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Manufacturer Demanding I Take Down Website and Domain Name and my Meta Tags are Illegal???

Discussion in 'Business & Tax Advice' started by bizztom, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. bizztom

    bizztom Newbie

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    Hopefully some of you guys with experience can give me some pointers on this situation.

    Basically, I have an e-commerce site with a single product, I buy that product directly from the manufacturer. I had to sign up as a wholesale account using my license, etc when I first began about 1 year ago.

    In a years time my business has done extremely well and I basically took over the market on Google for this product and outranked guys(probably guys) who had been there for over 5 years strong.

    About 1 week ago i get a certified letter from an attorney who says he represents the manufacturer that I buy from and he is demanding that I take down my webiste, take down my domain name and he is claiming that by using a certain keyword in my meta tags that is illegal because they own the trademark and he even sent me the registration number of their trademark.

    So i do some digging and look up the trademark, it is absolutely and completely not what he claims it to be, it is actually just a trademark of their website name, which is totally different than the company name. Keep in mind I am using a keyword which is part of the company name but not the whole thing, and to this point there is absolutely no record of a trademark on this name.

    I think they are just trying to throw their weight around but baically what I think happened is that I did so well in SEO that I took a big chunk of their main buyers income away, almost overnight, and that ticked some people off. I rank above even the manufacturer and sell for less than they do, which is allowed by them, but im sure they dont appreciate the loss of income from their direct site and instead a smaller amount through me.

    So what should or can I do? Basically what i am in process of doing now is I bought a new domain, totally unrelated to their supposed "Trademark" and I have moved/copied the site to the new domain and am in process of setting up a 301 redirect. will that keep my rankings in the big G intact or will i lose ranking by doing that?

    If anyone has any advice please let me know, im already talking to another supplier of a similar product but i am going to take a hit overall and i put lots of time and money over the past year into building this business, nowhere on thier agreement or website did it ever specify that I could not do any of this, they are even saying that I am not allowed to rank in the search engines for their company name, is that true?

    I cant just junk it and walk away, but if theres no other choice then i guess i change suppiers for an inferior product and move on.....
     
  2. wholesalereplica

    wholesalereplica BANNED BANNED

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    if you are above them negotiate to sell that site to them at a healthy profit??

    then set up the other site for the inferior product and seo the shit out of it to get that to the top

    possible win/win
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. goinviral

    goinviral BANNED BANNED

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    if you are talking about meta tags keyword then just take it out google doesn't use that meta tag anyway.
     
  4. bizztom

    bizztom Newbie

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    I did offer them the option of purchasing from me but the lawyer has yet to respond to that offer.

    Meta tags are still used by Google, trust me, ive recently tested and proved this by changing the meta tags and then re-indexing my homepage and the listnig on Google changes....
     
  5. Nookie Monster

    Nookie Monster Senior Member

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    Consult a good attorney. That company sounds like it is about to throw the baby out with the bath water.
     
  6. bizztom

    bizztom Newbie

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    Ok I should probably consult a lawyer, at this point ive already taken down any trace of their "Brand Name" and switched it to my new supplier, ive managed to keep most of my keywords intact within my content so hopefully i dont lose rankings.....


    Sorry for being such a youngin, but I have NO clue what "Throw the baby out with the bathwater" means.....

    Ive guessed its like the bathwater is dirty so you throw it out and then you accidentally throw the baby too??? Am i close??

    Can you explain what you meant by that, thanks for your input.
     
  7. Pekton

    Pekton Regular Member

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    I'd talk to your sales rep at the main company, find out if this is legit. If the company does have a problem with you, then go through your license agreement to see what marks you are allowed to use.
     
  8. ibira

    ibira Registered Member

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    Maybe BHW is not the best place to seek legal advice...
     
  9. digihammer1

    digihammer1 Newbie

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    Kinda chuckled when I read that, but probably true...

    Anyway, from the feel and tone of your post you seem to not have good, open communication with this manufacturer.

    I may have missed it but I didn't see how you acquire the product. Do you purchase directly from the manufacture or from a middle man, I.e. a distributor?

    Seems that if you had an excellent relationship with the manufacturer they would have contacted you first prior to involving an attorney. If you were cornering the market as you suggest, I can see how you ruffled many feathers of others selling this product.

    Throwing th baby out without the bath water is similar to them not seeing th Forrest through the trees or they are cutting their own throat buy running you off.

    What precisely prompted them to hire an attorney? From my past experience it is always better to deal directly with the company if you can as the attorney will be clueless as the particulars of the product, pricing, websites, etc...

    Btw, I am pretty sure you will lose your ranking once you change the domain name or change all of the content with the same name.
     
  10. bizztom

    bizztom Newbie

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    The sales rep is no longer "Responding" to me, and if i do get through they just say "Youll have to ask the lawyer about that"....

    When I first contacted my sales rep they had no idea this was even going on, funny thing is the attorney had no clue that i was even an authorized reseller, the original letter he sent me said that I was selling it illegally, lol. I had to clear up the fact that I am actually their customer and buy directly from THEM. It seems like I pissed off somebody way up in the food chain and they just went directly to their lawyer.... my honest opinion, the competitors I took out were actually the manufacturer posing as retailers online.

    Im going to go through the agreement and check for specifics, but like I said, they have no Trademark or Registration on the words i was using, its impossible, the words are so common that you would laugh if i told you what they are..... Thanks for your help

    maybe you should stop running up your post count..... you could try suggesting a better place if you want to help.

    I believe it was a trademark infringement on material i was using to promote the product which I agree now was a mistake which I was unaware of, however i stopped using that trademark immediately once they contacted me. Once i gave into that, they basically started demanding everything else from me.

    Im not changing the content, im barely eliminating the keywords they are crying about.

    If anyone cares, ill update in a week from now and let you know if the ranking actually stayed or got lost.
     
  11. volund

    volund Senior Member

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    Well at this point it may not really matter. Your sales rep has basically hung you out to dry so there is a good chance that even if you stuck to your guns and won you might find that all of a sudden would not be able to purchase product from them.

    Sounds like your plan of changing suppliers is a better long term solution even if you do take a short term hit. Look at it this way. A month or two from now your are outranking them again and now you are really cutting into their sales because you are selling a different companies product. Sounds like a good payback to me.
     
  12. AdisLCS

    AdisLCS Power Member

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    Look at the contract (or better yet have attorney look at it. remember if they threaten to sue you but don't really intend to - you can sue them and win by default)
    Anyways look for any mentioning of using trademarks or the lack thereof.

    Trademarks are registered for specific use (even can become useless if too popular - household name)


    If I register a trademark - SEO Services California because my company name is SEO Services California, can I sue everyone offering to sell SEO Services in California ?

    But the thing is you were using the trademark to promote their product, no? So they can't go after unjust enrichment, breech of contract and other BS.

    I do however agree to Pay Back Big Time by selling competitors product.
     
  13. Mr.Wilson

    Mr.Wilson Newbie

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    Legalities aside, you need to determine whether or not this is a relationship you need to maintain. Even if you do account for a large chunk of their business (assuming, theoretically) and you leaving them will hurt them a little. It is still nice to collect that revenue. Personally I would appease them, and do as they say but be clear that is under protest in order to maintain your business relationship.
     
  14. Nookie Monster

    Nookie Monster Senior Member

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    You hit the nail on the head. :) In other words they have stepped on their dick here. It sounds like you where a good source of revenue for them.

    I just don't get it that they would throw that away. It cost them nothing in advertising to get those sales.
     
  15. homenet

    homenet Power Member

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    I'm no lawyer, so I would make sure you contact one. But from what I can see, there just pissed off you've stolen sales from them, I don't think legally they have a pot to piss in.

    Personally, I would tell them to go die on a dick, and carry on your business as normal.
     
  16. bizztom

    bizztom Newbie

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. Ive worked out an agreement and i am continuing business as normal.

    I ended up redirecting the whole site to a new domain and the new domain instantly took over the rankings that already existed, pretty neat!
     
  17. Mugshots

    Mugshots BANNED BANNED

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    get a new supplier. They obviously can't see past the big picture that there could be a great partnership between you and this company.
     
  18. Markbh

    Markbh Regular Member

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    My two cents:

    1) COnsider increasing the price a bit - to be closer to manufacturer's price - see if that hurts your sales or will the overall profit made increase even if number of customers is reduced.

    If the attitude towards you does not improve...

    2) Look for an alternative supplier and start SEO on a site with their competing products, as suggested above. This is probably prohibited in your wholesale agreement, so make sure you use your hosting, domain registration, payment processing or paid avertising will not give you away.
     
  19. thetvnun

    thetvnun Power Member

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    i want to know if the product is drop shipped, or if you do that yourself, if you do it yourself then why isnt your domain offshore? if its dropshipped (im assuming its a physical product, probably a supplement) then spend the 300 for an hour with an attorney, but dont take it to far unless your willing to go all the way. your talking not less than 6 months of litigation, an easy $5k.
     
  20. manakill

    manakill Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Does the new site have the same dir structure as the old one? Is it an exact copy but with new changes?

    [sent from an android device]