Disagreeing With Your Competitor.
Minding my own business, I scrolled through my LinkedIn Notifications and noticed someone blatantly taking the proverbial p#ss out of a local pizza company. Curious about the topic of discussion and because I specialize in domain names I decided to join the conversation.
The entity happens to live in the same city as me in Cardiff Wales and runs a Marketing Agency, he pointed out that a domain name a pizza company was using has the word sh#t in the domain name. It did not have the actual word; it was the way the letters were merged and highlighted by my competitor that showed all the words in poor taste (no pun intended).
There is a saying “put your brain in gear before putting your mouth in motion” and for me, Monday morning was the start of my content writing week, and I should have thought twice before ending up arguing in a testosterone-heated discussion.
My competitor later admitted he copied the image and content from Reddit and then went on a defense that he has always supported the company and gave them free marketing…yer right.
My point was, never take the mick out of another business for the following reasons:
- If you are on a network channel such as LinkedIn, someone you are connected to and who does not agree with your message may never use you in the future or pass work your way. You should never burn all your bridges. I wont be sending business their way.
- If the business that was made a mockery of found out and the article went viral, there would be a certain amount of people that may not use the business, thinking if they cannot get their domain/branding right, it could look like they do not have much money to invest in a decent domain name so what is the quality of their pizzas going to be, are they scrimping on the ingredients too?
- The business does not want to be seen by people that will join in on the banter. The business loses credibility.
- It shows unprofessionalism.
- You instantly lose trustworthiness and credibility.
The image below is proof in the pudding of what I was trying to say as low and behold a person actually commented about the innuendo the marketing agency implied about the domain name and the pizza guy.
So, although this competitor thought it was funny to take the p#ss out of a company. I quickly jumped on the bandwagon in the Pizza Companies’ defense.
I tried to point out if this was a photo of my business being circulated around social media and I had a questionable domain name (I am a domain broker so that would never happen but if it did) and people were laughing at me I would if I was in the Pizza guy’s shoes, sue the entity that started it.
Not being a lawyer (solicitor), I used the wrong words, I said I would sue the entity for defamation of character but what I should have said was “I would sue them for Libel”.
Yes, this article came with trolls, and everyone seemed to be on the side of the competitor, congratulating him for his publicity stunt and stupidity.
However, for the pizza guy, his pizza domain will be stuck in my head, not for his delicious pizzas (as I have never tried them) but for his poor choice of the domain name and the article I read.
The one troll said any lawyer wanting to take this case on would also be taking the p#ss. I stopped interacting after that, as I did not want to add any further fuel to the fire. I defused the situation.
So unbeknown to the entities in this article, I consult with lawyers (solicitors) as I happen to own a solicitor’s directory and forum which is for sale:
(The Domain & Website Are For Sale Or Lease, along with www.conveyancingcardiff.co.uk and www.cardiffprobatesolicitors.co.uk).
What is libel and slander?
Headlines show us that celebrities and the rich and famous go through libel or slander lawsuits – however, it’s also a big problem for businesses and in the most extreme cases can damage a business’s reputation to the point where it can no longer continue trading.
So, what should a business do if it finds out that a third party is making libelous or slanderous statements about it?
The fundamental differences between libel and slander are when somebody makes a false or untrue statement or claim about an individual or an organization that harms their reputation or good standing, verbally or in writing.
Both cases are classed as defamation although there is an important difference between the two – libel concerns written or drawn statements, and photographs, whilst slander concerns verbal defamatory words.
Defamation is said to have occurred simply when a statement is made that lowers somebody’s opinion of your business as a result of hearing or reading it.
A brand that cannot afford a high-quality domain name may be questioned if they have enough finances for their business and the quality of the products or services they sell.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. – Jeff Bezos, Founder, Amazon.com
Defamation is notorious on social media as I have found out and can often take place where individuals and customers are able to express their feelings about your business.
As an example: Price Chopper in the US saw a tweet that was criticizing them. They saw that the individual who had tweeted was employed by a business who they had some sort of commercial relationship with. And although the tweet wasn’t related to that relationship, and was on a personal account, they complained to the employing company that the tweet could jeopardize the relationship between the two companies, and they requested that the employer take some action against the tweeter.
What my competitor failed to see is even though he is one of my first connections on LinkedIn I am never going to send business his way or recommend him, as who is to say that he could not or would not slander me or anyone I sent his way further down the line? He lost credibility and trustworthiness posting that article on LinkedIn.
Another Case of defamation: In Preece v JD Wetherspoon plc, a pub manager was verbally abused by certain customers. The manager posted on her Facebook account about the situation and criticized the customers. A relative saw the comments and complained to the company which subsequently dismissed the manager for gross misconduct. https://www.workspace.co.uk/content-hub/business-insight/analysis-how-social-media-can-damage-brands
If your business finds itself in the unfortunate dilemma of having a libelous or slanderous statement made about them they need to collect all the evidence to make the case solid. It is very important to quickly assess the situation and, if necessary, take decisive action.
In most cases, no action will be taken as there is not enough evidence and witnesses may be reluctant to get involved. People are likely to hear the statement and/or may not take the comments seriously or back your corner.
One has to weigh up the pros and cons and if it is worth the money, time, and heartache of suing someone that may not have two cents (pennies) to rub together?
Sometimes causing unnecessary publicity from the lawsuit could actually further damage a business’s reputation and in such circumstances drawing attention to itself may actually do more harm than good.
If you feel this is the route to go through, are adamant you have enough evidence, and can prove you have lost business or will lose business, then the next step is to find a lawyer (solicitor).
Sometimes lawsuits can be avoided, and incidents nipped in the bud and mended what is broken by doing extensive PR Campaigns to show the business in good light.
In the case of the pizza guy, the best plan of action would be to change his domain name. He does not necessarily need to rebrand just have an exact match of searchable keywords and phrases in his domain name without the letter SH#T in the URL.
For the marketing company disrespecting his brand name, I would have done this differently if I were them, I would have reached out to the pizza guy and told him what people have noticed and are saying and then offer some relatable domain names, rather than making a mockery of his brand for a few likes and follows. (Low Blow PR Stunt).
What the marketing company (competitor) did was give me an idea to write an article that relates to my three sites: UK Domain Brokers Site and also the Cardiff Solicitors Site as well as the Marketing Journal and it gave me the opportunity to contact the pizza guy myself with a couple of domain names and offer him some marketing...thank you.
Legal action can be costly and time-consuming and there is no guarantee that the outcome, hence if people are laughing about a brand name behind the owner’s back, someone needs to step in and defend them.
A pizza guy may be an expert in baking pizzas and may not have the knowledge of SEO and Marketing, so PR stunt or not I will not be giving this marketing company any work or recommendations.
What if I need to take legal action?
To make a claim against libel or slander you must start legal proceedings within 12 months of the defamatory statement being made otherwise you will be legally unable to take any action against the other party.
How can I avoid making libelous or slanderous statements myself?
The best course of action is like I said earlier putting your brain in gear before putting your mouth in motion and quite simply ‘think before you speak!’ Be extremely careful about making accusations about another party, especially if you cannot provide proof that what you are saying is true.
Never make innuendos such as the marketing company did, and highlighted the letters SH#T in the domain name. This implies the guy’s pizzas are inferior. Sometimes it is better to keep your opinions to yourself.
I have not shared the previous article written by my competitor purposely as I do not want to draw further attention to something that should have been avoided providing the person posting the article had one ounce of common sense, which in my opinion he did not.
Simply highlighting the letters SH#T in the domain name was disrespectful to the domain owner even though he could have chosen a better domain.
Who wins at the end of this? I do of course because I have secured two exact match domain names that will help the pizza guy with his marketing and advertising?
I wonder what the competitor’s clients would think if this was brought to their attention, after all, my competitor has his clients on his landing page and I am sure it would not look good for him if he was seen to be disrespecting another company.
When publicly speaking about a third party one needs to be careful not to say anything derogatory or offensive, because making statements can leave you open to being sued for defamation or libel.
“It is much better to empower, support, and find solutions for businesses that may be experiencing issues with branding and domain names rather than criticizing and laughing at the expense of their errors, for your own gains”.
#branding #domainnames #domainacquisitions #libel #defamation #lawsuits #defamationofcharacter #slander #derogaroty #innuendos