Man Sues Former Employer For Not Updating Whois... And Then Acting Stupid

from the blame-game dept

Eric Goldman has the details on a fascinating case involving a guy suing his former employer for failing to update the whois info on their domain names (which used his names as the contact) and then pulling a bogus astroturfing marketing stunt that people started blaming him for organizing. Greg Meyerkord worked for Zipatoni, a "promotional marketing company." While there, he was the contact name on their domain registrations. He stopped working for Zipatoni in 2003. However, in 2006 Zipatoni was the company behind the disastrously stupid "fake" viral marketing campaign known as All I Want For Xmas is a PSP. After that was exposed, blogs went to town making fun of Sony... and Zipatoni. As part of that, people went to the whois and "outed" Meyerkord, including calling him a "douchebag."

Because of this, Meyerkord is suing Zipatoni, claiming a privacy violation. A lower court rejected this argument, but an appeals court has sent it back, saying there could be an issue if Zipatoni acted with "malice." That's probably going to be difficult, so the case may not be going anywhere. Goldman notes that it's pretty ridiculous that Zipatoni left the incorrect whois on the domain for so long, but it's not that surprising to me. With many registrars, it's pretty much a "set it and forget it" type of operation, where there's little need to ever review or change the info.
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Filed Under: privacy, viral marketing, whois
Companies: zipatoni


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  1. identicon
    Michial, 22 Jan 2009 @ 8:02am

    Blogging was the least of his issues

    I doubt that what others said in blogs is what motivated this guy to file. A few years ago I nearly lost my job because some crazy SOB got my name from a WhoIs record. The guy searched my name, found my resume, then called my employer making all kinds of accusations against me.

    The guy had subscribed to a maillist I administrated, then claimed that the 80+ emails per day were SPAM, and instead of following very simple instructions to remove his email, he decided that following those instructions would only make the emails worse so instead he set out on a campaign to create as much grief as he could for me.

    After threatening to sue my employer for the "SPAM" and getting called into the office manager's office, I was a little inclined to shut down that maillist.

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