Make your legal team restrain themselves when they're trying to silence bloggers who are trying to help people buy from Dell.
Yesterday Dell sent the following letter to a blog that was giving advice on how to better order from the confusing Dell web site (like clarifying pros and cons of when you should go to the Small Business vs Home Office sections; and when you might do even better going to a Dell Kiosk- which Dell's own web site never makes clear). Rather than a take down notice from Legal, a polite email from Marketing with corrections to the inaccurate parts and specific requests to remove the confidential information would have been:
Better for the Blogger - because he wouldn't feel threatened.
Better for Dell - because the article never would have been so widely publicized (I learned of it only because of the takedown notice).
Better for Dell Customers - because the rest of the non-confidential information in the article could still help them.
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from Tracy Holland
date Jun 14, 2007 4:39 PM
subject Posting by former Dell employee
Please remove the posting located at the following
http://consumerist.com/consumer/insiders/22-confessions-of-a-former-dell-sale...<contains information that is confidential and proprietary to Dell.
While not all aspects of the entry are accurate, ostensibly an ex-employee posted Dell's confidential information in violation of his or her employment agreement and confidentiality obligations (which prohibit the disclosure of such information both during and after the period of employment).
We would appreciate your prompt attention to this matter. Please confirm that the posting has been removed by the end of the day tomorrow.
Thank you, and please give me a call if you would like to discuss further.
Tracy J. Holland
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While some of the information wasn't correct; the blogger has been continually updating the article fixing inaccuracies as they're pointed out to him. Your legal team also referred to "confidential information" but never specified what was the offending confidential information that should be removed. It's a bit hard to guess what parts of that posting might have been considered confidential; because it seems like just about all the info in the article can be found (just with difficulty) browsing the Dell web site and Kiosks.
Ideas for your legal team:
* For the case of this article - point out the "confidential" information (if there really is any) and I'm confident the blogger will remove that confidential information while keeping the rest of the helpful advice (which helps your customers buy Dells) up there.
* In general - try to restrain yourselves from legal threats on Bloggers. It would probably have been nicer if someone from Dell Marketing asked the person to correct things; and the whole thing would have probably gone away quietly -- instead of being very visible on many high profile places on the internet and on mailing lists now.
We hold ourselves at Dell and all our employees to high ethical standards and believe ex-employees have an obligation to uphold those standards. We live and learn in this new world of blogs and appreciate your suggestion.