NY Times Sends Cease & Desist Letter To Kachingle For Trying To Show Them Alternatives To Paywalls

from the hmm... dept

Back in August, we wrote about two companies Flattr and Kachingle that were trying to create a very easy to use form of micropayments, that do away with the mental transaction costs, as a method of getting people to voluntarily support content they enjoy monetarily. Since then we've been experimenting with Flattr (you can see the widget to the left) and it's been quite interesting, especially since Flattr finally opened its doors to anyone, rather than being invite only, as it was when we first started. We'll have a more complete report about our Flattr experiment sometime soon...

That said, Flattr's competitor, Kachingle (which is similar, but with a few key differences) recently put together an amusing publicity stunt. Knowing that the NY Times paywall is fast approaching, it put together a "Stop the Paywall!" campaign for Kachingle uses, letting them designate which NY Times' columnists they want a piece of their monthly contributions to go to.

It's a pure publicity stunt, and when I saw it announced I wasn't going to write about it. Except... the NY Times and its lawyers have now changed that. While Kachingle leaves out some of the important details, apparently, three people from the NY Times, including the VP of Digital, a lawyer and someone working on the NYT's paywall, called Kachingle, demanding they take down the promotion, saying that it was "annoying" and that it would not stop the paywall. After Kachingle refused, they said they were sending a cease-and-desist letter (which, as of this posting, apparently has not arrived at the Kachingle offices).

In other words, the NY Times just made sure that Kachingle gets a ton more attention for its publicity stunt, and looks like they're simply not open to any alternative business models. I am curious as to the legal reasoning behind the cease-and-desist. I will say that, from the information posted, it is not clearly stated where the money designated for the NY Times' bloggers is actually going, which I would guess may be the legal concern. I guess I could see a trademark claim, in that the NY Times could say that this implies that the NY Times has a business relationship with Kachingle when it does not -- but I think that anyone reading the actual site would immediately recognize that there's clearly no endorsement or relationship with the NY Times. In fact, that's why Kachingle set up the page...

Anyway, if Kachingle ever gets and posts the C&D, we'll be sure to update the post... But, really, what benefit is there to the NY Times in doing this? Threatening Kachingle with legal action seems downright petty and closed minded. Why not let the company run its promotional campaign, see if you learn anything from it, and move on?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    rabbit wise (profile), Oct 15th, 2010 @ 2:55pm

    3rd paragraph

    Mike, I love ya, man, but there is something wrong with that third paragraph...it took three reads to figure out that the company making the phone call was the NYT and that there wasn't a paywall named, well, Kachingle.

    *muses* that actually sounds like a good name for a dog ...

    Kachingle! Here, Kachingle!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Re: 3rd paragraph

    Kachingle sounds like what Santa would say if he dipped in the bitters instead of milk for his after cookie digestif.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2010 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: 3rd paragraph

    And here I thought that was the sound he made when he sneezed...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 15th, 2010 @ 4:33pm

    Re: 3rd paragraph

    Mike, I love ya, man, but there is something wrong with that third paragraph...it took three reads to figure out that the company making the phone call was the NYT and that there wasn't a paywall named, well, Kachingle.

    Edited to improve clarity... sorry about that...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Bill Lazar, Oct 15th, 2010 @ 4:57pm

    Money from KachingleX goes to NYT blogs' writers

    Mike,

    "I will say that, from the information posted, it is not clearly stated where the money designated for the NY Times' bloggers is actually going, which I would guess may be the legal concern."

    Just to be clear--this is stated on our pages and in the emails we sent to all the bloggers involved--the money from these Medallions will go to the NYTimes' bloggers the same way as with all our Medallions.

    In this case we created the Kachingle accounts, using the unique email address associated with each blog as the PayPal destination.

    We love the NYTimes and their writers and this is not just a "publicity stunt" but our way to show them an alternative to the paywall they have planned. Cynthia Typaldos, our founder, wrote a blog post today titled Confessions of an Anti-Paywall Revolutionista. How being Hari Seldon can save us from Info Dark Ages in which she explains in depth her motivation and inspiration for our service.

    You can reach Cynthia directly at cynthia@kachingle.com or @typaldos on Twitter if you'd like some clarification or more information about Kachingle and KachingleX.

    Last, we'd love to have TechDirt join us! Plenty of sites are using Kachingle and Flattr together since, as you point out, they have different takes on the best way to implement a social payment service.

    Thanks for writing about us,
    Bill Lazar
    Technical Marketing Lead
    Kachingle

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2010 @ 5:05pm

    Annoyed

    Hey, don't you know that it's illegal to "annoy" a big company like the NYTimes?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2010 @ 11:43am

    Title "NY Times Sends Cease & Desist Letter...."

    Story "...as of this posting, apparently has not arrived..."

    So a story about nothing but publicity for Kashingle.

    Is this an attempt to manufacture a viral marketing campaign, or just that standard of your journalism is low ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    JackOfClubs, Oct 16th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    New York Times "paywall"

    I'm guessing that the NYT is in for a huge disappointment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    surveyguy, Oct 17th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Re: 3rd paragraph

    Too many unnecessary commas.

    Actually, the paywall is named Ka-ching, Ka-ching.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 5:07am

    Re:

    Title "NY Times Sends Cease & Desist Letter...."

    Story "...as of this posting, apparently has not arrived...


    The NY Times had said they sent the cease & desist letter. You do realize that there is a period of time between the "sending" and the "receiving," no?

    Is this an attempt to manufacture a viral marketing campaign, or just that standard of your journalism is low ?


    I'm not a journalist. I write about what's interesting and this is interesting. You don't have to like it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    The Mad Hatter (profile), Oct 18th, 2010 @ 7:51am

    I'm not a journalist. I write about what's interesting and this is interesting. You don't have to like it.

    Well said. And enough of us find your writing interesting to keep coming back, including Anonymous Coward, who is truly prolific with the comments :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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