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
    batch, 22 Jan 2009 @ 10:03am

    lack of common sense

    If the company had the IT admin use his contact info for the Registrar, then the next admin to replace Meyerkord should have updated the info. They had 3 years to discover and update. Who here is going to go and check with a former employer of any amount of time and verify that they have gotten rid of all references to you? Who really expects it to come back and haunt them?

    What motivation does this guy have to contact his successor and work to get the registrar info changed? None, if like me, he has better things to do, like go to work at his current job. If the next IT admin was qualified and knew how to do his job, he'd have Meyerkord's email forwarded to his account and have the passwords for obvious things like the account for the registrar and change the information. Otherwise, what happens when IT admin #3 joins? Does he still leave Meyerkords mailbox open??

    Zipatoni just seems to be employing an extremely lazy IT admin.

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