I just read in AdAge that there is a blogger in Maine, Lance Dutson, getting sued by an NYC ad agency for some unkind words he used in reference to their work for the state’s tourism department. Among other things, he pointed out that an ad draft pulled from the tourism department’s Web site gave an incorrect contact number, which in fact led to a phone sex service.
I wonder what kind of implications this lawsuit will hold for bloggers in general, but it seems as though the blogosphere already has a good track record for coming out on top in these types of situations: the Media Bloggers Association reportedly has won all out of nine such cases defending bloggers (Thanks to B.L. Ochman for that info).
Blogging as a communication force is only getting bigger, and cases like this are just another example of the reach that is possible through blog mediums. Companies that don’t respect the impact blogs have on society, like the ad agency suing Lance, are risking trouble with a capital T.
I personally feel that the ad agency is making the wrong move by trying to sue Dutson, and doing more harm than good. Already many bloggers have said they will contribute to Lance’s cause to help him win the case, and much of the coverage of the controversy is either neutral or slanted in favor of Lance’s side. People are naturally inclined to sympathize with the underdog, whether or not it is right.
This lawsuit does not reflect well on the agency, and they’ll learn fast that the strong arm approach doesn’t always win. As mighty Goliath fell, so can they.