Why You Should Play Nice in the Blogosphere

February 4th, 2007   •   7 comments   

Pigs don’t have it this good at the US’s National Pork Board
Came across this interesting post by Nathan Gilliatt on how a national pork body tried to sue the pants off a breastfeeding advocate, to disastrous results.

“For a while, it seemed that every conversation about companies interacting with bloggers fell back on the same few anecdotes. It was as if our economy were based on Dell and Kryptonite. For better or worse, that’s changed now. We’re seeing more examples of bloggers calling out companies, and all too often, the companies don’t understand the culture. Today it’s the National Pork Board.

Jennifer Laycock is a work-at-home mom and founder of The Lactivist, “a site that aims to promote breastfeeding through humor.” One of her activities is selling shirts with funny slogans at CafePress, and one of her designs—The Other White Milk—was too close to The Other White Meat® for the eat-more-pig crowd.m>
We understand the need to defend trademarks, but the Pork Board skipped a step and went straight to the threatening letter (PDF).”

To cut a long story short, Jennifer’s online advocacy resulted in an ocean of sympathetic support in favour of her cause. It became so overwhemling that the Pork Board had to withdraw their lawyer’s letter and apologise to her instead.

The moral of the story is clear and simple. Do not play tough in the blogosphere. While you may win the legal battle based on technicalities, you will lose goodwill, positive mindshare and perception. And the costs of that is probably far more than what you can receive in court over the long term.


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  1. Lam Chun See
    posted on Feb 05, 2007 at 2:54 AM

    thanks for the story. Good lesson for everyone. It reinforces the principle which the TT Durai episode taught – must really be careful who we pick a fight with. Better still; don’t pick fight anyone.

  2. posted on Feb 05, 2007 at 5:10 PM

    ha.. always watch ur back!

  3. posted on Feb 06, 2007 at 6:24 AM

    Fwah..how timely your blog is. My organisation just announced that they have set a aside a Lactation Room in my building…but yeah..was wondering if they could come out with a better name other than “Lactation Room”

    Was thinking about “Got Milk?” or something like that…keke

  4. posted on Feb 06, 2007 at 2:38 PM

    Hey Walter, just wanted to let you know of my “newest blog” – promoting my mom’s home-made pineapple tarts. After so many years of selling it via word of mouth & only during CNY, we’ve decided to “break ranks” and offer it all year round(yeah, yeah…people are already doing it). We’ve had orders from people who bring it overseas to their friends & family, so we thot it would be nice to offer it anytime, from now on. The blog’s kinda new, so not much pics yet…Do drop by…http://rosalinds.blogspot.com/
    PS. Sorry for the long comment…

    PS. Sorry for the long comment…
    Author of other blogs at

  5. posted on Feb 06, 2007 at 4:53 PM

    I’m reminded of this: “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say it” : )

  6. posted on Feb 06, 2007 at 10:23 PM

    Chun See and Ivan,

    Thanks for your views guys. I think the increasing popularity of social media shows us that people are yearning for the days of yore once again. Relationships do matter and the pals are mightier than the pen!

  7. posted on Feb 06, 2007 at 10:24 PM


    I agree with you that the name somehow..err…sucks. Maybe something like Mother’s Room or Nursery instead? Lactation sounds very zoological…

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