Why You Should Play Nice in the Blogosphere

Pigs don't have it this good at the US's National Pork Board
Came across this interesting post by Nathan Gilliatt on how a national pork body tried to sue the pants off a breastfeeding advocate, to disastrous results.

"For a while, it seemed that every conversation about companies interacting with bloggers fell back on the same few anecdotes. It was as if our economy were based on Dell and Kryptonite. For better or worse, that's changed now. We're seeing more examples of bloggers calling out companies, and all too often, the companies don't understand the culture. Today it's the National Pork Board.

Jennifer Laycock is a work-at-home mom and founder of The Lactivist, "a site that aims to promote breastfeeding through humor." One of her activities is selling shirts with funny slogans at CafePress, and one of her designs—The Other White Milk—was too close to The Other White Meat® for the eat-more-pig crowd.

We understand the need to defend trademarks, but the Pork Board skipped a step and went straight to the threatening letter (PDF)."

To cut a long story short, Jennifer's online advocacy resulted in an ocean of sympathetic support in favour of her cause. It became so overwhemling that the Pork Board had to withdraw their lawyer's letter and apologise to her instead.

The moral of the story is clear and simple. Do not play tough in the blogosphere. While you may win the legal battle based on technicalities, you will lose goodwill, positive mindshare and perception. And the costs of that is probably far more than what you can receive in court over the long term.


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