Blogger Beware!

NDD243 (13 Posts)


 

In November of last year, I was in the final stages of launching my blog when a friend of mine (a lawyer) got wind of the project.  She was fully supportive, but she had a minor concern because I was using trademarked property (i.e. the Disney name) throughout the blog.  This got me scratching my bald head.

After a few seconds of panicking, I remembered that there are thousands of Disney-related blogs, websites, podcasts, YouTube channels and other social media endeavors that were created by average Joe’s like you and me.  No sweat!

Just for fun, I decided to do some research on the issue because I wanted to see if Disney (or any other company) had ever slapped someone with a trademark infringement lawsuit related to blogs, fan sites, etc.  While I didn’t invest an exhaustive amount of time on this effort, I did find one example.

In September of last year, two women from Texas started a blog about slow-cookers that immediately went viral.  While hundreds of thousands of fans loved their recipes, a manufacturer of slow-cookers wasn’t quite as supportive since their trademarked name was used in the title of the blog.

The details of how the conversations between the manufacturer and the slow-cookin’ ladies are a little vague, but the punchline is that they ultimately changed the name of their blog.

In my humble opinion, this could have been a tremendous source of free advertising for that company.  In fact, if I was a competing manufacturer of slow-cookers, I would have tried to strike a deal with the women to have them use my company’s name after hearing about that incident!

Let’s contrast that story with how The Walt Disney Company appears to view information published by fans.

They embrace independent bloggers by inviting some of them to press events.  They embrace the idea of podcasters by letting them record shows inside the Disney theme parks.  Interestingly, I can’t seem to find any instances where Disney issued a cease and desist order to a non-Disney creator of content.

Why would Disney want to mute these channels?  Fan sites do a tremendous job of building community and awareness.  In fact, I’m addicted to sites like The Disney Driven Life!  They make me even more excited about the Disney brand.

How can we connect the dots to our own businesses or careers?

1) Business Owners: Offer products or services that are worthy of building armies of brand evangelists.  When those brand evangelists start to preach, that’s your cue to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sermon.

2) Career-Driven Individuals: Start your own blog or other social media platform so you can give the world a chance to see how you’re the best at what you do.  No matter what platform you choose, make sure your readers have the ability to leave comments and interact with others in the community you’re building.

Mmmm, all this talk about slow cookers and Disney is making me hungry for the braised short ribs I’m going to have for lunch at Chefs de France in Epcot next week!  Bon Appetit!!

 

6 thoughts on “Blogger Beware!

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 8:47 am
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    Thank goodness your blog, and others like it, will continue!! Immersing myself in all things Disney and reading writings by other Disney fanatics is the closest I can get to actually being there!!

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm
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    Now, I could be wrong, it was years ago (I have an aweful memory so  I could very well be wrong) but I seem to recall that the “Disney Dollarless”  site was asked to change their name.  They are now “The Mouse For Less”. 

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 10:40 pm
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    Hi Kristen! Thanks for your comment. That’s really interesting! I haven’t heard about that one, so I’m looking forward to seeing if I can find anything on it.  I’d be curious to hear what the circumstances were.  If I find anything, I’ll be sure to post something here in the comments section.  Talk to you soon!

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 10:42 pm
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    Thank you so much for your kind words!  I really appreciate it.  I’m right there with you – I love reading the fan-powered blogs (like Disney Driven Life!).  It’s really neat to see everyone’s perspective on something that’s so near and dear to my heart.  Stay in touch!

  • Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 11:19 pm
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    I could only thing of one example. I think Disney shut down a disney music site called Extinct Attractions Club. They sold park music online.

  • Friday, April 27, 2012 at 12:07 am
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    Rob, thanks for your comment.  That’s really interesting.  Do you remember those kiosks they used to have on property that would allow you to create custom CDs with the audio tracks from various attractions and other ambient music?  (I miss those things!)  I wonder if that’s where they got the music they were selling?  

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