Will Maine lawsuit hurt Pop!Tech?

Ed Cone, you're right, this is a great example of how to hurt your brand name. I spoke to a group of MBA students in Silicon Valley and most had heard of how Dell had treated Jeff Jarvis and they thought less of Dell for how they responded.

Picking on bloggers isn't smart PR.

Why not? Well, now I'm thinking of not going to Pop!Tech, which is held every fall in Camden, Maine. I wonder if other bloggers are doing the same? Every attendee brings thousands of dollars to the local economy there and high-reach reporting about Maine's tourist attractions (most of the people in the audience are executives, VCs, press types, or bloggers).

Memeorandum has more reactions to the Maine lawsuit. Lance Dunston, the blogger involved, gives his side of the story.

Update: Scott Johnson does some homework (calls the agency in question). James Robertson replies to Scott. I agree with James.

Update2: Mike Arrington of TechCrunch is even more disgusted with this lawsuit than I am (and he's a lawyer).

Comments

  1. I think “boycotting” Maine is not the right solution. After all, your choice to go to Maine was not at all influenced by the Tourism department, but by the conference’s choice of location. Also, not going hurts those businesses that depend most on your dollars. If I had planned on going, I would continue to go despite the self-destructive behavior of the MOT and help the people who are being hurt the most by their actions: business owners in Maine.

    The right solution is what you’re doing in the first place: getting the word out (your post was the first I’d heard of the issue)

  2. I think “boycotting” Maine is not the right solution. After all, your choice to go to Maine was not at all influenced by the Tourism department, but by the conference’s choice of location. Also, not going hurts those businesses that depend most on your dollars. If I had planned on going, I would continue to go despite the self-destructive behavior of the MOT and help the people who are being hurt the most by their actions: business owners in Maine.

    The right solution is what you’re doing in the first place: getting the word out (your post was the first I’d heard of the issue)

  3. Charles, but you don’t understand where this state agency gets its funding: from taxpayers. If enough taxpayers think this agency is doing a bad job (because their sales go down, or even because some powerful rich guys who plan Pop!Tech hear the message and pass it along) then this agency will get a kick in the behind and stop doing this kind of stuff.

  4. Charles, but you don’t understand where this state agency gets its funding: from taxpayers. If enough taxpayers think this agency is doing a bad job (because their sales go down, or even because some powerful rich guys who plan Pop!Tech hear the message and pass it along) then this agency will get a kick in the behind and stop doing this kind of stuff.

  5. And so the agency turns around and blames the whole loss of tourism on what Lance has done. In fact, many of those taxpayers may close their business and, again, blame Lance for making a big deal of it all.

    Should people be forced to close their sole source of income because tourists boycott their home state over what the state agency has done? Sure, it affects the state’s tax base, but do you care more about the impact on the government or the loss of livelihood for flesh-and-blood human beings who may have to depend on that government for handouts due to this attitude?

    I agree that the government of Maine needs to stand up and take notice… but is there NO other way of doing that other than boycotting?

  6. And so the agency turns around and blames the whole loss of tourism on what Lance has done. In fact, many of those taxpayers may close their business and, again, blame Lance for making a big deal of it all.

    Should people be forced to close their sole source of income because tourists boycott their home state over what the state agency has done? Sure, it affects the state’s tax base, but do you care more about the impact on the government or the loss of livelihood for flesh-and-blood human beings who may have to depend on that government for handouts due to this attitude?

    I agree that the government of Maine needs to stand up and take notice… but is there NO other way of doing that other than boycotting?

  7. Charles, please note that I’m not calling for a boycott, but it’s natural human behavior to support things that support you. But, I think you already made the point that by talking about this it brings more attention to it.

  8. Charles, please note that I’m not calling for a boycott, but it’s natural human behavior to support things that support you. But, I think you already made the point that by talking about this it brings more attention to it.

  9. I do agree that it is natural behavior. And before anyone out there assumes that I have a bias towards encouraging Maine tourism, I’m in Fort Worth, TX myself. I was looking over the purpose of the Pop!Tech conference and believe that the conference itself is a great venue for discussion of this issue. After all, this can affect many people, not just bloggers and their rights.

    Therefore, I think this whole situation is a part of the purpose of the conference: discussion of the influences that shape technology and our world.

    (P.S. though you are not directly calling for a boycott, you are an influential individual through this blog and people tend to follow those who make an impact in their lives. Your statement that you may not attend could be imitated by others; after all, I am a rather regular reader and I doubt I’m the only one who took it as encouragement to boycott. I’ll still be reading your site no matter your choice in the matter.)

  10. I do agree that it is natural behavior. And before anyone out there assumes that I have a bias towards encouraging Maine tourism, I’m in Fort Worth, TX myself. I was looking over the purpose of the Pop!Tech conference and believe that the conference itself is a great venue for discussion of this issue. After all, this can affect many people, not just bloggers and their rights.

    Therefore, I think this whole situation is a part of the purpose of the conference: discussion of the influences that shape technology and our world.

    (P.S. though you are not directly calling for a boycott, you are an influential individual through this blog and people tend to follow those who make an impact in their lives. Your statement that you may not attend could be imitated by others; after all, I am a rather regular reader and I doubt I’m the only one who took it as encouragement to boycott. I’ll still be reading your site no matter your choice in the matter.)

  11. God bless, Lance. I understand how much of a bottomless hole he is in right now. I used to run a community blog myself. One day I got a call from a county politician who explained to me how this was causing more harm than good. Yes, I could continue running a community blog, (gosh we really like you and your wife and hate to see you have to leave us.) or you can shut it down. I bowed to pressure, I killed the blog in fear for the welfare of my family. It was not a choice I was proud of, and sometimes loathe myself for not standing up til this day, but he who runs away sometimes runs lives to fight another day. I am saving my fight. Although, I bowed to pressure, it really bothers me to see this happening to another person, but I don’t think that the answer is to boycott Maine. I am afraid this will just add more fuel to the fire. The company can then point to the boycott as its main reason for taking this action. What I think would be poetic justice is the People of Maine, should take judicial action against the company in question,(by producing the video, not being savvy enough to use 1-555-555-5555 as its contact number on it’s “test” promotional video, and by releasing it to the public on the web which is the same as broadcasting on TV for most of us) has brought negative publicity to the state of Maine and should be liable for all losses and defamation to the state of Maine. That road works both ways. I would not boycott, those lawyers don’t need any more excuses, but would fight them on their own ground and countersue for the exact same amount. Here’s to hoping Lance makes some money over idiots picking the wrong fight.

  12. God bless, Lance. I understand how much of a bottomless hole he is in right now. I used to run a community blog myself. One day I got a call from a county politician who explained to me how this was causing more harm than good. Yes, I could continue running a community blog, (gosh we really like you and your wife and hate to see you have to leave us.) or you can shut it down. I bowed to pressure, I killed the blog in fear for the welfare of my family. It was not a choice I was proud of, and sometimes loathe myself for not standing up til this day, but he who runs away sometimes runs lives to fight another day. I am saving my fight. Although, I bowed to pressure, it really bothers me to see this happening to another person, but I don’t think that the answer is to boycott Maine. I am afraid this will just add more fuel to the fire. The company can then point to the boycott as its main reason for taking this action. What I think would be poetic justice is the People of Maine, should take judicial action against the company in question,(by producing the video, not being savvy enough to use 1-555-555-5555 as its contact number on it’s “test” promotional video, and by releasing it to the public on the web which is the same as broadcasting on TV for most of us) has brought negative publicity to the state of Maine and should be liable for all losses and defamation to the state of Maine. That road works both ways. I would not boycott, those lawyers don’t need any more excuses, but would fight them on their own ground and countersue for the exact same amount. Here’s to hoping Lance makes some money over idiots picking the wrong fight.

  13. Robert-
    Thank you for bringing this to people’s attention. This is a crazy situation, but I firmly believe the light of day will wield its disinfectant powers shortly.
    And please, come to PopTech. This is huge for our economy here, and the people of Camden are the victims of this stupid MOT situation, not the antagonists. As a matter of fact, the Maine Office of Tourism is a renegade faction of the population of this state, and they have clearly interfered with the best interest of this local area for far too long. Having their unexplainable venom poison something as unique as PopTech would be a shame.
    And Robert, I owe you like 15 lobsters. If you miss PopTech I’ll have to ship them to Washington, and who knows if they’ll survive the trip…

  14. Robert-
    Thank you for bringing this to people’s attention. This is a crazy situation, but I firmly believe the light of day will wield its disinfectant powers shortly.
    And please, come to PopTech. This is huge for our economy here, and the people of Camden are the victims of this stupid MOT situation, not the antagonists. As a matter of fact, the Maine Office of Tourism is a renegade faction of the population of this state, and they have clearly interfered with the best interest of this local area for far too long. Having their unexplainable venom poison something as unique as PopTech would be a shame.
    And Robert, I owe you like 15 lobsters. If you miss PopTech I’ll have to ship them to Washington, and who knows if they’ll survive the trip…

  15. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle…

    You can’t unblog what’s been blogged. And certainly suing the blogger won’t help. Such actions usually only make what you are trying to expunge from public record become even more public.
    I’m of course talking about the Maine blogger being sued for…

  16. [...] Scott Johnson, founder of Feedster and Ookles, defends the plaintiff but provides few details as to why (he spoke to the ad agency and came away impressed). James Robertson and Robert Scoble disagree with Scott. Lots of chatter on Memeorandum about this from other bloggers. [...]

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  18. The State of Maine is not a party to the suit.

    The tourism department is not a party to the suit.

    As far as I know the state of Maine has not filed any amicus briefs regarding the case.

    The suit is between two private entities. The defendant lives in Maine, so that’s the court who has jurisdiction. The plantiff is based in New York. The state cannot stop the suit from being filed, anyone can sue anyone else over anything.

    Poptech has nothing at all to do with ANY of this.

  19. The State of Maine is not a party to the suit.

    The tourism department is not a party to the suit.

    As far as I know the state of Maine has not filed any amicus briefs regarding the case.

    The suit is between two private entities. The defendant lives in Maine, so that’s the court who has jurisdiction. The plantiff is based in New York. The state cannot stop the suit from being filed, anyone can sue anyone else over anything.

    Poptech has nothing at all to do with ANY of this.

  20. Erik: that all is true, but the private entity works for the state. The state’s entity is paid to increase tourism. So, how do you get these guys fired? Don’t go there. Or at least threaten not to. What does that cause? The powerful people who go to PopTech can get these guys to back down off of stupid lawsuits like this.

  21. Erik: that all is true, but the private entity works for the state. The state’s entity is paid to increase tourism. So, how do you get these guys fired? Don’t go there. Or at least threaten not to. What does that cause? The powerful people who go to PopTech can get these guys to back down off of stupid lawsuits like this.

  22. So when a private entity with a state contract is involved with a frivolous lawsuit in California, we’re all supposed to not go to California? That pretty much happens on a daily basis.

    The ad agency is based in NY. Let’s boycott all their clients:

    Sony
    Ramada
    Grand Hyatt
    Four Seasons
    Helmsley Hotels
    American Express
    Hershey
    Bulova
    Doubletree

    and so on and so on…

    1) Before everyone gets their panties in a twist over this let’s see what the judge in the state of Maine does when this actually appears in court. If I had to guess it will be immediatly dismissed.

    2) Pick your battles better.

  23. So when a private entity with a state contract is involved with a frivolous lawsuit in California, we’re all supposed to not go to California? That pretty much happens on a daily basis.

    The ad agency is based in NY. Let’s boycott all their clients:

    Sony
    Ramada
    Grand Hyatt
    Four Seasons
    Helmsley Hotels
    American Express
    Hershey
    Bulova
    Doubletree

    and so on and so on…

    1) Before everyone gets their panties in a twist over this let’s see what the judge in the state of Maine does when this actually appears in court. If I had to guess it will be immediatly dismissed.

    2) Pick your battles better.

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  25. Robert (post #2),

    You don’t understand where the tourism office gets its funding. It is calculated as a small percentage of the Maine meals and lodging tax, not the general fund. In essence, the tourists are funding the tourism department.

  26. Robert (post #2),

    You don’t understand where the tourism office gets its funding. It is calculated as a small percentage of the Maine meals and lodging tax, not the general fund. In essence, the tourists are funding the tourism department.

  27. Thickness of biz skin and freedom of blogspeech

    As some readers may already know, blogger Lance Dutson has been hit with a federal lawsuit seeking potentially more than $1 million in damages. The plaintiff, Warren Kremer Paino Advertising, is claiming defamation, libel, and copyright infringement …