Defending the Zebra

J Philip Faranda February 26, 2011

Imagine you are in real estate. If you are reading these words, not a stretch. Now imagine you’ve busted your buns long enough to start your own firm, like I did after 17 years. You decide you’ll name your firm after something very personal about you- let say your dog. Not a stretch, right? I had a dog named Bella, which means beautiful in Italian. So You decide you’ll call your firm Bella Homes (if the name is taken-which would be ironic-, please work with me) and you work hard and build your enterprise honestly and ethically.  

Now, after 5 years of business, you look around and not only is your firm successful after the miserable economy we’ve expereinced, but you are also the author of a well-known real estate blog and you enjoy the respect of your peers. 

Then, you get served with court papers. You are getting sued. Why? Because someone on the other side of the continent who doesn’t broker real estate but markets to agents also named something that they do “the Bella Report.” And these characters are claiming you have damaged them by knowingly and mailiciously stealing your brand. Frivolous? Yes. Expensive and time consuming? Absolutely. Harmful to you? No doubt about it. 

This is pretty much what has happened to the Real Estate Zebra, Daniel Rothamel, by some outfit on the west coast whom I won’t even name because they don’t deserve the search engine tickle. They have a report named after the aforementioned 4 legged beast ( which wasn’t even Daniel’s source-he was a referee for $%^& sake) which you have to register to get in your email. 

This is a good man who is being attacked ad hominem by my understanding, with no rationale basis for a complaint other than billable hours by some hack attorney – that’s my take, and if they don’t like it they can piss in the wind. 

Jay Thompson has written a far more cogent summary of the matter on the Phoenix Real Estate Guy, and a legal defense fund-ZebraDefenseFund.com – has been set up. I wanted to bring this to the attention of the Active Rain comunity. 

As Jay said, if you can contribute, do so. If you are short on Scratch, blog about it. 

Stand up for what’s right, and defend a good colleague. The Real Estate Zebra is one of my favorite blogs, has been in my reader for years, and I’m not going to be silent about it. 

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