Remember when the clowns at Warren Kremer Paino Advertising worked with a State of Maine office to sue a Maine blogger, in an attempt to shut him up? Well, it seems that the kind of stupidity behind that instinct is still alive and well. Last week, a Tennessee blogger raised the hackles of a placement firm. The blogger maintains that JL Kirk and Associates offered to "grease the skids" on job placement if he paid them $4000 - he and his wife decided that was sleazy, and blogged about it.
Well, that got the law side of the house at JL interested - they sent a cease and desist threat to sue - and that promptly got blogged. There's a good summary of this at the " Captains Quarters " blog, including this:
Well, now we have both sides of the story. I have no direct knowledge of which side is telling the truth. Coble could be lying and perhaps defamed JL Kirk Associates. However, let's ask a couple of questions about this:
1. Are you, the CQ reader who looks at both communications, likely to believe JL Kirk or Katherine Coble? Given the nature of both communications (read Katherine's posts!), which sounds more likely to be true?
2. Given that even a fairly moderate criticism (even if unreasonable) of JL Kirk prompted this 16-ton legal approach, would any of you be tempted to do business with them?
3. Did anyone at JL Kirk or King & Ballow, JLK's legal representatives, ever consider that issuing this kind of threat amounted to throwing gasoline on a lit match? Did any of them understand the blogosphere at all? And given that level of cluelessness, would CQ readers do business with either firm?
The full text of the take-down letter - which also gives JL Kirk and Associate's side of the story - is here. Here's the problem - it used to be that the corporate entity held all the cards here. Now, that's no longer the case. The Coble's have gotten a lot of publicity for this, and none of it has been good for JL Kirk and Associates. What they've failed to realize is that legal action of this sort is no longer simply legal action - it's part of a company's PR and marketing. As such, when you pull out the "big gun" of a lawsuit threat, you had better be sure that the facts line up your way in both a legal sense and in a PR sense - or you could end up - as WKP did - with a phyrric victory at best, and an embarrassing PR black mark regardless.