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121 comments

Congress provided a shield for this (1, Informative)

peter_gzowski (465076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570497)

Owners of forums are explicitly exempt from libel prosecution.

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (2, Funny)

peter_gzowski (465076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570511)

Oops, Australian forum. Nevermind, I was overcome by the possibility of a first post...

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (1, Flamebait)

opusman (33143) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570531)

That's ok, Australia is practically the 51st state anyway, I'm sure US law will apply.

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20570555)

Canada is the 51st state you insensitive clod!

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (1)

opusman (33143) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570585)

Oops, I thought Canada was part of Russia!

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20570757)

In Soviet Russia, Canada lives in you!

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (4, Insightful)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570661)

Actually, with Australia's history of ill-considered legislation over the Internet, expect forums to be made illegal in the next six months.

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (4, Funny)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570545)

Congressional law doesn't apply in Australia. Or anywhere else apart from the USA. Just thought I'd remind you.

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (2, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570681)

Well, that's what "liberation" of countries is for, right?

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (2, Funny)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#20571421)

No, that's to make sure that they get the right client government while letting their citizens kill each other in the manner of their choosing ;)

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (1)

scruffy (29773) | more than 6 years ago | (#20575019)

Because we have a unitary executive, I've corrected that for you.

Congressional law doesn't apply in Australia. Or anywhere else in the USA. Just thought I'd remind you.

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (2, Insightful)

bailey86 (1049254) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570625)

Wonder if 2clix realise that what the combination of terrible publicity and lawyers bills have done to SCO? Here's a wild idea for them ... ummm... crazy I know but here goes.... IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCT! Still - this is what competition is all about I suppose.

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570811)

By the time a product is getting significant amounts of negative reviews from users, it's probably too late to improve it - even if you do, no-one's going to buy your product to see if it's better. You either find a way to suppress the bad word-of-mouth (good luck) or you go out of business.

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (2, Insightful)

Cozminsky (452030) | more than 6 years ago | (#20580995)

Or you change your name so only the lunatic fringe recognize you as the same company.

Re:Congress provided a shield for this (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20573127)

Except Australia isn't part of the US.

In some Australian States truth is not a defense in a libel case either (so even if what you stated is true you can still lose the case), making it even more fun.

Appliances? (3, Funny)

macshome (818789) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570557)

I'm sure I won't be the only one, but on first read I thought the summary was about an appliance company.

Took me a second to realize my mistake.

flame war == profit? (1)

catbertscousin (770186) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570611)

So in Australia I can sue someone for posting "false and malicious statements" about me on a public forum? Well, that's my college tuition taken care of!
You'd think they'd at least have a penalty for starting the flame war . . . or, in this case, selling crappy software.

Re:flame war == profit? (2, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570783)

I'll just post some slanderous lies about myself on /. as an AC, then sue /. for million$!

Re:flame war == profit? (1)

Belacgod (1103921) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570833)

Worse. You can sue someone for operating a website in which someone posts false and malicious comments.

Because it's the job of every forum operator to investigate the truth of every claim posted on their forum.

Re:flame war == profit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20572475)

Because it's the job of every forum operator to investigate the truth of every claim posted on their forum.
Worse. It's the job of every forum operator to have complete and unyeilding control over the actions of everyone who ever posts on their forum.

It happens (4, Interesting)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570659)

I had someone make derogotory comments about some training firm on one of my sites and said firm emailed to ask we pulled the comment otherwise they might need to get legal on us. We pulled it. The firm were fairly reasonable about the whole thing given it took a week or so (ahem, the admin for the forum section had forgotton his pw).
There was no real reason not to comply - it was a silly comment with nothing to back it up, from memory 'anyone know a good IT trainer? I tried xxx but they were crap and tried to fleece me out of more money'.
Wouldn't have minded but when I looked it up, it had been there 3 years.

Re:It happens (5, Informative)

davidmwilliams (1117749) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570749)

One of the many flaws in 2Clix is that you get an unhandled division by zero exception when reprinting payslips if a certain non-mandatory field is zero or empty. Now, surely division by zero is the most basic and fundamental example of error handling used in any programming course or book or tutorial or other. To my mind, 2Clix are receiving negative criticisms for having software which is poorly-written and unreliable in its behaviour and outputs. To then attempt to silence critics by demanding censorship of unpalatable comments is nothing short of arrogant, bullying and reprehensible. I can barely imagine 2Clix or its lawyer considered how massive and widespread the publicity would become! People worldwide now know of this tiny accounting software package - and not for good reasons. Whirlpool.net.au is a well-respected forum, frequented by many IT professionals and decision-makers. I think 2Clix will find that Simon Wright has far more credibility and supporters than they do.

Re:It happens (4, Funny)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#20572439)

way to go. now 2clix is gonna sue slashdot.org. i hear they're planning on suing the internet too.

Re:It happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20582273)

Dear Sir,

After the recent bad publicity regarding the recent events we have been instructed to sue you anonymously. Please confine any requests for discovery to this thread.

Sincerely,
Anonymous (BA, ARSE, Attorney-at-law)

Re:It happens (2, Interesting)

funkdancer (582069) | more than 6 years ago | (#20582487)

Man, you nearly made my LCD screens become soaked with coffee. That was too funny. :D

Fwiw I'm one of the many who chipped in a small sum. Just the cost of one lunch, but given the numbers of users, if a few get in on it it will quickly become enough to provide the support that we require.

I believe this case is very important to the Australian online community. Therefore we are taking it quite seriously, as we should.

Now to something completely different; is anyone taking bets on how long 2Clix will stay in business after this? They really must have had just about zero connection with reality when they went up against Whirlpool and thus in effect pretty much the "educated masses" of the Australian online community.

Re:It happens (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570821)

And that should never have happened. Can you say slippery slope? Where do you draw the line?

I would be horrified if they had such laws here in the U.S. I would hate to be afraid of saying anything derogatory about any company for fear of being sued. It's ridiculous. IMHO, unless someone said something that was truly libelous -- that is, a deliberate falsehood designed to do nothing but destroy a company's reputation, they have the right to say anything they want about a company. I've made plenty of derogatory statements about Microsoft on these pages -- all of them truthful to the best of my knowledge. What if they could sue me or Slashdot for making them?

Re:It happens (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570961)

It's not a slippery slope if the criticism was given without any reason.

Removing a comment saying "Product X sucks because they have a major bug (here's how to reproduce it) which I reported to them half a year ago and they still haven't fixed" is a slippery slope.

Removing a comment saying "Product X sucks" is not.

The difference is that the company could (try to) defend their product in the first comment by disproving/refuting the reason given.

Re:It happens (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20572413)

Libel laws have it backwards from your example. You can write "Product X sucks" all day and it's just opinion and not libellous. If you write "Product X sucks because it has a major bug" (and give details), you may have committed libel if the product does not in fact have that bug.

Re:It happens (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576355)

And this is unreasonable, why, exactly?

Re:It happens (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20582109)

It's not. The unreasonable thing is that if I say something bad (but true) about a product and the company sues me and the forum where I posted it, I am silenced, because

a) Neither the forum nor I have the resources for a court fight, and the company does.

and

b) Even if I did have the resources for the fight, the forum doesn't and even if it did, it's easier and cheaper for them to silence me.

Re:It happens (1)

torkus (1133985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576441)

wtb freedom of speech. Who are you to determine what speech is good vs. bad? Let people say what they want! You have the same power/freedom yourself.

If someone tells me that i suck and provides no reason, i find that easier to defend against than someone pointing out actual flaws anyhow! I could simply state that i don't suck and the OP is a doody-head. BFD. Everyone needs to grow up.

Granted this is in australia...and granted they're sueing the FORUM - not the poster. I doubt a court would allow the suit in the US...providers have been given protection against content posted or sent by individuals (i.e. you can't sue an ISP because someone send a child pron through their system).

Re:It happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20570843)

We pulled it

That's exactly what's wrong with the world today. Bunch of spineless pansies. Good thing you people weren't around during WW2 or I'd be insulting you in german.

Re:It happens (3, Insightful)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570951)

The comment as you have described it seems perfectly fair (it is someone's opinion of someone else..) and potentially quite useful to other users of the forum, especially if others add their views. I would be doubtful that it is illegal in almost any (sane) country to express a negative opinion of something. I haven't read the thread so I don't know what comments were made in this case, but in the case you describe I would be more inclined to put the company complaining and the complainant in contact and have them sort the issue out between them, any company that tries to fight negative opinions (however they are formed) about themselves with legal action, is not going to gain any confidence from its potential customers.

Clearly it would be different if someone is claiming something as a fact but is in fact lying i.e. "CarMaker A is EVIL, they skin kittens to make their upholstery!! - Don't buy from them", but an opinion i.e. "I don't like CarMaker A" or "CarMaker A's Cars are not as nice as CarMaker B's" or even "CarMakerA is crap", is always valid (if it is an honest one, and its not really practicable to distinguish an honest opinion from a dishonest one).

The real problem comes when companies can have negative opinions removed from sites under threat of legal action (whether it has merit or not). It gives corporations far too much control over what the public can and do see or read about them. Of course for a small website owner, a hobbyist or simply an enthusiast of some sort, the threat of legal action is almost always poses too much of a risk and the reaction to remove offending material is clearly understandable.

What is needed is a mechanism whereby any person or organisation who receives a legal threat is able to evaluate its merit, and if it is totally worthless and/or malicious, to take action against the originator.

Re:It happens (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#20571399)

On the whole I'd agree with what you say but a great many websites and forums have no real financial backing and couldn't afford to get involved in a slanging match.
As someone else noted, if it was a comment that 'doing x in product y causes z to happen, everytime. That sucks' then I'd say it was fair but then as a web master, is it my job to test the claim, evaluate it and then pull the comment if its false? If not, what are my responsabilities and how do those change from territory to territory?
The web is global (duh!) and you have to take in to account law in every country, pretty much and as a result, it's usually far easier, much as I hate to say it, to roll over when challanged.
When it comes to libal laws, especially once you get outside countries that offer or claim to offer freedom of speech, you either have to have a fistfull of grade A legal people who can advise you well or a taste for prison food or deep pockets.

Re:It happens (1)

Ajehals (947354) | more than 6 years ago | (#20572495)

IANAL this is opinion, but I think I am fairly correct, obviously take legal advice if you need it, and don't consider this legal advice.

is it my job to test the claim, evaluate it and then pull the comment if its false?
No It isn't, if it were an outrageous claim that you, as a reasonable person would see as impossible then by all means take action, you should be able to moderate posts without either stifling genuine negative opinions or allowing flagrant abuse. Remember that that in a case of X in Y causes Z is likely and may or may not be a reflection upon Y, its not your job o deal with that it the job of whoever makes Y. The rule of thumb that I would use is simple, use some common sense and be reasonable, if you do that you are unlikely to run into legal issues except in cases where the person taking the action is being unreasonable, in which case you are fairly safe regardless. Also make sure you have a sensible AUP or TOS to make clear what is acceptable, and do what you can to clarify who is responsible for any content.

The web is global (duh!) and you have to take in to account law in every country
As for the web being global, well, that's true, the question is, does it matter? If you get sued in the US, EU, China, Uzbekistan etc.. what does it matter to you? Assuming you are Australian (based on the territory to territory element) and based in Australia, it is local laws that you should be concerned about, if you are being reasonable it is unlikely that any criminal extradition requests would be successful (you should get a hearing). A for civil law, well if you are sued, you can, I believe, simply ignore it, a civil case brought against you by a court that has no jurisdiction should fail, if it doesn't, any sanctions are going to be difficult to enforce anyway.

If you were subject to every law in the world when writing a web site, then no sites could exist. There are countries with rather interesting, complex and draconian laws with regard to religion and political speech, most of us would fall foul of some element of these. Even ignoring these types of absurd laws, there are countless small regulations and laws that would also impact on you if you ran a site, Data protection, Advertising Regulations etc.. and again, if you are not based in a jurisdiction that enforces those laws, you (probably) not be targeted, and if you are it will (probably) have no impact on you anyway.

Having now read the forum, I am intrigued to note that the posts are almost all on-topic an seem well informed, there seems to be little outright bashing of the company in question, the points raised are all points I would feel comfortable raising in a public forum, in addition the info is useful, I would certainly do a fair amount of homework before purchasing the product in question for my company (not that we have a need for another ERM), including making contact with existing users and some of those making negative remarks. Even more interestingly the forum appears well moderated, personal attacks and O/T posts have been removed, and there are other gaps that indicate comments that were inappropriate have been removed. All in all, It will be interesting to see where this goes, I would assume that any legal action will result in a ton of (additional) negative publicity for 2clix, but this time from the (official) global tech-media, and the official media is rather harder to silence than a blog or small site. If you cant express an opinion on the web about an experience just because it is critical of a company or government, the web becomes useless, marketing, spin, lies and FUD will win out.

As for small sites not having the resources to fight legal actions, that is quite right, and that should be where legal assistance/legal aid comes in, it would be a (is a(?)) travesty if large corporations can use the threat of legal sanction to abuse customers and silence dissent.

By the way, with a nick like clickclickdrone, you are not associated in any way with 2clix are you?

Re:It happens (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#20574263)

>By the way, with a nick like clickclickdrone...
No, it's a line from an early 80's track called Underpass by John Foxx:
Over all the bridges
Echoes in rows
Talking at the same time
Click click drone
Misty on the glass now
Rusty on the door
Here for years now
Click click drone

Re:It happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20571469)

There was no real reason not to comply - except why should you waste time and effort censoring comments that have nothing to do with you in the first place? You should have told them to go fuck themselves, and the fact it had been around for three years shows how full of shit they are.

Re:It happens (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#20571537)

>There was no real reason not to comply
Except due to precedent, in UK law you are responsible. A few years ago a major ISP lost a case when someone sued them for carrying *usenet* traffic that contained defamatory comments about an individual. Law ain't the same the world over.

Re:It happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20572647)

Fuck me then. It really was the September that never ended. I wish they'd make computers difficult and inaccessible again so these pricks would get the fuck out.

Now I Will Remember 2clix (4, Interesting)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570721)

I'd never heard of them before, but now I have. I now know that they're overly sensitive to criticism and resort to litigation as a way of resolving complaints.

I'll be certain to avoid them in future and recommend against such a dangerous company if ever I get the chance.

Thanks 2clix, you've revealed your true colours.

(I'm an Australian, living in Melbourne)

I'll take bullies for 200, Alex. (4, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570867)

Is it true that 2clix eats puppies and kittens for breakfast?

Re:I'll take bullies for 200, Alex. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20570921)

I've heard the founder of 2clix can't orgasm unless he's strangling a puppy.

Australian Defamation Laws (5, Informative)

Hellsbells (231588) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570723)

Australian Defamation Laws are ridiculously powerful.

A failed restaurant recently successfully sued a major newspaper for a negative review [smh.com.au] in the Australian High Court.

Re:Australian Defamation Laws (4, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570837)

Australian Defamation Laws are ridiculously powerful.

BUZZZZZZZZZZZT! Defamation alert! Lawsuit!

Re:Australian Defamation Laws-USA still has issues (3, Interesting)

Christoph (17845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20578341)

Australian Defamation Laws are ridiculously powerful.

A failed restaurant recently successfully sued a major newspaper for a negative review in the Australian High Court.

I'm defending myself (and my website) at trial in federal court in two months (November, 2007) against "deceptive trade practices" and "interference with prospective contractual relations" (a defamation claim was dropped).

My webpage criticizes a corporation that published my stock photos without permission and refused to pay the licensing fee. The federal court ruled last month that they were, in fact, guilty of infringement. Yet the court is still allowing their claims against my webpage to proceed, apparently based on comments posted by other victims of the same corporation (which, under the Section 230 of the CDA, I'm not liable for anyway)

Next month is the TWO YEAR anniversary of the claims against me. Nothing on my webpage is specifically cited as factually untrue, no evidence the webpage is false has been produced, yet we are still going to trial -- ?!?. Although I expect to prevail, I'm not sure this is hugely better than the Australian case (which I read about previously and is pretty bad). I'm pro-se, doing this on my own (my webpage with a chronology [cgstock.com]). If I had a lawyer, my costs might be over $100,000 by now.

I've posted about my case here even though it could lead to MORE claims against me as I truly in my heart believe in freedom of speech, and I won't concede to a "chilling effect" because of baseless, SLAPP lawsuits.

Damn them! (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570769)

The Statement of Claim from the company alleges that Simon Wright allowed statements "relating to the Plaintiff and its software product that are both false and malicious" to be published on the Whirlpool forums.

Yes, I can see him sitting there, reading the articles, nodding his head, and going "Yeah, let's burn 'em!" Honestly, I'm pretty sure this is going nowhere. Has it suddenly dawned on companies that people are saying bad things about them? Software companies shouldn't be surprised -- look at the lambasting that Microsoft takes on a daily basis. I suspect the statements are true and 2Clix just doesn't want anyone to know about it.

Re:Damn them! (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20572651)

Well, looking at two of threads in question, the moderators of the forum were removing some posts all along. The reasons supplied included mention of personal attacks. This would seem to preclude an ignorance defense.

At the same time people claiming to be the heads of support and sales for the company were participating in the discussion. This indicates that they've known about this the whole time.

Something similar happened... (1)

EvilGrin666 (457869) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570787)

...on forum I frequent. The site owner of EduGeek.Net [edugeek.net] (a site for IT Techies in Education) was sent a legal nastygram by Sophos for some unkind threads debating the quality of it's AV product. Some of the forums members tipped The Register off and Sophos rapidly backtracked [theregister.co.uk] on the idea. Hopefully, tipping off Slashdot will work for Whirlpool.

The more true it is the more liable you are. (2, Informative)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570797)

At least in Australia, and free speech here is a joke, you are free to agree, go visit 2clix [2clixsoftware.com] it might be enough to make a point that folks on the internet don't like being bullied by excessively litigous companies.

Re:The more true it is the more liable you are. (1)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#20571489)

None of their client testimonials have any attribution. Just sayin', like.

My real fear about this issue (5, Informative)

smegged (1067080) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570853)

I am very concerned about this lawsuit. There are two very real outcomes that could occur should whirlpool lose.
  • Firstly, whirlpool are THE resource for finding out about ISPs in Australia. Their neutrality and open forums, should they be lost, would be very, very bad for consumers.
  • Secondly, a ruling against whirlpool means a precedent would be set which basically ensured that forums in Australia would be practically eliminated. This is both bad for a lot of businesses and bad for users.
For these reasons I really really hope that whirlpool wins (well, for those reasons and the obvious moral reasons).

Re:My real fear about this issue (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#20571491)

Secondly, a ruling against whirlpool means a precedent would be set which basically ensured that forums in Australia would be practically eliminated. This is both bad for a lot of businesses and bad for users.

To be fair, it's worth pointing out that "forums", despite their growing popularity and usefulness, are neither the only available source of information on the internet, nor the only manner in which information can be made public.

Usenet, for example, is alive and well, and friendly enough for the point and click crowd. I don't see any groups dedicated to ISP issues, but it would be fairly trivial to set up one up and circumvent any and all privacy or censorship issues.

Re:My real fear about this issue (1)

Mark J Tilford (186) | more than 6 years ago | (#20571953)

What's to stop a company from using the same argument against whoever is providing the Usenet feed?

Re:My real fear about this issue (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#20572689)

What's to stop a company from using the same argument against whoever is providing the Usenet feed?

As a practical matter, it doesn't matter. The content, once accepted, will be distributed worldwide in short order, so if your ISP's news server or your premium server is carrying the group, the content will be there and subject to the control of that news server only. Such mechanisms as cancellation messages, have a tortured history and are typically ignored by all news server admins.

Personally, I think the usenet approach, aside from being traditional, is ideal for any number of reasons (proper threading, filtering, searching, etc.). Hell, even Microsoft make use of usenet for their support "forums". I guess people are having too much fun making websites with MySQL backends. ;-)

Re:My real fear about this issue (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 6 years ago | (#20572291)

I agree, it would set a very scary precedent. I've found Broadband Choice [whirlpool.net.au] immensely helpful over the years finding ISPs, all thanks to the in-depth user feedback. The court claim reads like any typical forum thread, which is why I have faith this will be thrown out at the first opportunity. While not having a constitutional protection of free speech, we do have rights enshrined in common law which should apply here (IANAL etc.)

I can see the future (1)

neersign (956437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570869)

regardless of whether it is realisticly possible or not, is anyone else envisioning a MS vs. Slashdot suit of the same nature? Or possibly Apple vs. Slashdot? Think of the thousands (millions?) of posts posted here that MS and Apple would take offense to. I think it would be a great chance for people to prove their claims legally, and it would dispell a lot of rumors.

Re:I can see the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20571777)

Smoke less pot please.

I mean....oh, hang on...yeah what I said above actually is what I mean.

Re:I can see the future (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 6 years ago | (#20571975)

Yeah, that would be bad. Imagine how much effort posting to slashdot will be after a disfavorable ruling:

"I think Vista is maturing - wink wink, nudge nudge"
"OOXML is a marvel of a file format - wink wink, nudge nudge"
"What do you mean the iPhone is still overpriced? - wink wink, nudge nudge"

Smoking US weed? (0)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570885)

I think 2clix have been reading too much US business news.

Courts in AU don't work the same way: harder to get a jury trial, judges still determine awards _and_ allocate costs. They'd better watch "paid into court". Lawyers are also "officers of the court" and IIRC forbidden to take %age contingency fees.

Re:Smoking US weed? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20575459)

As was mentioned earlier Australia has some of the toughest defamation laws in the world. We have many things to be proud of in this country but legal protection of freedom of speech is not one of them.

Dodgy. (-1, Troll)

m1sfit (1155699) | more than 6 years ago | (#20570891)

Whirlpool themselves are a decidedly dodgy organization. They have a long standing history of protecting "Scam" ISP's from any criticism on there boards to a degree that often appears in cahoots and without a doubt provides a great disservice and lack of loyalty to its user base. The Wild IT fiasco was a great example of this.

You couldnt Pick a Worse Crowd to pick on (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20570931)

Umm.. software developers.. just a word of advice... most people on whirlpool, are IT managers and admins... we are all just about to say NEVER to any 2clix software.

Re:You couldnt Pick a Worse Crowd to pick on (2, Interesting)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20571487)

... or company decision makers who've asked us about ISPs for home. I've sent at least two MDs and one financial controller there for information.

Re:You couldnt Pick a Worse Crowd to pick on (1)

lottameez (816335) | more than 6 years ago | (#20571695)

(cough) unless we're offered a free iPod or iPhone, a date with Kari Byron, or a complete DVD set of "The Simpsons". This bribe^H^H^H^H olive branch would be considered a way for us to become ambivalent wrt 2clix once again.

Re:You couldnt Pick a Worse Crowd to pick on (2, Informative)

Manaz (46799) | more than 6 years ago | (#20579613)

"most people on whirlpool, are IT managers and admins"

Oh please. Whilst I'm sure there are a lot of IT Managers and sysadmins on Whirlpool (I'm one of them), they're vastly outnumbered by kids and "enthusiast" internet users who's prime purpose on Whirlpool is to shop around for the most speed and monthly download capacity for their (parents) dollar.

Re:You couldnt Pick a Worse Crowd to pick on (1)

JoGlo (1000705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20580617)

Yes, there are a lot of kiddies there, but there are more kiddies in Oz than there are movers and shakers. Just because the ankle biters get underfoot at times doesn't mean that they are the only ones watching Whirlpool. I'm also an IT manager, and a member of Whirlpool. I wonder just how many Whirlpool members also come over here to /.? And how many of the dual group are IT bods? Although I tend to regularly get sin-binned over there, I see it as an extremely useful set of forums to have around, and if it went down the gurgler, would like to think that there might be some way of resurrecting it - perhaps as a "specialc interest group", here at /., where Australian laws couldn't touch it.

A couple of facts about this situation (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20571257)

The thread/s in question cited by the lawsuit are actually something like #2 and #3 for a google search of 2clix - under their official site.

So just to clarify, every time a potential customer searches for this company, they find a very easily accessible thread indicating user dissatisfaction.

I think most of us can agree that this type of thing will absolutely ruin a software company.

Not saying that they don't perhaps deserve repercussions but one can see how this has escalated when such a clearly damaging thread exists so easily discovered by sales targets.

I post this because a lot of people are getting on the bandwagon about how evil these guys are when infact this is probably the end of their business. Its a regretful situation for all and I'm glad that Simon is protecting free speech on his board but I can't help but be sorry for those people.

Maybe they deserve it.. who knows.

Re:A couple of facts about this situation (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20572681)

There were 2 ways to fix this problem:

1) Post a reasonable response with an attempt to fix whatever problems the user was having. (Actual attempt is optional, it just has to LOOK like they are trying.)

2) Lawsuit. A very public and damaging lawsuit that makes you scream 'EVERYONE THINKS WE SUCK BUT WE DON'T REALLY' to even have a chance at winning.

Yeah, smart. Assuming you are correct that this means the end of their business, they handled it exactly the wrong way. Nobody succeeds these days in covering up their stupidity with a lawsuit. Many companies HAVE succeeded by promising to fix the problem. Or at least looking like it. You can actually fail to fix things for years if you are nice enough when you promise to fix them. Eventually people will catch on, but you'll be richer by then and can sell the company and move to some nice beach somewhere.

Re:A couple of facts about this situation (1)

ls -la (937805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20572767)

The thread/s in question cited by the lawsuit are actually something like #2 and #3 for a google search of 2clix - under their official site.

So just to clarify, every time a potential customer searches for this company, they find a very easily accessible thread indicating user dissatisfaction.

I think most of us can agree that this type of thing will absolutely ruin a software company.

Not saying that they don't perhaps deserve repercussions but one can see how this has escalated when such a clearly damaging thread exists so easily discovered by sales targets.

I post this because a lot of people are getting on the bandwagon about how evil these guys are when infact this is probably the end of their business. Its a regretful situation for all and I'm glad that Simon is protecting free speech on his board but I can't help but be sorry for those people.

Maybe they deserve it.. who knows.

Pretty much every time I d business with a new company online, I do a search for the company specifically to find negative feedback about a company. I'd much rather do business with a company that does an average job with all their customers than one that does great with some people, but screws the unlucky ones.

Re:A couple of facts about this situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20573145)

So what you're saying is that this software company probably shouldn't have tried to silence the opinion of someone (who apparently happened to use their software) using intimidation and threats of legal action.

Good riddance to them I say. A far more productive route for them to go would have been to join the forum and bring that comment up for debate - asking for feedback of what made the software "crap" so that they could go about fixing and improving it. If they followed through on fixing concerns they would have gained a good deal of positive PR as a "company that cares" in front of a web forum stocked full of people they'd really rather have as customers.

Re:A couple of facts about this situation (1)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 6 years ago | (#20573369)

Perhaps instead of trying to bury the problems with lawsuits they could actually fix the problems, release a new version with the issues resolved and post that fact in the forum itself.

That way anyone that goes to look at that forum link off google can see the company pro-actively fixing any issues. Seems like a good form of advertising to me.

Re:A couple of facts about this situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20573711)

Actually, they did. From the second google result for 2clix: [whirlpool.net.au]

User I'm the new I.T & Support Officer for 2Clix Australia Pty Ltd. If you have any issues or queeries please feel free to contact me and I will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible. If you are a 2Clix user and have a support issue that needs resolution please call our office and ask for support. Else you can PM or E-mail me.

Hope I can help in any way possible.

Regards,

Simon

Then again the rest of the thread is full of daily-WTF worthy gems like this:

This thread is a laugh to me. One of my ex-customers jumped onto this system a couple of years ago. It was a dog, ran like a dog, and used a deprecated port of MySQL to run on. The customer hated it, and was always at 2Clix to fix one thing or another. Then 2Clix sold him a new server to "fix" the problems, which was a very poorly specced Intel clone server that sounded like a jet engine. Naturally enough nothing was actually helped by this. I shortly thereafter divorced this customer as they were a pain in the bum, but my dealing with 2Clix support were shocking. Hopefully they have improved.

Who am I kidding, suing your critics has to be the worst public relations disaster you could dream of. These guys are history.

Re:A couple of facts about this situation (1)

t0nz0r (1134677) | more than 6 years ago | (#20574347)

The thread/s in question cited by the lawsuit are actually something like #2 and #3 for a google search of 2clix - under their official site.
The only reason they are #2 and #3 is because they filed this lawsuit and bought the threads to everyones attention. I love the whirlpool site, every time I have had a problem with my ISP (only when I was on Telstra) I would head over there and find solution to my problems (putting Telstras modem into bridge mode) and updates for anytime service outages (Telstras website never got this info). It also helped me select my new ISP Internode who I am very happy with and have had no problems to date (1 year, 2 years on Telstra). Lately there have been many calls i the media for a "bill of rights" style law to be enacted (mainly because journalists can be imprisioned for not revealing thier sources) and hopefully this story will find its way into the media so bring this one step closer to reality (but im sure we all know this will NEVER happen).

Re:A couple of facts about this situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20579363)

I don't know whether you'll read this because but here it is for your benefit anyway.

The threads were on google before the lawsuit.

Reason being, whirlpool is a high traffic site (comparatively) and if 2clix are mentioned on their site it will come very close to outweighing 2clix's own official site and hence will end up very high ranking.

Can of worms (1)

daurnimator (993892) | more than 6 years ago | (#20571407)

I think I heard a can of worms being opened. If this gets through the courts, australian free speech on the net has taken a steep downward turn... The software looks absolutely dreadful - the screenshots I have found on the net look like they are from the mid 90s.... I'd bet this is a last ditch effort from the company before they get liquidated...

I know 2clix (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20572143)

They made a shitty program and tried to steal all my money. They are a very shady company and I wouldn't touch them with a 10' pole. Don't say you weren't warned if you do business with them and they rape your bank account or livestock.

I just wanted to say "fuck 2clix" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20573457)

They are involved in smuggling teenage camels into the Sahara for dubious sexual purposes.

This is what probably caused the action... (4, Interesting)

Col Bat Guano (633857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20579821)

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=628356&r=12820406#r12820406 [whirlpool.net.au]

The forum thread had been running for many months, but in late August there was some real action starting to occur on getting information for legal action against 2clix.

My guess is that they would like to shut the thread down and prevent more people from getting involved in suing them.

2clix made me feel dirty. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20580487)

2clix were hassling me a while back with cold-calls trying to get me to buy their software. When asked what their software was/did, they described it in pure marketing terms - telling me all the positive effects they supposed it would have on the business, instead of what it's actually used for and what roles it fills. I got their URL so I could look into it when I had time... the use of obnoxious stock photos on every page (see http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=stock_photos [thebestpag...iverse.net]) and the anonymous quote "Quite Simply The Best" turned me off from the start. Our brief business relationship ended before it began with me telling 'em to take me off the call list. After getting off the phone with their rep, I felt like I needed a shower... reading this news about 'em isn't really surprising at all.

My Private Forum (1)

Oztechreich (960585) | more than 6 years ago | (#20580713)

I run a forum in Australia which is industry-specific and encourages subscribers to post critical information about suppliers and software vendors.

The difference is that my forum is private, and not indexed on the web. Subscribers must join with a valid industry-specific email address, and no vendors or suppliers are allowed to join, read or post to the forum.

We still get occasional requests from vendors to take down content that is negative about them.

I am able to respond that the posts will not be removed, but that the vendors have a right of reply in their own section of the forum. This has been a useful approach and has worked well in the past.

I think that Whirlpool is in extra trouble becuase their content is now indexed and appears in any web search that users may feel like performing for 2clix.

Tragic, but sensible. (2, Funny)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 6 years ago | (#20580823)

Now we all know why the Maytag repair man doesn't get internet access.
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