Lawyers Realizing That Suing Gripe Sites Might Not Make Much Sense
from the it-took-this-long? dept
It looks like some lawyers may be realizing that suing so-called "gripe sites" (more commonly called "sucks sites") might not make very much sense (thanks to Bill Squier for sending this in). The lawyer basically points out what plenty of folks have been saying for years: these sites are usually perfectly legal. They don't violate trademark law, and almost every time such a case goes to court the company loses -- only adding more attention and legitimacy to the gripe site. Instead, the lawyer suggests ignoring the site is often the best course of action:
The best course to deal with a gripe site often is to do nothing at all. The site itself actually might have a little impact on a company's business and the ferocity of its venom might obscure the reality that it is only one of millions of sites that has little traffic and that is visited only by the disaffected, whose business is ultimately lost anyway. Also, if the target pays no overt attention to the site, its operator may lose interest in this particular cause and direct his or her ire to more recent, emotionally appealing, or reactive targets. Non-action can be the most difficult course to take where there is a demand that something must be done.He also notes that sending a cease-and-desist is likely to create the opposite reaction, often encouraging the site to continue (though, while he mentions that cease-and-desist letters are likely to get posted to the sites, he doesn't mention that many site owners will use that to get more attention from others using a "they're trying to shut me down" alarm). Oddly, the lawyers' "final" advice seems like the sort of thing that shouldn't be "final" or a "last resort" but should be much closer to the top of the list:
Finally, the target might seek to engage the operator of the gripe site to find out just what his/her problem is and see if it can be rectified. This would be the cleanest, easiest, and cheapest solution. It might not work, but it has little downside risk and might, if not immediately successful, attenuate the ferocity of the attacks and might in the long run hasten the end of the site, by causing its operator's interest to wane.Wait... speak to someone like a human and see if you can fix their problem? What kind of advice is that?