In just a few minutes President Obama is set to nominate Bob McDonald to head the Department of Veteran Affairs whom you might remember was the CEO of Procter and Gamble when they were convicted of trying to reverse hijack the domain name Swash.com.
In what was I believe the greatest shakeup in 100 years at Procter and Gamble when then CEO Bob McDonald and his nearly entire army of executives were forced to step down. I contend it was over the Swash.com Reverse Domain Name Hijacking decision as a final straw in which I wrote about extensively. Below is that exact post.
But I also called for his resignation as you can read below as well back in March of 2013:
I am not happy that Procter and Gamble has been found guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking but I am going to milk this story for every ounce it is worth and it may take me YEARS to do it. When it comes to Domain Names, Procter and Gamble was a guiding light in my book. Great respect because they figured it out. Even tho I vaguely recall them dumping a bunch of domains years ago. I think I might have gotten 1 or 2.
Reverse domain name hijacking (also known as reverse cybersquatting), occurs where a trademark owner attempts to secure a domain name by making false cybersquatting claims against a domain name's rightful owner. In this case not only did P&G make false claims, they also lied outright to the governing panel and got caught!
See when I started, P&G was already out there getting domain names or soon thereafter. So they understood about domain names very early. It is that reason that what they did is particularly troubling. I always liked and respected Procter and Gamble because they always moved well with the time and of course I like everyone else use a lot of their products. But all our lives. All my parents lives. All my grandparents lives and half of the life's of their parents before them. Whew!
They are the warm and fuzzy company that gave us many soap operas and toothpaste and all types of other things we use each and every day. They perfected the TV commercial long before any of us were even in the game or born. So it makes me sad to learn one of my heroes is now a would-be thief had the other party not fought back and exposed their fraud! Well done John Berryhill!
Who made that decision? Who was responsible for P&G overstepping in this outrageous manner? So outrageous that a 3 member panel called them out in a way I don't think I have seen before. Saveme.com case had very strong language. But this language seemed to be harsher in tone. I guess it is open to interpretation. But maybe because it was slapping a business giant as if he had no more standing than you and me. BRAVO!!
I am not mad at them. I am going to use Procter and Gamble to make many points over the next YEARS! Let companies KNOW if P&G is convicted of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking, you will be too if you engage in this despicable act. But I would just as well have them tell the story. I'd like to ask why a company worth billions would STAIN their reputation with this act that the common man would find appalling? Why would they not just come to an agreement with the owner? Now they pay the price and the price is priceless. How stupid is that??
I am angry, upset and most of all disappointed in a company that wrote the book on marketing and other things. They were true leaders of an era. Of many eras.
So what MORONIC company wants to be NEXT!!?? Who made the decision to do this? Why did they do it? What transpired that allowed them to risk so much for so little?? That's what I really don't get.
I am very disappointed. I am still going to use their products but they can't force me to look at their company the same ever again. These companies are playing with fire.
Maybe they should do some research into history and see what some little old ladies did to big companies that tried to build malls where their homes were located. This is akin to that. But in an age like this news flies and it is in ink.
Some SCHMUCK working at SOME DEPARTMENT at Procter and Gamble, decided it was worth GAMBLING the reputation of a 172 year old company. 135,000 employees. $79 BILLION in sales in 80 countries. And they had to try and muscle some guy with a domain? What would you call that Mr. CEO of Procter and Gamble?? I CHALLENGE you Mr. McDonald to come to our trade show and explain it to this audience and the wider audience? I CHALLENGE YOU!!??
Wow! What a HUGE blunder. What have you learned? Are you going to use the same tactics again? Are you pissed at me? Maybe you should be pissed but I am not the one you should be pissed at. I would be pissed at the person, department or firm that put the reputation of your 172 year old company on the line and LOST!!??
Besides all this your company, P & G, was found to misrepresent facts to the panel. Nice touch! Were you personally involved in that decision? You should RESIGN TODAY if you were. This is all my personal as well as professional opinion. I'll assume you were not involved in a low level decision that was this stupid and worse.
What say you Mr. McDonald? Personally I am just disappointed that a company I have always looked up to would stoop to this. I am sorry for the bluntness of this post but our industry has suffered from corporate bullies for nearly 20 years and this time the giant of em all went down and went down very hard. Very hard! A company that otherwise has been very wise in their domains and how they have conducted themselves. But now this STAIN and none of your STAIN REMOVERS will be effective on this.
Mr. Berkens points out that your folks LIED to the panel when your company said they did $40 Million in business on the 'swash' product.
““The entire Panel finds it more extraordinary still that in its Complaint the Complainant represented the SWASH brand to be a worldwide brand of longstanding with multi-million dollar sales, stating that over the last 4 years alone the brand had gained sales of over USD 40,000,000.”
“When this was challenged by the Respondent, the Complainant was forced to admit that the brand had only been on the market for 4 years, that sales had been restricted to the USA and that sales over those four years had totaled under USD 60,000.”
Most importantly Mr. Berkens points out one last thing:
Had the Respondent failed to respond, there is a very real risk that the Panel, relying upon the 1993 International registration and the substantial sales volumes claimed for the brand, would have found in favor of the Complainant. This Complaint fell very far short of what the Panel was entitled to expect from a Complainant of this stature.
So your company LIED Mr. McDonald in an effort to STEAL a domain that belongs to another company, Marchex, which just as easily could have been some mom and pop in Iowa that could not defend themselves and let you have the domain. You now join our 'Hall of Shame' and each time somebody is convicted of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking, we repost the entire list. Congrats!
So let me ask you directly Mr. McDonald, How many domains has your company gotten that it had to LIE about? Or that they had to make folks spend money they did not have to defend what was rightfully theirs and is now yours? Tell us that. Isn't that a fair question in light of what has happened? Maybe you should WANT to find out. WANT to make it right. If I have something wrong, please let me know.
Sir, I have been doing this for 18 years and what your company did is troubling and it is something that we as risk takers have had to UNFAIRLY endure. There is a free market place. Use it, don't abuse it. Right now you and your 172 year old company have to live with this. It probably means nothing to you but it may mean the WORLD to somebody else. So to get our message out we need to SHAME companies that engage in this abuse as there is no penalty for what we just saw happen. They just walk away.
Here is a list of Procter and Gamble Products. The asterisk are their *Billion Dollar Brands*. Come on Mr. McDonald. What say you about this? You sound like a stand up guy that served your country and company well. You have been with the company for 33 years. Don't you want to get to the bottom of this as well? Who put the companies good name in jeopardy for this? Who lied? What idiot is responsible? Marketing? Legal? Finance? Who? How many? Why would you allow this embarrassment to occur again or are you too big to be embarrassed? Any other abuse in the name of your 172 year old company. I sure as hell would want to know if I were in your position.
So we are forced to use Procter and Gamble as an example to sway the next MORON or the next company not to get involved with this despicable act of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH). Help us do that Mr. McDonald and you will find an ally and we can call it a great day!
And as I read the history of the company I stopped as it described the 'Joint Venture' that started this company back in 1837. Wonder what Mr. Procter and Mr. Gamble would have done given the same circumstance? Before they even had billions? My instinct says they would have acted in a different manner and somebody there violated a 172 year old trust just because he or she was a cheap bastard that played fast and loose with the facts and refused to pay either fair market value or find an alternative.
And here is the original post on the hijacking:
Let's not minimize or maximize the Reverse Domain Name hijacking (RDNH) decision that came down against Procter and Gamble (P&G) over Swash.com back in March. But for a stellar company like P&G it is a black eye they should have never gotten.
So lets just deal with a few facts. This was what I wrote about the fallout back then.
This was my open letter to the CEO Bob McDonald that followed.
That was besides personally contacting each and every communications director for a comment without a single response.
But let's look and see what has happened in the days since. Exactly 90 days if you are counting.
The CEO, Mr.McDonald, steps down "effective immediately" at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend on May 23rd. "Robert McDonald's four-year struggle to adapt Procter & Gamble Co. to a new world of more frugal consumers and tougher global competition has come to an abrupt end."
Did "Frugal" (another word for CHEAP) include giving him or those that report to him the order to try and grab Swash.com?
But that is not all. Then just DAYS later P&G announces "Organization changes". MASSIVE changes. I then asked myself when in my lifetime did I ever see a shakeup like this at Procter and Gamble and I just can't remember one. Can you? They even picked the former ceo A.G. Lafley to get the compnay back on track. Both men in the industry for well in excess of 30 years.
Straw that broke the camels back? I guess we will never know. But it was a straw and that STAIN remains with this company FOREVER! It happened and somebody in their organization made a very costly and unfortunate mistake. A mistake that could rise to the level of ending a career.
So as domain name investors this is a case we can point other would-be hijackers to which will let them know that no company no matter how big or small are immune to a decision like this and the repercussions that come both personally and professionally. Ignorance is no longer an excuse.
Have a GREAT Day!
All that said, and without being too political, I certainly wish him well in trying to fix the problems that loom at the V.A. that really has a lot of people upset across the political spectrum.