Sad State Of Affairs


In over two and a half years of running this blog,
we have never been as self-righteous as we will be in this post.
This is because our intellectual property and namesake
are possibly being impersonated by someone else on the Internet.
Big deal.  We go around jobbing people on the Internet left and right.
It's about time that we had a taste of our own medicine.
No.  Not really.
We rarely provoke people into crap.
We usually respond to someone jobbing us
by detailing what they say and spinning it to our benefit.
And then we make friends with those people afterwards.
OILER NATION and JAPERS' RINK, to name a few.
Solid blogs.
Unfortunately, for everyone involved in the following situation,
no spinning has to be done.
We feel we have to put a disclaimer here
saying that we wish no harm to anyone's reputation in this piece.
We just wish to give you our firsthand account of how easily you can be taken advantage of,
how people may wish to leech off of your hard work, and how to avoid all of it.
March 24
We get an e-mail from Dr. James Mirtle telling us about someone who
started a Penguin blog called "Pens Blog," parked at PENSBLOG.COM.
Nice logo, too.
Stephen S.'s turds have come up with better.
The operator of the site asked to join Mirtle's network of blogs.
Our first reaction was whatever.
Didn't have time to talk about it.
Figured it was just some joke.
Over the past few months, we received more e-mails
from people confused about our namesake and our site named "The Pensblog."
Okay, this was still not a big deal.
Every blog about the Penguins can be called a Pens Blog, a blog about the Pens.
The most generic name in history.
When we registered THEPENSBLOG.COM back in 2006,
PENSBLOG.COM was already parked by someone and not available.
It was a website that someone was using for selling ballpoint pens, if we recall correctly.
We're not brash enough to think every Penguin fan knows our site and knows that the name "The Pensblog" is firmly seeded in the Penguin blogging community, so, whatev; big deal.
Rather than e-mail the operator of the site, we decided not to bother with it.
Who cares?  We didn't.
But then along came RINKOTOLOGY.
And this is where our story begins.
It was a big deal for us.
We had to take a day off work to make sure it was going to be ready.
The folks at ANTEEPA were literally our slaves for that whole week.
But most of all, it was the engine used to generate donations
for the Mario Lemieux Foundation.
It is still unreal to think of how people pulled together in a rough economy
and donated over $12,000.
When it came time to buy the RINKOTOLOGY domain name,
we settled on RINKOTOLOGY.ORG.
The Mario Lemieux Foundation (a charity) was involved,
and we felt it was inappropriate to have a .COM address and didn't even purchase it.
Not purchasing the .COM domain turned out to be a mistake on our part.
Because there are "search engine specialists" out there who will see it's not purchased,
buy it for themselves, and try to generate revenue for themselves by people incorrectly going to that address.
For instance, people would buy up HOOGLE.COM and put ads on that page
so that when people miss a keystroke when they type GOOGLE.COM, they get hits and generate revenue on their site.
This goes hand-in-hand with "cybersquatting," as we'll discuss below.
If you love movie scripts, you'll love the next part.
Once RINKOTOLOGY went live on that glorious Monday a few weeks back,
someone decided to buy the RINKOTOLOGY.COM domain.
One guess as to who bought it.
Yeah, the operator of PENSBLOG.COM.
And this is a rough re-creation of was what parked at RINKOTOLOGY.COM that day:

Notice the "Pens Blog" link that is circled?
Clicking it directed you to the OTHER PensBlog.
We were stunned. Still are. We got jobbed.
So what happened here?
It is called "cyber squatting" or "domain squatting."
Definition from Wiki:

Cybersquatting (also known as domain squatting), according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The cybersquatter then offers to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the name at an inflated price.

If you have a detailed recollection of our site and crap,
you'll remember that we referenced it in Game One of the Pens-Flyers series recap.
That's when all this stuff was going down.
APRIL 13-17
Our initial e-mails to the operator of PENSBLOG.COM
regarding this situation went completely unanswered.
Rather than bore you with the numerous e-mails we sent him,
a quick summary of the e-mails was that we wanted our intellectual property back.
By the grace of God, we were able to connect this person to our lives
via a friend of a friend of a friend.
We were told that the operator was laughing us off;
that they had no reason to acquiesce to our requests of wanting to purchase the domain from them.
Normally, based on negotiation tactics learned from the Die Hard movies,
we were dead set against being bullied and borderline extorted in negotiations.
But this guy was taking our product and manipulating it so he could make money.
Finally, we struck a deal with the operator.
We actually had to suck up to this scumbag.
We end up purchasing the RINKOTOLOGY.COM name from him at base price.
(Roughly $10 per year for 5 years).
We said we would link people to the bizarro PensBlog,
under the suspicion that the site's operator gets off on Google AdSense Money.
We were also asked to enter a "gentlemen's agreement" that we would not commence a "blog war" with bizarro PensBlog
and "let people form their own opinions about it."
Unfortunately, a gentlemen's agreement only works
if all parties involved act gentlemanly.
We had all intents and purposes of sticking to the gentlemen's agreement,
until we decided to dig up some info on this person and see what this person was all about.
A person with the same name living in the same area of the country
touts himself/herself as a "search engine specialist."
A Facebook page of a person with the same name living in the same area of the country
has links to pages about Search Engine Optimization.
We were told amidst e-mails with this person that he/she was a long-time reader of the site,
which is why they had known about our penchant to start blog wars and job people.
Even if you personally aren't a search-engine manipulator,
you can do some quick reading and see how people job the system.
For instance, bizarro Pensblog makes a new post nearly every day.
Keeps the search engines "in the know," basically.
The more text on your page, the better.
Bizarro Pensblog has a fanboy called "Rob Expertimp" who comments on every post, saying things like:
"This blog is great.  I wish there were more informed Pittsburgh Penguin blogs like this one."

See how this works?
Get a fanboy, show participation in your site.
People get fooled.
Want to know how well this works?
Searching "PENSBLOG" in Google returns Bizarro Pensblog on the first page.
A casual visitor to Bizarro Pensblog will see it and go, "this is it?  what garbage."
But the operator doesn't care about the opinions.
They just want the hits for their ads.
And there's really nothing we can do about it.
We put in long hours and hard work on this site; more than people would want to know.
And then someone comes along and does this?

And, yes, after talking with legal counsel about this situation, we were advised not to use the person's name in this piece,
as this person and his/her associates and fanboys are apparently respected in the Pittsburgh area.
How that is even possible we have no idea.
How pathetic are these people?
The person in question has even threatened legal action against us
if we posted anything that would hurt his/her reputation.
This person even e-mailed the operators of Bloguin and warned them about potential legal action,
claiming that we were about to spread lies.
All of the information we have revealed about this person is easily accessible via Google searches.
And we're not allowed to talk about our personal experiences on our personal website?
Get real.
This person doesn't want people to know what they have done.
Hopefully this person doesn't reveal his name on some other hockey blog.
Like we always say, what you do on the Internet echoes in eternity.
We just wanted to warn anyone out there with intellectual property on the Internet
that there are people out there who will not flinch at trying to capitalize on it.
So, if you run a blog or know someone who runs a blog, please take the following steps:
1.  Make sure your domain is bought in every form.
For example, we just bought thepensblog.net and thepensblog.org
We also bought pensblog.net just to be dicks.
You are able to forward all the the addresses to your blog.
2.  Educate yourself about Cybersquatting and the legislative measures against it.
3.  The lesson we learned: Don't announce something without buying the domain.
4.  That loud moaning sound you'll hear in the Pittsburgh area on Tuesday
is this person touching himself/herself over AdSense money.
Eat us.
Brashear got suspended.
Go pens.
*Comments will be moderated today.
There are just certain things people can't post about this joke.