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Taking Legal Action ~ Evidence Help

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by MisterTwister, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. MisterTwister

    MisterTwister Regular Member

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    I am currently promoting a large public event attended by up to 10,000 people.

    A rumour emerged that the event had been cancelled and on further investigation I have discovered that the company who promoted the event last year who have lost the contract this year have set up a fake site which announces that the event has been cancelled. They have also made posts in forums, facebook and wiki which all announce the event is cancelled. This is of course nonsense.

    They have left running their website which has very good serps as they have promoted the site for many years and if you call the ticket hotline it also announces that the 2009 event is cancelled.

    I have all the logs of the changes they have made to my Wiki page which ranks 2 for most of my keywords.

    1000's of potential customers have heard the rumour, not bought tickets and customers are worried about buying tickets just in case it is cancelled. This event will definitely go ahead regardless!

    I have decided to take legal action against the company but my solicitor suggests that proving loss might be difficult.

    1. Is there anyway I can find out how many hits their 'fake' website has received?

    2. Is their anyway I can quickly take down the fake site - I have threatened legal action and it is still there!

    3. Any other advice would be great.

    The damage has already been done and rumours are rife about the cancellation but I need help in getting some compensation. :(
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
  2. MisterTwister

    MisterTwister Regular Member

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    Bump Thread - Help please
     
  3. darkimus

    darkimus Junior Member

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    I would consult a lawyer and see if you can have some type of Cease and Desist drawn up as soon as possible that makes them remove all mentions of the event off all their websites. Then if they don't, I would seek further legal action.
     
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  4. MisterTwister

    MisterTwister Regular Member

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    Thanks for the advice. Not sure we have Cease and Desist in the UK but I am sure we will have something similar. Two weeks to event so time might be a problem too.

    I have spoken to my lawyer and he says it will be hard to prove loss but if I could find a way to see how many hits the fake website has recieved I could start calculating loss based on theconversion rates on the official site.

    Is there any way we can see the number of hits?
     
  5. darkimus

    darkimus Junior Member

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    You can use Alexa.com, but it won't be entirely accurate. It will give you some type of idea though of what kind of traffic the website receives.
     
  6. rudyvise

    rudyvise Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Hello, in circumstances such as these your competition have sunk to new depths in order to destroy your business. They are stealing food out of the mouths of you and your children. They have crossed over to the other side and unless you are willing to do so yourself you must lick your wounds and move on.

    If you do decide not to resort to the most indecenent of tactics, then you must be willing to unburden yourself from this rage you feel. If you do not - then what they have done to you will haunt you for the rest of your days.

    It will tear you apart!

    So you better decide. Forget solicitors and the courts. You need to hit these guys hard.

    But you must be willing to cross over to the other side in order to achieve it.

    They are using black pr tactics on you.

    best,

    Rudy
     
  7. MisterTwister

    MisterTwister Regular Member

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    Thanks for the support guys!

    I think courts are going to be a waste of time if I can't prove loss. I need to take action.

    They are using trademark logos of a couple of sponsors on there site too - I have written to the sponsers and the are demanding the website be taken down as they do not have permission to use the trademarks. Thats a start I guess.

    Rudy - You are right about it hitting pockets, not just mine but the suppliers, artists and sponsors - can you suggest some BH tactics!?
     
  8. rudyvise

    rudyvise Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    First you need to build a dossier on these people.

    Who are they?
    Where are they from?
    What company directorships do they hold?
    What websites do they own? What domains?
    What their backgrounds are?
    Associations and associates.

    D&B search.

    You need a very good idea of who you are dealing with.

    You need to be very clear in your mind just how they have gone about scamming you and hold this pattern in your mind because its going to help you to throw their karma back in their face in the future. You need to work out just how much their dirty scheme has cost you - and then acheive a proportionate return from them.

    Then you need to get some good people on your side to discuss the best way to retaliate.

    It might be that from now on in, whatever these guys do online..................
    is probably not going to work
    :D
     
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    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  9. Piree

    Piree Junior Member

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    You can also play back nasty.
     
  10. Mayson

    Mayson Registered Member

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    Yes, it'll be hard to prove your losses. I thought that someone on this forum offered a DDoS service? to temp shut down sites? I'm not to sure though. Hope you can figure out what to do! Best of Luck!

    You know that this company that is fighting to keep people away are just trying to make it so when your contract is up, the even holders with come back to the others due to lack of traffic.... Its a sad sad thing what people will do....
     
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    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  11. MisterTwister

    MisterTwister Regular Member

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    I like the sound of this. I bet a few BHW members have some tricks up their sleeve to get their future sites banned. I know this would hit them as hard as their campaign against my event.

    Think I will sit and wait, relax and then hit them when they are not expecting it!

    Revenge could be very sweet.

    Thanks Guys & Gals!

    They messed with the wrong person!
     
  12. saram1805

    saram1805 Newbie

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    Is it really a fake website / smear campaign? You said they're using their SEO weight, which would indicate they're using their existing event website?

    Legally there isn't much that can be done about that. They're well within their right to say "Our 2009 Festival has bee cancelled" because technically, it has, and most variants of that wording are also acceptable. It's pretty much impossible to prove ambiguity was with the intent to damage another company.

    A business case can even be made for taking steps to disassociate themselves from the event, as it's no longer under their control, their brand may be damaged through a third party's mismanagement. If their name has been branded with the event for a long time, that association remains for many years after their involvement.

    It's not a bad idea to send the competitor (if you know who they are) a polite letter after winning a tender they've had for a while anyway.
     
  13. MisterTwister

    MisterTwister Regular Member

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    You are exactly right! this website is an existing website but they are using the event name that does not belong to them. They only managed the event, they do not own it.

    I agree taking legal action to prove losses would be very difficult.

    Also by announcing the event is cancelled on the ticket line this is very very damaging.

    I think they probably know that there is not a lot I can do!
     
  14. saram1805

    saram1805 Newbie

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    This seems like a misunderstanding. Maybe I'm too corporate, but I can't imagine any company pissing resources up the wall on "revenge" over losing a tender. That's a dumb business choice.

    However, if I was in their position, having ran an event for years and having the brand and resources (site, phoneline etc) the new management needs, I would be talking to them (or expecting them to contact me) because there's an obvious business opportunity there. I certainly wouldn't be forwarding them any of it for free, and that includes suggesting that the event is still running, because that's a lead, and it has value.

    Have you spoken to them? They have stuff that you could use, which are useless to them. The event website, leads, ticketline etc.

    Just talk to them and work something out. You can both benefit from it, but they're not going to forward leads or otherwise advertise your event for free, and are going to publicly disassociate themselves from it to avoid damage to their brand due to potential mismanagement and a remaining perception that this event is their event. That's the smart decision anyway. It may be perceived as revenge, but it really isn't.
     
  15. MisterTwister

    MisterTwister Regular Member

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    OK just to give you some more background on this bunch.

    1. They are currently in a legal dispute with the event owners (my client) for not paying the ground rent for last years event. There is no way they would ever win the job back and absolutely no reason why they should still be promoting (demoting in this case) the event other than to get back at the event owners.

    2. I paid this company over £3k to do a mailshot to existing customers early in my campaign before I found out they were trying to damage its reputation - I included a ticketmaster promo code but results were terrible so I cant be sure they have even done this!

    I have paid them to promote the event and instead they are costing me sales.
     
  16. siberia77

    siberia77 Registered Member

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    If your lawyor is dubious on actioning this, get a new lawyer for goodness sake!
     
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  17. saram1805

    saram1805 Newbie

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    Then you've certainly got no responsibility in this. Their beef is with the owners, and not you.

    It is the owner's responsibility to either deal with smear campaigns caused by disagreements that transpired before your involvement with the event, or to at least make you aware of it beforehand for consideration before agreeing upon terms.

    Talk to the owners about it - if they fully outsourced the management, they may not even be aware this is happening. Explain the effect it is having and agree upon a resolution, but it's unreasonable to expect you to get involved in a legal dispute between your clients and a third party, when you never signed up to it.

    You're both on the same side and obviously you should do the best with the hand you're dealt, but don't accept that you're going to haemorrhage money over a problem that THEY have which you were never notified of and that happens to be spilling over onto your watch.
     
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  18. Piree

    Piree Junior Member

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    You can also tell your local newspaper this news, if they're a company with a good reputation and the newspaper find out what they did that. Then byebye reputation lol
     
  19. sleepparalysis

    sleepparalysis Registered Member

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    Get a lawyer to subpoena facebook, myspace, etc. for the IP address associated with the posts. Have them then subpoena the ISP/owner of the IP address for who had it leased.

    Now you have your proof (if it was them).

    Sue
     
  20. Hypebeast

    Hypebeast Registered Member

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    Yea you need a lawyer to handle this type of stuff, but I honestly personally think you cant really do much, this is the internet, and information is free whether it is correct or not so I dont know if you have much of a case, but if this is a company you could like others say ruin their reputation for doing this.
     
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