Local Pet Butler embroiled in cyber-squatting brouhaha
Sunday, September 16, 2007
FRISCO — We've written about the commercial exploits of Frisco-based Pet Butler on a couple occasions. Guess that caused us to turn up in some searches that brought us this message from a rival company:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Largest Pet Waste Removal Franchise Caught With Their Hands In Poop!
Flung From National Scooper Organization.
DENVER, CO – September 12, 2007 Through out the cyber world comes a case that will make most internet marketers duck! Cyber squatting in the Pet Waste Industry has stooped to an all-time low! Web marketing, comes with its own set of problems that all small business owners must learn before stepping in that unforeseen pile. The Pet Services industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States accounting for $36 billion dollars revenue a year. Your pet’s business is now a cottage industry springing up throughout the US. With that said, an illegal practice commonly known as Cyber Squatting, has recently caused one local Denver pooper scooper to sling her byproduct back at her largest competitor in a successful move to “clean up” deceptive internet marketing practices.
Muttley’s Maid, Inc., a Denver independent pet waste removal company, recently took on its largest competitor, franchisor Pet Butler, Inc. of Frisco, Texas. Leslie Farrell, President of Muttley’s Maid, Inc., voiced concerns to the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists, the only official trade organization for pooper-scoopers with proof of violations of the association’s Code of Conduct by one of their own Board Members, Mr. Matt “Red” Boswell, CEO Pet Butler, Inc as well as Robert Shurtleff, Denver Franchisee, stating cyber squatting by purchasing domain names deceptively similar to her website www.muttleysmaid.com and other competitors throughout the United States.
Farrell said that Shurtleff purchased the domain names in October, 2006, shortly after he opened his franchise in Denver. Farrell states that Shurtleff, an experienced software developer, wrote the pages to duplicate the Pet Butler main sites, used the exact spelling of Farrell’s company Muttley’s Maid in the headings and meta-tags of the newly created pages, then published those pages to the domain names: mutleysmaid.com, muttleymaid.com and mutleymaid.com to misdirect the public away from her domain, resulting in a drop in Farrell’s company’s search engine ranking on Google and other popular search engines. Farrell estimates conservatively that her company may have $50,000.00 in lost revenue from October 2006, until the offending sites were taken down in August, 2007. Farrell also submitted proof to aPaws that this practice had been performed against out of state competitors by Pet Butler’s own Chief Excrement Officer, Matt “Red” Boswell who purchased the site houndmounds.net a cyber squat against the real company, www.houndmounds.com, a Dallas/Ft. Worth competing franchisor.
The aPaws Board of Directors voted on August 28th, 2007 to remove Boswell from the Board of Directors, terminate Pet Butler’s charter membership, as well as terminate the membership of Shurtleff, the Denver Franchisee for violations of the association’s Code of Conduct against fellow members.
The Pet Waste Industry’s origin has been traced back to Poop Van Scoop, Denver, CO as starting in 1978 according to Colorado Biz Magazine. Farrell who is handicapped, states she started Muttley’s Maid, Inc. for $18.00; the cost of a scoop and a rake, a 5 gallon pail and some trash bags, and has found the sweet smell of success is much different than she had ever imagined, as well as defending it, a messy undertaking.
Takeaways (leavebehinds?), courtesy Triumph the Insult Comic Dog:
Your industry isn't mature until there's an association for it
Seems like pretty standard web marketing shenanigans
Like Groucho Marx, not sure I'd want to be a member of any club that would have me
Sounds like a great group.... for me to poop on!
Chief Excrement Officer???