Alls well that ends well, right? I mean especially when, as here, that ending comes complete with a bottle of wine and a box of Twix candy bars. & Maybe.
Heres what happened: On April 17, a small London-based Internet marketing company named Datadial received an email from a law firm representing the U.K. arm of Shopzilla, a large comparison-shopping site. The email alleged that Datadial had violated Shopzillas trademark by get this simply linking to www.shopzilla.co.uk in a blog post. Remove that offending link, Shopzillas attorneys stomped, or there will be legal hell to pay, followed by the financial kind.
Gobsmacked by the demand, Datadial did two things. First, it removed the link hey, were talking about a 15-person outfit being targeted by lawyers for a large company named after a giant monster that was created by nuclear explosions.
And then, being savvy Internet marketers, Datadial posted a lengthy screed to its blog spelling out in snarky detail the absurdity of the trademark assertion. That post, written by Datadials Joe Shervell, cheekily reported that the original author was so distraught over the infringement accusation as to be torn between fleeing to a monastery and suing Shopzilla for inflicting emotional distress.
However, he quickly rationalized the situation and sat down on his sofa with a glass of wine and a Twix, writes Shervell. Since Shopzilla and its lawyers are solely responsible for causing an undue amount of stress, it only seems fair that they reimburse him for the glass of wine and Twix. Twix: £0.80. Glass of wine: £2.40 (or about $5 total, American.)
Bet you were wondering when Id get to the wine and Twix.
Once Shervell had finished upbraiding Shopzilla and its ham-handed legal muscle, readers of the Datadial blog were having a merry old time mocking them as well, until & a Shopzilla executive went and spoiled all the fun by posting a comment in behalf of his employer.
Im terribly sorry you received the letter from our attorneys office, writes David Bixler, vice president of operations for Shopzilla Europe. We appreciate that your site is not a spam site and is not misusing our trademark. We flag up thousands of backlinks that are potentially spam and unfortunately your site slipped through our filter. Please disregard the notice and let me know if the wine was red or white & Im sure I can find some Twix as well.
[ALSO: Most memorable tech apologies]
No idle boast. A short time later, while Shervell and I were swapping email about the trademark matter, there was another knock on Datadials door: We just received a courier delivery. It was a bag labeled Shopzilla with giftwrapped presents inside. One bottle of wine, one box of Twixes.
So, alls well? Not entirely, according to Shervell, and its not all Shopzillas fault; he says Googles role needs to be noted.
I think (the episode) says something nasty about the society Google has created, he tells me. & Googles robots create a new environment where companies become tense about what should be casual online practices. Im sure this wouldnt have happened two years ago (before Googles algorithm changes dubbed Panda and Penguin). Its another negative effect of Googles best intentions & it creates a kind of state of panic.
Wine and candy can only help.
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