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Etoy: It's Not Over Yet

jamie posted more than 14 years ago | from the top-of-the-ninth dept.

Censorship 200

Yesterday, while the management of eToys was faxing, calling, and emailing the media to get its story out, its legal team had sent a very different message. You probably saw our pointer to the Wired story which claimed the toy company had "given up." No such luck. The story behind the scenes was a little different. Click for more.

It's one thing to drop a lawsuit. It's another to "move away" from it. According to Chris Truax, the lawyer for the Etoy art group, which version the media heard depended on what time they were in touch with the eToys management. The initial version, he claims, was that eToys was dropping the suit. A later version was that they were "backing away" from the suit. A third version reassured the press that a precondition specified in the legal document was never intended to be a demand - only a request.

To see how the coverage changed throughout Wednesday, see the first Wired story, then the NYT/CNET story, the Yahoo/TheStandard story, and then the second Wired story.

The problem was that was not working from the same playbook as eToys.PR. The precondition, clearly a showstopper, also calls into question whether the giant toy firm has a clue about what is really at stake.

That precondition was:

"to give good faith consideration, as our neighbor on the Internet, to concentrating the profanity, nudity and violence that is sometimes part of the etoy corporation message on etoy corporation's other websites."

Asking artists to censor their work, of course, flies like a lead wheelbarrow. At the same time the company spokesman was saying "our intent was never to silence free artistic expression," their legal team was doing precisely that. The entire short letter in which this request was made was focused on finding a resolution to the perceived problem of "profanity, nudity, and violence," and concluded by noting that co-existence was possible if "etoy corporation will respond favorably to this proposal."

The later Wired story quotes eToys management as putting this spin on it:

"This is a simple, straightforward, good-faith effort on our part to resolve this matter. We are asking that they make good-faith efforts to put some of the material that kids and parents might find offensive on another part of the site."

They can repeat the words "good faith" all they like, but that doesn't make this any less censorship. Imagine operating as an artist, knowing that for the rest of your tenure with the Etoy art group you must work very carefully not to put material inappropriate for children too close to your homepage. One use of the F-word already led to this lawsuit; how hair-trigger would the lawyers be the second time around? You'd want to tone down your message, lest you be accused of working in "bad faith."

But maybe this letter was just badly worded; perhaps there was a miscommunication somewhere between the PR and the legal departments.

Or, maybe this whole episode was a cynical attempt to calm down the activist community and get the story out of the public eye.

Think about what eToys is really saying. They have cost the art group a fair amount of money in legal bills and have shut down their website for (to date) a month. Now they say they want to walk away as long as Etoy does the same.

If someone came onto your property, stole your computer - and then a month later, after you'd spent thousands of dollars trying to get it back, offered to return it on the condition that you promised not to sue - would you be inclined to accept that condition?

How would you feel if they asked you to make a "good-faith effort" not to use your computer to write any "profanity"?

Chris Truax stopped short of saying whether Etoy would or would not continue their defensive countersuit if eToys' original suit were dropped, saying only "if the suit is dropped unilaterally, that's a very positive step." In my talks with him, he has seemed committed to finding a way to settle this matter without resorting to a knock-down, drag-out court battle, and he has said he'd like to help eToys management to educate themselves about being good netizens.

But he also pointed out several times that "the devil is in the details." And, of course, he's right. This whole mess won't be over until it's over.

It's a shame that the courts are still seeing issues like these at the end of 1999; those in positions of power should have learned about being good netizens by now. Etoy's story isn't all that unusual. While the art group has been under fire, there have been simultaneous attacks on the scholarly arts organization Leonardo and a computer club which happens to share the same initials as the BBC. Stay tuned.

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Ankles! (3)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432039)

That web site had a lady's ankle visible! Horrors!

Even if Etoy wasn't art (3)

SLOfuse (68448) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432040)

Even if was a hard core porn site, etoys should have no moral or legal rights to do what they did. is not bound by US laws. At most, US authorities might someday take it upon themselves selectively ban "incoming" material thru filtering techniques etc (which in itself would be a horrendous state of affairs), but there is no justification for suspending registration of the domain. THEY HAVE NO FUCKING JURISDICTION. (Now slashdot will have to shut down for offensive language.)

Sure Etoys (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432041)

I ahve and idea.... why dont WE all sue Etyos with supid things like "not allowing access to the site for blind and deaf people" or "the animations on their site gave me a seizure" or "I did'nt get my package on time and it ruined my life" (the last of which I am sure we can find someone who did'nt get their package on time this christmas)

Push this case! (3)

scumdamn (82357) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432042)

Etoy is in a position of strength. eToys' trademark application was overturned, Etoy was there first, eToys is backing down, it's time to fight the hell out of this in many ways. This should go to court, and eToys will almost definitely lose. Then Etoy could proceed with their lawsuit and have eToys by the short hairs. Imagine the dive Etoys' stock would take then. Etoy needs to fight this one to the extent possible. Many good things could come of it. Other corporations may reconsider bullying the little guys, a precedent just might be set, and Etoys would learn that they can't throw their little around just becaused they've IPO'd.

Counter-suit? (1)

hogwaller (421) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432043)

IANNBAL (I am nowhere near being a lawyer),
but it strikes me that etoy has a helluva counter-suit if they wish to do so. If any of them
make any income from, it's at least
deprivation of livelihood.

Should have realized this would happen... (2)

Diamond Slicer (39462) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432044)

How many times is a big corperation (the #3 holiday toy seller) true to its word? Very rarely...

Of course eToys will continue to attack eToy. The reasoning behind that statement is simple - The Calendar. eToys, does not want eToy active during the Holiday season because newbies on the internet may acidentally go there... So they will try and shut it down once and for all rather than just knock it out during every big sale period.

Am I missing something?

Make a stand (2)

17028 (122384) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432045)

Things like this will just keep popping up if we don't make an example of eToys. We need to raise such a big stink that the media picks up on it and eToys gets bad publicity. If they start loosing customers left and right they will listen, believe me. The unofficial rules of the net are made by us users as a whole.

It is not enough that they drop the lawsuit. They have gotten what they wanted, to have down for the xmas season. Next year they'll find some other excuse.

Ridiculous! (1)

Spirilis (3338) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432046)

This "cyber-squatting" crap needs to end. A general mentality of "oh, that's another domain, check the spelling" needs to be instated, since pressing legal violation over domain names is outrageous. I really believe someone has to pass this message over to the corporations, and AFAIK the only directly effective method is through the government.

Re:Counter-suit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432047)

>Stop with the IANAL, stuff it sounds so gay.

Learn the proper use of punctuation, you moron.

This just makes me even more pissed off (1)

stimuli (37803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432048)

The arrogance and stupidity of EToys just makes me furious. One thing is for sure, I will never buy anything from them, and I will make sure everyone I know, and who respects what I think, will be told why they shouldn't either.

That they talk about material inapropriate for children is just bullshit, a naked attempt to try to appear the good guy. No doubt EToys has some oily PR people who came up with that one. I dearly hope their tactic doesn't work. I expect they'll next try to get the "Family Values" folks on their side for the upcomming PR battle.

It may be a pipe dream, but I hope that enough folks in the public get furious enough over this that EToys is shamed out of business.

Does the right arm know what the left arm is doing (1)

haus (129916) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432049)

Or, better yet does the right arm care what the left one is doing? I honestly do not think that the management of EToys has any idea of what being a good netizen means. And that is why it is very important that their actions are discussed in open forms (i.e. /.) and that their actions against EToy stay visible in the news.

The complaints from Etoy may be easy enough to ignore, but the roar of the crowd of the community is much more difficult to turn a deaf ear to.

all persons, living and dead, are purely coincidental. - Kurt Vonnegut

EToys, NSI, US Justice System to Blame (3)

Cygnus v1 (32061) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432050)

The root of this whole mess are the facts that EToys has money, NSI has control over DNS, and the US justice system has more than its reasonable share of ignorant jurisdiction over the Internet. It's a fact that if Etoy's and EToys' positions were reversed, that EToys' domain name would not have been impounded. This needs to be publicized outside of regular Internet news outlets to inform the public of yet another area of activity where money and influence yields undeserved/unnecessary/unethical power.

required additional viewing: (5)

bons (119581) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432051)

What remains of ETOY []'s overview of this mess []
RTMarks's etoy page []
ETOYS stock value [] in the past month accoring to Alta Vista
A better stock picture [] from yahoo.

At this rate, ETOYS will be worthless soon enough. How low does it have to fall before it simply ceases to exist in it's current form? In this age of internet stocks being so highly valued how can ETOYS not realize the damage this has caused them? How can they be so blind?

Perhaps they have forgotten that we talk to each other. Perhaps they have forgotten that we can hear all sides of the stories. perhaps they have forgotten that we could have been their market and their investors had they not done this.

Perhaps they're just blind.

EToys still sucks? Surprise!!! (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432052)

I'd ask if anyone was surprised at this, but judging from the posts yesterday, ("Oh yay, EToys has changed their mind, they're good guys again") I guess the answer is yes.

EToys never claimed to be dropping the suit--only "backing off," which means, precisely, whatever they want it to. Trying to censor in good faith is apparently what they meant by backing off.

If this is ever resolved satisfactorily, I urge everyone who has been boycotting EToys to _continue_ the boycott. They deserve (and have from the beginning) punitive measures brought against them for the damage they've done to the etoy group.

Re:Push this case! (1)

17028 (122384) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432053)

Yea, sue them for 100 mill and give the money to EFF or somesuch. Then EFF could go around kicking corp butt every time they step on us. Geeks need a strong advocacy group! >:)

Re:Even if Etoy wasn't art (3)

reptilian (75755) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432054)

The US didn't shut down the site, NSI did. They *do* have jurisdiction, as they're the ones that handle domain names. They didn't shut down the site completely, just supended the domain name. I'm not sure of the legal implications of this - it's an american company, under US jurisdiction, so I would assume that the US courts *do* have jurisdiction over .com/net/org TLDs, regardless of the geographical location of the site. If I were them, and I ever got the name back, I'd switch to a provider in another country ASAP.

Man's unique agony as a species consists in his perpetual conflict between the desire to stand out and the need to blend in.

Re:Ankles! (2)

Pope (17780) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432055)

This is the funniest SUBJECT line I've seen for a long time, never mind the message content.

Oh, this is gonna make the laugh for a looong time. It's so Zippy.


Man, I need to take some time off.


Whats wrong with these people (1)

jormurgandr (128408) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432056)

Not only does etoys have no right to shut down etoy because it is outside of US control, but was registered before etoys was even thought of!
There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.

Hmmm. (2)

Trifthen (40989) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432057)

It really is unfortunate that things went in this direction. We all know that Etoy was there first, and the case should be very clear; things don't always work out the way you expect them.

How so?

I'd imagine that the claims of conspiracy (the Xmas fiasco) have quite a bit of merit, but somehow I predict that this will ring the same responses. Who's to say that EToys didn't *say* they were backing off to fix their public image, all while their legal department had a field day with Etoy. It is a possibility.

Since this is an old issue, isn't there something we can do about it? Contacting Etoys with nice well-thought-out responses would always be nice, but I mean a more "fit to print" solution. We're a pretty big community, but the fact of the matter is that we're a specific group that is no target. But we do have access to other people. Why not have our own publicity campaign that actually releases the facts of this case, and tell as many friends as we can about what is going on.

Our power will be completely wasted if we don't use it to hit them where it counts, and why they started this whole thing: In their pocketbook. The proposed boycott isn't enough if it's only us... we need more. This is enough indication that at least their legal department just doesn't get it.

So make them.

Countersuit (3)

netpuppy (77874) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432058)

How about a countersuit claiming product recognition problems and trademark dilution? If the domain name was there first, and the trademark status favors etoy, they should just go for the jugular and bring down altogether.

I'm sure we don't know the full story (4)

jd (1658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432059)

Don't pretend that every side has been heard in full. Even on Slashdot. That's not to say there's editorial bias here - I don't believe there is - but, rather, that there's a limited amount of space and an unlimited number of opinions amongst the different sides. Something clearly won't fit.

IF eToys argument is "hey, do what you like, but can you keep the stuff that's age-inappropriate off the public pages", then I don't see the problem. Anyone capable of setting up a web page is more than capable of setting up an .htaccess file, and anyone capable of thought is capable of deciding if something is "age-inappropriate".

That's not censorship, as it doesn't tell anyone what they can do or say, it merely says "uh - can everyone agree to be mature about this?" I don't see anything the matter with that. It doesn't hurt to use your noggin.

But that's a BIG "if", and the implication of the article was that their legal department didn't necessarily think the same way.

If the eToys argument is that "you show what we say, and nothing more", then they deserve to be forced to eat Haggis, Black Pudding and mushy peas, with HP sauce. On National Television. Without throwing up. Even after being told what goes in them.

I don't agree with censorship, but I don't have any problem with two web sites trying to find some kind of common ground so that they can talk this over like human beings.

damn pr stunts... (3)

Deluge (94014) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432060)

Off ZDNet (but of course)

ETOYS DROPS SUIT AGAINST ARTISTS. Public outcry led toy site to abandon action against artists using

Uh huh... "dropped" the lawsuit eh? Ya don't say. I wonder how much this "ad space" cost Etoys? :)


official notice (1)

bmabray (84486) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432061)

Ok, I just registered, where I'm going to sell kitty litter. Please limit all further discussions on this site to kitty litter...


Re:damn pr stunts... (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432062)

Demand a retraction.

3rd? really? (1)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432063)

I thought that Kb and Toys R Us were bigger than that and a hell of a lot more.

What if Etoys lost their domain? (1)

ywl (22227) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432064)

Sorry about the last empty message. I've pressed the enter buttons twice too many.

Although I think that it's only my dream, is there a way for etoy to stop etoys using their domain name? Etoys the (evil ;) company basically have nothing other than their brand name, i.e., "". They haven't made any profit yet. They don't have much asset. If they lose this domain, basically, their business is more or less over (and gone with their overpriced stock). I know. Although they also own "", I doubt that it is as famous as the other one.

Do they have something vulnerable behind all those bluffings and posturing?

Re:Even if Etoy wasn't art (2)

SLOfuse (68448) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432065)

OK, suppose US courts do have jurisdiction over NSI. Does NSI have an AUP that controls the content of websites with .com, .net, .org TLD's? I don't think so. There are an awful lot of porn .com sites out there that are not being shut down.
EVEN if etoy WAS a porn site (which it is not), it should not have been suspended. Etoys the toy company, effectively had it "shut down" and wants it to change or stay shut down FOR THAT REASON.
(Of course that is they're "stated" reason.) Point is, they should not have that right because NO ONE ELSE has that right! (Regardless of ones opinions on porn.) [and the trademark thing is just plain stupid-there's no confusion of products.]

The Awful Truth/Michael Moore (1)

foeclan (47088) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432066)

I'm not sure how many other people follow this show, but Michael Moore (of 'Roger and Me', 'The Big One', and 'TV Nation') has a show that's been running for a season now called The Awful Truth, where he goes after assorted cases of corporations sticking it to the little guy. I emailed him through the website for the show (, and received this response:

>Thanks so much for writing about the >story. Michael Moore greatly appreciates your >support and forwarded your letter on to me to >respond to. He thanks you for bringing this >story to his attention and has asked that the >subject be researched further.

>Mr. Moore showed a great interest in this story >and asked me to keep it on file for possible show >segment topic. He is currently extremely busy >with pre-production for the second season of "The >Awful Truth," however he wanted me to convey his >best wishes.

Looks like a form letter, but if he gets enough interest in the story, he might be more interested in doing it, and it could get us some more of the right kind of coverage.

Re:required additional viewing: (2)

Magus311X (5823) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432067)

#include <snowball_effect.h>
#include <std_disclaimer.h>

In consideration to their stock, if this keeps up, eToys could be hit by a class-action lawsuit from shareholders.

In the U.S. you can sue a company's management if they keep making decisions that run counter to sound business judgment--and in this case, it's pretty clear eToys management is acting out of personal motives rather than from any real judgment.

Under U.S. law shareholders can lead a class-action lawsuit against management that willfully and stupidly loses their money--and that's what we've got here. Pretty soon it's going to be necessary to decide whether to join that suit, or to keep losing money...

IMHO, they should drop this while they're still able.

What they should have done was have a message. (2)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432068)

I have been to a few sites that basically have similar urls to a major company (plus or minus a few letters) and they have a little message saying that basically "are you looking for well go there) and such with a link in bold. Then all you have to do is to have another large link that allows for the people who really wanted to go to etoy or whatever to go there if they want with just one more click. This would have solved the problem without the need for lost revenue. I don't know about you people but after the first few days of no utilities and no food in a cold dark house I would be looking at any solution.

Re:Even if Etoy wasn't art (2)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432069)

This is why I keep pushing for the elimination of .com/org/net TLDs. Everything should go to geographical domains. Then we could make something resonable out of the trademark vs domain name conflicts. If you have the trademark in region X, then you can lay claim to the domain name; otherwise, don't bring any frivolous lawsuits into my courtroom. What's more, this would obey the decentralized spirit that was originally designed into the DNS system. The US would no longer have exclusive control over the damn thing. Put the top level servers under UN control (it's about time that organization did something useful anyway), then every country could handle allocation of domains in whatever way suits them.

What can you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432070)

Think about what kind of company eToys is. They didn't pioneer on-line stores. They didn't come up with new technology. They don't have an innovative product. There is no vision, passion, innovation, brilliance, artistry, or new technology there. eToys is a copycat Amazon.

The only reason for eToys to exist is to make lots of money quickly using a tried-and-true formula: pick a commodity product and try to build a brand and web site around it quickly, using excessive stock valuations to subsidize an otherwise money losing business.

So, from a company like that and from people who are attracted to running that kind of company, what can you expect? Do you really think they are going to play fair in court? I suspect if they see an opportunity to make their brand name more unique, to crush a competitor, or gain any other kind of advantage, as long as it is legal, they are going to do it. Baseless lawsuits and inaccurate PR releases seem entirely consistent with that kind of company.

The only thing that is going to stop them is something that threatens their pocketbook or their brand name.

Told ya. (1)

In-Doge (116196) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432071)

Nuff said.

A company sees its stock dropping, hate mail pours in, and threats of DoS attacks on thier networks are looming over thier heads.

Why not try to weasel yourself out of a situation?

They're just like children. You punish them, but when you're not around, they do the same thing all over again.

The next step? Punish them again. They learn eventually.

Etoys, Etoy, E-toy. Conniving Trickery. (2)

Marasmus (63844) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432072)

Now, If someone told you that in 1997, Etoys bought every domain name they could muster with the letter E and the phrase "toy" or "toys", would it surprise you? No, perhaps not - It seems like a reasonably self-preserving business practice. However, If you knew you owned the domain and made efforts to shut down, Would it seem unreasonable for you to gain traffic to your own site by visitors mistyping E-toy instead of Etoy?

Making gains off of another group's losses (that you created) seems incredibly unreasonable and dishonest to me. Perhaps we ought to encourage some kind of countersuit falling along these lines... Even with no chance to beat the financial backbone of Etoys' legal team, it would at least get the press riled up and put the spotlight on Etoys... :>

Re:Whats wrong with these people (2)

EricWright (16803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432073)

As someone else has already said (in this post, even) this has nothing to do with US jurisdiction. The courts didn't force the closure of eToys called up NSI, complained, and NSI brought down the site. They have every right, since they are the ones who registered, but it is a horrible, tacky, spineless, etc. thing to do. NSI != USA *was* registered before, but the original basis of the lawsuit is that eToys bought the (since invalidated) TM from a company that registered said TM in 1990. In eToys' twisted reality, this was reason enough to pursue these actions. Thankfully, the courts are beginning to see just how silly this case is... so far.

God, I hate playing devil's advocate...ick!

BTW, the judge's reason for invalidation of the TM is just great: adding e to the front of a common word is not grounds for a TM. I hope this sets a good precedent to thwart all the other evil-minded companies out there!


Well NSI has been deregulated (2)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432074)

So basically just pick another domain registering company and get etoy up again. If the NSI wants to be vile about it then just go somewhere else. Exactly where is etoy operating from anyway?

The Virtual Suburbs? (5)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432075)

eToys apparently still doesn't get it. Internet was never meant to be a shopping mall. Yes, commerce can succeed in this medium, but that does not neccesarily make this a shopping mall.

Internet is a neighborhood. This means that there's a great variety of resources here. Sure, there's stores, and some of them make a lot of money. There are also gathering places, theatres (some of them pretty bleeding-edge, like etoy), workshops, and homes. This neighborhood has been here, and has grown, long before eToys ever came on the scene. Now, eToys is saying, "We want this neighborhood to become a shopping mall." And they'll tear down the whole damn neighborhood to do it.

Ultimately what these companies want is not a bazaar, not a whole new world, not a new medium of communication; but a virtual suburb. Where everything is clean (or else), there are no angry people, no controversial opinions or expressions, and everyone is free, so long as what they want to do is make money. A virtual suburb that is safe for sheltered suburban children raised in good Mayburyish homes, where they can learn that Internet is safe, inoffensive, secure, protected. A virtual suburb where you don't find anything that might even vaguely disturb you. Where the music is soothing, the pictures are pretty, and you can make your dreams come true by entering your credit card number and expiration date. Don't worry, that information, along with all your other information, won't be handed off to anyone who might hurt you (just to other people who want to sell to you).

There's just one problem. Even if they get their way, it's all pure bullshit. Internet is not secure, will never be secure. Real life is full of controversey, different ideas, and shocking truths. If they get shoved off of Internet, they'll just move to another network, albeit perhaps a more exclusive one (think back to the BBS days). Moreover, the information you hand out is not safe. The difference is, today, if it's not safe, you'll find out quickly. Tomorrow, if it's not safe, you may never find out. Not unless you're on one of those BBS'es. Or unless it's already too late.

It doesn't have to turn out this way. We can win this fight. We're smart enough; together, we're rich enough; and we have enough to lose to keep us motivated in this fight.

As a note, I noticed today that eToys stock is at a 52-week low. Maybe it's time eToys figured out a new strategy?

The other side of the coin... (1)

fingal (49160) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432076)

Just when you thought that flame wars on slashdot got out of hand...

" Do you want [] your children to look for etoys and somehow accidentally land on which material not appropriate for children (profanity, nudity, graphic nature, adult content)??? Etoys even offered a generous offer of ($400,00-1mil) to etoy to change their name because it won't be very logical to change because it is actually selling children's toys!!! So launched a law suit against on behalf of the numerous complaints from angry parents. Hell, I would be angry too if my kids ask me what the hell is on the art site...and it has nothing to do with the toy. I hope the boycotters can explain theie positions on the issue to me, as I support etoys 100% in their cause. "

It's like a red rag to a bull... :-)

But seriously, if you read the posts on the trading boards, you do start to realise that a lot of the people who are supporting (not particularly well at present) the value of companies such as etoys really don't have a clue about what is going on with the situation at all.

So remember be polite [] ...

Possible Simple Solution (2)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432077)

No-one sues anyone.
EToys gives Etoy an apology and a large sum of money.
In return, Etoy puts a prominent link to Etoys on their homepage, away from any "I-led-far-too-sheltered-a-life" material.
Everybody gets on with their lives.

After all, nothing compromises artistic integrity like a huge wad of cash...

Why would a geek buy from them? (2)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432078)

I just would like to wonder why anyone actually bother with toys anyway? If you are involved with computers you most likely are not playing with that new Pikachu action figure instead of writing that new device driver for that video card you boss wants anyway.

Re:I'm sure we don't know the full story (1)

SLOfuse (68448) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432079)

IF eToys argument is "hey, do what you like, but can you keep the stuff that's age-inappropriate off the
public pages", then I don't see the problem. Anyone capable of setting up a web page is more than capable
of setting up an .htaccess file, and anyone capable of thought is capable of deciding if something is

The "problem" is that etoys has NO RIGHT to ask such a thing just because they are offended (or think one of their costomers might be.) If they were *really* concerned about this, they would have researched the domain name they chose and would have seen the potential problem and PICKED A DIFFERENT domain name. But they don't really care. Some one thought "E-Toys - what a neat name. We'll make a killing off of that name and all the money it brings in from all those families with the little brats." And you thought they were in this for the benifit of the kids???

Re:I'm sure we don't know the full story (1)

BlackHawk (15529) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432080)

IF eToys argument is "hey, do what you like, but can you keep the stuff that's age-inappropriate off the public pages", then I don't see the problem. Anyone capable of setting up a web page is more than capable of setting up an .htaccess file, and anyone capable of thought is capable of deciding if something is "age-inappropriate".

Forgive me for sounding like a flamer, but I must point out that your position is naive, at best. Not because you feel that anyone capable of thought can decide the appropriateness of the material in question, but in feeling that we would all agree with each other in said decision. The very heart of censorship arguments base themselves on one side claiming that certain material is "inapproriate" when such decisions are, by definition, subjective in nature. Agreement would be hard to arrive at, resulting in these conflicts. Incidentally, I challenge your assertion that setting up an .htaccess file is so easy that anyone capable of creating a web page can do it. I've taught HTML classes to people; they can create a web page, but aren't really sure what a web server is.

Re:I'm sure we don't know the full story (2)

gorilla (36491) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432081)

IF eToys argument is "hey, do what you like, but can you keep the stuff that's age-inappropriate off the public pages", then I don't see the problem. Anyone capable of setting up a web page is more than capable of setting up an .htaccess file, and anyone capable of thought is capable of deciding if something is "age-inappropriate".

The problem is that what's "age-inappropriate" isn't a simple decision. The US is very prissy about nudity. Europe isn't. Things which are totally accepted in Europe (Such as nude beaches, or nudity on television) are not accepted in the US. Go to a mediterrian resourt beach, and you will see topless women. Walk along the beach, and you'll probably end up in the nude section, and see naked people.

Look at movies certifications around the world, and you will find very wide variations between difference countries. A single film can be considered acceptable for 7 year olds in France, but not acceptable for 17 year olds in the US.

Prolly just a correction (3)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432082)

Speaking frankly, and keep in mind I'm not a securities trader or a financial analyst or a lawyer or whatever...for a long time, eToys was worth more than Mattel and Hasbro combined. That's the two largest toy makers in the US. As of today, eToys is worth less than either Mattel or Hasbro, even if only by a little. This makes more sense. eToys's income is far, far less than that of either company, and eToys is less established. If you ask me, this is probably just a correction, and a much-needed one.

It's true that their stock is almost at a 52-week low. But this doesn't necessarily mean that they're mishandling the business. I would be very surprised if investors started suing them over this.

Anatomically correct dolls. (1)

An0nymousC0ward (110267) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432083)

Etoys has anatomically correct dolls [] ! What are they teaching our children!

Re:What they should have done was have a message. (2)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432084)

There is neither a legal nor moral obligation to point someone to a similar sight, because they are confused. It is a nice thing to do, and some sights chose to voluntarilly do so. I'm sure, had politely made such a request to, rather than resort to judicial thuggary, the artists at Etoy would have at least given the request consideration.

However, now that have done what they've done, I suspect there will be an ice age in hell before any such link is created, and that is as it should be. We should continue the boycott, and do everything (legal) in our power to put those pricks out of business for good.

Re:I'm sure we don't know the full story (4)

netpuppy (77874) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432085)

"I don't agree with censorship, but I don't have any problem with two web sites trying to find some kind of common ground so that they can talk this over like human beings."

Talking things over like human beings doesn't include suing for and recieving an injunction against someone's livelihood, shutting them down, going so far as to remove their email access, and then sending a preliminary olive branch after your biggest retail season is over. I don't think etoys should be treated with any respect at this point, nor should they be able to mandate any terms of surrender. If justice were to be served, they would be shut down themselves for a month, just to even the score.

Re:Well NSI has been deregulated (2)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432086)

Why not just re-register with a competing DNS registration service?

This tells me a few things, (1)

PenguinX (18932) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432087)

To get to the point the results of this case are landmark - and we shall probably see the end of because of it eventually anyways.

As a culture we see that lay people are upset when hearing this because it violates freedom of speech. Not someones oddball interpretation of the first amendment but people are starting to truly want to be informed not only because they can be but because they want to be.

People everywhere are seeing internet companies as (from time to time) just that - nothing more and nothing less. If company A sues company B about an issue of "morality" -- and questionable at that then they have no "morality" themselves. Corporations aren't evil - just some of them have evil people (tm).

Watching the etoys stock as a whole - it reflects that bad press because of a stupid issue also reflect what a public company is all about. The fact here is that they did not do what the public wanted, but what they wanted... so the public hammered them (badly).

Etoy will end up countersuing them and possibly even the court that granted the injunction siting that there is no legislation that allows for this type of legal action to actually take place. Regardless this will be a big win for freedom of speech and also a big win for any artist...

If art is about making a stand for what you believe then these artists are being true martyrs - and nobody (except etoys) can possibly loose this battle.

Re:Why would a geek buy from them? (1)

tm2b (42473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432088)

You're kidding, right?

  • Legos
  • Star Wars Toys
  • More Legos
  • Anything bright and shiny
  • Those other Legos I forgot to buy

Re:I'm sure we don't know the full story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432089)

IF eToys argument is "hey, do what you like, but can you keep the stuff that's age-inappropriate off the public pages",

No, eToys argument is "hey, you will run your web page according to content guidelines WE set or we'll sue you out of business."

It is censorship when one business uses the government through a lawsuit to stifle or make demands on content presentation of another.

If eToys doesn't like the fact that etoy has a similar domain name and presents material they don't like, eToys can GET ANOTHER DOMAIN NAME! Too bad if they lose the investment they've made in branding. It's their own fault they didn't do a few whois searches before spending the money.

Re:Well NSI has been deregulated (2)

Cygnus v1 (32061) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432090)

They have enough control to "hold" the domain name so that none of the other registrars can issue it. From one of the previous Wired articles [] :

Network Solutions spokeswoman Sheryl Regan said the domain name registrar routinely shuts down contested domain names when court orders are issued.

"We put a domain name on hold so no one has access to it," Regan said.

And NSI is the incumbent registrar, which brings with it many advantages...

Uhh that dosn't make any sense. (2)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432091)

If I operate a convent bestiality porn site or I operate a site for Barney and his little friends makes no difference. If you give money to someone for a service then you are obgligated by law to give them that service or give a total refund. If a person is refused from being able to get a service that is open to others and the others are not under similar restrictions then you are in fact descriminating against them and that is also against the law and you can file a suit. I would also be suing NSI for their predatory and descriminatory actions.

someone moderate this boob into oblivion, please. (1)

netwiz (33291) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432092)

see above

f**k a lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432093)

The people at etoys first priority was probably to knock down the other site just for the christmas buying rush. Well they got their way, by throwing their legal weight around.

Hear this, ETOYS: I will never, ever buy from, visit, or link to, your shitty site. I will never invest in your friggin company. If I am ever asked my opinion about you, nearby mothers will clamp their hands over childrens ears approx 1 second after I begin responding. I hope you all manage to die choking on liquid shit somehow. FUCK YOU.

I hope etoy sues the balls, ass, and any other painful-to-lose part off of etoys. And I hope someone with a shotgun and baseball bat pays every employee of etoys a visit. DAMN ETOYS TO HELL!

Some of us geeks have children! (3)

Frank Sullivan (2391) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432094)

And when i wrote my protest mail to, that's exactly what i told them... i am a parent of five year old twins, our family is well within the top 10% income bracket, and we regularly purchase goods online. And if they want a share of the hundreds of dollars a year i spend on toys, they need to drop their complaints against etoy.

Which reminds me... i should send them another letter telling them that i won't be satisfied until they have unilaterally and unconditionally dropped everything against etoy.
chars is barely sufficient

Etoys is a registered trademark? (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432095)

The etoys site is claiming that Etoys is a registered trademark. Wasn't it overturned? Shouldn't NSI resurrect the etoy site because there are no longer any trademark issues?

BTW Is there an etoy legal fund?

Re:I'm sure we don't know the full story (2)

jd (1658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432096)

You're right that they should have done a bit of research, first. That was stupid of them.

However, they =DO= have every right to ask. The First Ammendment grants every man and woman (but not children, sadly) the absolute right to say or ask what they like, without interference. Whether you agree with the First Ammendment or not is irrelevent. It's there, so eToys has absolute right to whatever free speech they choose.

They even have the right to expect eToy to comply. Expectations are in the mind, and there is no law against thinking what you like.

What they =DON'T= have the right to do is to make people go along with those expectations. THAT is where their rights end and those of the other person begin. Your rights end where I begin.

There is NOTHING illegal or immoral for eToys to go over to another company and say "hey, we can be mature about this, how about we work something out here." I'd call that bloody sensible, if you ask me! It's about time someone asked, rather than demanded at gunpoint or lawsuit-point. This =IS= the twentieth-century AD, and we ARE supposed to be more peaceful, civilised and enlightened than, say, Genghis Khan's mongul hordes.

On the other hand, there's NOTHING civilised about threats or intimidation to make another person think (or pretend to think) the same as yourself, out of sheer terror.

Re:Should have realized this would happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432097)

1 brain, ten fingers; Post ten times as much as you think.

Yep. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432098)

They're vulnerable as hell, and they're scared as hell. There stock has lost 60% of it's value since their IPO in May. I'm sure an organised boycott would lead to a rapid turn over of most if not all of their officers and board of directors. And of course the most frightening thing: anybody that can set up a web server can go into competition with them! The barriers to competition are so low that practically all of us could set up our own online retailer site... now suppose we all decided to specialize in toys... and all decided to undercut etoys prices as soon as they raise them in a desparate effort to finally become profitable and prevent even more investors from jumping ship.

Imagine yourself as a high-priced executive at EToys, watching the whole house of cards about to come tumbling down and render your stock options into just so much toilet paper. Wouldn't YOU resort to any dirty trick you could think to try to keep the stock values up?

etoys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432099)

I think everyone who reads about this bullshit should go to: enupage=1&pagename=t10

and send a little comment.. i sure did, hehehe....

Re:Sure Etoys (1)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432100)

Why not? Slashdot the bloody legal system, raise cain in the courtroom. Do Flynn on them. Make strawman cases... in general... just overload the system to such an extend it can no longer function. Brought down by it's own excesses... I love it. :)

Re:I'm sure we don't know the full story (4)

LeviLevi (114307) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432101)

Please don't take this personally, but I believe it is exactly the kind of attitude potrayed in this post that allows the erosion of democracy and freedom to occur around events like this eToys vs. etoy business.

Of course /. has editorial bias. /. is, in theory, run by humans. Humans have biases. /. puts a lot of effort into and does a very good job at keeping editorial bias to a minimum. I believe that's why it has the level of community participation it does.

Why is it that we "don't hear all sides of the story" when (American) business or financial interests are threatened? Do you think we've heard "all sides of the story" surrounding the probable intentional bombing of of the Chinese embassy during the Kosovo conflict? Have we heard all sides of the story regarding the brutal police suppression of non-violent activists in Seattle recently? (Yes, I realize that there were some violent protestors as well. But also keep in mind that there are many eyewitness accounts of 'plant' activity. i.e. people purposefully trying to agitate the crowd and handcuffing them with plastic handcuffs when they join in.)

It seems that when the equity income of pampered knowledge workers is in question, we "haven't heard all sides of the story". When we have undisputed facts regarding an attack on democracy and freedom, it's irrelevant.

There are a couple of undisputed facts here:

  1. etoy was here first
  2. eToys extremely arrogant legal behavior toward etoy.

Even assuming that eToy's argument is what you claim it is, do you honestly believe they have the right to that argument? I certainly don't. It would be an extremely slippery slope to allow corporation to police network content around their "domain neighborhoods".

I also think we should be extremely wary of your assumption that "age-appropriateness" is a good thing. It has been proven time and again in other mediums that conrtols on information for the perceived benefit of the "innocent" are no subsitute for a supportive community. Look at the populatiry of (shudder) Christianity. To beg "the system" for controls on information to protect our progeny is shrugging off parental responsibility to an outside agency. We should be addressing the problems and concerns that are preventing parents from developing supportive communities in their homes (i.e. insane work hours, the engineering of materialistic market-mania in youth (Pokemon, etc.), etc.) rather than abdicating our responsibility to someone or something else and then bitching when it is ineffective.

Re:The Awful Truth/Michael Moore (1)

Powers (118325) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432102)

Don't hold your breath about it getting produced, unless you can send Mike some good ideas for actual show segments. The key is for him to be able to turn the situation into a good segment, and his in-your-face style would be hard to implement against an Internet-only company.

On the other hand, I suppose it can't hurt to keep trying. It is a good idea, and if anyone can give eToys the satirical dressing-down it needs, it's Michael Moore.

Well I guess you really like legos then. (2)

slashdot-terminal (83882) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432103)

I think a little trip over to lego [] would do just nicely or maybe toys r us [] . I don't know what to do about the "bright and shiny" part maybe some furniture polish on a oak cofee table might do the trick or perhaps pyrite I hear that works well for shiny and fooled a great deal of people :)


Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432104)


Our Neighbor on the Internet (2)

Ernest_Miller (117710) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432105)

Hmmm...I own an avant garde theatre for a couple of years. You move in next door, open a toy store and then ask me to stop producing radical plays because it frightens some of the toystore customers.

If eToys didn't want to be associated with etoy, they should have thought of that before spending millions marketing their asinine name.

intresting ping reply from (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432106)

$ ping
PING ( from : 56(84) bytes of data.
From ( Packet filtered
From ( Packet filtered
From ( Packet filtered
From ( Packet filtered

--- ping statistics ---
7 packets transmitted, 0 packets received, +4 errors, 100% packet loss

Re:Why would a geek buy from them? (2)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432107)

I have one nefew and four nieces aged 2 through 10, for which I buy xmas presents every year. Etoys would have been the first place I would have checked, had it not been for their reprehensible behavior. Then there are 5 birthdays spaced throughout the year.

As it is, they lost some $300 in xmas revinue from me alone. Add to that an additonal $400-$600 in birthday revinue in 2000. Multiply the resulting value by at least another 8-10 years, as in light of their most recent actions will never shop there, ever.

Now, ask yourself: how many people in the artistic and technical communites either have children of their own, or siblings who do, who fall into the same category? The effect is magnified, inasmuch as geeks are significantly more likely than Joe Average to actually spend money online. It was incredibly stupid, indeed bordering on fiscal negligence if not outright self-sabatage, for to alienate one of their most promising customer bases in the way that they have.

With any luck both their financial report and stock value will reflect this for a long time to come.

Re:I'm sure we don't know the full story (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432108)

IF eToys argument is "hey, do what you like, but can you keep the stuff that's age-inappropriate off the public pages", then I don't see the problem.

There's still a potential problem: if the domain was registered first (which I believe is uncontested), then what right does etoys have to be ordering etoy around?


nerdling (72635) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432109)

bilbo baggins would kick geoffrey giraffes ass :)

The issue has changed, who's side are you on now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432110)

Etoys is asking that material unsuitable to children not be placed a on a web site where there might be confusion with ''. Instead, they ask the potential offensive material be place a couple of extra mouse clicks away.

I would imagine that Etoys probably thinks that having Etoy shock art just one character away from the Etoys childrens section is like having Howard Stern come on the TV right after Sesame Street. I know that Etoy is not a pornography site, but none the less at times it has material that requires parental guidance.

Now I know that most of the people reading this are smart enough to become web-millionaires just by staying up late a few nights coding HTML. Surely you don't think it is that big a deal to take anything unsuitable for children off of the main page and place it where you must willfuly navigate to get ot it. Does this really impose on the freedoms of all you net-savy individuals? Does this really censor the artists?

So what if had the domain name first. I don't agree with Etoys initial tactics of trying to crush etoy, but it seems that the situation has moved beyond that now.

Should anything be allow on Main Street in the metaverse, or should there be some zoning bylaws to seperate childrens toys stores from adult performance art?

UK credit card system Y2K failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432111),1597,144162-311,00. shtml

Now, back to our regular program.

Re:Some of us geeks have children! (3)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432112)

Please consider demanding a public apology to Etoys as well. It is important that they be held accountable for what they've done and not just be able to slink anonymously away, only to come back and do something equally reprehensible another day.

I am making my position to them (politely)clear in another window as I type this.

Re:I'm sure we don't know the full story (1)

SLOfuse (68448) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432113)

I was not intending to suppress their right to freely communicate with etoy and express there desire. They even have the right to sue. I have the "right" to sue you for remarks that I "think" you may have directed against me whether or not you did. I would lose, but that is my legal right.

Etoys is not just communicating and asking. They are not just saying "will you make your home page age appropriate". They have something in the other hand. They have NO MORAL RIGHT to be "thus" concerned with what etoy does. I am NOT the one suppressing free speech. I believe etoys is.

Re:Possible Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432114)

This wouldn't have been the first website to do this, take for instance. Also if I am not mistaken I think Userfriendly had a similiar situation going on, or am I mistaken? The question is would you do this if someone came after you with all guns blairing?? I certainly would hesitate when they have been a TOTAL ASSHOLE about the whole thing. Am I wrong here??? "My computer said I have preformed an illegal operation. Am I going to jail??" -- Power Looser

Re:Should have realized this would happen... (3)

Skapare (16644) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432115)

I remember a childhood story about a duck giving a snake a ride across the river in exchange for the snake agreeing not to bite the duck. Once on the other side the snake bites the duck and the duck in his dying breath asks why and the snake replies, because that is that nature of being a snake.

Now we turn to big corporations and small organizations. Same story.

proof reading (2)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432116)

of course, that to shoud be a from.

Please consider demanding a public apology from Etoys as well.

Re:I'm sure we don't know the full story (2)

jd (1658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432117)

I agree that it's a subjective decision, but being subjective (and therefore varying between people) doesn't really change a person's ability to still make that decision.

After all, what you call a headache is subjective and therefore at variance with what I call a headache, but we're still capable of accepting each other's definition and understanding what the other person means.

I don't see why "age-inappropriate" should be any different. Sure, one person can very in their opinions with another, but if we respect that, we can STILL come to an understanding as to what "age-inappropriate" means. It means "that which is not appropriate for that age", and it will have that meaning for the most extreme conservative, the most open liberal, pagans, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

Sure, no two people will agree as to what actually -is- inappropriate, but that's not the issue. The request referred to "good faith", and (IMHO) that means "go by YOUR definition. If =you= aren't comfortable with 5 year olds seeing this, then why not put it somewhere where 5 year olds won't have access to it?"

"Good Faith" almost -can't- mean "Use Our Definition", as that requires obedience & servitude, rather than the "we trust you to follow your beliefs" that "Good Faith" implies.

As for .htaccess files, HTML pages and web servers - if a person doesn't understand what a web server is, how do they understand the idea of driving to a shop, faxing a resume, or sending a postcard to a friend?

I agree that a lot of people are, ummm, clueless, but I've taught a lot of people too, and I've found that people have no problems understanding concepts that are familiar to them. Computerese scares people because it -seems- alien. The concept, though, beneath that is all very familiar stuff to these people.

.htaccess files are simply files which let the system know who can access the file. For non-techies, this translates to: ".htaccess files are like bouncers. They restrict who can get in, often by name, invitation or appearance."

(For techies, name = hostname or username, invitatation = cookie or certificate, appearance = browser type or capabilities)

The definition of insanity is to try and do the same thing, time and time again, expecting different results. If you describe things too technically for Joe Bloggs, use ideas that Joe Bloggs -does- know, and show how they relate. It's easier on everyone, if people can learn in a way that works for them, rather than having everyone struggle uphill.


Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432118)

He just knows how easy it is to get another sig when this one wears out.

That's life, eh?

Re:The issue has changed, who's side are you on no (1)

Ernest_Miller (117710) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432119)

Why should the government or corporations decide the zoning requirements? Shouldn't parents be somewhat responsible? If you don't want your children to see such materials, buy a commercial filtering program. I am sure that many, if not most, filter out etoy. If they don't, you can manually set it yourself, or ask them to add it to their black lists or whatever.

Don't make etoy do the work that you should be doing.

Re:Counter-suit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432120)

ROFLMAO, IANAL but IMHO u r kewl!

Re:Why would a geek buy from them? (1)

Rhombus (104176) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432121)

Speak for yourself, dude...I've got Meowth chilling on my desk as we speak ;)

Here's how to settle this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432122)

Etoy should put a PICS rating tag on their site, and concerned parents should use the features built into their browsers to dissallow access to these sites.

This would solve any "accidental" access. If someone was determined to get there, they'd get around anything anyway.


Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432123)


For the acronym impaired:

You may suck our collective cocks

Re:Why would a geek buy from them? (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432124)

Well, aside from the obvious (Legos!) there's always the obvious...

(for those of us BOFHs who have run out of space for dead bodies)

Legal defense fund? (1)

Neural666 (131358) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432125)

There is something fundamentally wrong with our legal (and moral) system when something like this happens and is not thrown out of the legal system as 'frivilous'. Has any though ben given, or action taken, to mount a legal defense fund for Etoy given the current situation? Some sort of precidence must be set if we are to prevent similar occurances in the future. It might be in our (Netizens), best intrest to take E-Toys to task for what they've done on thier own ground (i.e. legally). My $.02

Who Are eToys Lawyers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432126)

I think most of us are in agreement that eToys is providing a prime example of poor Net citizenship. But who are the lawyers who are advising them? What blind, old, senile law firm told eToys it was a good idea to go fight a turf war over domain names? I don't think eToys is blameless by a long shot, but they aren't the only bad guys here. If eToys goes down in flames, it may serve as an object lesson to the next IPO who thinks his money means that he is automatically right. But shouldn't there also be some pressure brought to bear on the law firms who undertake this sort of foolishness, too? The lawyers who are advising these companies and filing these suits should also pay attention, and learn not to lead their clients into similar situations.

eToys death watch? (3)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432127)

According to eToys' [] stock history, they've dropped from almost $80/share to ~$25.50/share.

Does anyone have a really credible analysis on this? I found some ideas over at the Red Herring [] . Toys R Us is down to $14.13, $10 off its yearly high. The entire online toy purchasing industry is suffering from a lack of confidence, resulting (reportedly) from their inability to fill toy orders on time.

While customers of other toy makers (Toys R Us) and KBKids professed (at a rate exceeding 40%) they wouldn't shop there again, the rate of terminal dissatisfaction with eToys is 12%.

My prediction is that eToys' stock will rebound. The eToys death watch will be an excruciatingly slow event and will suffer quite an ugly setback as eToys (in my non-investor prediction) gets out of the hospital bed around early Spring, the time by which eToys will most likely have gotten their butts in gear with regards to meeting customer orders. They will either have more efficient fulfillment techniques, or customers will buy earlier, but in either case this major depressant upon their stock value will be lifted away by April.

So is there cause for despair? Yes and no. Surely we cannot avoid eating a few crow feathers here and there when eToys' stock rebounds. But the way to keep the whole crow from being stuffed down, i.e. the way to keep their stock from rebounding too far, and perhaps even drag it down to sub-$20 levels, is rather clear.
1) If you know of any online artist groups, inform them about the eToy vs eToys issue. The artist community does not suffer this crap very easily.
2) If you know of any non-online artist groups of any sort - stores, galleries, you name it - let them know, also.

There is the more drastic and difficult theory, also:
3) Gather donations and fund an ad in USA Today, documenting the tragedy of eToys' attack on Express it as an attack on artistic free expression by means fraudulent legal tactics (false patent claims, etc.), under an atmosphere of judicial ignorance favoring the biggest-mouthed, deepest-pocketed lawyers. Call for a boycott on

You have to find ways to create massive tides of bad press for eToys - this and this alone will create a major dampener on their stock value. This should start right now, while their stock is down, so as to depress the upcoming rebound as eToys prepares a mission plan to prevent their previous customer fulfillment failures from happening again.

Now I've checked USA Today for their information on the costs of a full page ad [] , and the rates are almost $11,000 for a 1/16 page ad, up to $81K for a full pager. It ain't cheap. Of course the bigger the ad the more people are going to notice it, but I think even at 1/16th page it is still going to cause major press, and grab the attention of a lot of people.

What do y'all think?

I get it now. (1)

z84976 (64186) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432128)

So basically what this means is that I can start my own toy chain, say... "" (assuming that weren't already taken). Does that mean that I'm within my rights to "suggest" that start keeping it's adult oriented content on some other URL?

Really now....

Re:What they should have done was have a message. (2)

billybob jr (106396) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432129)

Something like this was discussed prior to the lawsuit. Etoy wanted Etoys to pay for an advertisement is what it boiled down to. Hard to say if Etoy was trying to be helpful or not.

Re:The Awful Truth/Michael Moore (1)

Riktov (632) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432130)

Don't want to sound too pessimistic, but I wonder how much appeal the eToys story would have to the "Awful Truth" audience and to Moore himself. (I haven't seen "The Awful Truth", but I did enjoy "TV Nation", "Roger & Me", etc.) Michael Moore's "little guy" is almost exclusively the low-tech working-class American who's being screwed over economically by the labor/trade practices of the big corporation.

Somehow I don't think a bunch of avant-garde conceptual net artist over in Germany would arouse much sympathy, as they are (along with Slashdotters) already part of the high-tech elite that is, in his view, eliminating all those good 'n' honest factory jobs that deserve to be preserved well into the twenty-first century. (Sarcasm intended.)

Open Letter to Mr. Malda (3)

tpck (66866) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432131)


We represent the interests of Inc. & Co. It has come to our attention that your site,, may be willfully infringing upon our trademark(s) and intentionally misleading the public. Inc. & Co. is an established e-commerce firm (as of Dec. 30th, 1999) with market capitilization of over $259.6 billion USD. As the premiere retailer of konkey widgets online, we have an obligation to our shareholders to protect our intelectual property from unlawful individuals such as yourself.

We request that you take your website,, offline immediately and delete any and all files relating to the site in any manner whatsoever. You will also be responsible for removing each and every link on the Internet that points to or any of its pages. Failure to comply will result in a mega-huge monster of a lawsuit -- don't fuck with us, we've got more money than you do.

If is not disabled within 12 seconds of this posting, we will contact Network Solutions Inc. and have them pull the plug. Then we will procede with the lawsuit.

Please contact your legal department if you have any questions. (Don't bother with the PR department, they know nothing. Buncha monkeys think we've been keeping good relations with you folks for months, and have even offered to buy your domain name for a huge sum of cash. Ha, what morons.)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
The Inc. & Co. Legal Team.

Re:Anatomically correct dolls. (1)

Rhombus (104176) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432132)

Mmmmmmm....I just love that new-baby smell...

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1432133)

I hope none of you think any less of me for throwing my arms up in dispare and just quiting my futile attempt to understand legalities :(

Re:I'm sure we don't know the full story (1)

Phillip Birmingham (2066) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432134)

There is NOTHING illegal or immoral for eToys to go over to another company and say "hey, we can be mature about this, how about we work something out here."

But eToys is not doing that. They're holding the threat of the pending lawsuit over etoy to coerce compliance.

When someone points a gun at you and offers not to pull the trigger if you hand over your wallet, it's not a polite request -- it's robbery, no matter how politely phrased.

Not very peaceful, civilized, or enlightened.

Re:I'm sure we don't know the full story (2)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432135)

There is NOTHING illegal or immoral for eToys to go over to another company and say "hey, we can be mature about this, how about we work something out here." I'd call that bloody sensible, if you ask me! It's about time someone asked, rather than demanded at gunpoint or lawsuit-point.

Hello?! McFly?!?! Have you been following the same story I have?

eToys SUED eToy on the basis of TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT, got their domain (eToy's domain was older then eToys'!) SUSPENDED by NSI, and now you think eToys is being SENSIBLE because you think they're asking for consessions on issues which have NO RELEVANCE to the court case at ALL?!?!

eToys has no legal or moral right to sue eToy for anything, let alone to be the content police of the net. I think you need a whack from the reality stick personally.

-- iCEBaLM

Re:Who Are eToys Lawyers? (2)

Ernest_Miller (117710) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432136)

1800 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA 90067-4276
(310) 277-1010
Bruce A. Wessel [] (116734)
phone (310) 203-7045
fax (310) 203-7199
email [mailto]

How to Peacably Kick Etoys' Ass (1)

Sir_Winston (107378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432137)

I took the liberty of e-mailing eToys from all three of my e-mail accounts today, e-mailing them different letters which all said the same basic thing: I've read an e-mail forward about your distasteful actions relating to, and sent it on to dozens of friends, and your business is going to be fscked not to mention the fact that is going to be very wealthy after the countersuit. E-mail them at -- and they also have a web-based form for reporting "problems with the site" at enupage=1&pagename=t9

and a "feedback" web-based form at enupage=1&pagename=t10

I suggest everyone utilize them all.

And, by all means--*write all your non-slashdot friends some e-mail forwards about this matter*. Forwards are usually a pain in the a*s, but this is one of those times when grassroots action is necessary and e-mail forwards will help. Imagine if thousands of people start, and continue, e-mailing about how disgusting their harassment of is.

And, not that I'm advocating going *this* far, but if anyone should happen to have access to computers to which he can't be tied--well, it would be easy enough to make them call the eToys 800 numbers with their modems continuously...

They should have called it (1)

cyberdonny (46462) | more than 14 years ago | (#1432138)

Then the US would have no jurisdiction at all over them, not even via NSI.
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