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Megan Williams (A Polish Problem). Powered by Blogger.
Saturday, July 17, 2010

One should be able to blog without the fear of cease and desist letters...

A few months back, there was a bit of controversy in the nail blogger/MUA NB world about several companies being relabled Diamond Cosmetics.  Not that there's a problem in that, Diamond Cosmetics, afterall, does have a private label division.  The issue, of course, being... why pay boutique prices when you can essentially get the same product through Diamond Cosmetics directly for $2?

One of those brands that was linked to Diamond Cosmetics, along with several others, was Ginger + Liz.  Ginger + Liz is not a brand that I know too much about.  All I know is that they are in the $10-12 range per bottle and are promoted heavily on All Lacquered Up.  However, several people feel that Ginger + Liz is relabeled Diamond Cosmetics and have said so on various blogs and on Twitter.  One of those people is Sara at Daily Polish.  Unfortunately, Sara is the one person to get a cease and desist letter from Ginger + Liz's attorney.  Please keep in mind that Sara purchased all the products she reviewed and compared.  They were not samples.

Whether or not you agree with Sara is beside the point.  Ginger + Liz has mentioned, through All Lacquered Up, mind you, that they source their nail polish through a supplier in California.  Personally, I believe some of the swatches look similar to Diamond Cosmetics and some are not dupey at all.  However, the real point is that no matter what Sara, or any blogger for that matter, believes and posts about, s/he should be able to do so with out the fear of being reprimanded or sued.  A blog is just a collection of personal opinions, and most of us, save for the aforementioned All Lacquered Up, do so without any real monetary compensation.  We just do it because we enjoy it.  Well, in my opinion, it's hard to enjoy something if you feel like your opinions could be potentially used against you in a lawsuit. 

I am a little worried that this, along with OPI's recent legal scare tactics, regarding their upcoming Burlesque collection and leaked press releases, are leading us down a scary road.  I don't want to be afraid to express my opinion on a certain product, whether that be good or bad.  As long as I'm not posting scandalous pictures or defaming someone's personal character, I should be allowed to freely express my opinions without the fear of being sued.

I do not plan on purchasing any Ginger + Liz products in the future nor do I plan on promoting them on this blog.  I realize they are a small boutique brand and probably still trying to find their way in the nail polish world, but, IMO, threatening a nail blogger, is not a way to positively and effectively promote their brand.  All that does is make you, as a company, look bad.

14 comments:

L said...

Preach!!!

Paillette said...

Wow.
So a consumer buys product, tests it, realizes its private label, mentions that, and then is hassled by the private label?

So wrong.

I think Diamond Cosmetics needs to up the ante and come up with new polish for these brands, instead of relabeling off the shelf $2 polish!
Ginger and Liz and the other private label, Priti.

It stands to reason, if you are going to private label, then price accordingly. Nicole and OPI are nearly the same price.

BTW, there are a TON of people who put out information about the real manufacturers of consumer items. That cease and desist is pure BS. One example: everyone knows who makes certain saddles, so when someone makes a custom label, they pretty much know that you can buy virtually the same thing elsewhere.

Shame on Ginger + Liz!

Kimberly said...

I may be looking at this naively, but I think of my blog as an 'open' diary. And, for whatever it is worth, I read other blogs the same way; they are just the author's opinions.

This situation has me reacting in two ways: One, I will not purchase, receive or review any products from Ginger + Liz. Two, I will not allow any company to bully me. If I think something is shitty, I'm going to say so.

Any of these companies that think they can 'sic' their attorneys on me are more than welcome to spend money on it, lose out and lose customers too.

amusedPolish said...

I agree with you- some actions would have been solved with a polite, but direct letter without note that you're going to be sued if you do not delete your opinion you wrote on your blog.
It really concers me that they really want to take that route to sucess in protecting their brand, but they could've done it the easy way and not the "scarying a lot of people-way". I know it is important to protect your own brand but what price do they pay? scaring people(primarily us fanatics) off from being more exclusive? because i.e. the opi prices are "i have to pay an arm and a leg"-prices (20€ to be excact for ONE bottle- the same price chanel sells their polishes here)

Megan (A Polish Problem) said...

Kimberly, I feel the same way. As I say in my tag line, my blog is essentially my journal. Granted, it's nail polish related, and I try to not let much of other RL stuff bleed over unto here, but it's just a collection of my ramblings, nonetheless. I hate the fact that some company is policing my comments to see if the are "defaming" their image.

jaljen said...

It is BS as stated above.

Meant to intimidate. Consequently despicable.

This adverse publicity has put me off both G&L, Diamond (shame as I like their stuff) and AllLacqueredUp.

polishmehappy said...

Very good post ! I too, stand by Daily Polish. WTF are these people thinking?

Musicalhouses said...

I agree, and I didn't realize ALU's ties with G+L run so deep til now. After reading your post, I do feel like this whole incident has made me lose respect for ALU as well. Like seriously, you're backing a company that's threatening to sue a small-time blogger, and promoting them heavily on your blog? She should be ashamed of herself.

Megan (A Polish Problem) said...

Regarding ALU and G+L, outside of a full disclosure on either part, there is no way for us to know her relationship with them (if any).

That said, she was very quick to jump to G+L's defense when this issue briefly popped up on her blog (when she reviewed G+L Swagger).

Honestly, ALU has lost much of her credibility with me. I do still read her blog and I try very hard to keep my opinions about her to myself (I don't want it to seem like sour grapes on my part), but sometimes it seems like she's become a mouthpiece for NP companies, rather than an advocate for the consumer. I much prefer to read Scrangie or Vampy Varnish.

I'm almost certain ALU won't weigh in on this issue, and on the outside she does, she'd definitely take the side of the company.

IMO, it doesn't matter if G+L is private labelled Diamond or not (which, I feel, after seeing pics, it's not). A blog is the opinion of one person (or several persons) and it's not meant to be used as fact. The reader should always be allowed, and encouraged, to form his/her own opinion (which Sara mentioned on her blog).

We, as bloggers, should not be afraid that some company is going to serve us with a cease and desist notice if we have a differing opinion.

I completely understand G+L wanting to protect their brand image, but this (and their previous posts on ALU) was not the way to do it, IMO.

*yes, I know I'm using a lot of IMO's and "I feel"s. I'm paranoid. LOL.

Megan (A Polish Problem) said...

EDIT: the comments were actually in ALU's review of G+L Got my Groove Back, which actually is a really pretty gold, though dupey to Orly Luxe.

http://www.alllacqueredup.com/2010/05/ginger-liz-groove-swatch-comparison-review.html

Zara said...

This whole thing just disgusts me. I hate to see how ALU has reacted, too...I probably won't stop reading ALU, but I certainly don't respect the blog as much.

ecka147 said...

I've seen a number of comments (here & elsewhere) that ALU & G+L haven't/aren't(?) disclosing the details of their relationship. Isn't that a violation of the blogger disclosure rules? Sorry, I don't blog, but it seems those rules were designed to specifically address situations like this, particularly for folks like ALU who are full time bloggers.

I find her support of G+L extremely suspect in light of the lack of information about their relationship, as well as G+L's apparent refusal to provide specifics of exactly who is making their polishes - and I don't for the life of me understand why they didn't simply do that rather than take the heavy handed step of threatening to sue.

They guaranteed a slew of bad publicity & certainly my commitment to never have anything to ever do with the company or their products in the future.

Megan (A Polish Problem) said...

ecka147, ALU hasn't come out and said she has a business relationship with G+L, but given her posts and defense of them, it seems like that may be the case. Who knows, she may just really like the names behind the brand and wants to defend G+L as she knows them on a personal level.

I think G+L would have saved themselves a whole lot of grief if they'd just said "we obtain our polish from XYZ manufacturer in California", rather than being shady about it. (BTW, as an aside, I googled and found a NP manufacturer in Northern California, so they are very likely telling the truth). I get why they wouldn't want to disclose their manufacturer, but in this case, I personally would think it in their favor. I felt their comments addressing this on ALU did nothing, IMO, to paint them in a positive light.

After the Priti issue (which ALU also posted about), many NP fans/bloggers are wary of boutique brands in square bottles. We don't want to feel that we are wasting our money by spending $12 on relabelled DC. A simple statement by G+L would have helped to diffuse this. Instead, all they did was fuel the fire, IMO.

ecka147 said...

Thanks, Megan.

It seems that there's a need for a lot more candor all around. G+L could have simply made a statement (preferably on their own site). As far as I'm concerned ALU's credibility is seriously shot - I think she needs to make a statement saying specifically either she does or does not have a financial relationship with G+L, & if so, provide details. She's compounding her problem by supporting other "suspect" brands like Priti & I'd suggest a similar statement for them too.

The most astonishing thing - the level of stupid displayed by G+L in both handling this situation (there's a letter posted from them on MUA, where they are now changing their story, its now about copyright violations) and that somehow lawyers + ALU has the credibility to wave a magic wand & fix everything for them.

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