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5255

SEO Aaron Wall's Case Thrown Out : Fighting For Bloggers' Rights!

[Update: The judge killed the immoral 100% bogus lawsuit, and thus I am no longer accepting donations. Thanks to everyone who helped me. If you would like to support free speech online please donate to EFF or Public Citizen. Optionally you may also want to read the EFF Legal Guide for Bloggers, Chilling Effects or CyberSLAPP, all of which are great resources.]

Well Traffic Power just filed a civil lawsuit against me.


I looked at many of the sites that were referenced in my comments, and it looks as though many of them were forced to remove their comments / content by Traffic Power, or decided to remove it on their own. A couple examples are SEO Consultants Traffic Power section and & SE Roundtable's post located here http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/000596.html


As far back as June 4th, 2004 I removed a comment that I thought was offensive, and I thought generally I was keeping the content in bounds of any sort of legal limit. It is ok to have an opinion. It is ok for others to post their opinions. Since the initial time someone cold called me stating they were from Traffic Power the content has aged over a year and never once has Traffic Power attempted to contact me outside of blog comments, a cease and desist, and a lawsuit.


Could you imagine being a client for a company that communicates like that?


Had at any point in time Traffic Power made ANY LEGITIMATE ATTEMPT to tell me what specifically I or my site did wrong, I probably would have promptly removed it.


Imagine if your company had trade secrets disclosed on a website that got around 100,000 pageviews a month. Would you wait a year to sue for trade secrets being disclosed? Would you fail to point them out specifically so that they may be quickly removed if they were legitimate trade secrets?


Their lawyer has sorta gave me an ultimatum. Verbally he stated that if I removed ALL content related to Traffic Power from SEO Book.com that they would drop the suit. Currently I am drafting a request for a written statement, since verbal agreements do not override papers, and they already filed papers on me.

I have not decided whether or not it was in by best interests to fight this yet. I have a bit of money, but not tons. I have a bit of time, but not tons.


As far as potential upsides to proceeding with the legal ordeals:


  • It would preserve the content others have wrote on my site. I would not go mangling the content of those who aided in making this site more complete and / or more useful.


  • It would teach me a good amount about the legal system at a fairly young age.
  • Few people heavily rely upon me and I have minimal living costs, so I have little to lose on that front. Especially since I am young enough and quick learning enough to where even if I had nothing I could still do well in a year anyhow.
  • I hate to admit it, but I have for some odd reason always been more motivated to take action by negative influences such as incidents like this.
  • It would be an ego stroke to win, although I am not sure what legitimate value that has, and there are much better and cheaper ways to get a good ego stroke.
  • My posts rank well in search results, and it probably drives significant traffic to my website. That, in turn, may save a good number of businesses a significant amount of money.
  • I already rank second for their lawyer's name, and if I beat them I am certain I could easily boost that ranking to #1.
  • Others who were sued (it looks as though 5 people and 5 companies - although many of them might be people who commented on my site) would not need to go it alone.
  • Traffic Power would probably realize that bullying and intimidation are not the solution to bad PR. The real solution is fixing the problems that cause the bad PR. Even if my site has it's information taken down there are plenty of other sites that have similar information posted to them. Unless their business model or client communications strategy change I can only guess that other sites will continue to post bad stuff.
  • Since there is no specific information in the lawsuit it would probably get thrown out of court the first day.
  • There are still blatently defamatory forums created about me. It seems a bit stupid for me to give in because they hired a lawyer when it is obvious that someone out there is doing far worse to me, and that anonymous third party promotes Traffic Power and lies blatently about me.

  • I may be able to countersue, but I hear it is hard to sue companies working out of Las Vegas. That is the reason many telemarketing type companies are located in Nevada.
  • I have some friends who are far richer than I who stated they may be willing to help cover associated legal costs.

As far as potential downsides to proceeding with the legal ordeals:


  • It would eat time that I could use to focus on productive and useful ideas, tools, marketing methods, and learning.


  • There may be something worth suing for in the posts or comments. I am rather naive to the laws that govern such behavior. I do know that by me deleting and annotating the deletion of that one offensive post it shows that my intent was not purely evil or negative. It also helps show that if Traffic Power made any legitimate attempt to tell me specifically what was wrong they may have got a solution prior to them needlessly spending money talking to a lawyer.
  • The lawsuit would eat money that I could invest, give to charity, or spend on better things.
  • The Traffic Power story has died down, and it may make me look like a lamer to keep being involved in that story.

When I asked for more information or specifics Max D. Spilka told me it was too volumous to state. Some of my legal friends have stated that too volumous usually means there is nothing there.


Some of the opinions are fairly harsh, with some people stating things like:

  • In my opinion, all trafficpower.com is is just a bunch of cheep everyday crooks. They should all be in jail.


  • traffic-power.com called me today at 4:34am in the morning!!! What the F*@k ! They do not even check the time zones of who they are calling? I line in Hawaii .. Can anything be done to stop these people?!?!

I also left the posts that were pro / for Traffic Power as well, while also noting that none of them ever listed a specific URL.


For those who want to dig through the archives:


  • here is the initial post I made about the time I was cold called by a person who stated they were representing Traffic Power.


  • that post may have led to me being included in the bogus defamatory hate forums I noted here

  • on this page, someone asked me why I am not suing them over the content which is on the fake forums
  • this post notes that they may have changed names, as originally referenced by an SEO Consultants page that was later taken down.
  • here I cover what I thought was a fake press reference to the situation
  • recently they sent me a cease and desist order
  • they also recently sued Traffic Power Sucks

I am fairly certain I am probably just going to pull the content. Not so much for the legal reasons, but more for karma related ones, sorta like Nick's reasonings here.

If you bring enough negative crap into your life then eventually you can't help but become it.


Also, if Traffic Power did not exist, some other company would take that market position. This blog can not really help those people because I can't keep giving extended coverage to everything I do not think is good or my blog will just become a rant blog or whinge blog.


I tried creating something that was free and more of a bottoms up thing for SEO when I was a bit more naive than I am today, but if fell flat on it's face because some people claimed it was a self promo maneuver, even though I registered it by proxy and tried to remove much of my personal bias from my writing.


Ultimately though I am just an exceptionally small voice in an exceptionally crowded field. Recently O'Reilly even mentioned that one of my affiliates was a deceptive advertiser because they bought a link next to his cuban cigar link and had a footer affiliate link on their site.


Danny Sullivan is one of the few people in this industry that has a credible voice outside of this industry. He is probably one of the few people who can set initiatives, bring things together, and change things. I am still a bit too young, naive, and not-so-business-savvy to pretend that what I do can in any way fill that sort of a role. I really don't think me actively highlighting one or a few specific companies really makes anything better in the grand scheme of things.


If you posted comments to any of the prior posts please make sure you keep a copy for yourself if you want it, as the posts may be taken down soon.


If you post comments to this page make sure you also post them on your own blog or website, as this post may be taken down soon.


In the extended portion of the post is a rough copy of the "NOTICE! YOU HAVE BEEN SUED" notification. I am interested in your thoughts and comments. -------------------------------------------------------

Software Development and Investment of Nevada d/b/a Traffic Power.com., a Nevada corporation,

Plaintiff

vs.

Aaron Wall, an individual, d/b/a SEO Book.com, and DOES I through X; and ROE CORPORATIONS I through X, inclusive,

Defendants.


CASE NO.: A508400

DEPT NO.: V


SUMMONS - CIVIL


NOTICE! YOU HAVE BEEN SUED. THE COURT MAY DECIDE AGAINST YOU WITHOUT YOUR BEING HEARD UNLESS YOU RESPOND WITHIN 20 DAYS. READ THE INFORMATION BELOW.

TO THE DEFENDANT(S): A civil Complaint has been filed by the Plaintiff(s) against you for the relief set forth in the Complaint.


Aaron Wall

SEO Book.com

144 Dahlia Drive

State College, PA 16803


1. If you intend to defend this lawsuit, within 20 days after this Summons is served on you, exclusive of the date of service, you must do the following:


a. File with the Clerk of this Court, whose address is shown below, a formal written response to the Complaint in acordance with the rules of the Court, with appropriate filing fee.


b. Serve a copy of your response upon the attorney whose name and address is shown below.


2. Unless you respond, your default will be entered upon application of the Plainiff(s) and this Court may enter a judgement against you for the relief demanded in the Complaint, which could result in the taking of money or property or other relief requested in the Complaint.

3. If you intend to seek advice of an attorney in this manner, you should do so promptly so that your response may be filed on time.


4. The State of Nevada, its political subdivisions, agencies, officers, employees, board members, commission members and legislators, each have 45 days after service of the Summons within which to file an Answer or other responsive pleading to the Complaint.


Submitted by

____________

Max D. Spilka, Esq.

Neveda Bar No.: 4388

8330 W. Sahara Ave, Ste. 290

Las Vegas, Nevada 89117

(702) 933-5400

Attorney for Plaintiff


SHIRLEY B. PARRAGUIRRE, CLERK OF COURT

By: PATRICIA BOGGESS AUG 11 2005

Deputy Clerk Date


Clark County Courthouse

200 South Third Street

Las Vegas, Nevada 89155


-------------------------------------------

MAX D. SPILKA, CHTD.

Nevada Bar No. 4388

8330 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 290

Las Vegas, Nevada 89117

Telephone:(702)933-5400

Facsimile:(702)227-0799

Attorney for Plaintiff,

Software Development and Investment of Nevada

dba Traffic-Power.com., a Nevada Corporation,


DISTRICT COURT

CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA


Software Development and Investment of Nevada d/b/a Traffic Power.com., a Nevada corporation,

Plaintiff

vs.

Aaron Wall, an individual, d/b/a SEO Book.com, and DOES I through X; and ROE CORPORATIONS I through X, inclusive,

Defendants.


CASE NO.: A508400

DEPT NO.: V


COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

Arbitration Exemption Claimed: Injunctive Relief (exraordinary relief)


Plaintiff, SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT OF NEVADA dba TRAFFIC-POWER.COM., a Nevada corporation, ("Plaintiff"), by and through its attorney MAX D. SPILKA, ESQ., for its causes of action against the Defendant, AARON WALL, an individual d/b/a SEO BOOK.COM ("Defendants"), and each of them, complaints and allegations as follows:


GENERAL ALLEGATIONS


1. Plaintiff is a corporation duly organized and validly existing in the State of Nevada doing business as Traffic Power and is in the buisiness of internet advertising and internet placement optimization..


2. Upon information and belief, Defendant AARON WALL is an individual residing in Centre County, State of Pennyslvania, and doing buisiness as SEO BOOK.COM.


3. Defendants DOES I through X, and ROES Corporations I through X, are individuals and entities of unknown form whose names and capacities are unknown to the Plaintiff who, therefore sues said Defendants by the ficticious names. The Plaintiff is informed, believes, and thereon allege, that each of the Defendants designated as DOE or ROE, is in some manner responsible in whole or in part for the transaction and occurences alleged herein and through their negligent, intentional or reckless conduct caused damages to the Plaintiff as set forth more fully below. The Plaintiff will seek leave to amend this Complaint to intert true names and capacities of DOES I through X and ROE Corporations I through X when Plaintiff ascertains them.


4. Plaintiff is informed, believes, and thereon alleges that at all times relevant, that Defendants, and each of them, including the ficticiously named DOE or ROE, were the agents of the other and in doing the things alleged herein, were acting within the course and scope of such agency and with the consent and permission of the co-defendants. For ease of reference, the named Defendants may be referred to collectively in the singular as "Defendant", and reference to one shall constitute reference to the others as well.


5. The actions complained of herein arose out of the conduct of the Defendants, and each of them, regarding Defendants' misappropriation of Plaintiffs trade secrets and Defendants' defamation of Plaintiff.


6. Plaintiff undertakes rigorous and extensive measures to safeguard information about its business. Internet placement optimization is a highly competitive business, and if Plaintiff's trade secrets are revealed competitors can gain a prejudicially unfair advantage over Plaintiff. Accordingly, Plaintiff's trade secrets are provided to a limited number of people, only on a need-to-know basis and subject to strict confidentiality agreements.

7. An unidentified individual, acting alone or in concert with others, has recently misappropriated and disseminated through web sites Plaintiff's confidential information. This information could have been obtained only through a breach of Plaintiff's confidentiality agreement. The unauthorized use and distribution of this information violates Nevada's trade secrets statue and has caused irreparable harm to Plaintiff.


8. Information concerning Plaintiff's trade secrets is not commonly known to the public or to others who can obtain economic value from their disclosure or use. The secrecy of this information provides Plaintiff a substantial business advantage.


9. Plaintiff competes in the highly competitive markets for internet advertisers and internet placement optimization. To succeed, Plaintiff must develop innovative market strategy and bring that strategy to the market before its competitors.


10. If Plaintiff's competitors became aware of Plaintiff's trade secrets, those competitors could benefit economically from that knowledge by directing their own market development and strategy to frustrate Plaintiff's plans. This strategic advantage to Plaintiff's competitors could, in turn, irreparably harm Plaintiff. Consequently, Plaintiff maintains such market strategy and development as trade secrets.


11. Plaintiff invests significantly in advertising and promotional activities surrounding its market strategy and development. The unautorized disclosure of Plaintiff's trade secrets causes Plaintiff to lose control over such information. Accordingly, Plaintiff protects such information as a trade secret.


12. Plaintiff takes reasonable steps under the circumstances to maintain confidentiality of its trade secrets. Plaintiff has established trade secret policies for its employees and requires all employees to execute strict confidentiality agreements.


13. Further, during their employment, Plaintiff's employees are reminded repeatedly that information learned durring the course of their employment is confidential. Moreover, when employees leave Plaintiff's employment, those employees are required to return all property belonging to Plaintiff. Plaintiff's information subject to its confidentiality agreement constitutes "trade secrets" under NRS 600 A. 030.


14. At unknown date or dates, Doe I, alone or in concert with Does I through X, began disseminating Plaintiff's trade secrets to the public, with such information now available on various web sites. Among other things, Defendant or Defendants posted proprietary relating to Plaintiff's solicitation, procedures on publicly accessible areas of the internet.


15. Also at unknown date or dates, Defendants maliciously published or caused to be published false and defamatory information over the internet concerning Plaintiff and Plaintiff's business.

16. Pursuant to Defendant's malicious intent, the publication has been read by the public.


17. The false and defamatory matter is calculated to damage Plaintiff's reputation, and at the time Defendants published or caused to be published such false and defamatory information about the Plaintiff over the internet, Defendants knew that the information published was false and defamatory and making such defamatory publication, Defendants acted with malice toward the Plaintiff.


18. Plaintiff has always enjoyed a reputation for honesty and truthfulness.


19. As a direct and proximate result of the breaches set forth herein, Plaintiff has been damaged in a current amount in excess of $10,000.00, plus costs, disbursements, and interest in an amount to be determined.


20. It has been necessary for Plaintiff to retain the services of an attorney to prosecute this action and Plaintiff is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs.


I.

FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF

(Misappropriation of Trade Secrets)


21. Plaintiff repeats the allegations contained in Paragraphs 1 through 20, as though fully set forth herein.

22. Defendant Doe I, alone or in concert with Defendants Does I through X, misappropriated Plaintiff's trade secrets by:


a. Acquiring those trade secrets by improper means such as theft, bribery, misrepresentation, breach or inducement of a breach of a duty to maintain secrecy, and/or espionage (hereinafter, "Improper Means");


b. Acquiring those trade secrets by Improper Means and disclosing them to the public without Plaintiff's express or implied consent;


c. Disclosing those trade secrets to the public without Plaintiff's express or implied consent and with the knowledge or reason to know that the trade secrets were derived from or through a person who had acquired them by Improper Means;


d. Disclosing those trade secrets to the public without Plaintiff's express or implied consent and with the knowledge or reason to know that the trade secrets were acquired under circumstances giving rise to a duty to maintain the secrecy or limit the use of those trade secrets;


e. Disclosing those trade secrets to the public without Plaintiff's express or implied consent and with the knowledge or reason to know that the trade secrets were derived from or through a person who had a duty to Plaintiff to maintain the secrecy or limit the use of the trade secrets; and/or


f. Disclosing those trade secrets to the public without Plaintiff's express or implied consent, without a material change in Doe I's position, and with the knowledge or reason to know that the trade secrets were in fact trade secrets and that knowledge of those trade secrets had been acquired by mistake or accident.


23. As a direct and proximate result of the breaches set forth herein, Plaintiff has been damaged in excess of $10,000.00, plus costs, disbursements, and interest in an amount to be determined at trial.


24. It has been necessary for Plaintiff to retain the services of an attorney to prosecute this action and Plaintiff is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

II.

SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF

(Defamation / Liable Per Se)


25. Plaintiff repeats the allegations contained in Paragraphs 1 through 24 as though fully set forth herein.


26. As provided earlier, Defendants published over the internet false and defamatory information regarding the Plaintiff and the Plaintiff's business with the intent of causing substantial injury to Plaintiff's reputation.


27. At the time Defendants published or caused to be published the false and defamatory information about the Plaintiff and the Plaintiff's business, Defendants knew that the published information was untrue.


28. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants' actions set forth herein, Plaintiff has been damaged in an amount in excess of $10,000.00, plus costs, disbursement, and interest in an amount to be determined at trial.


29. It has been necessary for Plaintiff to retain the services of an attorney to prosecute this action and Plaintiff is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs.


III.

THIRD CLAIM FOR RELIEF

(Injunctive Relief)


30. Plaintiff repeats the allegations contained in Paragraphs 1 through 29 as though fully set forth herein.


31. Plaintiff is informed and believes that Defendats are continuing and will continue to misappropriate Plaintiff's trade secrets. By reason of that ongoing misappropriation, Plaintiff will suffer severe and irreparable harm and damage, which damage will be difficult to ascertain, and Plaintiff will be without an adequate remedy at law.


32. As a direct and proximate result of the Defendants' actions set forth herein, Plaintiff has been damaged in an amount in excess of $10,000.00, plus costs, disbursements, and interest in an amount to be determined at trial.


33. It has been necessary for Plaintiff to retain the services of an attorney to prosecute this action and Plaintiff is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs.


IV.

FOURTH CLAIM FOR RELIEF

(Punitive Damages)

34. Plaintiff repeats the allegations contained in Paragraphs 1 through 33 as though fully set forth herein.


35. Defendants' conduct described herein was done with a conscious disregard for Plaintiff's rights, and with intent to vex, injure, or annoy Plaintiff, so as to constitute oppression, fraud and malice under Nevada law, entitling Plaintiffs to punitive damages in an amount appropriate to set an example of or punish Defendants.


36. As a direct and proximate result of the Defendants' wrongful conduct, Plaintiff is entitled to punitive or exemplary damages in an amount in excess of $10,000.00, plus costs, disbursements, and interest in an amount to be determined at trial.


37. It has been necessary for Plaintiff to retain the services of an attorney to prosecute this action and Plaintiff is entitled to an award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs.


WHEREFORE, for all claims and causes of action as alleged herein, Plaintiff demands judgement against the Defendants, and each of them, as follows:


1. For an amount exceeding $10,000, plus interest and costs, in an amount to be determined at trial;


2. For a Preliminary Injunction restraining the misappropriation of Plaintiff's trade secrets;


3. For an Injunction permanently restraining the misappropriation of Plaintiff's trade secrets;


4. For a judgement awarding punitive damages;

5. For interest on all claims from the date of damage;


6. For attorney's fees and cost; and


7. For such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper in the premises.


Dated this 11 day of August, 2005.


_______

MAX D. SPILKA, CHTD.

Nevada Bar No. 4388

8330 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 290

Las Vegas, Nevada 89117

Software Development and Investment of Nevada

dba Traffic-Power.com., a Nevada Corporation,


C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Marlon\Traffic Power - Wall\Complaint.wpd


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Bad1y.com is focused on the legal issues arising from the search. This includes the actions of search engines, the US Congress, and the behavior of attorneys. Bad1y.com documents all kinds of bad behavior, especially legal malfeasance. DSLmarketing.com, MyrtleBeachNow.com, Trey Harris, & Reese Boyd III are on our watch list for behaving badly.