1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Legal Lockdown - Need Help!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by Pripod, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. Pripod

    Pripod Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    35
    Occupation:
    Advertising
    Location:
    Backpack
    I have read quite a few cease and desist stories on BHW, but none have ever touched upon the following issues. I have a long story to tell, and quite a bit of evidence to share. Overall, I would just like to know what all of you would do in my shoes.

    It all started 2.5 years ago when I created a product for customizing a very cutting edge brand. For pretend, let call my brand "GooWalk" (Google + Walk). So, in the beginning, Google (not really Google of course) showcased my product and used it for internal marketing. The product got several positive write ups, and Google even suggested that it's followers buy it. With time, more positive Google corporate blog posts followed and this major brand also supported my brand on it's company Twitter account.

    Fast forward 2.3 years. I notice that someone from the GooglePlex had purchased a version of "GooWalk" by checking on "Service Provider" tab on Analytics and geolocated it to Silicon Valley (not really Silicon Valley). Then I got curious... What purpose would they have in buying a version of "GooWalk"??? I then searched the name of the person who had purchased GooWalk. Turns out that the name links back to a Trademark Attorney who happened to be on located within the GooglePlex when he bought it. He was a consultant who did not work directly for Google, and also spent 30 minutes clicking around the very small site during his visit to the GooglePlex

    From here, I went on the counter offensive. I announce his purchase on my Facebook and Twitter feeds (both over 10,000), and said that I was "very happy" that someone form "Google" had bought it. (This told them that if they did something else, I would also announce it on these feeds.) Also, it worked to keep things friendly as I played the ignorance card.

    After this, I no longer received traffic from this GooglePlex service provider. Before this, I had been receiving traffic daily from the GooglePlex service provider according to my analytics. I also got in contact with a trademark lawyer and he told me to expect a cease and desist within a month. It's now been 6 weeks. My lawyer told me that they might serve this cease and desist by proving that there was a likelyhood that someone might mistake "Google" for "GooWalk". If they could prove this, they could technically shut me down.

    About 3 weeks ago it all became clear what was going on. Google (fake name) was coming out with their own version of Google Walk. I was now no longer a nifty little accessory, but rather a competitor.

    From this I have a few big questions for you all:

    1) Are 301 redirects of .coms containing a brand names against the rules? For example: If I also owned GoogleWalk.com and had it redirecting to GooWalk.com is there any rules against this? Obviously, Googlewalk.com by itself is a no-no but I don't think anything is against a redirect. Otherwise, why would Facebook.com not shut down Facebok.com. For those of you who have not experienced this, when you accidentally type Facebok.com you get redirected to a spammy survey on an entirely unrelated URL.

    2) If a big brand publicly supports your brand for 2 years, can they then change their mind and then come after you on the basis of of your brand name? Seems a bit silly that they would wait so long.

    3) Is all of this worth it for only 5-10k profit per year? As I begin working on new projects I am not seeing the % in it.

    I really appreciate your guys feedback, and look forward to hearing from you. Cheers!!! =)
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  2. Jabong82

    Jabong82 Power Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    74
    Dude WTF that post is so confusing. I want to help you but I get lost just reading it.
     
  3. Pripod

    Pripod Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    35
    Occupation:
    Advertising
    Location:
    Backpack
    Sigh... haha... trying to explain the situation it w/o giving away my brand. =)
     
  4. XoC--

    XoC-- Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    113
    I understand what you're saying.

    I have actually had pretty much the exact same thing to me, my product which was closely named to a big company recommended to their customers by their employees and even in their official news letters.

    Then they finally decided to create a product which would compete against mine and no longer recommended it.
    A few weeks later I received a C&D letter that wasn't very well constructed and sent back a letter myself stating that their company had full knowledge of this product name and included evidence (pictures) showing this.

    Never heard back from them.

    Regarding 301 redirects I don't know whether they can shut it down but it would be stepping on thin ice and at the very least they could battle it out with you.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  5. Pripod

    Pripod Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    35
    Occupation:
    Advertising
    Location:
    Backpack
    Thanks for the feedback. So, after you sent them all the evidence they basically left you alone? I have taken screenshots, pulled HTML source code, and done a video recording of all of their supporting blog posts and twitter mentions, and website visits dating back to early 2009.

    The problem with the one redirect is that it actually has a lot of link juice pointed at it. I'm aware that I am on thin ice, but I would also be on thin ice in SERPs if I removed the 301 redirect. What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
  6. XoC--

    XoC-- Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    113
    That's right they left me alone, having that evidence would create such a hassle for them in court which I guess they felt wasn't worth their time.

    Keep the 301 and don't turn it off until you have a court order to do so!
     
  7. Jok3r

    Jok3r Newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    5
    for just 500-800/month it's not worth the hassle.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  8. snwbrdstylee

    snwbrdstylee Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    22
    1) I believe they could hijack the domain from you in this case. Typically it is ruled that if you are using their trademarked name in any way to profit than you are in the wrong. Using a 301 is definitely a trademark violation.

    2) Yes, if they have the lawyers, the money, and enough incentive they can effectively try and do whatever they want... whether they'd be successful is a different story, it just depends on if you're willing to fork out the cash to fight it.

    3) Prolly not.

    But if you are a fighter, start by trademarking your companies name. If you own the domain with their trademark, just hang onto it, don't try and monetize it or promote yourself in anyway. If they start giving you are hard time, turn it into a negative review site pointing out all their flaws, or even just telling the honest story of what they did to your company. You are allowed to do this because you aren't capitalizing on their name. the same reason why paypalsucks.com still exists. You can learn a lot more about this here: h**p://www.paypalsucks.com/domain-name-disputes.shtml

    Obviously this is the equivalent to taking a baseball bat to a hornets nest and probably no good would come from it... but screw them haha.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  9. Pripod

    Pripod Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    35
    Occupation:
    Advertising
    Location:
    Backpack
    Sounds like I should remove the 301 redirect with the exact name then. I wont be totally screwed .. so why not right? Btw.. before I started this project, I locked down the dirtiest URL ever for taking the company down if they came after me. This company has some serious skeletons in it's closet and the URL is perfect for showcasing this.

    I'll take down the redirecting URL right now. Goodbye link juice... Pout!!! Better to be preemptive that sorry. Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  10. Pripod

    Pripod Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    35
    Occupation:
    Advertising
    Location:
    Backpack
    What do you guys think about selling this on Flippa? They haven't yet come out with their own product so I think that there is some potential there.