Sunday, August 26, 2007

Our friends over at Croc Fans Dot Com have hit upon legal trouble

Hello, everyone.

You may already know that we here at I Hate Crocs Dot Com like to poke fun at our friends over at Croc Fans Dot Com from time to time. Well, they've hit upon legal trouble and are now located at Little Rubber Shoes Dot Com. Why the domain name change? Because our enemies at Crocs, Inc. have sent them a cease-and-desist and demanded that they transfer the domain name over to them. Yes, they shut down one of their biggest supporters. That's how stupid Crocs, Inc. is.

This, of course, disgusts me. Should I be happy that the antithesis of this site has been taken down a notch? Some of you might think so, but I'm not. I don't much like it. No sir. We don't take kindly to bullying. Anyway, if you liked to visit Croc Fans Dot Com, change your bookmarks now. We wish our friends at Little Rubber Shoes Dot Com lots of luck.

We haven't received a letter from Crocs, Inc. but it could happen any day now.

The post from Little Rubber Shoes Dot Com explaining all of this in greater detail is as follows:

On July 19, 2007, Crocs, Inc. sent a cease and desist letter to our web hosting company which demanded that that they immediately provide the contact information for the registrant of CrocFans.com (me) or immediately transfer the registration of CrocFans.com to Crocs, Inc. If these demands were not agreed to by July 26, 2007, Crocs, Inc. may “pursue all available remedies” including “injunctive relief”.

This letter caused our hosting company BlueHost.com to temporarily suspend our account without any notice to us on July 25th. After speaking with BlueHost.com I was able to get the site back up and live after about 15 hours of being down. At that time I learned of the letter sent to BlueHost.com regarding the CrocFans.com domain and Crocs “demanding” of the ownership transfer of the domain.

I thought why would Crocs, Inc. have a problem with a fan site devoted to their products, brand, and the people who love their products? My initial thought was that this has to be some sort of mistake. After reading the cease and desist letter I noticed that the letter stated that CrocFans.com was being used to “operate a website to sell shoes that are very similar to those sold by Crocs, Inc.”

Well, as many of you know, we have never sold any products on CrocFans.com so I thought that I would pro-actively contact the Crocs, Inc. attorney who sent the letter to my hosting company to clarify this fact.

After leaving a voice mail with the attorney and an initial email helping clarify what the site was and that it did not sell competing products to Crocs the attorney acknowledged that CrocFans.com does not sell Crocs products or products similar to those sold by Crocs.

BUT… went on to say that the use of the Crocs trademark in the domain (CrocFans.com) “could be confusing to consumers as to whether the site is sponsored by, endorsed by, or affiliated with Crocs, Inc.” Although they did not demand that we discontinue the content of CrocFans.com and that I was free to continue running the website under a different domain name, they still demanded that I transfer the domain name CrocFans.com over to Crocs, Inc.

Being a diplomatic person, I thought I would show my good faith with the Crocs organization and offered to transfer the domain CrocFans.com over to Crocs, Inc. after what I felt was enough time to do the necessary work to transfer a well established website domain to a brand new domain. After spending 2 years in growing the CrocFans.com website into what it is today with the tens of thousands of visitors to the site every month I offered to transfer the domain by January 1, 2008.

Anyone who has had to move an established website over to a different domain knows this is not something that you can do overnight without loosing all of your traffic. There are many steps necessary to ensure all of the work and effort already put into the site can be saved and transferred over to the new domain. I felt 5 months was the least amount of time it would take to do this transfer given the 2 years it took to build the site.

After sending my offer via email to the Crocs attorney, I felt certain Crocs, Inc. would be understanding and accepting of my offer. CrocFans.com has been one of (if not the biggest) online supporter of their shoes and brand for the last 2 years. We’ve held Crocs contests for people to show their love for Crocs (I paid for the winner’s prize with my own money) and been interviewed supporting Crocs in a New York Times article. I thought this was a fair compromise.

I guess was wrong…

The Crocs, Inc. attorney informed me that Crocs, Inc. was willing to give me 30 days (until September 5, 2007) to complete the transfer of ownership of CrocFans.com to Crocs, Inc.

I have responded by respectfully declining their offer to transfer CrocFans.com over to Crocs, Inc. by September 5, 2007.

Needless to say the whole situation has left a bad taste in my mouth especially since I have spent a significant amount of time creating a site that supports, promotes, and helps further the Crocs brand to a worldly audience. Although I still like the shoes, I am not as impressed with the company and their management of this situation.

So, where does that leave us today?

I have started moving the website over to the new domain LittleRubberShoes.com. You may have noticed this at the top. Before I get a bunch of emails stating that Crocs are not made of rubber, I know, but that was the best I could come up with. If you have better ideas for the new domain please add them in the comments below.

I am working toward fully transferring the site from CrocFans.com to LittleRubberShoes.com by January 1, 2008. It is my hope to have the same amount of traffic to the site by the first of the year as what we were seeing before we made this change.

Undoubtedly, our traffic will take a short-term dip because of this move, but over time we should be back to where we were before. I’ve already seen a dip today where we previously were on the first page of search results on Google for “Crocs”, now I don’t see the site in the first 3 pages.

We need your help. Please update your bookmarks, link to our new site, subscribe to our newsletter, subscribe to our RSS feed and tell your fellow CrocFans where we’ve moved.

We will be announcing a new contest shortly that will hopefully build some excitement around the new domain LittleRubberShoes.com. Stay tuned for more details on this, but expect to see a much bigger and better prize than just one free pair of Crocs like previous contest.

In closing, of this marathon post… it is my hope that companies will start learning how to leverage brand evangelists to their advantage. The companies that can harness the power of brand evangelists will not only build their brand but build it without additional marketing cost.

I read an article today that up until last year Zappos.com had 5 people in their marketing department. They are expecting to do a billion dollars in sales next year. They have focused on providing the best customer satisfaction and letting their customers do their marketing for them. Zappos gets brand evangelism.

The cheapest way to get a new customer is not by you talking about your products (traditional marketing). It is by finding ways to get other people talking about your products.

Brand evangelists have been around for a long time. Traditionally, they could only reach one person at a time. The internet gives your brand evangelists much more power and in some cases the ability to reach thousand if not millions of people. Companies need to work with these people who are your brand evangelists; they are your most valuable marketing resource.

I wonder if our friends over at IHateCrocs.com have received a letter?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ha.

And there's no reason for your hate site to receive a letter: no one is going to confuse 'ihatecrocs' with a site that sells shoes.

Anonymous said...

I could not stop laughing after I read that. xD If anything, maybe it'll get rid of a few Croc fans.

In all seriousness, though, I cannot believe the Crocs company did that... I always thought this site was much more likely to get into legal trouble.

Beau McClelland said...

As someone who visits your rival site regularly, I am pissed that Crocs, Inc. did that. I have heard of them being assholes to some people but never thought about it until this happened. I'm still a Crocs fan (sorry, not even this will change me!), but not so much the actual company.

Anonymous said...

That's bloody awful. I'm no Crocs fan (far from it - I'll be dead before a pair of those plastic abominations touches my feet) but the maliciousness and utter stupidity of a cease-and-desist letter like that just... astounds me. Idiots. You don't piss of your own fans!

Nick James said...

So it is true, crocs are so heartless that they will eat their young.

Linda (Lou) said...

I'm still wondering if this is a joke! Stupid shoes from a really stupid company! The apples didn't fall far from the tree... :-)

Nick James said...

Nice olive branch from you Vincenzo at Little Rubber shoes. I am starting to think that Crocs fifteen minutes may be up. They may have jumped the croc...I mean shark on this one.

Anonymous said...

Wow you people have no lives...I don't care what you will say. I don't like crocs. I don't wear them, and I don't plan on it.

I pray this is all a joke, since that would be pretty pathetic trying to take down a very, very popular shoe company with one little website.

Seriously, what the hell do you care if people are wearing shoes you don't like? Nobody is forcing you to wear them.

Peoples reasons for wearing them are really none of your business. Thinking that a stranger's "excuse" is not "viable" for you, is extremely pathetic.

Why don't you all go do some good for the world, go donate to a charity that really matters to you. Just get your lazy asses outside and get a hobby!

sQew said...

Why not buy a domain and dedicate your time and effort in raising money say to help the poor, the hungry or the oppressed? Life would make more sense and would be more meaningful with that, dont you think?

Well geeez of course you're not capable of thinking that. Silly me.

The Beautiful Kind said...

I hope in turn that the crocodile reptiles sue the heck out of the shoe company. Or at least bite their feet off. Sheesh.

Wendy said...

Ohhhhh, you're talking about shoes! Seriously thought you were talking about crocodiles. I've never heard of these shoes before. Looking at the pictures, I'm glad. :)

Tasbeeh said...

The Crocs company is planning a clothing line!!!!

http://www.mpdclick.com/mudpie/action/viewListItem?id=23133&listId=19

Anonymous said...

You hate Crocs but you do business because of it... isn't that called "opportunism"? The best way is to ignore it, isn't it?

Danielle said...

Hahaha Crocs are fuckers!

Thom said...

I think the best action would have been to contest the basis of the cease and desist on the grounds that the trademarked term is 'crocs' not 'croc' which would be the word used by the accused. Legal mumbo jumbo at its finest

Anonymous said...

I am a true crocs fan and would have a different coloured pair to match all outfits. They are the most comfortable shoe I have had and can wear them for a 12 hour shift with no problem. What next ? an "I HATE FLIP FLOPS" OR i HATE WELLIES? Get a life!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is the best blogspot page I've seen yet.

Laura said...

Just because its Gucci doesn't mean its pretty. There are SO many comfortable shoes that are not revolting to the eye out there. Why wear ugly shoes?

Down with Crocs.

Anonymous said...

This whole thing is a waste of time. Arguing about shoes? Come on, this has to be a joke, right?! I would say that you all have no lives for posting comments on such a uselss topic but then I would have to call myself an idiot for doing the same ... So instead I'm just going to sigh and leave it alone. At the end, there's more important things to be arguing about!

Colin said...

Being a company owner that was sued by crocs, Inc. I have bad feelings for their company. They are getting back what they deserve. The CEO is a liar and should answer directly for the lies told to share holders and also the companies they sued for patent infringement - what a load of bull, their patents have since been found to be invalid. I think it's time for crocs to say good bye. Pay those companies back the money they lost through backing down. It's fair to say, " The CEO is a Croc of shoot".

Jherrington said...

Hey, I found out today that crocs prevent STD's, because NO ONE will fuck you if you're wearing them.