Let me clear a bit the things: Automattic Inc, the company behind WordPress.com, the blogging network is sued in Romania over an anti-ColonHelp article written by an anonymous Romanian blogger. It seems that Zenyth Pharmaceuticals, the creator of ColonHelp (a colon cleansing product), does not deal well with reviews they don’t like, so they sue.
Zenyth bullies bloggers
The entire story is written in Romanian with the title ColonHelp nu ajută colonul and also in English and it is appalling and grotesque in the way the events are unfolding. Honestly, if you guys (most of my readers are from US) have your own internet bullies, the copyright trolls, we will get in line with that too and more in Romania.
See an excerpt from that blogger’s post:
The producers of the colon cleansing product mentioned in the posts contacted me a while ago (in the comments) claiming that I have damaged their reputation and should pay 100.000 euro for that damage. This was followed by me writing another post in which I explained why it’s generally a bad idea to sue people criticizing your company as it can only bring negative visibility.
Really?! 100 000 euro because you don’t like other opinions is way too much. It would be too much to even change a word in any of those posts.
The dumb asses from Zenith Pharmaceuticals didn’t liked to counter the bloggers post with valid relevant info about their product and how it helps people, instead they went hunting. They hired a local lawyer firm from Bucharest named Societatea Civila de Avocaţi “Badea, Popa şi Asociaţii” to do their dirty work. If you have a valid product, why the need to hunt and bully an anonymous blogger?
These type of actions are not really new in Romania, but it is the first time a company that knows they have crappy product went after an anonymous blogger when they could have left the situation as is. PR Lesson no. 1: if your product is shitty and you know it, then don’t sue people like ColonHelp does. The situation will get messy, the crappy version of messy.
Reactions to the abusive practice of crappy Zenyth
The reactions are many. From 100+ comments on the original English post from Insula Indoielii to many other blog posts in Romanian blogosphere (examples with G Translate: one, two, three, four and there are many more). Shit, ColonHelp, why does G Translate still has crappy translations? Did it look into your product or what?
Bogdan Manolea, the no. 1 to go person in Romania for IT related laws, says that Insula Indoielii (Island of Doubt) has used it’s free speech right according to the law and that Zentyh Pharmaceuticals have a weak case. Read more about it here (G translation).
Today, 19 December 2012, the trial will start in Bucharest. Automattic Inc. have hired a local layer for this case and we will see what happens from here on. The anonymous blogger has a page called Trial Updates and the conclusion is that Zentyh, with their crappy practice of suing bloggers, does not have a case.
This case is not Zenyth vs a blogger. It’s more than that. It has the free speech over internet at heart. The decisions from this case could affect how people blog and will outline why the heck we still need anonimity in 2012. And yes, we still need that today too.
A case for free speech and anonymity
I am not a hot shot blogger and do not take part in any activists group, but do not ever try to tell me what I should or should not write here as long as I write my opinions, things I consider being true and do not promote any kind of illegal activities. Try to mess with my work and you will hear some dear words: fuck off, jackass.
As you can see in the posts I mentioned in the links above, free speech is mentioned quite often. If a product is crappy (like ColonHelp) should I keep this for myself or not? If a service is shitty (like Go Daddy’s hosting) should I shut up? No way. When I saw that my blog loaded in 2 minutes on Go Daddy hosting all I wanted to do is to escape from there and wish them to burn their servers in hell. Occasionally I pick on Go Daddy for their crappy hosting on Twitter.
The issue is there, should I NOT talk about it? If I felt betrayed by such service I have paid for should I be kind? Free speech lets me say whatever I want under some conditions. That doesn’t mean I won’t be harsh as fuck about that. So, should I keep my mouth shut of fear that some guys from Zenyth Crapphaus will sue me if I say they have bad products? No way sir.
I did not used ColonHelp, nor was I ever interested in this product. People say it is good for prevention and only that. But if I see such reactions that means something is fishy. If you sue a blogger because he brings forth valid arguments, then this means you want to cover the shit. Then I am inclined to believe that blogger, not you. What I am writing here about is the bad practice of Zenyth suing people over their right to say that they[Zenyth] have a bad product.
Glad that the blogger is anonymous. Not because anonymity gives one the right to pick on everyone and hurt people around. No. Anonymity is good for such situations as Zenyth vs Romanian blogger. In 2012 we still need anonymity and I am glad we still see it. In one of the posts mentioned by me above commenters brought forth the idea of responsibility. If you use the right for free speech, then you should be liable for what you say. Perfectly agree. But what do you do when you bring perfectly valid arguments and then do not have money for a layer? And live in Romania? Eh?
More or less, we need anonymity and free speech. This case is proof that companies do not like to see opposing opinions on the web and, some of them, will hunt people like animals for that. If you have a crappy product, change it, or hire a Online Reputation Management firm, but do not sue people around.