Legal Donations Accepted...

[Update: I believe my case is closed, 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.]

So I got the agreement paperwork today for Traffic Power to drop the lawsuit. I am not sure what parts of it I can share, and need to talk with a lawyer about it on that front.

I am unsure how adequately I can guarantee I could comply with it, especially since I believe this offer widened up a bit from what was shared over the phone. Although I think that is somewhat common in legal proceedings, I am not really comfortable with the document as it appears right now.

The hundreds of blog comments, blog posts, emails, forum posts, phone calls, articles, and other forms of communications I have seen or heard tell me that this is an issue that many people care about across the web.

This suit is not about Traffic Power. This suit is not about this blog. This suit is more about free speech, which is the very fabric that holds the web and democracy together. An issue far more important than I could ever pretend to be.

If I do not face this suit, then it is easier for the next person to get trampled. After all the support people have offered I do not think it is the right decision to tuck tail and run, especially since I am still unaware of what specifically is wrong - and never once has there been an attempt to tell me.

Not that I am by any means rich, but I have a bit of money. I know legal stuff can get costly really quickly though. I have been offered some pro bono representation, but I can not guarantee that it will go through, and those lawyers also recommend I hire the services of a commercial lawyer from Las Vegas.

Some of the people who care about this case and want to help with it are better lawyers than money can buy, but I believe they may end up busy juggling other cases and this lawsuit may require a local lawyer as well, at least off the start.

The 20 days are passing quickly, so I have no time to waste. Tomorrow I will try to hire a lawyer (as I have already talked to a few, so I can't imagine it will be hard to get one of them to accept the case if I have enough money, which I think I should - at least to get started).

There are some people who have already helped me a bunch for free. There time and attention is worth money and their help was available only via donations from others.

I am not sure how much people will donate, but if direct donations exceed legal costs for the Traffic Power case the remainder of the donations will be sent to organizations such as EFF and Public Citizen.

If you have more web reach than money a brief mention of what is going on may help more than a direct monetary donation. I don't want people donating if they are in bad financial shape (as I suspect this suit will not ruin my finacial health, especially if a couple of my closer friends donate). I also do not want donations from people who only sorta care about the issue of free speech online.

My quality of life has been greatly enriched by feedback others have gave me, and I don't want that feedback to go away because people are afraid to speak their minds.

If you have some spare cash, and/ or your livelihood or quality of life depends on free speech online please consider donating directly to one of the above listed charities.

Published: September 1, 2005

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Comments

September 1, 2005 - 10:08am

Aaron, wow I just found out about the lawsuit. That sucks! These guys really have no case. They are fishing you on freedom of speech. However, at the end you may end up loosing dollar on attorneys fees. Just an idea, but maybe you could sue them back, since they bashed you on their fake forums. They also bashed my site in their fake forums, so if you need a witness let me know. It's ironic that you posted only the facts and got sued for it, while they really made up things about you in their forums. They should be the ones getting sued by you and others.

September 1, 2005 - 2:41pm

Can you post a mailing address for this?

I hate paypal so much and I want to help out.

Paul P
September 1, 2005 - 3:50pm

Can I make a donation in the form of a book puchase? ;-)

...or will that screw up your fund?

If not, I will just PayPal the $20 I promised.

September 1, 2005 - 4:41pm

Glad you put up the donate button and decided to fight this. I agree with others that have said this is much bigger than just this case.

Hopefully you will get support for EFF, ACLU and others of that type.

Please keep us posted!

PhilC
September 1, 2005 - 5:03pm

A couple of points...

(1) I don't believe anyone established whether or not TP was behind the fake forums.

(2) If I understand it correctly, this suit is about the revealing of alleged trade secrets, and not about free speech. I don't know what comments were posted in this blog, but I'm sure that there can be no trade secrets in promoting a website. Everything that can be done to promote a site is public knowledge, and, apart from that, the moment any seo, including TP, puts something on a published webpage, it is in the public domain.

They may they prefer that some of their methods remain confidential, but that's not the same as trade secrets, and pusblishing their methods is fair game if they discovered. There isn't any method they can use that wasn't public knowledge long before they used them.

Well done on the decision to fight it, Aaaron!

Anonymous
September 1, 2005 - 5:11pm

"(1) I don't believe anyone established whether or not TP was behind the fake forums."

PhilC, you should really stay out of issues that you have no knowledge of. It has been confirmed by [I edited that. I am sure anything that is confirmed will eventually be found out elsewhere in other ways. I can not guarantee the relationship.]

interested observer
September 1, 2005 - 5:12pm

Have you seen the long list of complaints about TP over at BBB? Hmmm......

September 1, 2005 - 6:29pm

Hmmm. Wouldn't it be easy for someone to annonymously post some deliberately libelous comments as a way of stirring the pot / trying to put you in an awkward legal position? Just a thought ...

May 6, 2006 - 7:18pm

I haven't been up to anything these days. So it goes. I can't be bothered with anything these days.

D
September 1, 2005 - 7:01pm

I wipe my ass with TP.

Random person
September 1, 2005 - 8:59pm

I can't belive you are being sued because of some comments. Actually, being sued because of what you said in your blog is aweful and wrong.

Good Luck.

September 1, 2005 - 9:37pm

Hey Aaron, i can make a donation only through stormpay. please give me an email where i can send you the bucks. Good luck man.

linkster
September 1, 2005 - 10:00pm

Hey Aaron, I am very happy you are fighting this. However, I really think you should donate any excess (if any) to the hurricane victims. Also, I wont be able to donate unless The ACLU is removed from the list, they are a left wing political organization who would only use the money to push thier agenda....(maybe sue the boyscouts of america again) ITs much better to donate to Katrina vicitms as people from all political walks of life can unite on this issue but I am sure you are aware the aclu is a very devisive organization. I know many conservatives would not want to give a dime to them.
Thanks

Ben
September 1, 2005 - 10:35pm

Hey linkster, I bet if you donate and include a note saying "send excess of this only to EFF or Public Citizen" he'd abide by that. (And I agree that the ACLU doesn't really fit with the other two.)

September 1, 2005 - 10:56pm

Made a donation, Aaron.

HTH,
- Deb

September 1, 2005 - 11:01pm

Not trying to make this a left right type thing.

Since some have concerns about ACLU I removed them from the list of people who any excess donations would go to if donations exceed expenses.

thanks to everyone who has generously donated thusfar

cheers
a

Connie
September 1, 2005 - 11:24pm

I commend you for taking this stand. To me this goes beyond Free Speech. It's also an example that a big guy with money thinks he can dictate to a little guy with the threat of a lawsuit.

I would prefer to send you a Company Check rather than use PayPal. You can e-mail me your address if you don't want to post it in public. If that is not really an option I will use PayPal but you need to let me know.

I agree with others that the ACLU would be a poor choice in sending any excess funds to.

Connie
September 1, 2005 - 11:28pm

Aron would you be so kind to remove my e-mail address from my post. First time I ever posted in a blog and did not realize that it would become a mail to link.

September 1, 2005 - 11:47pm

removed it Connie
I will ping you with my address and post my address to this page as well
cheers
a

September 2, 2005 - 12:31am

Good idea to fight it, Aaron. I know that it may have been easier to just give them some money and let them go pull this on someone else, but I appreciate that you made a principled decision and I wish you the best. My personal experiences with Traffic Power have been very consistent with others in this forum.

Preston

Rose Sylvia
September 2, 2005 - 1:34am

I commend you for doing the right thing. Many online have the courage to back you up. I believe the thread about TP probably holds the record for the longest running thread with the most posts. Depending on what direction the legal wrangling takes you may find supporters among the posts there.

My personal experiences with the company are on page 6 of part 2 (the thread got so long it had to be split into 2 threads). I am not an SEO but am willing to provide any information I have that may support your action.

The thread at www.SearchEngineForums is at

[url=http://www.searchengineforums.com/apps/webmaster.forums/action::thread/f... Power thread[/url]

Daphne
September 2, 2005 - 2:32am

Traffic Power's ethics could certainly come into question when they sold services to two of my clients under false pretenses and then would not refund the money. Getting them to back off and stop systems they had already set up was difficult. At one point I told them that what they were doing was putting my client on a black list and their reply was "That shouldn't have happened so fast". So while I skirt around the issue here, you go get 'em. I donated to your legal fund. Best of luck.

Sufyaaan
September 2, 2005 - 11:45am

It gave me a shock to hear about the lawsuit. That's really sucks. I will do what I can to support you. May be I will recommend your book to all my friends who might be interested. Good luck, Aaron!

PSEO
September 2, 2005 - 6:53pm

Aaron, I can't tell you how happy I am that you are fighting this. There are so many reasons to fight - the main one being Freedom of Speech. But also it's showing companies they can't just throw around frivilous legal threats on issues they know nothing about.

TP probably had no idea that you had this much support...or that this much hatred existed for their organization and the scam they are. I guarantee you that they are now the ones SCARED as they have been fully exposed. They are probably wishing they never opened their big mouth.

Best of luck

WebDsgr
September 2, 2005 - 7:44pm

Hey come on Guys, Traffic Power's not the bad guys, they would never do anything sneaky or underhanded, they are innocent victims...

WRONG!!! Look what I found over on searchengineforums.com I verified the google search, these guys are the worst at trying to be sneaky!!!

Posted: 09/01/2005 03:35 pm

I know it's somewhat off the topic, but this is probably the most relevant string at hand. I have a client that was recently cold called by a salesperson from a Las Vegas seo company called I-zing.biz. My reason for asking is that the same salesperson contacted me awhile back, but had said that he was from Traffic Power. I know 1P has been mentioned before, but I was wondering if anybody had any additional information about this other company.

Posted: 09/01/2005 04:13 pm

Many companies that operate the way TP does use different names, phone numbers and even addresses. With all the awareness of the TP and 1P names.

They could be the same company or they could be a copycat. Checking the whois database might show similar data but if they're smart enough they won't make a simple mistake like that.

I know I've taken heat for saying this before, but the best SEO companies are usually so busy they don't cold call. I know there are legitimate companies that do; however, my philosophy is that a cold call is worse than SPAM and I choose not to do business with any company that does either one.

A quick Google search turns up no pertinent articles about I-zing.biz (most SEO companies do Press Releases, contribute articles, are written about, etc.).

Most of the listings mentioning the company are job postings looking for sales people.

Posted: 09/02/2005 10:03 am

Flyingrose, thank you so much. In a quick search of a whois database, I came up with the name Tami J. Miller. On the I-zing site, she is listed as the CEO. A quick Google on Tami J. Miller showed her to be the General Manager of Traffic Power. I can't believe these guys, they don't even hide their tracks that well. Thanks again for the good advise. Needless to say, we won't be using their services.

I-ZING.BIZ=TRAFFIC POWER

http://www.searchengineforums.com/apps/webmaster.forums/action::thread/f...

September 2, 2005 - 8:24pm

Well, I must commend you on fighting the case although I really don't think it's worth it. There was already a case very similar to this about 5-6 years ago, in which the courts sided with the forum owner. The courts came to the conclusion that the forum owner had built the equivalent of a brick wall and he was not responsible for what people spraypainted on that wall.

The only reason I, personally, would maintain this case is to countersue. You have a valid case of slander, especially since you are conducting business via this blog (selling the SEO Book), and your business relies heavily on your name and reputation within this community.

French Quarter
September 3, 2005 - 1:09am

GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT!

Donate to Aaron Wall's legal fund? You must be kidding. Why so a spoiled little brat can rant and rage against things he doesn't like. This is a sad and pathetic joke, in case it has escaped your attention there are people in New Orleans who are DYING, and could really use donations. Anyone who sent Aaron Wall any money should be ashamed of themselves, to support this and turn your back on people who are in real need is disgusting. Aarons right to bash a bunch of spammers, is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, If the Blogging Community want to rally behind something, raise money to help the people of New Orleans!

September 3, 2005 - 1:57am

GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT!

Donate to Aaron Wall's legal fund? You must be kidding. Why so a spoiled little brat can rant and rage against things he doesn't like.

If I deleted your comment and then threatened to sue you unless you removed New Orleans from all websites you have posted to, and then required those words to fall out of your vocabulary would you then appreciate what is going on here?

There are ignorant and / or short sighted ways to market even good causes, and if this is how you are trying to garner help for people in New Orleans then you ought to stop posting and read a book on marketing real quick.

Causes are great, and it is nice to feel that you are helping out, but people need to give a lot more than just money to help the people in New Orleans, and odds are you are hurting more than helping with your current posting activity.

May 9, 2006 - 2:01pm

This Blog is really helpful to me. Its a learning experience. Hope everyone feels the same.

Matt Miller
http://www.donateagain.com

Anthony Parsons
September 3, 2005 - 3:35am

Hey Aaron,

Kick arse buddy... am sending donation and placing your banner across my forum to rally up some support for you.

Jeeves
September 3, 2005 - 9:26am

I bet three voodoo dolls French Quarter post guy is from Traffic Power

September 3, 2005 - 9:28am

The "Aaron Wall is a Hypocrite" comment was also placed on Search Engine Journal. I left it open, with my response, and if anyone would like to comment please feel free to do so : http://www.searchenginejournal.com/index.php?p=2144

September 5, 2005 - 2:33pm

Now, lets see what next tactics these guys deploy. I won`t be surprised if they start spamming with your name.

Aaron, they are now getting afraid of their own misdoings. These guys need to be taught a lesson.

May 4, 2006 - 6:52am

I haven't been up to anything these days. So it goes. I can't be bothered with anything these days.

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