Twenty-four hours ago, I'd never heard of 2Clix, an Australian company that writes accounting software. Neither, one would assume, had most of the rest of the Internet.
Someone at the company had a dastardly plan to change all that. Annoyed, it seems, by the fact that the two of the front-page Google search results for their company name pointed to negative comments on the Australian broadband discussion site whirlpool.net, the company lawyered up, and sued the forum for damaging its reputation.
At time of publishing we have:
- A banner article on The Register
- A front page article on Slashdot
- One Digg article with 800+ Diggs
- Another Digg article with 600+ Diggs
- Articles on Murdoch and Fairfax news sites in Australia.
And so on.
What started as the opinion of a small number of commenters on a medium-traffic Australian forum site is now a portrait of a corporate bully trying to silence critics, splashed over the entire Internet. This picture will live on in search results for the forseeable future.
On the Internet, the only correct response to speech you disagree with is to address it directly with your own plain speech. Trying to fix the problem with lawyers will only bring massive attention to whatever it was you were trying to suppress in the first place.
The bizarre thing is that people keep making this mistake over and over and over and over again.