One of the cool things about having your own website and blog is that you can vent your spleen whenever you like, and take aim ot whoever you like. But spare a thought for Mr English and domain name registrar Go Daddy.
Mr English is a disgruntled customer of Hunter Holden, a car dealership on Sydney's lower north shore. This follows a run-in last February after his car, which he'd left for servicing, was stolen from the Hunter premises. Adam Kaplan, director of Hunter Holden, placed the matter in the hands of his insurers and arranged a replacement vehicle for English. The insurer sought to settle the claim without an admission of liability and offered to pay Mr English the indemnity value of the car at the time of loss.
But Mr English wasn't happy with that offer, and this being the dotcom age and all, he decided to take his customer complaint one step further and established a website called www.hunterholdensucks.com which included an invitation to “share your comments about Hunter Holden Automotive.”
Surprise, surprise, Kaplan wasn't all that impressed, so he successfully sought a court injunction in June to close down the website. That was later upheld in the NSW Supreme Court in Adam Kaplan & Anor v The Go Daddy Group Inc & 2 Ors, where Justice White said that English had established the site for "the purpose of disparaging the second plaintiff, its business and products," referring specifically to the word “SUCKS” that was displayed in large letters across the top of the website.
But what about free speech? Well, that argument didn't wash with the judge because "the name of the website and the comments posted on it do not relate to matters of public interest or concern.” In other words, English's website must remain shut down.
The moral of the story? Be careful what you blog. As for Hunter Holden's website (same address without the word "sucks"), it boasts of their customer service but does make one unusual admission: “We know we are not perfect, but we will always take action when things go wrong.”