Why indeed. A few years ago I was hanging out with my buddy Steve Sloan in his office and David Bowie’s “Young American” was playing on his CD player. He told me that the song reminded him of me. Since I’m not going to be young all my life (only most of it), I figured that I’d borrow from Tom Petty’s “American Girl”, and www.americangirl.com was born!
Unfortunately for me, a company that will not be named (publishers of a magazine called “American Girl”‘a8 and various other merchandise) didn’t appreciate that I had americangirl.com, which they wanted for their own Web site. They had their lawyer send me a nasty letter. I called Stan Bunger at New Media News and he interviewed me for TV. And I didn’t give up the domain name.
So after another month, the company had Network Solutions (AKA the InterNIC) put www.americangirl.com on hold for “trademark infringement”.
The InterNIC said I could pick another name for simultaneous use, so I chose americangrrl.com, which has more of an edge than my original name (LynnB trivia: I thought of that name during the movie “Fierce Creatures”, which features many growly animals). I registered www.americangrrl.com. The company wanted the right to approve my new domain name, though, and when I told them my alternate choice they about had kittens.
So I didn’t hear from them for a few weeks until Monday, Feb. 24 at 9:10 p.m., when there was a knock on my apartment door. I opened it and there stood a guy who hadn’t washed his hair in a month, wearing a T-shirt that hung to his knees and was screened with large brown splotches with the charming caption “Who Farted?”. He looked at me.
“Lynn Benson?” he asked.
I squeaked back, “Yes.”
Woo hoo, I got served. Deeeeelightful. At least the messenger got lost on his way to my apartment and had to drive around for an hour.
So, in order to keep them from being “entitled to sue” me “in Federal Court and to recover from” me “damages, including all of [the company’s] attorneys’ fees incurred in prosecuting its lawsuit”* against me, I canceled both my americangirl and americangrrl domains, replacing them with “motormouth.com”, which has nothing to do with my citizenship or my gender, and is actually the nickname bestowed upon me by my father when I was two years old.
Aren’t you glad you asked? But I’m not bitter or anything.
*Quoted from a letter from Farella Braun and Martel LLP, dated Feb. 24, 1997, and served to me by Prince Charming