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
    hegemon13, 22 Jan 2009 @ 6:37am

    6-month updates

    Emails requiring companies to confirm their information go out every 6 months as an ICANN requirement, so there should be no excuse for this. Either the registrar should have suspended the domain for failing to confirm the info, or someone confirmed the info incorrectly. If it was someone at Zipatoni, they should have some liability. If it was Meyerkord, then his lawsuit is way out of line.

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