Who is Dale Crossman? More Wikipedia Spam

Type the words ‘dale crossman revenue assurance’ into Google this morning, and you will find something you would not have found a few days ago. The top hit takes you to Wikipedia, which tells you that:

The term “Crossman Exposure” is named after a Revenue Assurance Consultant who had worked extensively in quantifying financial risk associated with Revenue Assurance within Telecommunication companies.

Oh, really? It is funny, then, that I have never heard of the “Crossman Exposure” before, or about Dale Crossman and the extensive work Dale has done. Indeed, the whole internet knows little about Dale. Dale Crossman’s only claim to entry in the Revenue Assurance Hall of Fame seems to be the Wikipedia article named after Dale Crossman. I guess that means Dale’s name will go down in the Hall of Shame instead.

Tut, tut. People of RA, we have been down this road before. No self-respecting profession would allow its Wikipedia page to become home for chancers who want to promote themselves by inventing spurious accolades, giving themselves titles or naming things after themselves. First it was cheapskate vendors who thought wedging their company’s name into Wikipedia articles was a respectable way to promote themselves. Then it was Papa Rob Mattison, the President of Global RA Spam. To be fair to him, at least he can claim to be successful in turning spam into a viable business model. Papa Rob used Wikipedia to announce he was the president of his global association of professionals even before it had a single member. In recognition of his breaking of Wikipedia’s rules, Papa Rob was booted off Wikipedia not once, but twice. Now we have Wikipedia spam about Dale Crossman’s contribution to revenue assurance… whoever Dale Crossman is.

Being an auditor at heart, I tried to find out as much as I could about Dale Crossman. We know the person who posted the Wikipedia article has an out of date copy of the TM Forum’s RA Guidebook; the Wikipedia article refers to the 2006 version. That probably means Dale’s company is not a member of the TMF and Dale only has a pirated copy of an old text… which is not a good start for someone wanting to promote their industry knowledge. Indeed, the only reason for the reference seems to be to mislead people into thinking that the “Crossman Exposure” is in the TMF’s guide, which it certainly is not. Beyond that, searching for the name Dale Crossman in the context of revenue assurance only comes up with blanks. So I looked to see what other pages had been edited by the people who had just spammed Wikipedia. Bizarrely, there was exactly one other page edited by the same user… the page about the town of Talbot, Victora in Australia. Might Dale be an Aussie? It seemed I was not getting far. Then I considered that internet users often adopt the same nicknames in different places on the web. Might the person who created this Wikipedia page – with username ‘epacdon’ – have the same username elsewhere? There is an epacdon on eBay in Australia… which is only weak corroboration. There is also an epacdon on an Australian webpage for sharing photos, though the real name of that user is Daniel McDonald, not Dale Crossman. I stepped back and tried a wider search and found that there is a Dale Crossman who works for Ericsson in Australia. He also lives in the same area of Australia as Daniel McDonald. However, the LinkedIn profile for that Dale Crossman makes no mention of revenue assurance. Furthermore, Ericsson is a member of the TMF… so that Dale Crossman could download the updated copy of the TMF’s RA guidebook whenever he liked.

So I give up. The trail is too cold and too tenuous for me to track down Dale Crossman, supposed hero of revenue assurance. If you know about Dale Crossman and his (self-) exposure, please share. After all, there is no point to promoting yourself with spam if afterwards you still remain so obscure that nobody knows who you are. And if you know Dale, be sure to let him know that the Wikipedia page on the “Crossman Exposure” has been flagged for speedy deletion… has been deleted!

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.

2 Comments on "Who is Dale Crossman? More Wikipedia Spam"

  1. Avatar Anonymous | 13 Aug 2010 at 3:29 am |

    Looking at the page that was deleted, why do you assume it was about self-promotion? I guess he had to call it something.

    It looks like they were providing a formula for estimation of financial exposure based on how many of the TMForum controls and KPIs are in place.

    If it is useful to the community (and I will definitely use it), why be petty and have it deleted just because you’ve never heard of it?

    How then do new ideas and information enter into the community if you just have it deleted?

    • Please read the rules of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is for established fact, not new ideas. That is why it is called Wiki-pedia and not Wiki-whatever. The people who donate and volunteer to support Wikipedia are trying to gift the world an online encyclopedia, not a repository for any idea that just occurred to someone.

      Please also feel free to write back and explain how you used the formula. It is theoretically intelligible but would be useless in practice. It is a shame we do not know who you are, because your confidence in using the equation is not matched by your confidence in telling us which RA department develops its metrics by copying jokes that went wrong. I now know that this Wikipedia submission was a joke that went wrong because Dale Crossman kindly wrote to tell me.

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