If you watch enough TV, you've probably come across the commercials for "the video professor" who offers DVD videos teaching you how to do things like use your computer. The commercials involve an appeal from the CEO and founder of the company to "buy my product" and promote how you can get a trial for "free!" However, if you look around online, you find many
, many complaints
that the company ended up charging people money for the supposedly "free" products. What is actually happening is that when you sign up for the "free" trial, you're actually signing up for a subscription to receive other training videos periodically. The problem is that many people don't realize this -- and claim that they were mislead (in many ways, this is similar to the Amazon Prime mess
that still hasn't been cleared up. Whether or not the company clearly explains to buyers what they're signing up for is open to debate.
However, with such widespread criticism for its practices online, it isn't surprising that the company is concerned. Of course, rather than addressing those criticisms, instead the company has decided to sue. Greg Beck
writes in to point out that the company (which tells people to look for reviews online) has sued 100 anonymous critics of the company
claiming trademark violations and defamation. Lots of companies seem to think negative reviews constitute a trademark violation, but a review is a perfectly legitimate use of a trademark. Defamation depends specifically on what the reviewers said, so it's difficult to judge that aspect of the lawsuits. However, to tell people to look for reviews online, and then go out and sue a bunch of folks who negatively reviewed your product seems like highly questionable activity.