If you can’t rank for your own name, send a nasty letter, and call me to tell me you’ll take me to court, because that is a great way to improve your online reputation. That’s what Budget Van Lines did.
If you arrived here unexpectedly because you were at Instameme.com I apologize that you aren’t getting a useful result, or maybe you are because I think this is more telling than the video from Youtube which was on the Instameme page. (included below)
Previously when you tried to view a topic page on Instameme.com for "BudgetVanLines" you would get back a single item, a YouTube Video of a somewhat unhappy Youtube content creator, (Rev. Drew Johnson) who wasn’t happy with his Budget Van Rental, or the packing of his items during his move.
Rather than Contacting the Reverend making things right with him and getting him to take down the offending Youtube Video, Budget Van Lines contacted me. Theodore Clapp called me to tell me wanted to email me a C&D.
The letter appears below, but let me sum it up for you. "Brandon, your site contains the words Budget Van And Lines" we have a trademark on these words, please remove the page, you probably are only making a few bucks on it, so if you could take that down, it would be great". To which my answers was "So you want me to gimp the functionality of my site, so your potential customers can’t find out about your shitty moving service?"
Anyone who has met me, read me, or casually Googled my name is probably aware that if you threaten me I don’t respond well, and tend to do something like this post. Which will likely be the top hit for "Shitty Moving Service" in a few days. After all I rank for most everything I write. So rather than having a page that featured a video from a disgruntled customer, which in all honesty didn’t paint Budget that badly in my opinion, and a few ads for random things provided by Google Adsense, BudgetVanLines resolves to this page which speaks to how Budget and Insterstate Moves does business.
Last thing before the letter I received… here are a few parting thoughts using the words Budget, Van, Lines, Interstate and Moves in ways which don’t violate trademarks.
Whenever I make an interstate move I use Uhaul, to be honest there may be better solutions out there for your budget, van lines do vary wildly from place to place, but Uhaul has locations everywhere so if anything goes wrong you aren’t far from a replacement van. They don’t do full service moving, but as you can see from the YouTube video on this page, that isn’t all it is cracked up to be.
Follows is the C&D Letter.
Household Goods Transportation Broker for Interstate Moves
Budget Van Lines Inc
New York, NY 10001
May 10, 2010
RE: TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT—ACTION REQUIRED
To Whom It May Concern:
Please be advised that it has been recently brought to our attention that our trademark name of Budget Van Lines, USPTO number 438734, is being used on your website www.instameme.com. It brings visitors who are searching for our trademark name to your site and potentially presenting a trademark infringement issue when income is being generated by your site. Case law supports this theory and we have prevailed in court on this issue in the past. While that is definitely a concern of ours, what is more of concern are the negative reviews posted regarding Budget Van Lines. Based on the information on your site we currently have no way to locate the customer’s work order in our database. We value our customers’ opinion and intend to correct any issues regarding customer service.
We would ask that you either provide us with sufficient information so we can locate the customers in our database so we can resolve the issues or remove the postings as soon as possible as they are causing us significant economic damages on a daily basis. Furthermore, it should be noted that based on past experience we have found that many of such posting are actually placed by competitors.
We look forward to hearing from you and resolving these issues on an informal basis.
Very truly yours,
Theodore A. Clapp, J.D.
VICE PRESIDENT, LEGAL DEPARTMENT
(212) 380-1812 Ext-799
Budget Van Lines, Inc.