Wednesday, November 23, 2005

...So you want to start your own sucks or gripe site?

Every so often, I get an email from someone wanting to start their own "sucks" site and they ask me how to go about doing it. I'll give you some pointers. None of this should be taken as legal advice though.

First of all, you'll need to come up with a domain name. Generally, you'll want to come up with a name that adds some derogatory term like "sucks", "blows", etc to the end of the company you're griping about. This is done so you won't create any brand confusion. You'll then have to go to a domain name registrant like godaddy.com to register your domain name. You'll then have to find a company to host your web site. You can go with one of the free ones but those are usually limited on what services are available and as you grow you may need the additional capabilities.

You'll then need to design your web site. I recommend you looking at other gripe sites to get a feel for how you'd like your site to look. Make sure you don't copy the complaining company web site as this could cause brand confusion. From there, you'll have to download a program to generate html. I recommend Coffee Cup as they have a free version of their html editor that's available at their web site and it's easy to use. You'll also need to decide if you want a message board forum for your site. The forums give the most interaction but they do require a bit of monitoring. You can find free message board software by doing a search on Google. Amexsux personally uses the YaBB message board forum which is free for download at http://www.yabbforum.com.

Once you get everything up and running, you'll have to submit your site to the search engines. Be patient, as it takes awhile for your site to get listed in the search engines. Also, it's a good idea to exchange links with sites that are similar to yours.

Once your site gets rolling, you'll have some people unhappy about the existence of your site so you may start getting viruses in your email inbox so keep your anti-virus software up to date and be careful of any attachments that you receive.

The question I always get is "will I get sued?". This is a tough question to answer as you never know what a company is thinking. These companies realize they have unlimited funds and they know more then likely you have limited resources. Luckily, Paul Levy at http://www.citizen.org has defended a vast amount of gripe sites that are taken to court. In the end, these companies spend large amounts of money and they end up losing and in the process they generate more traffic to the gripe site. The major one that comes to mind is the ordeal Hank Mishkoff faced at http://www.TaubmanSucks.com.

In conclusion, if you feel you've been unjustly treated by a company, stand up for your First Amendment Rights and establish your vey own gripe site.

2 Comments:

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