–Dan Kelly, Attorney
Gripe sites have been around for almost as long as the Internet itself, and they tend to be difficult to shut down. Conventional wisdom among brand owners is to send a threatening letter and play the odds that the (likely) individual with an axe to grind will not want to get sued by a corporation.
There are two problems with that strategy. First is the possibility that the letter will draw more attention to what is likely a sparsely visited site, or the person or entity running the gripe site will actually sue first, as Mike Morgan has done against Goldman Sachs. Second, and by far the larger problem, is the failure to assess the root causes of the gripe site. For many retailers, the roots can often be traced to a bad customer experience. With Goldman, the issue seems to be more that Mr. Morgan is just looking for a place to vent. Sometimes, the griper is just off the deep end.
As a usually disinterested observer, I find mild entertainment value in how clever the gripers can sometimes be with their domain names, like NoDaddy.com. There is even enough gall and vinegar to fuel sites devoted to griping wholesale, like this one and this one (warning, these may be offensive). Interestingly, I have yet to run across any sort of praise sites, like cokerocks.com. Do any exist?