Someday, I firmly believe that major corporations will embrace blogging in mass quantities, whether it be under the corporate umbrella or fan-run sites.
Now is not that time.
Skype sent legal letters to Jan Geirnaert, a blogger who runs the Skype-centric blogs skype-watch.com and skype-gadgets.com. SkypeJournal.com has coverage of the news if you’re looking for more information regarding the case, but I wanted to weigh in with my own two points.
- I understand that Skype is forced to send these letters. If you don’t protect your trademarks, then you’re apt to lose them. Much in the way that Digg has forced Digg-related sites to stop using the Digg trademark, Skype is obligated to send legal letters in order to protect their brand. The issue, though, is whether or not Skype will continue to pursue this case after the initial letters. They’ve done the required part of sending a trademark violation notice. They don’t have to go any further; after all, they’ve got recorded history of issuing a legal letter asking Jan to stop using the domain names. They don’t have to pursue it any further, and they shouldn’t.
- Companies need to realize that fan-run blogs are one of the biggest assets they’ll ever have. After all, if someone enjoys your product enough to start not one, but TWO blogs devoted to covering the service, then that should indicate to the brass at Skype that they’re doing a good job. Nobody will ever mistake skype-gadgets.com for skype.com, so there’s no damage being done on that front. And I seriously doubt that Jan is making enough money off the blogs for Skype to whine that someone else is making money off of them.
Instead of shutting down fan blogs and product-related sites, corporations should EMBRACE what they are doing. Support them in any way possible. Give them sneak peaks at upcoming software. Fly them into corporate headquarters for a look around. Doing that will get people on your side.
Instead of doing that, they’ve alienated users like me who have always been on the fence about Skype in general. I’ve tried the service several times and I’ve never liked it, but I can guarantee at this point that I’ll probably never use it again.