Digg’s anti-social behavior the first of more to come?

It’€™s old news now, but as you probably are well aware of Digg shut down digggames.com due to infringements on their trademark. Lawyers make me do this, moans Digg’€™s Kevin Rose in the Digg blog, and he’€™s probably telling the truth since trademarks that aren’€™t enforced really isn’€™t trademarks. Logically, more Digg-related sites will receive the same cease and desist letter that hit diggames.com.

First of all, I can’€™t really blame Digg for doing this. As Matt pointed out in our previous post regarding this, you have to be able to protect your trademarks. Still, it rhymes bad with the whole social appeal that sites like Digg thrive on. Do you want to participate in a community effort on a site that kicks on the little guys?

Here’€™s a problem for Web 2.0 companies and all the cuddly-wuddly functionality that they so embrace. On one hand you have to be firm and protect what’€™s yours, no matter if you’€™re doing it because a lawyer says so, or just to ensure that you’€™ll receive further revenue in the future. On the other, if you go on to hard the ever unfaithful blogosphere and the users your service relies on will turn their back to you and then revenues are definitely down. A truly hard choice that I think more and more sites that focuses on an effort from its users (in one way or another) will be faced with in the future. Don’€™t expect the Digg controversy to be the last one to reach The Blog Herald frontpage.

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  1. says

    Digg should not do this… the little guys could not harm them and their brand… digg should be ashamed for actions like this.

  2. Anonymous says

    Im not one to stick up for companies pushing the little guys around at all but come on people its their brand and as much as we don’t want them to enforce it, they have every right to. Seriously, if your making something you should be creative and not just pickup a name from a website you like and plea that you thought it was helping them.

  3. says

    Well, I think the difficult part you’ve really hit on:

    As web2.0 startups start attracting attention and bags of VC cash — will it treat its community that supported it, and indeed it *depends on* (its _social_ content networking afterall), any differently when this sort of thing happens?

    Yeah, everyone looks to KRo (Kevin Rose) when the crap flies, but he’s only one part of the Digg equation now (albeit an important figure head).

    And I think no one begrudges Digg for protecting their TM (it sounds likeyou kind of have to) — its the way in which it was done.

    Getting a cease and desist order, quite frankly, is pretty nasty business. And unless VC’s and their lawyers get a better understanding of how important the community is in driving web2.0 success, there will be a helluva lot more cease and desist order thrown about in the near future.

    … and other legally related shenanigans.

    t @ dji

  4. Daniel Golding says

    This is not an option under US Trademark law – if they don’t vigerously defend Digg in this way, they will lose all right to it. Its not a great system, but they are stick with it. Its not about have the right to enforce it – in this case, they have a legal duty to “use it or lose it”. They must be able to demonstrate this in court.

  5. says

    What the average Digg user is starting to realize is. It’s all about the money and always will be. The comments on this story in Digg were very telling.

    They didn’t have to send the lawyers. They just as easily could have sent an email or a certified letter. I think the lawyers right out of the chute is what made a lot of people angry.


  1. […] The post does however remind you that your trademark is yours to protect. Digg has done this in the past, and by doing it they pissed off a lot of people. How you handle your trademark is a very delicate topic for lots of companies today, especially in the Web 2.0 field since there are so many business models that build upon a friendly user base. […]