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C&D on my highest earning site... advice needed

Discussion in 'Business & Tax Advice' started by DanDanger, May 9, 2012.

  1. DanDanger

    DanDanger Junior Member

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    Recently received a C&D for my main earner from the company I'm "representing" (or posing as).

    What I do is setup EMD websites in this particular niche of companies who don't have official websites or lack sufficient online presence. This particular niche is essentially owned by a big niche super power, who use profile pages on their main directory website as the official presence of that product. Which makes it relatively easy to rank #2 with a EMD and thus results have tonnes of traffic / sales.

    Problem is my entire empire is built on this business model and I feel is this one site crumbles its a matter of time before the others do. This mini empire of around 6 websites brings in a few thousand each month, so I'm not keen on dropping these sites.

    The company is US based... and I'm in UK, will this create any legal complications that could stop them taking it further? However I'm using hostgator so I'm assuming they could get a court ordered C&D and go straight to my host?

    I've replied to the C&D asking if making the site clear its not an official representation of the company will be sufficient. Considering my site is driving sales, provides more information and better social media presence, I'm hoping this should be enough.

    If that fails I see the following options:

    a) Flip the website for $x,xxx, not mention the potential official C&D. Continue running my other sites until C&D'd

    b) Ignore C&D and continue as normal until official court ordered C&D comes through

    c) Move website to a UK (or Swedish?) host and try my luck continuing as normal

    d) Quickly sell my entire empire for $xx,xxx and start from scratch.

    Any other suggestions or comments on my options?

    Really don't want to give up these sites as I'm full time IMer and they're my bread and butter!
     
  2. 75INZ

    75INZ Regular Member

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    Pretty stupid 'business model'

    Try and sell it to them if you can. Don't A B C, they'll more than likely just end you up in more legal trouble.
     
  3. cnick79

    cnick79 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    What fools... not you but the company issuing a C&D. Aren't you promoting their product on your website? This company should work with you or at least buy your domain. They fail to see the opportunity in it for them. No?
     
  4. LBrown

    LBrown Senior Member

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    Trying to sell it to them will get you into more trouble too since it will be clear that you are trying to profit from them off their own trademark.

    What you are doing is illegal. Many people get away with it but it is a bad business model. People only get away with it because some businesses don't care. That obviously doesn't apply in this situation. Consider this a hard lesson learned and start again.
     
  5. DanDanger

    DanDanger Junior Member

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    Yes I am promoting their product and provide a superior social network promotion, along with reduced support for them as I provide more in-depth information on the site.

    I think the disagreement lies with the cost I'm promoting the product/service for. I've tried several times to sign up to their affiliate program, but their sign up is broken and they don't respond to emails.... so I was left with using an affiliate service that puts a huge markup on the products.

    I'm tempted to do what 75INZ suggested and sell the site to them if we can't find a compromise. I doubt I'll get into any more trouble, my email etiquette and blagging skills are pretty slick.

    You're right though, sell the empire and start again.
     
  6. OldSalt

    OldSalt Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Sorry to say that you've built your skyscraper on a toothpick and someone is grabbing for the toothpick. ;(

    a) Flipping the site without mentioning the C&D can get you prosecuted for fraud. Anyone with any intelligence that's even thinking of buying them should ask that question first even if you don't mention it (which you are 100% obgligated to do - It's like bringing a car to a repair shop to get your oil changed and while you're there, they warn you that you've got a huge crack in your engine block and it needs to be replaced. So you go out and get some sealant which you know will fail within a few weeks and quickly sell the car - and don't mention that it will need a new engine soon).

    b) Your site will go from making whatever it's worth to worthless overnight. Although there is nothing wrong with this...

    c) Moving the site to the UK or any other country that respects copyrights won't matter. For that matter, they already know your info so even moving it to a country that doesn't respect the copyright, they still can pull on your string.

    d) If the site that's got the C&D is the biggest money maker and you are honest to the buyer (about the C&D), you probably won't get much for it.

    I honestly don't see a good option for you since 1) you've already received the C&D and 2) they know who and where you are. I think you are doing the best think you can do - respond and hope you can negotiate a way to keep it.
     
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  7. dollarzz

    dollarzz Regular Member

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    Redirect your EMD to a new domain. With not the trademark in your domain name. Or build a new simple website promoting more products and the one you do too.. And dont use their name in domain name.... DONE? If you redirect. Ranking might hop over to your new domain.

    Good luck!

    + you could register new domain anonymous. And if you get a new letter tell them to fuck of and say your domain is sold :). Also register your old domain with new registrar. And private whois.

    I Dont know what you promote... But I think they got nothing on you.
     
  8. DanDanger

    DanDanger Junior Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I'm going to wait and see if I can reach an agreement with them, if not I'll stop the domain I have the C&D for and sell the rest of my empire on flippa.

    I should easily be able to get $xx,xxx for the collection of my sites, which will be enough for me to live on for 6 months along with enough cash to get settled into a new method and niche.
     
  9. Crewchief007

    Crewchief007 Power Member

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    I agree with 75INZ in terms of this being a bad business model, albeit a profitable one. The thing is, you know/knew the risks. When a corporation decides to protect their brand when it has been infringed upon, the perpetrator essentially has four choices:

    (a). Give up the ghost
    (b). Fight until they lose
    (c). Sell the domain/business to a gullible person
    (d). Ignore the C&D and hang on until the boom gets dropped

    DanDanger, you essentially started to cave in when you responded to the company. That action was a NO-NO but you cannot take it back! Your response can essentially be viewed as a form of an admission of guilt.

    In terms of fighting, [if that is possible but it doesn't seem like it], you might want to check TESS to see if the company is actually legally trademarked and then go from there.
     
  10. the_demon

    the_demon Jr. Executive VIP

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    I'm not sure if this will help long term but switching the server to China/Russia that tend to not respect US Laws is prob. a good move. They might still be able to seize the domain name though as the people who control domains are US Based (as far as I know).
     
  11. meathead1234

    meathead1234 Moderator Staff Member Moderator Premium Member

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    You're an absolute disgrace if you would actually consider selling them and not telling a potential buyer about the C&D. That's the kind of thing that will end you up in jail... and rightly so.
     
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  12. DanDanger

    DanDanger Junior Member

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    To cut a long email short, essentially I said I was confused in their course of action as we're on the same team and offered to put a message "not the official website" on the site to stop potential confusion.

    The initial email was just a "ping" to get them to entire into a dialogue, once we're in discussion I think I should be able to sway it in my favour...... touch wood.

    I did say I'd sell the rest of my sites, which have no C&D and haven't had any trouble since their creation.
     
  13. meathead1234

    meathead1234 Moderator Staff Member Moderator Premium Member

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    No, you said this:

    a) Flip the website for $x,xxx, not mention the potential official C&D. Continue running my other sites until C&D'd
     
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  14. Techxan

    Techxan Elite Member

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    My thoughts exactly, you built what you knew was a bunch bonfires, and now you want to sell them to someone as lumber without telling them about the fire.

    Instead of taking all the money you gained and disposing of the sites, thanking your particular deity that you made a killing with it, you are so greedy you want to screw over someone else to make even more before it crashes and burns.

    You just made my list of BHW'ers who I will not do business with, ever. I wont even say good luck.
     
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  15. jaerehan

    jaerehan Elite Member

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    You are right it wouldn't do good for anyone, but he is just listed the options, dont go so harsh on him lol :)
     
  16. Alexx11

    Alexx11 Junior Member

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    Take what you´ve earned and hand over the domain. About flipping your sites, you want to make more money out of a fellow IMer who will get in troubles with these sites (you said it is probably a matter of time)? Man that really sucks, I´d say somehow you deserve what´s happened to your site.