There’s an internet turf war being fought by two local game stores, and it’s starting to get national attention. Here’s the gist, provided by ENWorld.com.
Hillside Games of Asheville, NC – the worst game store in America? Unethical practices, domain-name stealing, anti-competitive tactics, and frivolous lawsuit threats against those who criticize are just the start!
… Recently, one of the two gaming stores in town [Asheville, NC] closed its doors. They focused on boardgames and had a huge selection. Their prices were competitive with Amazon, and they sponsored a weekly game night at a local cafe. All-in-all, they were pretty awesome.
A buddy of mine (a guy from our gaming group) stepped in and bought out their stock when they closed. It wasn’t easy, but it’s something he’s wanted to do for a long time. He’s got a space on the west side of town lined up, and plans to open The Wyvern’s Tale in a couple months.
Unfortunately, the other remaining gaming store [Hillside Games] appears to be run by jerks. See, they found out that he was going to reopen the boardgame shop. They decided to go on the offensive, despite being on the other side of town and the fact they cater to card-gamers. They registered every domain name they could think of: thewyvernstale.com, .net, .info, .mobi, etc. Besides being illegal, it’s incredibly petty. Unfortunately, it costs over $1000 to file a complaint against them.
A couple of updates: Hillside Games turned off public comments on their Facebook page after this story started spreading throughout the geek-rage-enabled internet. And according to the The Wyvern’s Tale’s Facebook page, Hillside is threatening to sue them for libel.
We have been contacted by the management of Hillside Games. They are threatening now to sue us for libel, unless we remove all related posts and make a public apology for our actions.
We have thought about it, and debated about whether we should comply. We have been emotional, we admit. Perhaps even inflammatory, at times. We have decided to remove some of our more inflammatory remarks, and we do… apologize for that behavior.
Libel is a serious charge, but at its core, it requires that we told a lie, an untruth. Our claims were not only true, they have evidence. The WHOIS information of a domain name is public information, and right there in black and white, you can see that the domains corresponding to our business name have been registered by Hillside Games. The day after we announced our plan to do business.
So then, the question remains: Do we apologize unconditionally? Do we give in to fear, and offer a feeble apology, for sharing the truth? We have decided…absolutely not. The truth is the truth, and that can never change. Two plus two equals four, and there will always be four lights (Bonus points to those of you who get that).
In the spirit of being cautious, however, we have elected that we will leave their Facebook page alone. We have also decided that when we speak or write on this matter, henceforth, we will only provide facts. The facts are thus:
-On 07 February 2012, The Wyvern’s Tale LLC was formed in the State of North Carolina.
-On 17 February 2012, The Wyvern’s Tale LLC, through the medium of Facebook, announced its intentions to do business as The Wyvern’s Tale in Asheville.
-On 18 February 2012, Hillside Games, Inc. registered www.thewyvenrstale.com, .net, .org, .us, .mobi, .info.
-On 27 February 2012, The Wyvern’s Tale LLC, through the medium of Facebook, announced that Hillside Games, Inc registered the aforementioned domain names on the aforementioned date. Let the record show that these announcements did contain some emotional language.
-On 28 February 2012, the Chief Financial Officer of Hillside Games, Inc. contacted the proprietors of The Wyvern’s Tale LLC and demanded that all related posts be removed from Facebook and that The Wyvern’s Tale LLC issue a public, written apology, lest they bring suit for libel.
We’ll have more on the story as it develops.