Posts tagged yelling
Posts tagged yelling
Kübler-Ross model of Liars and Thieves
If you are going to spend time on the internet searching out intelectual property and design theves (like we do here at Knockoff Knockdown) it’s worth knowing what you will be facing once you find one and post something about them or open up disputes with their providers (Ebay, Paypal, etc)
Stage 1: Denial
- “I’m innocent”
- “I didn’t know”
- “My distributor gave me the photo”
- “I don’t make the products, I just re-sell them”
To be fair, the person COULD be telling the truth here. They may actually have been unknowingly using a photo without permission, or their supplier may not have informed them that they produce knock-off products.
I make it a policy to give people an out at this point. You can’t let someone off the hook for naivete but you do have an opportunity to get hold of a supplier who has ripped you off.
Anyone who legitimately has been duped by their supplier or a 3rd party will 1) Apologize 2) Stop the offending behavior and most importantly 3) Give you information about the offending supplier… because you have an issue with the supplier, not the re-seller at this point. If they do that - no problem for them, and you’ve got a better blog post to replace the one you’ll take down.
Things you can do as the person posting/dealing with the transgressor: Be polite, give them ample opportunity to get out of trouble by removing offending material and giving you information about where the material came from. But don’t let them off scot free.
However, it is very seldom that anyone says “Oh my god! I didn’t realize… I’m so sorry and it’ll never happen again” They are much more likely to speed on to…
Stage 2: Anger
- “How dare you imply that I am a thief!”
- “You are ruining my livelihood!”
- “You are slandering my name!”
So… no further information comes out about this mythical 3rd party that was the actual wrongdoer. At this point they try to shift the conversation away from that issue by going on the moral offensive. They will try to make you feel bad about telling the truth about what’s going on.
It is important again to stay calm and be polite. Don’t engage in name calling, or get into a heated debate. Simply state that you are sorry if the person’s theft of your property has negatively impacted their reputation or business. Keep in mind that they brought this upon themselves, and that if they are not to blame, they should pass on information about the person who is.
Usually, again, no more information will come forward about the mythical 3rd party, instead they will move on to…
Stage 3: Aggression
- “I will sue you for defamation of character” or more amusingly “deformation[sic] of character”
- “I have contacted the police”
- “I have contacted Ebay/Paypal/Etc and will have YOU shut down”
- “I have contacted my lawyer”
In the wonderful words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic!
This is a very common approach. Instead of admitting any wrong-doing or giving up, people will often open a can of crazy at this point and try to scare you into going away. These threats are idle 99.8% of the time. No sane person will A) Expose themselves to law enforcement if they have done something wrong in the first place B) Let things go this far if they have not actually done something wrong or C) Take on the financial drain of any sort of legal persuit over what is usually a small thing.
It’s also worth a good read of Libel/Slander and Defamation law (wiki link - check your country’s particular laws to be sure of regional details). The most important part of most libel/slander law is that you cannot Libel or Slander someone with words, images or ideas that are TRUE. If you have a screen capture of the person’s site showing that they are using unauthorized photos - you are merely reporting on their business practices (poor) and providing valuable consumer advice (avoid them). Any adverse effects of your reporting are actually caused by their business practice (or lack of proper research into who they are being supplied by) not by your blog post, article or tweet.
They may also, in a fit of masochistic moral outrage, remove their own store (probably because your readers have noticed them and are starting to re-blog, email questions to them and otherwise notice their bad business practices) and claim that this is somehow your fault. So they add damages and loss of income to their list of lawsuit fodder. Sometimes they will go as far as to claim emotional damages, medical costs (?) and a host of other interesting and unique mumbo-jumbo.
If people could be sued for writing the truth about things that are unpalatable than every movie critic and political journalist would be behind bars.
Things you can do: Politely ask them to have law enforcement contact you directly. DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION - you can wait for the real police to give you a call/email… I assure you that if it gets to the police they’ll contact you, and be reasonable, thoughtful and (most likely) on your side. Your personal details can be found by the police without the need for you to give your info to a person who is behaving badly. Giving personal information to an angry and arguably less than morally motivated individual is just asking for a load of harassment.
Also keep in mind that law enforcement is a busy job. In the 0.2% of cases that actually get brought to them by the people you exposed, 99% of those will simply be laughed at by police/lawyers and told to go home.
If police or a (legitimate) lawyer contacts you that’s probably the time to give in and remove your blog post. Just double check that the lawyer actually exists. There have been cases of angry and offended parties going as far as to create straw man (fake) lawyers. Why not? Lies begat lies.
At this point you should also cut off all communications with this person as they have proved themselves to be willing to go the distance in terms of trying to push your buttons. They are angry and the only thing that will calm them down is to stop answering their emails. Like a fly battering against a window, they’ll eventually tire themselves out and stop. It’s an annoying noise for a while, but not forever.
I recommend that you set their email to be re-directed to a folder in your email that you don’t check. Keep them for evidence if legal action is required - they have probably threatened you and otherwise behaved badly enough to seriously damage any sort of case they try to drum up. Stop replying, stop reading and send one last email back explaining your lack of further response. State that you will only speak to law enforcement/lawyer at this point and NEVER SPEAK DIRECTLY TO THEM AGAIN.
With no meansleft to contact/annoy you they may be truly angry enough to ramble on to…
Stage 4: Desperation (Flailing around the internet)
- Posting B.S. about you
- Contacting re-bloggers of your post and claiming that they are in danger of legal action
- Seeking ways to “get back at you”
- Spitting fury in all directions
This is certainly an annoying, but usually short lived last gasp at the whole process. You’ll probably have some people who re-blogged your article freak out and delete their post when they get a message/email from a very angry person implying that they are somehow at risk of legal action.
If you get emails from your re-bloggers freaking out, please feel free to direct them to this article so they can see what is going on. Note that they are not in the path of ANY legal action… should it even exist… which it will not.
If they start putting up unfounded negative reviews of your products or business practices, you’ll most likely have lots of your actual fans come to your defence and you’ll get 10:1 good reviews (and probably a lot of “what’s wrong with this guy” comments). This is a really good reason for having an open policy of good customer service, quality products and generally moral behaviour.
Keep in mind that the openness of the internet tends to let truth shine through. So if you have been acting in a morally respectable way, you’re going to be more respected at large. As much as the internet seems to be a place full of trolls and madmen, there are MORE sane, reasonable and level headed people out there and some of them will come to your defence if people are spouting B.S. about you.
It’s also worth pointing out that at this point the offending party ARE committing acts of libel. They are spreading falsehoods about you/your business. So for starters that negates any legal action they wanted to take, and if you have the resources, opens themselves up to actual legal action. (Further, had they contacted a lawyer as some claim to do, they would have been advised to sever communications with you long ago)
Finally they’ll get tired of spending all their time attacking you and anyone they can find and realize that they are not working at earning an income (it’s emotionally tolling, unpaid labour attacking all the time) and they’ll move on to…
Stage 5: Fizzle
Finally they’ll go away. They’ll likely just go back to exactly what they were doing before (ripping people off, stealing photos, knocking off designs and otherwise being reprehensible) but now with a lot more google hits for “their site + knock-off”. So they’re going to have a harder time duping informed consumers. Mission accomplished.
They may (if they are smart) kill their original store and start anew. But then, at least you’ve knocked them back to the beginning, and they’ll have to build up their rep from scratch. Mission accomplished.
Or maybe even finally give you that 3rd party that’s the “one armed man” of the whole adventure. In which case there should always be an apology, post removal and a renewed investigation into who is really stealing your stuff. Mission revised.
Final Notes: Things to keep in mind when going after people who are ripping you off.
You do want to avoid inflamitory language “Get him”, “attack”, “war”, and various name calling don’t help your case. I have to admit that it’s hard not to made this mistake. I have certainly let my emotions get the better of me in the past.
In this situation you are, understandibly, angry at someone who is stealing from you. If you do make statements that are harsh, biased, or have offensive language - you should remove them if brought to your attention, or if you re-read your own post after a bit of cool down time (self edit after a cup of tea or a nap). That’s fair. However it is better to avoid giving people this option of saying that you were calling people to action to assault, or hate-speech. Just stick to the facts.
Don’t be afraid. It’s hard not to get some physical stress indicators when someone states that they are going to sick the law on you. This is especially hard the first time (I’m old hat at this now). You’ll feel your chest tighten, heart rate will rise and you’ll want to run. That’s normal fight/flight reaction.
Keep in mind that law enforcement agents are not in the job of hunting down people involved in internet squabbles and jailing/fining them. Especially when you have not broken any laws. If they contact you they will be polite, educated, and will listen to your side of the story. In the end they will probably ask you to take down your post to just settle the issue - which at that point you should. As always, be polite, calm and factual. Remember to keep hold of those screen captures of the offence that started this whole ball of wax rolling.
A good metaphor for this is a car thief trying to hire a lawyer to prosecute you for removal of their source of income because you parked your car inside your garrage and thus removed their access to steal it. A lawyer will politely tell them to go away, and the police will politely ask them to step into a cell.
So far we have had 3 different sites taken down/shut down - and several people go through this whole agressive jumble. Once you know what to expect - it becomes just another topic of convesation in the workshop while we go about our day, building a buisiness that cares about our customers and the quality of our products.
Thanks again to all of you out there who have helped to report knock-off retailers. We’re super happy that this blog is starting to get traction and actually get some results. There are a lot of people out there who are trying the old bait and switch sales technique, and it’s just plain wrong.
Matt - Knockoff Knockdown/Kink Engineering
For reference: The Kübler-Ross model is commonly known as The Five Stages of Grief - The stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
Photo Credit: http://www.motifake.com <— a great source of de-motivational posters.
Archean is back on House of Gord - this time all clad in latex and strapped UPSIDE DOWN to the front of the truck!
Her screams are pretty priceless (Especially when you hear her yelling “Again! Again!)
Yelling will get you nowhere… but feel free to yell sailor boy!