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
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2009 @ 8:32am

    Re: Have to Disagree

    Find in favor of what? Who was listed as the contact for the company? Where is the libel? That they didn't update a form that is usually fill out and forget, to a current employee's name? Come on, use a brain cell or two. The company may be a scumbag company, but they aren't committing libel for anything.

    I mean, come on! Meyerkord was the company's IT admin or web page admin when he worked for them. He set it up, he should have made sure it was changed when he left. But like I mentioned earlier, it's a fill out and forget about issue for the majority of companies out there.

    That is why when I used to create and maintain web pages for clients, I made sure to have the registrar information in the company owners name, not an employee, and then made sure that person had all the information they needed to update or make changes.

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