UPDATE #5, February 1, 2011 A few minutes ago I saw the tweet below by @thecoveted. It looks like everything has been resolved! I am thrilled it all worked out for Jennine, and want to thank everyone for banding to together and showing their support. If anything, this unfortunate blog war showed that fashion bloggers – as a community – stick together and support one another. When a fashion blogger says “I got your back”, they undeniably mean it!
UPDATE #3, January 27, 2011: Please, please read Jennine Jacob’s own post and response to this ongoing blog war on her site, the REAL The Coveted, in her post entitled “Response from TheCoveted [dot] com : Don’t talk about us or we’ll sue.“
UPDATE #4, January 27, 2011: Please consider showing your support for the-coveted.com by signing this petition which was sponsored by Rachel of The Greyest Ghost and Poochie of Shoe Daydreams. Click the link or sign it using the widget to the right.
How many of you have seen the 1992 film Single White Female? The premise is fairly simple: Allie and Hedy become roommates. As their friendship grows, Hedy begins to act more and more like Allie. Eventually, Hedy decides she wants to be Allie and the craziness commences.
We have all heard the saying “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, right? In some instances it certainly can be, while in others, as illustrated above, it is quite the opposite.
In human relationships this is extreme behavior is categorized as a personality disorder and is often referred to as “SWF Syndrome.” In the world of blogging, however, I call this type of behavior COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.
There is no arguing that copyright infringement and SWF Personality Syndrome are two different things. I am not trying to say they are the same. What I am trying to say is that there are parallels that can be made between the two:
- In the case of SWF Syndrome, an individual’s identity is stolen.
- In certain instances of copyright/trademark infringement, a brand or blogger identity is stolen.
Still not convinced?
(*note: I will refer to them as The UN-Coveted for the duration of this post for easy differentiation. And because Jennine’s The Coveted is the only real The Coveted in my opinion):
Obviously, The UN-Coveted has not copied Jennine’s content, so no copyright infringement in the typical sense has occurred. However, as a fashion-focused blog, they have stolen Jennine Jacob’s Brand. The Coveted is undeniably her creation. It is her brand and her online identity, plain and simple. And The UN-Coveted has stolen that brand and identity.
UPDATED January 25, 2011: Read the Jennine’s personal statement about this issue on The Racked – Blog Wars: The-coveted.com vs. Thecoveted.com Naming Controversy.
Jennine has spent the last few years not only establishing The Coveted, but also carving out a name for herself as one of the most-respected and influential fashion bloggers in the world. Shortly after establishing The Coveted, she launched Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB). This online community was the first of its kind (to my knowledge) and is undoubtedly one of the most valuable resources available to fashion bloggers today. The first IFB Evolving Influence Conference, which focused on the future of fashion blogging, was held in February 2010. The tremendous success of the conference resulted to a second being held in September 2010, and now a third to be held in February 2011. Most recently she launched a second personal blog entitled eat, sleep, denim. All of this began with The Coveted.
It is clear, in my mind, that the individuals behind The UN-Coveted are exploiting Jennine’s brand. By using the name “The Coveted” they are undeniably receiving visitors meant for Jennine’s site. How do I know this? Because that is exactly how I came across them. Although The Coveted is a site I follow by RSS, I manually typed in “www.thecoveted.com” in my browser window last night and BAM., there I was… looking at the wrong site. This is what happened next:
Me, talking to myself (don’t judge, you know you do it to!):
- Wow, Jennine totally revamped her site again. Looks really different.
- After exploring the home page some more: Hmmm… not sure how I feel about this new approach.
- I don’t get it, this doesn’t seem like her content. Click on About Page.
- WHAT?!?! How can these people be using her Brand? Isn’t that stealing her identity?!
So… there you have it. The UN-Coveted is clearly gaining traffic and exposure at the expense of Jennine’s brand. Instead of hitching a ride on the wave of her success, they should re-brand themselves.
No one respects a thief, and in my mind this is certainly a form of stealing. It is a form of trademark infringement. The issue isn’t the URL they are using – it goes deeper than that. The issue is the brand that Jennine Jacob established in 2007.
What do you think? Infringement or no? What words of advice would you offer to Jennine, if any?
UPDATE #2, January 25, 2011: In response to this situation, Signature9 wrote a great piece entitled Eminent Domain: What to Do When Your Brand is Coveted. Check it out for info on the legal side of this mess.
Disclaimer: The opinions stated above are my own and based on the fact that the existence of this new site diverted my personal visit meant for Jennine’s site to their own. I don’t know for a fact that the individuals behind the UN-Coveted were aware of Jennine’s site (no one will really ever know) when they created their own, but I have a very difficult time believing that anyone with any interest in or affiliation to the fashion industry has not heard of The Coveted. I was aware of its existence long before I became a blogger as it is one of the most well-known fashion blogs in existence. Further, it would be poor business sense to launch a professional blog like this without doing some research on the name they chose. I did some quick online research and came across this recent Refinery29 article which focuses on the new site and dubs them the Selby of closets. Without a doubt, news of Jennine’s site has reached them by now based on the reader response to this article. The question now really is – will they address this issue?