a movement of caring and compassionate

But, well beyond this loss, Mr. Oey also is suing the organization in the
US Federal District Court of Northern California. This is an entirely
separate lawsuit. He is suing for damages resulting from "trademark
infringement" supposedly by us as a nonprofit using our own name and
claiming it as a trademark. This goes well beyond the USPTO opposition. It
also enables Mr. Oey to seek monetary damages from The Freecycle Network. In
other words, if he should win, he could get anywhere from just
legal-related expenses to say a million dollars in damages. It really
doesn't matter what the sum, because even the lowest end would lead to our
bankruptcy as an organization and, lacking an organization, a legal entity,
a right to the name, it would likely be the final blow to this movement as a
whole. To be clear this goes well beyond his earlier expressed
intent "merely" to oppose our trademark with the USPTO. It is a court case
which would not only cause us to lose the trademark but also to have to
shut our doors as an organization. This is quite serious.

I just found all of this out yesterday. I'll be meeting with our pro bono
lawyers here in Tucson on Monday or Tuesday. But there is little they can do
as this will be a case in northern California in the Bay Area, not in
Arizona and they don't have a license to practice in California. This means
we need to do our darnedest as an organization to find a really good pro
bono lawyer in the Bay Area who is a patent and trademark specialist and is
a litigator. Mr. Oey has a lawyer with one of the ten largest legal firms in
the world which also specializes in this field. If you have any leads on
finding such a lawyer, please let me know personally at

Obviously this situation will dramatically hinder current projects which
take time or funding, such as the current website design project. All bets
are off until we are able to deal with this legal issue. We'll need every
penny we can get. From here forward for the coming months, my time will
also be extremely limited as you can imagine.

Sorry about the bad news. I'll let you know as I learn more. This will not
be fun, but is extremely critical to our survival to pursue our legal
defense as best we possibly can.

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, right?



February 17, 2006 9:31 PM

I think what I'm confused about on this whole Freecycle thread is why seeking copyright protection is a bad thing. Many very popular, very successful, very good non-profit organizations have protection for their brand name to protect their interests. Without legal protection, corporate/business interests have free sway to say/do anything they want with the Freecycle name. This protects the Freecycle concept. What am I missing?

It also seems that alot of TFN's problems are stemming from hurt feelings and a lack of people skills. That's regrettable and unfortunate. But, the last I heard, you don't have legal standing in a lawsuit just because someone pissed you off and hurt your feelings. (If I'm wrong, tell me so I can haul half my family into court.)

With regards to the system of moderation and control, there clearly needs to be a happy medium that must be struck here. I think TFN is a victim of it's own success, having grown too quick, too fast, and it's struggling to keep up with the number of people who want to participate and support or otherwise have influence over TFN.

I'd also say that I've been with TFN for about 18 months now, and I've seen all sorts of people participate. There are people who just want to do the right thing, people who want to take advantage of the system for their own personal gain and who suffer from the gimmes, people who have successful corporate lives and do this on the side, and people who live, breathe, and eat Freecycle all day long. There are people who are members and moderators who can scarely complete a coherent sentence via e-mail without using emoticons and "LOLs" peppered all over the place, and some people who are quite eloquent. All types of people are making this organization work. My guess is that at some point, there will be a dominant, unifying theme that will define the "Freecycle culture" that will make further maturation possible. There's also the possibility that TFN will fracture due to the immense diversity. However, live or die, TFN has made a significant improvement to the lives of many and the environment we all share, for whatever period of time it definitively exists.

Tim Oey

March 6, 2006 1:14 AM


This particular case is about trademark protection, not copyright protection. Words/terms cannot be copyrighted anyway. The legal documents covering the case are posted at, in particular see the PDF files posted there.

In brief and in layman terms, having the word freecycle be protected by a trademark in the area of generic recycling is a bad thing because:

1) Words should not be trademarked in their own area. Imagine if the following words were trademarked: "blog", "recycle", "newspaper" to cover what the words actually mean. If that were the case then people might need permission from their owner to use these words to describe the things that they are. Doing this is not legal and damages people's right to use their own language.

2) Words don't need trademark protection because they mean what they mean.

3) Freecycling is about things being free. The word was freely used and freely given away a long time ago. When you give something away, it is wrong to ask for it back. And even more wrong to punish people who were given it for free.

4) The Freecycle Network (TFN) violates its own principles on a regular basis. If freecycling is about letting go of ownership and giving things away, why doesn't TFN actually practice this more? and many others are much more open and giving than TFN is. Others are willing to author documents to help people run freecycling groups and not require those groups to be controlled by any central "authority".

5) An important principle of the recycling movement is "reduce, reuse, recycle". TFN is not practicing this as well as it shoudl -- it is using quite a few resources to try to control people and words when it simply is not needed.

6) TFN has caused direct harm by deleting, damaging, or threatening perfectly fine running freecycling groups. Almost all of the groups listed at were once happy freecycling groups until TFN either deleted the original groups forcing them to recreate themselves or they changed their name to avoid deletion.

7) If lots of people are interested in creating lots of freecycling (or recycling) groups, what is the harm in letting them? People will naturally gravitate toward the groups that are doing a good job. There is no need to force people one way or another. Just let nature take its course.

8) I and hundreds (thousands even) of other great folks were with TFN since the very beginning but were kicked out for really believing in freecycling. This is a tragedy.

9) TFN has ended up valuing trash more than people. Trash can be freecycled, whereas people are put on the TFN junk heap permanently.

10) No single entity should control freecycling. It was meant to be free.

To freecycle: to recycle by giving something things away for free. That is just the way it should be.


Nancy Castleman

March 8, 2006 11:57 AM

What Tim just said ... plus 261,120 other reasons why TFN would be much better off focusing its attention on something else, say board development, rather than its trademark troubles:

Search for freecycling on: 2-15 3-1
Google 100,000+ 179,000
Yahoo 71,300 80,900 527 562 547 658

Anyone see a trend here?! LOL!!!!!


April 18, 2006 4:32 AM

freecycle gives up on their trademark as they launch freecycling .org .net .com sites

Take a look here people if you will. Has freecycle gone mad? With a pending trademark in the United States, Canada and the European Union - all of a sudden since the lawsuit with FreecycleSunnyvale they are now calling it quits - just take a look at or or sites - does not this go against their ability to trade mark freecycle? - surely it does and we are all so very happy!!!

All this time Deron Beal has been telling the Yahoo Groups membership not to use the term freecycling anywhere and here he goes using it himself - hypocrite you think?

This spells the end of freecycle as the new freecyling world has now sprout up - and with it all of his lies have brought him and his freecycle desert movement to a standstill.

Recently there has been rumours that Yahoo is set to takeover freecycle and create for themselves a cash cow - if anyone has looked at this Yahoo page and seen the From Trash to Treasure Icon that when clicked leads you to the freecycle site - there is seldom wonder why all the rumours.

How much is Yahoo willing to buy freecycle or freecycling from Deron Beal? - how much will Yahoo be in the future making from your items that you want to give up freely? - oh what a mess!

With the not too recent contract between Waist Management and Deron Beal having ran it's course surely he is looking to other avenues to bring in the cash for your trash - isn't it about time that those who run freecycle Yahoo groups now rename them and burst his bubble and send a signal to Yahoo that the power is in those who surf the net and not those who would want to own it all.

What can you expect from a movement that came from the Tucson Arizona trash!!!


April 22, 2006 12:02 AM

Trademark Team heats up the pressure on us Mods. This is from the OIDG group, otherwise known as "Freecycle Org Issues Discussion Group"

Mods are all getting letters, first a nice one, then a 2nd one with more pressure and if that doesn't work, the big guy steps in to 'beg' them to comply and get trademark compliant. The simple truth is, deron there are tons of groups who will pay no mind to any of these letters. They don't follow the Mod Squad, stay out of the limelight, and 'lay low' to avoid being hassled. How did something that started out so simply become something so full of legalese. What happened to 'Keep on Freecyclin' that Deron threw around all over. What happened to us Mods making decisions? Why is it that any time a Mod does ask a question that is 'volatile' or the subject is touchy with Deron, that the Mod gets moderated on a Mods group? How unreal. It's a group for discussion but is pretty much fully moderated. And if a post gets through and it's not liked, by the powers that be, it's deleted, the Mod who posted it, is put on Moderation and their further posts do not make it to see the light of day. How is this a free and easy, freecycling way? When the money came in deron, it just became a whole new ballgame. And ya know what? None of us wanted it. But they are all so terrified to say anything, or else they will end up tossed out. Please don't keep lying and saying that no Mod has ever been removed. That's simply untrue.

And here's a question. Anyone know what happens when these groups who get these letters do NOT comply? I can bet I know. They get their links removed from the main site, and get declared rogue. One minute, your group is safe, the next , you are looking over your shoulder.

Shameful, and please understand that Mods who dont' support this trademark quest of Deron's and it IS Deron's; no one else cares. And why does he care? Money, that's the whole shooting match folks. If he can't 'own it' He cannot control it. And if he cannot control it, he cannot profit from it.

Hey Kat,
As you can imagine, the TM Survey being done now *really* is a massive effort.
Here's what's happening. A group of volunteers composed of NGAs, GOAs and IMod
team members divvied up all the Freecycle groups in the world to look at. Just
checking each of 3500 plus groups was, as you can imagine, a daunting effort. A
huge list was compiled of all the needed tweaks which was then divvied up by
region and given to all GOAs for those regions. The GOAs have since sent a note
out to every single group needing tweaking, to the owner addy, asking them
tweak. Most did this tweaking. For those remaining, the list gets passed on to
the trademark team who in essence asks again that the changes be made. The
remaining list after all this process lands with me for a final session of
personal begging from me. What is being asked of local mods is the most basic of
visual changes on the local Yahoo main page. The trademark guidelines have not
changed at all and may be viewed on click on Mod Manual and TM
guidelines. If you would like a transparent logo or a new local design to go
with your logo, you may ask the logo team for help. They do good work.

Thanks for your patience Kat. A bunch of people are really working their hearts
off doing this TM survey. Eveyone's understanding and help is really important
to insure that these few simple updates keep us from providing the plaintiff
with evidence against us in court. Special kudos go to the Trademark Team who
are really really working miracles and pulling late hours as we speak. It is
truly moving to see what a few caring people are doing to protect the goodwill
of all invested in this name. Mega, mega TM kudos to them.

Wanna check the basics yourself to feel better on your local group? Check this:
1) No mention of "freecycler, freecyclin', to freecycle," just "Freecycle group"
or "Freecycle member," you dig?
2) Yes, you can have luvely graphics behind or around the logo, but the logo
itself can't be changed in any way. This is our trademark and rather key to our
3) First mention of "Freecycle" gets a TM. Welcome to the Tucson Freecyle(TM)
group. It just has to be in the description not the title line. If you want to
put it in the title line you may too. If the first mention is "The Freecycle
Network" then the TM goes after the whole shebang "The Freecycle Network(TM)"
per our legal advisors.
4) The C/TM statement needs to be in there somewhere, somehow. It can be as part
of the logo graphic to save limited description word space, or it can be at the
bottom of the description in the small print. We have ours at the bottom in smal
print which looks pretty clean to me:
If you want that text to be snuck in as part of the logo, you can use this logo
with that text: (click on trademark policy and
scroll down to the logo wtih the text under it and copy it to your local hard
drive and then upload it to the local Yahoo Group)

That's about it. Thanks for all your help and your care, Kat. Maybe we need to
be roping you into helping out on the TM Team? Might wait a couple weeks before
offering to help though...




April 22, 2006 12:20 AM

Here's info from a GOA about the steps being taken on groups who are not TM compliant. It does include removal and being branded as rogue.

I can attest to groups in Fl that were not TM compliant getting
letters. I had to email close to 300 groups in 4 states.

The process for non-TM compliant groups is:
1) Info is gathered
2) GOA emails giving a time period to correct group
3) TM team emails giving a time period to correct group
4) Group is delisted pending correction (to get the owner's attention)
5) Deron emails group giving a time period to correct group
6) Group is delisted permanently and cease & desist letters are

I know it sounds harsh, but so far, it is only on step 3. I don't
think that any groups have been delisted due to non compliance.

Florida GOA

charlotte hess

April 24, 2006 10:38 PM

Hi Folks,

Well we have some pretty exciting news !

Bob, who is better known as Pizza Bob, was asked to write a song about freecycling and what we do here on our group. It's purpose is to
play live at Summer Save It Festival in June in Cocoa Beach Florida.

But... it's so darned good and so cute and right on, that Bob has it linked on his website, and he has released it for 'poor man' use.

You may download it, listen all you care to, pass it on to your pals, relatives, etc. The more the merrier.

It's a stupdenous way to get the word out. Our next step is to ask our local radio DJ's to play it for us. And I'll be posting it all
over the net so other groups can hear it and use it. Many of us will be able to use this, to tell people very easily about what we do.

It's a super song, and I would like to thank Bob very much for his hard work. He's a great singer folks!

So pass it on, send it on, enjoy it!

Here are two different links:
- have to click to hear song
- opens with page

Thanks to Kathleen his sweet wife who does the voice over for the link to

Melbourne Florida Recycle
Cocoa Florida Recycle
Titusville Florida Recycle

Nancy Castleman

April 25, 2006 1:54 PM

This is a very sad day for the freecycling movement.

The Freecycle Network is suing Tim and "Jane Doe Oey" in AZ for "Trademark Disparagement, Injurious Falsehood, Defamation, Intentional Interference with Business Relations." (In case you're wondering why Tim's wife is being dragged into the fray, Deron is claiming that "all actions taken by Defendent were taken on behalf of the marital community.")

A jury trial is demanded, and while no amount is specified, in each of the five claims for relief, tfn is asking for an injunction *and* money -- "three times The Freecycle Network's damages, and The Freecycle Network's attorneys' fees and costs incurred in connection with this action." Tim and Sunnyvale specifically chose NOT to ask for
money, so as to keep the focus on the issues, as I recall.

I am in shock and am just plowing through the material. Here's what struck me so far, starting with the five claims tfn is making:
1. Contribuatory Trademark Infringement
2. Trademark Disparagement
3. Injurious Falsehood
4. Defamation
5. Intentional Interference with Business Relationship

Choice tidbits: "The Freecycle Network enters into contractual relationships with local recycling organizations and with corporate sponsors. The Freecycle Network provides corporate sponsors a limited non-exclusive license to use its intellectual property and recycling know-how, in exchange for monetary donations."

The exhibits include email Tim wrote way back when about TM protection (primarily in September, 2005 or earlier), plus some posts to fcnext. (I haven't read the exhibits yet.)

Tim is accused of "intentionally" making false statements about tfn and "maliciously" getting groups to leave tfn.

"The Freecycle Network has suffered special damages due to Defendant's false statements in an amount to be determined at trial, including,
but not limited to, a loss of goodwill, decreased membership, loss of potential corporate sponsorship, and potential loss of intellectual
property right in The Freecycle Network's Marks."

It's not right that Tim and his wife are being *personally* $ued for a cause so many believe in. I'm sure Tim will not discuss this with us
-- but I feel awful about this, just awful.

You legal minds out there -- please help us figure out what our options are to support Tim.

Those still with tfn -- please feel free to forward this email to other mods. I hope you will join together to stop Deron from pursuing this awful, "chilling effect" lawsuit.

To read it in all its unglory, go to
In case the link doesn't work: The document in the files section of


Eric Burke

April 25, 2006 9:39 PM

A copy of the lawsuit can be found at:

Also check the forums for latest updates on this and other issues.


freecycled - ezine

April 26, 2006 12:03 AM

Could 4paperplus sue The original freecycle(tm)

FreeCycle™ - a non profit service designed to help the environment, general public and the World Wide Web by allowing people to donate and have access to items - new, used, expensive or inexpensive, all for free. right here!!!

freecycle all started in 2000 with H.E.m.p as a non-profit and for whatever reasons did not continue on or have they? - it would of been real easy for Deron Beal to have gained this information while working for RISE or was he just stupid to the fact that this one started in 2000 already existed - Here is their freecycle(tm) notice is Deron Beal in violation of it?

H.E.M.P a privately owned company founded in November 1997 and is one of the largest online product superstores, offering over 15,000 products and services.

Started April 11, 2000 H.E.m.p here is the url for H.E.m.p's freecycle page at the time more contact information from their subsidiary One Stop Shopping where you will see Paper Direct Catalogue orders.

It is still!!!


Here is their trademark notice

Who owns the trademark rights to freecycle? In common law 4paperplus does!!!

Now does this not intrigue you?

freecycled - ezine

freecycled - ezine

April 28, 2006 12:00 AM

RoseburgFreecycle is a trademark of - prior to Deron
Beal and freecycles claim!!!

Roseburg FreeCycle(TM)

Since 2002

Roseburgfreecycle, existed to this group in 2002 prior to any federal
trademarks, we still retain the right to ownership of the Roseburg Freecycle
name and respectfully FreeCycleRoseburg. The names are listed to verify the
true owner ship and use of this site and our recycling system. We have
since acquired the name also DouglasRecycle.. How ever in the use. We retain
the rights to use Roseburg Freecycle. As a whole in reference to our
previous use. The Renaming of our group does not relinquish the rights to
RoseburgFreecycle or FreecycleRoseburg As the name is and was used as a
whole prior to any trademark registration or application. the use of the
word freecycleroseburg or roseburgfreecycle is prohibited and is protect by
the. millennium act 2001, 2002.

RoseburgFreecycle is a trademark of

Here is their new site



May 7, 2006 3:57 AM

The real reason freecycle splintered into so many more groups

It had very little to do with the issue of Deron Beal getting a grant from WM (Waste Management) - although many who have posted to this board would state otherwise having not been privy to the actual goings on of the freecycle MS (mod squad) - in actual fact the real reason was a heated debate over whether or not to allow Gay Pride paraphernalia - many of those who come from countries where same sex marriage is a civil right debated against those who say come from certain states of the United States where it is not legal - in the ensuing arguments many homophobic stances were prevalent - resulting in the civil rights of many being violated - by the actions of Deron Beal who went on to delete all messages and putting the Mod Squad on full moderation - the result was that those who did not want to discriminate up and left "The Freecycle Network" this is a lengthy one so we offer the full coverage of it on our blog


May 13, 2006 1:44 AM

When I first learned of the site that helped me keep things out of the landfill (FC), I was thrilled. I devoted much of my time to the cause. I knew nothing of the founder at all, nor did I care. My friends and family called me the FC queen, LOL. Then I became a moderator to help the cause I loved so much.

My FC world came crashing slowly around me though. The rules started getting rediculously strict, people were complaining to us constantly, people started unsubscribing, and we were getting sick of defending rules we didn't believe in to begin with, as if they were our own.

I am a student at a local university and needed a subject for a research paper for the class: Human Impact on the Enviornment. Of course I chose my favorite subject, FC. Well, that is when I found out about this entire mess.

I am more than disappointed in Deron. I cannot believe I invested my valuable time and effort into "his" cause so blindly. Wouldn't it be nice to have a "business" and not have to pay anyone labor? Also, such a wonderful idea turned into such greed. That really sucks. Deron and his actions speak against his supposed "grass roots" movement.

Of course our group was one of MANY who dropped the FC name forever. We have had no (that would be zero) complaints since we edited out the FC name. The members now vote on the "rules" and basically now the only thing I have to do as a moderator is approve new members. Before switching, being a mod was like having a full time job most of the time. Even my husband was getting jealous :o)

I am positive FC will lose all of the groups eventually. You aren't going to get very far being a control freak or greedy Deron. Best of luck in your venture, I am just sorry that it all went to your head and you lost sight of your original vision. At least it's still possible without using the FC name and out of your control as well. We are about 1500 strong now and very proud of it :o) I might point out as well, that we do not do any advertising, yet we continue to grow.

Former FC member and moderator


May 13, 2006 8:35 AM

Where on earth did THAT come from? MANY left freecycle for more reasons than just one and that reason may or may not be one of them but no one left for that one reason alone. Your freecycled blogspot has become a joke and dispenser of misinformation about every topic and shows a level of paranoia akin to the cold war era. You take one controversy out of MANY and turn it into the main defining issue until something jucier catches your eye. Politics and religion will always start a fight somewhere.

Donavan McDonough

May 14, 2006 5:31 AM

To: deron@freecycle,,
Subject: Re: Re: Yahoo group "jhb_freecycle"
Cc: "Freecycle(TM) Trademark Representative"

Hi Deron

Please find someone competent to deal with this matter. Your organization screwed up and I am looking for an explanation and apology.

Your trademark "heavy" does not seem to understand that we both have a legitimate viewpoint and are both looking to come away with an acceptable outcome.

Revealing how long has failed to respond to my 5 e-mails enquiries (321 days in total) is magically turned into "my claim of authorization" by your trademark rep.

From my experience with your trademark rep it is very easy to see why your organization has gained such a rotten reputation. Maybe it is time to bring in a reputation management consultant
to do some damage control.

Donavan McDonough

At 06:14 PM 2006/05/12, you wrote:


The email you claim as your authorization to have a Freecycle(TM) group is an email from Yahoo saying that you have set up your group. It is NOT an email from Freecycle(TM) saying that you are authorized to use the name and logo. There is a big difference between the two.

Procedure is that a person applies to Freecycle to run a group. If Freecycle says yes then and only then are they directed to set up the Yahoo group. After that there are three stages to check that all the required files are in place and that the Trademark is being used appropriately.

I hope this clarifies things for you.

Freecycle(TM) Trademark Representative

Copyright © 2003-2006 The Freecycle Network
( All rights reserved.
Freecycle and the Freecycle logo are trademarks
of The Freecycle Network in the United States
and/or other countries.

----- Original Message -----

From: Donavan McDonough
To: Jeanette
Sent: Monday, May 08, 2006 1:15 PM
Subject: Fwd: Re: Yahoo group "jhb_freecycle"
Dear Jeanette


Please explain why your organization failed to
contact me! I put in the effort to make the service official. You people made it remain UNOFFICIAL.


Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2006 00:00:09 +0200
From: Donavan McDonough
Subject: Re: Yahoo group "jhb_freecycle"

Dear Trademark Representative

I registered the Johannesburg Freecycle operation on the 3rd of June 2005. This was done from the official site. The site at the time stated that there was a back log being experienced so it could take a few days for the site to be accepted and listed.

Nothing ever happened. It never appeared and I never received any replies to my e-mail queries. Below is one such e-mail that was address to your organization.

As it was never approved I did not advertise or promote it.


Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 10:42:17 +0200
From: Donavan McDonough
Subject: not approved after 24 days - Johannesburg

Hi Group Approver

On the 3rd of June I set up the preliminary work
for the Johannesburg_Freecycle group. As yet
I have not heard from you.

Please let me know what is happening.

Many thanks

Donavan McDonough
Johannesburg - South Africa

Please explain why your organization failed to
contact me! I put in the effort to make the service official. You people made it remain UNOFFICIAL.

I'm part of an organization that has circa 4,500
people involved in active recycling. They have
never been informed of the service as it was
never made official by your people.

I see that a Johannesburg group is now up and
running. GREAT!!


PS I am not using the trademark or logo. Your organization has has never made it official so I have not been able to use. it.


Date: 3 Jun 2005 05:04:30 -0000
From: "Yahoo! Groups Notification" Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert Yahoo! DomainKeys has confirmed that this message was sent by Learn more

Subject: Yahoo! Group jhb_freecycle created


Congratulations! Your Yahoo! Group jhb_freecycle has been created. You can access your group using the link below or from the Yahoo! Groups
"My Groups" page.

* Your group information:

Group name: jhb_freecycle
Group home page:

Group email address:


May 17, 2006 6:45 PM

What a class act this guy is! I've just left my group (as I cannot be a part of this gong show any longer) and joined the materiallove network... good luck all!

Josh T

May 21, 2006 10:46 AM

Well what can I say big bad Deron Beal has all kinds of nice people afraid to use there names and e-mail addresses.I'm going to and I'm taking as many groups with me as I can.
You can shove my group we'll rebuild it bigger and better!
Deron I'm not intimidated by you! I'm in Kent City Mi.49330


May 29, 2006 1:19 PM

Josh said:
I'm going to and I'm taking as many groups with me as I can.

The website is (not .com), and all free recycling groups are welcome regardless of affiliation to be listed in a directory where they will be free of being micro managed, harrassed over little TM symbols, or otherwise distracted from doing what you originally set out to do:
save useful items from the landfil while helping out your neighbors.

Eric Burke
home to over 480 independent free recycling groups around the world


June 2, 2006 3:48 AM

I heard about these guys who have been talking to freecycle users about what they want and are building a brand new service. You should check em out. I signed up to be a beta tester. Their site talks about what they will have to offer. Sounds cool.

- peace

(ps. is some cyber squating site? It's nothing like freecycle.)

glenn hess

June 5, 2006 10:52 PM and freesharer's freecyclers recycler's are all covered by the overlapping and interconnecting umbrellas of their respective .org sites, and any like groups may be listed there by simply making a request to the list facilitators there, the ones ending in .com of the url are placeholders for unpurchased domains or placeholders for future commercial and definitely for profit as opposed to non-profit groups, Deron Beal(director,president and modgod of freecycle(bs)) has purchased all of the variants of freecycle as a .com a .biz etc... so that he has them tied up for his own future for-profit and rule the world of trash commercial ventures.

www.freesharing. org or



June 16, 2006 11:46 PM

Hello everyone

I am the founder and sole developer of a new website, I too have noticed the short commings of FreeCycle, and I decided to put my knowledge to good use and my result is The Staga Network.

It is designed to be much more community based and interactive than FreeCycle is.

Our site is still relatively new, and there are a ton of features to come but if you are interested in a more user friendly alternative, please visit our site.

Again, its and if anyone has suggestions, complaints, or anything to say feel free to email us!


Moderator Moe

July 2, 2006 6:18 PM

I recently changed my Freecycle group and removed
the Freecycle name. One of the members of my
group complained that I booted them off after
giving them warnings for asking for too many
high priced items and having a regular Monday
morning list of things they dreamed up to
ask for during that past weekend. Instead of
asking for my side of the story, my local
GOA person rudely insisted on joining the group
by telling me that she had gotten a "fan mail."
She began to scrutinize my Freecycle site by
making me remove any reference to RISE, telling
me that I couldn't have certain links that
members had posted and insisted that I make
Ersatz friend or someone else a co-owner.
After reading the comments here on overzealous
Freecycle GOA and "MOD SQUAD" members, I can't
seem that I want to remove the affiliation
with Freecycle from my group and join one of
the other Recycling groups that were listed
in this article. I also can't help but
wonder if the term MOD SQUAD isn't already
copyrighted from the old TV show and Deron
should think that it's ok to rip off that
term but fight so hard to own the rights
to the term Freecycle. It seems like an
oxymoron to call something FREE-Cycle and then
get a touch of corporate greed. Maybe he
should rename it GREED-Cycle.


July 15, 2006 12:02 PM

In the Suburban Maryland area outside of Wash.DC, we have a direct violation of the freecycle rules which states:

"Being an owner of more than one group is not allowed."

There are 3 seperate Freecycle lists which are owned by the same woman (Susanne Brunhart-Wiggins) and heavy handedly moderated by the same moderator (Max Handelsman)- who also "owns" one of the local lists. Handelsman has recently been reported to Gmail for "phishing" (seeking email addresses!)

This duo bans and places members on moderation for the slightest errors they might make. Again their actions are in direct violation of the FC Moderator manaul:

" DON'T BE A DICTATOR. If we mods act like dictators, we can only lose. mods act like dictators, we can only lose."

Kate Larabee

July 19, 2006 3:44 AM

I'm someone who never a moderator at Freecycle and I'm VERY disappointed in it. It can take DAYS to post a listing - if you're 'allowed' to post it at all - because every post is moderated. I've run large YahooGroups myself as far back as when they were eGroups and there's no GOOD reason to have everyone on constant moderation all the time. It's draconian at the very least and hints at deeper problems than spammers, and FreeCycle is unapologetic about it. Unfortunately, the alternative is that other groups can be hard to join because those burned by these control freaks are paranoid and suspicious of Freecyle "spies" infiltrating their ranks. There has to be a better way out there with reasonable people that aren't carrying extra "baggage" but I haven't found them (not even at where many of them are "once burned, twice shy").

Nancy Castleman

July 23, 2006 9:07 PM

Great news! The Appeals Court has issued a ruling in Tim and Pat Oey's favor, and they get a stay from being SLAPPED by tfn:

"7/20/06 Filed order MOATT ( Michael D. HAWKINS, Sidney R. THOMAS,): This is a preliminary injunction appeal. Aplts' motion for stay pending appeal is GRANTED. [5880461-1] The opening brief has been filed. The answering brief is due 8/10/06 or within 28 days of service of the opening brief, whichever is earlier; and the optional reply brief is due within 14 days of service of the ans brf. Aplts' request for judicial notice and request for oral argument are REFERRED TO THE PANEL assigned to hear the merits of the appeal. [5886970-1], [5886977-1] [06-16219] (hh)"

The key sentence is: "Aplts' motion for stay pending appeal is GRANTED." I double-checked the meaning of "stay," just to be sure. Here's what says: "To delay or stop the effect of (an order, for example) by legal action or mandate: stay a prisoner's execution."

Other recent developments of note or non-note:

1. There are *STILL* groups on .org using either freecycling or freecyclers in their name. (What kind of tm due diligence is that?!)

2. I checked both Yahoo and Google recently, and what I found for freecycling and freecyclers makes it clear that these words are now in
everyday use:
Freecycling -- 120,000
Freecyclers -- 18,100

Freecycling -- 72,200
Freecyclers -- 3,560

Yahoo Groups
Freecycling -- 348*
Freecyclers -- 131*

* These numbers from Yahoo Groups include groups that are listed on .org. (See the above about due diligence.)

3. If you search Yahoo Groups for the word, freecycle, 6,369 groups turn up. TFN lists 3,695. (Last time I was on .org, there were 3,700
groups. Wonder what happened to the other five? I sure do. Perhaps the IMOD folks were working on the blacklist and had no time to create the
imitation local groups.)

4. Recent OIDG discussions lead one to conclude that the current leadership of tfn has still not figured out a way to contact all of its member groups. (Duh ... how about splitting up the list and getting some email out there? Many folks would volunteer to reach out to groups.)

5. Deron recently "mis-spoke" about donations to tfn. (While money was being discussed, I was surprised that no one asked the fellow who
invented the phrase, "Have fun and keep on Freecyclin'," about funds for mods to travel to and stay in CA for the tm trial. *MANY* will be
called -- unless folks convince Deron that compromise is in tfn's best interest.)

6. Some of Char's IDs were removed by Yahoo ... yet again ... at what we can only assume is tfn's request. (Yahoo admitted to me that the reason I lost my ID was at tfn's request. Too bad the fellow who invented the phrase, "Have fun and keep on Freecyclin'," doesn't realize that such efforts only backfire.)

7. If you haven't tuned into the article, "The First Amendment is Dead," which is based on the AZ case, I urge you to do so now. It shows the importance of what Tim and the Sunnyvale group are doing:
Here's a tiny url for it:

8. The next big thing will be the trial in CA, as far as I can tell. I don't remember when it is scheduled to begin, but whenever ... there
will be depositions first. The travel bill will be high, no question about that. Will WM pay for that?

Plus, mods will miss work, family time, and who knows what else?! Will WM pay for that? Some will certainly have to make special childcare
arrangements. Will WM pay for that? Then there's the stress of the process itself.

Also, what if mods fearful of the awkward position they are in desire counsel of their own? Will WM pay for that?

9. Imagine what tfn could do with the time, money, and energy if it simply dropped the tm pursuit, as well as the SLAPP suit! I was
surprised to see how many terrific people are still trying to reason with Deron on OIDG. From where I sit, it is so much better not to be
associated with him and his inability to administer and lead what could have been a great freecyclin' organization. My group, like most
that have left tfn, continues to thrive.

10. Tim's posts and vision for what tfn could be are *still* on the ModSquad, contrary to his request to have them removed, in keeping with the
gag order issued at tfn's request by the judge in AZ. The one I recommend you start with is #26991 -- "Civil Disobedience ... ."

I still don't see what benefit there could possibly be to tfn in keeping those messages on the MS, especially after bringing the SLAPP
suit, but I urge all to read Tim's pearls of wisdom there, say from August on!


Michael Cloud

August 16, 2006 3:24 AM

I think that the freecycle heads are snooty! I originally posted that my stepsons' mother was now homeless and we were trying to get custody of him by the upcoming weekend. We needed bunk beds. They ommited the info with this note. Included is my response-
Hi = wanted to let you know it was necessary to edit your post in
order to approve it. #1 - it was necessary to change the heading from
needed to wanted, as we don't allow the useage of the word needed in
the heading. #2 - it was necessary to adjust the information in the
body of the post to keep within the purpose of Freecycle which is to
pass on still useable items that someone may no longer want or need to
keep it from a landfill, versus sharing your entire story with the
purpose of fulfilling your need. While we are concerned for our
members and are glad that many are helped through Freecycle, we must
stay true to our main purpose with regards to the contents of posts.

portland freecycle

Elva Hesting

August 22, 2006 1:46 PM

I removed myself from the Freecycle Network about a year ago. My entire reasoning was, and still is: there is no transparency in the organization.

Deron seeks to have may people run "his" groups, his way! We moderators donated time, energy, compassion, and even love to the whole idea. Deron even seemed to appreciate and value us. That changed when money entered the picture.

All non-profits are REQUIRED to post financial reports. Despite repeated calls for this information, there is still no transparancy.

Supposedly the grant was needed so that a common website could be built. 18 months later, there is no website. But the scuttlebutt is that all of Deron's rent, utilities, and computer upgrades have been paid for IN ADDITION to his salary.

When, as a GOA, I asked for an accounting...for the legally required financials, I was informed it was none of my business.

If TFN is a "non-profit" it IS my business. If I volunteer for an organization it IS my business.

Do I "know" that shenanigans have been going on? Absolutely not. And I make no accusation because I have no facts and no evidence, only rumor and, as I stated, scuttlebutt. Every red flag in the arsenal is up and waving!!!!!!!!

Don't threaten me again, Mr. Beal, with lawsuits. I am entitled to explain that my gut turns somersalts over your accounting. I am NOT saying you are doing something either illegal or unethical. I AM stating that all my unease could have been allayed by following the legal requirements of any non-profit.

If you ain't cooking the books, Deron, POST THEM! Be FREE AND LEGAL with the information!

Why does Deron need to be an "owner" on all the Freecycle groups? Because it is the only way to prove his "ownership" of the idea, to make it truly "HIS," and to justify all the money Waste Management is paying, and the seeking of further grants and corporate sponsorship. Being an owner of my local group provides no material value to me. Being the "owner" of 2000+ groups provides Deron a very nice lifestyle. Doesn't seem fair, since it's the local owners doing all the work, sweating and crying.

If I were WM, I'd be washing my hands of the entire situation, and asking for a refund for non-performance!

Once more for the record: I am not accusing Deron of financial slight of hand. I am saying that there are rumors flying and that it could be all be resolved by simply complying with the rules of transparancy.

If you ask the Red Cross, or United Way, they'll send you a copy of their financials. If you belong to a church, or a local non-profit, you are entitled to see the financials. Why is TFN so special that they don't have to comply?


glenn hess

August 26, 2006 11:01 AM

-- In, "xxxxxxxxxx" wrote:
> I consider these C&D threats to be the same as harassing phone calls
> so I filed an online report here:

And we are at this point doing the same.

I would encourage everyone here and those you know whom have received
c&d's for their groups and placeholders that they have or know of to
do the same.

Also any threatening e-mails from IMODS, GOAs, NGA's, TM's, MM's,
ABC's or WTF's

we are also directing copies and correspondence to Deron's current
hosting services and Yahoo.. for their review as well.

please make your points plainly, calmly, and based in fact and
documentation that you personally have on hand.

your replies and actions in this matter cannot be considered a
violation of TOS or spam for/from your sites and isp's as TFN or it's
designated agents initiated these exchanges and communications and
expect your actions and response based upon their requests in the
e-mails which THEY sent to you first.

just backed up our member lists, switched everyone to special notices
@ least, downloaded the lists, and are in the process of writing the
Admins explaining everything to all of our members, e-mail contacts,
communities, press, county, and state... with all links to everything
our group has done here and for our county over the years which also
includes a timeline of TFN's actions including the suspension and
deletion of ID's and Groups by Yahoo....

One of which is our Make a Difference Day/Free-for-All groups which
gained National attention which to this day we cannot access as owner.
(confirmed by Yahoo.... as well as Yahoo restricting access to Yahoo
groups with specified by TFN G-mail accounts used by us) Hear that Google?

OH and Yahoo..... did you read in last nite's OIDG discussion Deron's
statement again about leaving you guys????? It is Happening... so why
are you listening? or doing his bidding based on a non-existent TM or
copyrights of plagiarized material?

you won't have his ad dollars or audience when he leaves....

Go Ahead and Flip the switch Deron.... if you still can...

It's now absolutely your call.

Glenn Hess

Charlotte Hess

August 26, 2006 7:40 PM

As posted to groups in Brevard County Florida

Re: Deron Beal and TFN's removal and deletion of groups from Yahoo


Welcome to the busiest Freecycle group in the world based on
population and number of members. I need to bring something to your
attention, which is not a usual Admin. so if those are less than
thrilling for you, we ask that you please read the following.

It's important.

As most of you here know, we are the original Freecycling group that
was started here in Brevard County, May of 2004, nearly two and 1/2
years ago. At that time we were called melbournefloridafreecyclers. I
worked closely with Deron Beal as his Database Administrator, his New
Group approver for both Florida and Idaho.

We left the Freecycle Network in August 2005, a bit over one year ago;
due to changes within the Freecycle Network, after aligning themselves
with Waste Management, Inc. Their record as an environmental group
speaks for itself.

We have for the last year had possession of a Yahoo group with the
same name as our first name with Yahoo, Melbourne Florida Freecylers,
seen here.

What's important now, is this. has issued a Cease and Desist for this group, and for
the Cocoa group, known as Space Coast Freecyclers, and the reason is
pretty clear.

A Google search of the words Brevard Freecycle, brings up our group
and our brand new Domain which I have not even shown you yet, as the
#1 and #2 Hits on Google If, is able to have this group
deleted, they can grab this link and have the appearance of 'being us'
for all this time. This would allow them to pose as this group, and
claim our works done over the years.

A few links to history on our group, we've had quite a busy few years
already, distinguished ourselves as a participant in several ways:
'Make a Difference Day' hosting a "Free 4 All" which was widely
attended: Oct 23, 2004.

Filed under: US Southern — Eric @ 3:05 am

Melbourne's Charlotte Hess established BCFN from scratch earlier this
year. Response was so overwhelming (nearly 1,300 members at last
count) that a second chapter opened up on Merritt Island. Property
losses wrought by September's hurricanes coalesced its membership.
October 21, 2004

`Free-for-all' offers something for everyone
Filed under: US Southern — Eric @ 4:51 am
Oct 19, 1:41 PM Florida Today
Also instrumental to Freecycling is an event aptly called a
"Free-for-All." It's a huge yard sale where everything's free.
One's scheduled in conjunction with national "Make a Difference Day"
this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Veteran's Memorial Park, 2200
Port Malabar Boulevard, Palm Bay.

We've been listed for over 2 years on "Pay It Forward" Remember the

Written about multiple times by reporters, our very own Doug Lang of
the ! HELP ! Column, and Billy Cox, both of Florida Today.

We are linked all over the Internet on multiple sites, and have had
many milestones in our time here in Brevard.

Here's one story about us:

Freecycling: Waste Not, Want Not
by Miranda Spencer

Brevard County Freecycle Hits 1000 members\
Filed under: US Southern — Eric @ 12:37 pm
PRESS RELEASE: Brevard County Freecycle Hits 1000 members

June 3, 2004
Filed under: US Southern — deron @ 4:25 pm
Recycling soars online
Web site matches up unwanted stuff with people happy to have it

That's a bit of our history, you can see articles in our Files Area:
About Us:

or Google us as Melbourne Freecycle or Brevard Freecycle to see more.
What a trip down Memory Lane that just was for me!

So you're wondering what can we do? What should we do?

As you know, when we left, put up a replacement group.
in the same city as us. Some of you belong there as well as here.
That's fine. This is done as considers us not to be a
REAL group, after leaving their control. These groups are owned by Mr
Beal soley, in most caess.

We have responded properly to both Freecycle, and to Yahoo Copyright
that we are not in violation of any trademarked materials, nor
copyrighted items belonging to

All files in use on our groups, as well as graphics and text, are the
sole work of myself, or one of our Moderators, or were created
expressly for our group.

We are the original groups in this County and were given free rein to
use the name and the logo of at the time this group was
began by me. We choose not to use their logo any longer as we think
it's kind of 'ugly' and we've had some great ones done for us over
time, that we used while both within the Freecycle Network or as an

What is critical here ....

Please note that at any time, this group may be deleted, at's orders to Yahoo. This has happened to groups over
1,000 times currently.

These groups did nothing wrong, other than to freecycle their items
among each other. However, Deron Beal, the Founder, of Freecycle
decided that the name should be trademarked, and has an application on
file. This application is currently under challenge, and in addition,
a Deleted Freecycle group in California, Sunnyvale, have brought suit
against Mr Beal, and the Freecycle Network.

We hope that it will not come to this here, but are prepared to pursue
the same sort of litigation against Mr. Beal, Director of The
Freecycle Network, should he effect the deletions of these groups.

If you are unhappy with these actions being threatened to our group,
there are things you can do to help us.

You may send a message to at the following address: and and tell them your feelings on
these threats by the Freecycle Network.

You may contact your local newspapers, television and radio stations
in our area.

You may contact Mr. Beal directly, at to protest
his actions.

You may blog this story, you may send this story to your friends.

We are in search of a pro bono attorney to represent us, at this time.
If you have contacts with same, please contact me at

I will be making preparations for this group to be deleted, I hope
this is not the case, but as I've witnessed before, groups have been
deleted for simply having the words 'Freecycling' on them.

We do have the member list saved here, and can re create a group on
either Yahoo, Google or MSN. I will be looking into each.

I'm sorry to bring these bad tidings, but wanted you to be prepared in
case the group is not here next week when you log on.

Please got to this site now and Bookmark it.

This is our site, and is under no threat as Freecycle has no control
over domains, only Yahoo listens to him, due to the ad dollars
Freecycle groups bring in.

* See those banners at the top of our pages? They bring in affiliate
income to Yahoo. *

If this group is deleted, as will soon be threatened in a 2nd Cease
and Desist from the Freecycle Network. When I receive this, the group
could be deleted as early as 48 hours from my receipt of that.

I am placing the documents served to me by Freecycle by a volunteer
who sends out mass numbers oof these form letters, and who do not
reply back to you when questioned. Mr. Beal himself has written me
today, and again threatened me with further action if I do not comply.
Since we have none of their materials here, we cannot comply. There is
nothing to comply with. Very confusing isn't it?

I'll have those docs on the site no later than 8:00 PM tonight.

If you have any questions. You may email me, I'll try to list
supporting helpful links to explain more of this bizarre story.

Thanks for your help, and Keep on Freecycling!

List Founder

Elva Hesting

August 26, 2006 9:14 PM

Ok, I called for financials. There are now 990s posted on the site.

There are still no financials. No statements that an audit will be performed, And the 990s were extended until the last possible moment, it seems. For such a small organization, with relatively few transactions, I find that disheartening.

I will freely admit that light has been shed, but the room is still dim. I still call for more wattage, but I admit an improvement.

Elva Hesting

glenn hess

September 2, 2006 8:02 AM

some interesting things have been happening...

freecycle and yahoo have been deleting groups based on TFN's pending and challenged TM application.

now it appears that the logo for which the trademark is applied is based upon clip art, licensed to microsoft... and not available for use in copyrighted or TM'd materials or for use in corporate or business logos or identification...

but is freely available for private non-commercial use...

how can you defend a TM based in free clip art which anyone with the proper microsoft software or operating system may use?


Glenn Hess

chris long

September 10, 2006 10:29 PM

I donated tons of stuff to worthy cause until this spring when I encountered a moderator/owner that attempted to invade my privacy, issue personal threats, and use worst language and attitude towards his dying and small membership I'd seen in 4 groups. He didn't even live in the city he was moderating and refused to answer calls or emails from Freecycle managers after he was reported to police in our town and his residence. Owners/moderators who are actually predators have to be removed from group mgmt or moderated to limit Freecycle's liability for damages; they cannot be controlled or removed in this instance unless a trademark is in place. This guy was completely arrogant, territorial, and ignorant of the mod's role and it became apparent quickly just how little control Freecycle had in dealing with or being able to remove his criminal representation of the movement.


September 27, 2006 2:44 PM

How long is the US Department of Patents and Trademark going to allow Freecycle to continue to claim trademark rights on something that clearly can not ever fully comply with the law and requirements of trademark?

Will the State and local news media, let alone the National news organizations ever step up and say, OOPS.... we were wrong, we told you the story of how wonderful freecycle was and mislead you to believe they were a great, honorable and non-profit organization helping the communities they are in BUT WE DIDN"T KNOW THE WHOLE TRUTH? We didn't know they lied about owning the trademark and their reasons for wanting to, we didn't know they have had thousands of community owned and operated free groups shut down to improve their profit margin. We didn't know at the time that they have threatened moderators lives and families. We didn't know they took donations under the pretense of being a 501c3 non-profit organization but they are not, never were and will never be approved as one because of this previous fraud on the worldwide public.

There ain't no harm in admitting you are wrong, you too were lied to and mislead by freecycle, the harm is in not admitting and correcting your error.....Did you understand that NBC, CBS, BCC

And what about the State and Federal Governments, several have claimed to be investigating the complaints made by its citizens and yet the years keep ticking by and freecycle is still presenting the same deceitful and misleading statements and information, frauding thousands more. What is up with that Arizona State Attorney General, why haven't you or and of the other States followed through? Your not saving yourself humiliation of admitting you have failed us your covering it up and allowing freecycle to continue to break the law and harm people.

glenn hess

October 27, 2006 3:05 PM

NVtech(owner of copyrighted materials in use by TFN without license in it's logo and distributed worldwide illegally by Freecycle) has been notified about the unauthorized use of their materials and will be asking for the removal of their copyrighted materials from ALL usage by Deron Beal and the Freecycle Network. It's going to be hard to push through a trademark on a logo that was submitted using pirated and stolen graphics.

this should also force a re-submission and re-application for a TM in the UK since current TM there is based on property not owned by TFN, also allowing the entire process to be challenged and contested.

looks like Deron's going to be on the receiving end for Cease and Desists instead of sending them out and crushing recycling communities.


January 15, 2007 9:19 PM

These Freecycle people are nuts. I used to run one myself a couple years ago through classified ads like an eBay type of setup (no spam from millions of people everyday!), except it was free no asking for money for anything, only free stuff. I always got desist orders, and after repeated hacks, and threats on my life, I gave up. Makes me sick that someone trying to supposedly do good would go through such lengths to hack, deface, and threaten me in all shapes and forms. To me that should be illegal. WTF??


January 22, 2007 12:26 PM

Hi Gwyndylyn, Karen, Dora, Terri, etc...

This is your final notice to stop spamming our groups and other moderators in the freecycling world community with invalid and improperly presented cease and desist notices. If you feel that your case and TFN's is valid. and you wish to pursue us or our domains. Please do so as required by law here in the US and that is a properly prepared document, stating exact infraction or supposed violation, and give a valid true name address and contact information for yourselves, your attorneys, and those you represent on behalf of Deron Beal. A class-action suit is in the making regarding all of these and your aliases will not protect you from prosecution and liability.

These MUST be sent by registered mail in order to be valid and enforceable. Any other means including those sent by e-mail will be considered spam and harassment and be reported to your ISP as such as well as adding to case information in the ongoing California case and with the Tucson Police Department and applicable State's Attorney Generals.


Glenn and Charltotte Hess


January 26, 2007 12:31 AM


Hey, I just stumbled across where it says:

"The influence of new lifestyle trends on the English language of 2006 is clear: SPEED-FRIENDING, SETJETTING, FREECYCLING, FLASHPACKING and VOLUNTOURISM are just some of the leisure choices currently available."

Googling SPEED-FRIENDING results in 2,740 hits, SETJETTING 65, FREECYCLING 131,000, FLASHPACKING 17,400, VOLUNTOURISM 117,000 -- FREECYCLING wins by a big margin.

Now compare VOLUNTOURISM to FREECYCLING, the people at don't seem to have any problem sharing their new word whereas keeps throwing a fit about sharing FREECYCLING. It looks like is more giving than is. Perhaps could learn a lesson or two about the real meaning of giving? Does anyone think it possible for to change it's tune and actually become generous?


glenn hess

March 27, 2007 8:32 PM

Deron Beal, TFN, and Yahoo have again begun deleting groups and associated ids.

even tho the court cases (which are still pending) remain undecided.

and the trademark application is on the logo only, not the word or it's usage.

Groups and ids belonging to us in Yahoo were deleted this past week at the insistence of the Trademark team at TFN... none of our groups had a TFN logo or any of it's purported copyrighted or tm'd materials.

The TM team never responds to e-mails from supposed "violators" and Yahoo directs you to deal with them meaning the TM team at TFN... who hide behind aliases in countries other than the US.. AND DON"T RESPOND.

what kind of due process is that? Yahoo?

so if Deron Beal and his teams and coordinators will not respond to the people they are directing you to delete.. and you direct us to contact them? how does this get resolved?

our groups here are the ORIGINAL freecycling groups in our counties and are on our way to 5000 members combined, and a 3rd anniversary, and an Earthday Event that Freecycle is trying to squash..

how is that helping our planet, families and communities?

this could explain why the deletions and harassment has heated up.

Mr. Beal posted this to the Tucson group.

anyone want to talk to the reporter?
Hey all,

Long time, no see! I've missed being a part of the action on the local
board to be sure and I'm tickled to see that the first ever Freecycle
group in the world is still shakin' and bakin'! Sure, Tucson may be a
little dusty now and again but we sure know how to shake it off,
eh? :-)

Anyhoo... I have a favor to ask. There's going to be some more press
on Freecycle and if you have a nice story to share, I'd sure love to
hear it. Maybe you were able to help a friend, neighbor or nonprofit
out, or just one of the many great success stories that randomly or
quirkily occur every day, or maybe you have an interesting exchange
coming up and the reporter could take a picture, etc?

Please, please let me know about your story. The report will likely be
available to talk or photograph maaaaybe April 9th or 10th...

Even if your tale happened long ago, way back when on Freecycle, feel
free to drop me a line at deron @ freecycle . org (scrunch it

By the way we are averaging 20,000 new members a week in over 75
countries in the meantime. We are keeping over 300 tons a day out of
landfills and we've reused four times the height of Mt Everest in the
past year alone when stacked in garbage trucks. Just look what lil ole
Tucson has put into motion!

Thanks guys! Keep on keepin' on!

we have our local community and press behind us for our Earthday event, but Deron is doing his best to have us shut down so that his replacement group can take all the good will, publicity, and community that our original groups here have willingly and deservedly earned.

What's right about that?


Glenn and Charlotte Hess


March 28, 2007 5:13 PM

I wonder when his next Board of Directors meeting is along with an election including the TFN members PLUS the tax statements that has only been filed for 1 year. Being a member of 2 national non-profit organizations, I still get voting power. And what about those TM claims on clipart owned by another company? Microsoft paid to use them but did TFN? Very doubtful. Maybe Yahoo is in violation of those copyright laws and needs to reevaluate their involvement with the unemployed-because-he-wants-freecycling-to-pay-his-way Deron.


July 18, 2007 3:45 AM

From all that I have read and heard it seems that Freecycle has more than enough problems. Many of their IMODS either left or were "fired", Nan the GOA is playing very heavy handed, and Deron thinks he is God. In addition, Deron is more concerned over getting the 501c3 non-profit rating, his trademark, and going worldwide than he is about his volunteers. All I hear about is the internal bickering and strife that is occurring with mods leaving. It appears that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

glenn hess

July 19, 2007 1:45 PM

another major exodus of groups, members, and moderators... left or were pushed out of the freecycle network, again, starting yesterday.

realize that some of these that left and are leaving are the third and fourth iterations that have been replaced by TFN... and are now being replaced again..

doesn't this say to you that there is something inherently wrong within that Org's administration and management?

when repeatedly large and established groups and communities leave him? after they have been rebuilt, and or attempted at(by TFN and Deron) replaced?

Glenn Hess

Nancy Castleman

July 30, 2007 3:05 PM

Thought y'all would appreciate an update on the legal proceedings. So here goes:

Tim's attorneys, who have asked the court for a summary judgment against tfn because of what's called "naked licensing." Their motion will be heard on August 23rd.

Below are some excerpts, and the actual legal documents are in the Files secrion on , for your reading pleasure.

"Courts look to three kinds of evidence to determine if an alleged trademark has been abandoned through naked licensing: whether the
trademark owner (1) retained contractual rights to control quality, (2) actually controlled quality, or (3) reasonably relied on the
licensee to maintain quality. ... Here, the facts show, not only a complete absence of quality control, but also an absence of quality

"As an alleged trademark owner with alleged licensees, TFN has an obligation to set quality standards so that greecyclers know that the
freecycling services offered by TFN's approved groups are consistent and predictable. TFN failed to set quality standards for its alleged
licensees. For this reason alone, TFN abandoned its alleged trademarks through naked licensing, and FreecycleSunnyvale is entitled to summary

"Once a trademark has been abandoned through naked licensing, that trademark cannot be revived through belated efforts to inspect or
supervise the quality of licensee operations."

"FreecycleSunnyvale asks this Court to enter summary adjudication upon the grounds that, because there is no material issue of the fact that The Freecycle Network, Inc., engaged in naked licensing, The Freecycle Network, Inc., abandoned any trademark rights it might have had in the word 'freecycle,' the phrase 'The Freecycle Network,' or a logo containing a stylized version of 'freecycle' and the elements of a guitar and bicycle."

"When permitting others to use its alleged trademarks, TFN (1) did not establish quality standards for its alleged licensees, (2) did not
retain any contractual rights to inspect or supervise its alleged licensees, (3) did not engage in quality control of its alleged licensees' operations, and (4) permitted complete strangers to use its alleged trademarks without having any basis to rely on the quality
control efforts of these strangers. FreecycleSunnyvale is therefore entitled to summary judgment on its claim for a declaration of non-infringement as well as on TFN's counterclaims, all of which are trademark based."

"Of importance is what did not happen when FreecycleSunnyvale affiliated its online group with TFN and began using TFN's logo. There
were no contracts. There were no discussions of any requirements, restrictions, or conditions on the use of the word 'freecycle' or the
phrase 'The Freecycle Network.' At this time, freecycling was a grassroots movement, and neither TFN not Mr. Beal made any effort to
control local groups by asserting trademark rights."

There are lots of legal references in the motion and other legal papers, but here are some quotes from a quick Web search: "... if a trademark owner does not maintain quality control and adequate supervision in relation to
the manufacture and provision of products or services supplied by a licensee, such 'naked licensing' will eventually adversely impact on
the owner's rights in the trademark."
"United States Court of Appeals Holds 'Naked' Licensing Results in Abandonment of Trademark Rights. In Stanfield v. Osborne Industries Inc., the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the plaintiff's licensing of its trademarks to the defendant, without any provision for, or actual exercise of, quality control, constituted an abandonment of the plaintiff's rights in its marks."



July 31, 2007 11:48 PM

I posted a WANTED notice to FreeCycleCafe (Hickory NC) in Spanish and the moderator replied as follows, then removed me from the list and also from the regular Hickory Freecycle list!

Oi Vey! 828-394-0035 See Below:

----- Original Message -----
From: Crystal
Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 5:18 PM
Subject: Re: [Hickory_Freecycle_Cafe] Losa concreta del garage de la necesidad.

This group's location is Hickory, North Carolina. This is an English speaking group. This group is NOT located in Mexico City or any other Spanish speaking country. If you have a problem with that, go some place else, thanks, your friendly, but English speaking, reading & writing, mod. wrote:
Losa concreta del garage de la necesidad. Muro de contención de la necesidad construido. Asfalto de la necesidad o calzada concreta. Carlos

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Have a very Blessed Day!
Crystal B. in NC

Got a little couch potato?
Check out fun summer activities for kids.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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Andy Swarbrick

September 5, 2007 11:49 AM

This is a definitive thread on the subject. Thank you to Business Week for hosting and enabling this.


October 2, 2007 11:01 PM

So much for "free", huh? People are so disgusting sometimes. I'm liking my dog more every day.


December 27, 2007 12:23 PM

Wrote to : to be made more ebay-like. I tried to use freecycle, but it seems to be made up of lots of yahoogroups, and am still waiting for yahoogroups moderator approval (this is tedious), also there seem to be lots of comments in the group. I expected to be more ebay-like, where I simply post the articles I have for give-away, and other folks can simply search for it. Another issue is that I live in Menlo Park, and there are so many different groups in, like palo alto, san mateo groups, etc and one cannot join all of them. Also there should be some facebook application on this, that would help me simply add it to my facebook profile, where I can do the posting/browsing of such recycled items.


Dianne French

January 2, 2008 7:08 AM

Same thing here. Thats why I joined - its a national recycling site for the UK. People are friendly and there are no mods, the community moderates itself, seems to be working very well so far !


February 29, 2008 6:15 PM

I'm in my second attempt of creating a freecycle group for my area. Only because of freecycle's name recognition should make it easier for members of the community find it whenever they hear of freecycle else where.
I was rejected the first time because of our small population. I'm about to be rejected this time because I failed to respond to email I didn't receive or I didn't respond fast enough to those emails I did receive. The day the freecycle creator trademarked the name proved to the world he the best person he could be. This article indicates he may be a complete fraud. So sad a great idea is hampered by an ego.

RealCycle UK

March 10, 2008 7:28 PM

RealCycle was set up to offer a similar service in the UK as Freecycle has done, but without all the rules and red tape that causes so much greif within Freecycle. The Group owners and moderators have complete freedom over their site using a basic guidline and fair offer policy. Many TFN groups have come over to RealCycle because of its simplicity. See the homepage and judge for yourselves.

Glenn Hess

April 24, 2008 2:14 PM

Open letter to Yahoo, Jami, Deron, Conni, and MR. Yang CEO at

and invites to others soon to join or pop in for a look...
with the EFF and NPR and local and national print media, tv and
digital media, and local radio station contacts that we have made over
our years here.....

Yahoo here's my analogy and I guess query on your Total and Truthful
and Honest feelings and the way this one was rolled out and why......
just humour me please, Jami, Connie, and Mr. Yang...

I feel that Mr Yang should receive this since the press and networks
and bulletin boards all over the world are currently reading this as
well.... maybe you should have talked to him a long time ago about
though Ms. Heldt

and all that I have sent invites to you and my friends who are working
and promoting a better planet and a future for it... for our
children's children's children' and to be able to live as healthy
happy human beings with still any GREEN zones on our planet?

"A little whitewash can cover up a lot of ding, breaks, cracks, and
wormholes in the fence"

but a little whitewash, can be pretty very easily be removed and be
re-exposed whether it is being thrown away as there is no saving it as
there is just too much rot and smell, and decay,

or see can it be seen that there is really something More Beautiful
and better down inside... that's probably always been there.

if you know what you are doing, and have been already given the tools
to do it properly, all that rottenness and decay, some generally have
the tools or ideas to fix it... or others just band aid it, or.. or
just let it deteriorate on and they let it become less than it was...

but a Craftsman, can see that old scarred piece of wood, and can
re-expose it for the beauty that's there..and inside of it and
surround it..... and fix it, and make it right.. and beautiful, and
organic, and fluid again.

and place it alongside with other restored pieces of wood metal screws
and good and steady construction.... by a skilled and respected artist
or craftsman or leader which TFN and Deron Beal have repeatedly demonstrated they are NOT.

couldn't a piece of art, that was gifted to the world, and the entire
world, has been told this.... that the whole world created built and
grew.... can't it be made it to be that way.?

why would you keep the broken board, with so many cracks... and
continually keep polishing it up.... the cracks keep showing,.... but
maybe if it was part of the whole piece of furniture or construction
and realized it needed to be there too in order to be Beautiful and
something to marvel at once again......

Mr. Yang.... this is to you. directly.

what kind of wood has Yahoo repeatedly seen Freecycle and TFN to be,
there are a lot of cracks there, and rot, and mold, etc....

can it ever be made part of something beautiful again... after the TM

maybe with your help I guess..... but aren't the rest of us and
others....the independents whose leaders and facilitators almost to a
man and woman the original Leaders, contributors, etc... for TFN and
grew it to what it is today, before all of the whitewashing and WMI
attempting to GREEN up their image, aren't all of these communities
what finish the piece and make it complete? I think so..

why doesn't Deron? Why don't your many employees that we have talked
to, emailed, faxed, visited , and arrange meetings with all start
ignoring us, not returning calls... emails, ims, etc... Jami... we
haven't heard from you in weeks....

Connie we again enjoyed the conversation even again just another
repeat and rerun of everything we've heard before.... so at least it
was just as old and familiar as watching the Andy Griffith show..... but still enjoyable
and you know exactly what's gonna be said next..

Mr Yang, we would really like to know your feelings on this...

I think that piece of wood your propping your campaign on is pretty
rotten, and a strangely joined three piece board at that.

Is this crappy three piece board... and I do mean the current board of
directors on TFN which consist of his wife, himself, family friend,
and no disclosure or transparency, and nothing but smoke and mirrors,
a trojan horse that violated all of your groups policies, and false
claims of copyright or tm or ownership of the word...

the TM application is for the logo only and the font and graphics...
but amazingly those also are not licensed for commercial use, and has
not applied for an exception, and are not created by them.

and is a pending TM only and with the decision in the 9th is very
certainly not going to happen.

but Since the 9th did decide in all of our independents favor and the
TM is dead......almost dead, I think you and Deron both know

derivations of the word or use of the word is not restricted in any
way, according to many attorney's .... and Judges, and Law Reviews,
but yahoo routinely removed/deleted them.. and even just plain ole
recycling communities...

So I guess Mr. Yang, and the rest of your teams, and sales agents, and
affiliate teams, and infringement teams, and your trademark teams,,,
Jami, Connie, and while so many other so many of us have been keeping
you informed of all of this, for all these years... yet you continue
to delete our groups.... and that cost you advertising placement,
promotion, clicks, members, and most of all TRUST....

hundreds of thousands of members could not reach their recycling
communities, and contacts to new friends, old friends, neighbors, and all while helping the planet, and their communities. "One Gift at a Time"

How can this be fixed.... many know how... and are trying... just
seems that YOU, or YOUR teams or Deron just won't let it happen.

Are you a Craftsman? Mr Yang Can YOU rebuild or construct something
from pieces, or with strokes of a brush make something beautiful,
special, and complete it one way or another....

but isn't it sometimes wrong if not enough is put into what your
putting together if it's not going to hold together, securely, safely,
and for a long time, instead of hastily, exclusively,

and instead of being inclusive of
the whole work as started? and freely gifted... this has been already proven and decided on in a court of LAW and in your and Yahoo's own back yard in Sunnyvale.

as it was designed and destined to grow and become?
as it began when it was first gifted to the entire world?

I know you are a smart man to be where you are...Mr Yang.

What are your skills, priorities and passions sir?

some of us would like to know.

can it be fixed? and placed within the greater complete and more
beautiful work? or works as a TRUE GLOBAL EFFORT?

so far it doesn't want to fit...... or try to fit..... and only wants
to be a board.

have you really looked at the true condition of it's structure?

is it something that be included in a Beautiful work for everyone?

thank you for your time here.

Glenn Hess Sr.

Glenn Hess

April 25, 2008 2:18 PM


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Yahoo! Copyright
Hello, Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding use of the term FREECYCLE....

12:57 PM (1 hour ago)
Yahoo! CopyrightLoading...
12:57 PM (1 hour ago)
Yahoo! Copyright to me

show details 12:57 PM (1 hour ago)


from Yahoo! Copyright
reply-to Yahoo! Copyright ,
to charlotte Hess ,
date Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 12:57 PM
subject Re: OPEN LETTER TO YAHOO, TFN, AND FTC, IRS, (KMM89637516V42582L0KM)

hide details 12:57 PM (1 hour ago)



Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding use of the term FREECYCLE.
We are fully aware of the recent court decision involving the trademark
rights in this term and do not believe that this decision warrants any
major changes in our current policy. We will continue to monitor this
situation and make adjustments to our policy should the state of the law


Copyright/IP Agent, Yahoo! Inc.
c/o Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Original Message Follows:

Open letter to Yahoo, Jami, Deron, Conni, and MR. Yang....

how's that folks?


May 8, 2008 4:08 PM

Nonsense, just propaganda. Freecycle is fine.... just some people got mad and struck out.

Nancy Castleman

June 10, 2008 2:22 PM

GREAT NEWS! Tim and Sunnyvale won!

Here's the key portion of the ruling:
"Plaintiff FreecycleSunnyvale ("Sunnyvale") and Defendant The
Freecycle Network, Inc., stipulate and agree that judgment be entered
as follows:
(1) Final judgment is entered in Sunnyvale's favor on:
a. Sunnyvale's First Claim for Relief for Declaratory Judgment of Non-
Infringement of Trademarks under 15 U.S.C. § 1051 et seq.;
b. The Freecycle Network's Counterclaim for Trademark Infringement under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a);
c. The Freecycle Network's Counterclaim for Unfair Competition under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) for the reasons set forth in the Order Granting in Part Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and Denying It in Part and Granting
Defendant's Motion to Strike ("Order"). Dkt. no. 141."

A couple of minor claims on both sides were dropped, but tfn can appeal to the 9th Circuit. Yup, that's the same court that looked so lovingly on the SLAPP suit and tfn's attempts to squelch Tim's right to free speech.

The judge's order is posted here:

It should be interesting to see what the trademark people and Yahoo do now, huh? Methinks that trademark is toast.

Congrats and many thanks, Tim!


June 19, 2008 2:04 AM

I don't know that much about this situation- I just stumbled across it on the net here. My heart goes out to all hurt in this. Group/team work is extremely hard and painful - especially when communication isn't face to face.

For those who have put their blood sweat and tears into Freecycle - I thank you - you are doing this work to express your devotion to the environment. I see it as a very personal thing that you are doing, with the core being an expression of loyalty between you and nature.

A good deed by another is not intended to represent a perfect being - though punishing one for this circumstance of living is not helpful or reasonable.
I hope people chose to get through these tough times, and come out on the other side being able to be comfortable with your own place in this movement. Whatever reason people are working on this - at the heart of it is that the ultimate reality is that the service is needed and good in the world. We are all at different places in our own personal evolution, and it would be beneficial to allow another to live through their own decisions without inflicting our own lessons and teachings on them. Our own work is not less valuable when another's intentions differ from our own.

Each of you is doing incredible work, and I am in awe of what you are contributing. I sincerely hope you understand the depth of the value your work is having on the planet - and the validation and appreciation that you deserve will happen in time....might not be in money, but in another more happy way?

I see the imposition of this circumstance and radical movement of expression of culture, clashing between ideals and the reality that there are DEMANDS of virtue and well intentioned imposition of a way of being in the world.

Forgive my rambling! I just hope everyone finds peace of mind in this.


October 14, 2008 12:30 PM



December 23, 2008 11:27 AM

If you'd like a more user friendly experience than using freecycle's mailing list approach, try out Freebootr It's a google map mashup, free listing website. It has a large easy to read map, you can upload photos, awesome search, and it's completely free. Check it out, I think you'll like it better than Freecycle.


January 10, 2009 8:41 PM

Freecycle is a great concept and I have been using it religiously to clean out my house of useful unwanted things. B U T.....I was reported as being rude ( not true ) to a member who would not answer e mails. She reported me and I wrote to the moderator to explain the situation. I got thrown out and they would not listen to me at all. Then the one who complained about me e mailed me the most vulgar and rude e mails I have ever seen in my entire life. I wrote to freecycle. org and wanted to work it out with them. THEY WOULD NOT REPLY. Too many control freaks in this industry for me.


March 10, 2009 10:08 AM

Freecycle as a concept is Fabulous. However, as a reality is inherently flawed.
A group is a group is a group. What it is called is immaterial
Mr. DB has successfully managed to alienate some very hard working, GOOD people for what appears to be…………………monetary gain.

Freecycle have stabbed themselves in the foot with the heavy handed, single minded approach to their “Organization”

Specifics aside, the average user of the group wouldn’t care if the group was called “Hot Diggety Dawg” as long as it worked the same way.

In my experience, Non-TFN groups, or Ex-TFN groups tend to be more friendly, relaxed, and helpful, I think this is the lessons learned from running such a tight “ORG”
Some TFN groups are so regimental, it’s crazy.

Hopefully more and more G.O.’s will see that they are already doing all they need to do with their Yahoo groups, and really, don’t need TFN.

TFN: It started a revolution it couldn’t control.


David B.

May 14, 2009 8:34 AM

Freecycle may have started out as a good grassroots movement, but in Decatur, Georgia, it's become a bit too exclusive. It's moderator is a bit crazy and paranoid, and I was better served by using Craigslist. It's free. There are no crazy moderators, just the crazy people who say they want to get your items and never show up :), but they were with Freecycle as well. I hope to see Freecycle die a horrible death.

Tangled Angler

June 8, 2009 10:09 AM

Four years on from the first post in this thread and there is still even more unrest in The Freecycle Network. Deron Beale's latest is to try to get all Freecycle groups onto his own servers. That's taking them away from Yahoo! So what does this mean? I'll tell you what it means, full and complete control of any Freecycle group that is foolish enough to trust Deron Beale and to move from Yahoo onto DB's servers. That group will be under the full control of Mr Beale and his fellow Board of Directors at The Freecycle Network. Do something he does not like and the group owner is likely to find him/her self given their marching orders. The other, very worrying aspect, is the fact that Deron Beale will also have access to thousands if not millions of ordinary members e-mail addresses. Nowhere has it been stated that these will not be used for business or advertising purposes; spamming to you and me.

There is a group on Yahoo that has been set up for Freecycle moderators to discuss the good and the bad aspects about The Freecycle Network.

This group is not designed to destroy The Freecycle Network, far from it we want to discuss what is right and what is wrong and how we can do something positive to go forward with what is a brilliant idea. What we do not want to do is to exploit any of our members in the local groups.

Deron Beale had a great idea, now he's ruining it. What a waste.



June 11, 2009 12:20 PM

I was a moderator with Freecycle for several years, even co-owner of one of the groups. However, when my daughter was getting married, I gave up moderation. After the wedding, I reapplied to start a new group. I get a denial indicating I never responded to any of the follow-up emails. I told them (including Deron) that I never received any follow-ups, they pretty much called me a liar. Also, said there would be no further contact since I did not follow the rules. I found everyone, including Brenda (NGA Coordinator) incredibly rude and I will be opening a group under the "Freesharing" umbrella. Freecycle can pound sand!

Sian E Hall

July 10, 2009 9:44 AM

It doesn't matter who runs FreeCycle. What matters is that there is a simple way to recycle goods in this consumerism orientated culture.

The establishment (government and powerful corporations) simply cannot be trusted to encourage recycling (surely no one is fooled by the endless recycle bins which are means to generate separated rubbish for resale using free labour.

A true desire to control waste would enforce more durable goods & less non-degradeable packaging.

It doesn't matter that a democratic establishment still see fit to incite mass murder to control the masses. Our culture is very primitive and its way too soon to expect a change.


July 11, 2009 12:29 AM

There is a group recently created to support former Freecycle moderators as well as Moderators who are still in Freecycle. Please join us if you have ever moderated a freecycle group! It is at:


July 11, 2009 1:10 AM

Freecycle as a 'movement' was a brilliant idea. Unfortunately, Deron Beal became misguided and turned into a paranoid megalomaniac.

He is consistent only in 3 areas - his demand for absolute total control over all 'members' of what he has now incorporated to be 'The Freecycle Network.' - his paranoia and fear of ANY questioning of his decisions, any suggestions that he hasn't come up with himself, and any moderator who dares protest any of his dictates (which change daily and in secrecy) - and his lies.

He lied (and still does) when he said that the Board of Directors would increase - this lie has been pepetuated since the incorporation of TFN - the BoD still consists of himself, his wife and his best friend. He lied when he said that decisions wold be made openly - I have logs of secret Yahoo Messenger chats with Beal and his cronies where they conspire to silence critics, conspire to remove moderators, conspire to change the method of how TFN was to be run.

He lied when he said that his new servers on would never be 'commercial' - that was until he saw he could line his pockets and fill the TFN bank account.

He lied when he said that moving from Yahoo! (tm legitimate) to Freecycle (tm not valid - font and design stolen) would be 'optional' - he gets around that lie by removing group owners and moderators for fictitious reasons and then taking over the group.

He lied when he said that Freecycle(tm stolen) would remain 'grass roots' - the only grass around is the stuff he may be smoking in order to maintain his air of superiority - he has this firm belief that 6 million or so people belong to freecycle(tm doubtful) because of HIM and his website.... of course, we KNOW that's a lie - they belong to the various local groups because of the long hours and dedication of the group owners and moderators.

He claims 'ownership' of all the groups on Yahoo! - he ignores the Terms of Service for Yahoo! until it suits his purpose. He's so afraid of anyone using the name 'freecycle' he will use the powers of Yahoo! to shut anyone down - invoking the same TOS that he likes to ignore when it comes to local group ownership.

He's a fraud and a thief and a liar and he's conning businesses left and right into contributing money that he stockpiles in the charity bank account waiting for the day when he can 'retire' and get a large 'golden handshake' - by which time most groups will have seen the light of day and removed themselves from the freecycle network.

He's lied to the domain registry people in Canada - he manipulated a way to register and have it point to - there is NO formal registered business in Canada for The Freecycle(tm absolutely fraudulently claimed) Network - and he's NOT a Canadian (Thank God!).

He's a crook, plain and simple and he's collecting a paycheck on the backs of every volunteer that moderates or owns a local Yahoo! freecycle group.

One wonders how many of his corporate sponsors know that over 35 grand of their money went into paying legal fees for him to fight Tim Oyey over the use of the work freecycle - and he's spending more and more every day?

He's screwing the Board of Directors (literally) so that he can screw the Group Owners and moderators (figuratively.)


July 11, 2009 1:39 AM

After recently learning that another group would not allow a person to request (ie post a WANTED) for a junker vehicle to fix up for a single mom - good riddance!

I am very thankful I finally saw the light and moved our very large recycling group away from TFN and over to a much friendlier group of recyclers at the ReuseIt Network (RIN)


July 11, 2009 6:49 AM

If you don't like the way Freecycle is run, leave. All the energy some use to disparage a group they no longer participate in, instead of concentrating on further enhancing the new movement they joined seems a bit obsessive and counter productive. Focus your energy on positive things.



July 11, 2009 11:00 PM

Ah, Paige....another ringer for tfn.

SO it's better to stick one's head in the sand and ignore the obvious truths? Have you looked at the history? Have you seen the number of LIVES OF HUMANS that have been affected and literally terrorized by Deron Beal, Stephanie, Ann and the several other cronies?

Truly amazing that you choose to ignore such evil people. I guess that might be because you ARE one of them.

So go right ahead and support it. Then jump in and support elimnating free speech, and why not say Apartied was ok, because it didn't affect YOU. Then might as well go ahead and ignore and accept all other social injustices no matter how large or small.

The energy is being focused---on the NEGATIVE LIARS because it is affecting HUMAN LIVES! Or do human lives and suffering mean nothing to you?

May you find peace, and may you find understanding someday when you need it and no one will help you.


July 12, 2009 8:40 AM

I am a member of a small Freecycle group, but I know someone who is one of their GOAs. They say that they have been told never to copy a member list because it is a violation of the Yahoo TOS. I guess everything is not perfect in the organization but it isn't in any organization.
As a member, I just want to know that I can post my stuff and get rid of it or maybe find something I want. As long as that works, I don't care about all the rest.


August 4, 2009 1:24 PM

REcycleFORfree. Hey! do I now own it?


September 9, 2009 3:28 PM

Craigslist is quicker and easier to find free items...

Maurice Milligan

September 10, 2009 8:58 PM

Deron Beal needs to get a copy of "The No Asshole Rule"

He's managed to do a huge amount of damage in the UK.


September 12, 2009 5:32 PM

Update on Freecycle - a major rift has developed and many groups are leaving for Freegle - Free Gifting Locally, Easily. Nearly 300,000 members defected in first 24 hours in search of a genuine grassroots organisation.

Mel Childs

September 24, 2009 3:54 PM

I am a moderator for Rushden & Higham Freegle (Formally Freecycle) we are one of the groups that broke away and formed our own network which is expanding rapidly day by day for a list of the new networks our homepage is


November 4, 2009 4:27 PM

Check out
It is the best alternative to Freecycle in the U.S.

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