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Censorship Your Rights Online

No EToy for Christmas 376

It's been a long week for On Monday, a judge issued a preliminary injuction fining them $10,000 each day that their website was hosted at their domain. They shut it down right away, of course. They're just internet artists. They don't have six billion dollars like the company that filed the suit: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Click More. Update: For more information about etoy, see the freshly-updated dmoz category.

etoy was founded in 1994 by a group of European artists who worked on the cutting edge, doing performance art at techno events and raves. Their focus has always been on the internet as new medium; this interview gives a feel for their perspective.

They picked the name "etoy" literally by consensus and running code. Being from Italy, England, and Switzerland, physical collaboration was difficult, so they got together on an IRC channel and went through a list of random names generated by a perl script. When "etoy" came up, they all knew that was the name they wanted; they first used it in October of 1994. In October 1995 they put up their website at

Christmas 1995 came and went.

In 1996, etoy won their first artistic award. Their work typically blurs the line between real world and art; in this case, they had undertaken to demonstrate how important and yet how fragile the system of search engines was. By subverting the meta tags of prominent websites like Playboy, they pulled inexperienced surfers to their site, where they put in a plug for Kevin Mitnick, and had a few laughs at the newbies' expense. They called it the "Digital Hijack."

A curious kind of art. In 1996 it was original enough to win an award from Ars Electronica. Nowadays everyone knows the trick, the search engines find it and disregard it, and some underhanded websites try to make a fast buck by stealing trademarks - but etoy did it first, for fun.

Christmas 1996 came and went.

In June 1997, with an S, began operations. It wasn't until October that their website went online. They filed for a U.S. trademark on their domain, at which point etoy got a little alarmed and filed for their own trademark on their own domain. Maybe because they're based in Europe, or maybe for some other reason, etoy says their application is still pending on some technicalities.

But it doesn't matter when their trademark is granted. Their website went online in October 1995, two full years before etoys', and it's date of first use that's important - not the date of filing.

Christmas 1997 came and went.

Christmas 1998 came and went.

But now it's 1999, the year of the e-tailer. Suddenly, with an S, has gone public and is worth six billion dollars. Meanwhile, without an S, again putting the spotlight on corporations and society, has raised money by "selling shares" of itself. I'm not quite sure how they did it, but at an artists' gathering, a half-serious, half-mocking exhibition-slash-fundraising they pulled in something over ten thousand dollars. (Which they then donated to their friends in the U.S., also working at the boundary of society and corporations, RTMark, best-known for their George W. Bush parody site.)

In the year of the e-tailer, what kind of speech scares corporations more than anything? Disrespect. Artists who don't play by the rules. People who don't understand that business is serious business., with an S, wants, with no S. They offered money. At one point they were offering cash and (mostly) stock that would have been worth almost half a million dollars. No sale.

But that should give us an idea of how much they're willing to spend on lawyers.

Finally, in September, eToys filed a lawsuit against etoy, on the grounds that a potential customer had mistakenly gone to the wrong site and had seen the message that - if they wanted to enjoy to its fullest extent - they should download "the fucking flash plugin." They also didn't like the pierced breasts or etoy's sense of humor.

To be precise, they claim that "the antisocial, obscene, and offensive images associated with defendants' use of the mark 'etoy,' both on the Internet and elsewhere, have tarnished the ETOYS® mark and the eToys brand name..."

Let this be a lesson to anyone whose domain is coveted by a multi-billion-dollar company: careful with the F-word.

In October and November the case was bounced from an L.A. court to U.S. District Court, and finally to a California State Court. In late November the judge refused a request to let the European artists attend the proceedings by teleconference. In those proceedings, the judge was told that the artists had engaged in "digital hijacking" (the 1996 project), and had sold shares of stock without being properly regulated on an official stock exchange (the 1999 fundraising exhibition). Worst of all, they were hosting illegal hardcore pornography (which was actually just a link to another site).

They claim:

"Defendants use the mark ETOY indiscriminately and in random association with unrelated concepts. For example, on the etoy web site alone, defendants use the mark ETOY in conjunction with other, randomly selected words to create phrases such as: 'etoy.research,' 'etoy.eternity,' 'etoy.timezone,' 'etoy.history,' 'etoy.servers,' 'etoy.strategy,' 'etoy.journeys,' 'etoy.universe,' and 'etoy.crew.'

"By using the mark ETOY in this random, indiscriminate manner, defendants cause both ETOY and the ETOYS® mark to lose any distinctive, signifying meaning."

Serious business.

The lawyers also kindly suggested that, since at least one etoy member is from Switzerland, they really would be more suited to a website in the .ch domain: Never mind the years of work and the reputation that the artists have built around - we all know that "dot-com" belongs to America!

Faced with a torrent of buzzwords, the judge issued a preliminary injunction barring etoy from: operating a website in the domain; associating their domain name with the "digital hijack"; or selling their "shares" in the U.S.

Penalty for disobeying the injuction: $10,000 per day in fines.

On November 30, shut down its Apache webserver. Its last access came from the eToys law firm (which has been monitoring it closely). They had no choice, really. In fact, when I talked with a member of etoy, he was very nervous about saying things which might get him in more legal trouble. Suddenly, the artists are afraid to speak.

How can this be, when, as the Village Voice wrote in an excellent article, this lawsuit doesn't even pass the "giggle test"? It's absurd to think that one website can shut down another for having a similar domain name - when the second site is not a domain poacher and has been operating two years longer than the first.

The date of the next court hearing, at which this preliminary injunction will surely be overturned: December 27th. How convenient! Just after the Christmas shopping season.

If you'd like to see more about etoy, their domain is down of course, and I don't know of any mirrors, but their fans have constructed a site at that has some information. And etoy may put some or all of its site back online at its IP number (not name!):

Good rules have been written to prevent things like this from happening. Unfortunately, the rules have not taken effect yet for most domains. Even after they do take effect, their legal status will be uncertain until they are tested in court.

Those rules are ICANN's Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. This policy ensures that the conditions under which a domain name can be disputed are strictly limited. For such a dispute even to proceed, a complainant must assert that each of three things is true:

your domain name infringes on a trademark;

you have "no rights or legitimate interests" to your domain;

and your domain name is being used "in bad faith."

As long as you're operating in good faith, or you have any legitimate interest in your domain, there is not even cause to bring up a dispute over a domain. Clearly this puts on firm ground, because regardless of the trademark issue (which should be resolved once their mark registration is granted) they win on the other two points. This doesn't stop clueless judges from issuing injuctions, of course. But having these rules codified as official policy will give the legal system better guidelines to operate by.

These rules went into effect for some domain name registries on Wednesday, but will not apply to the most popular registry, Network Solutions, until January.

I can't even complain to I clicked all over their website looking for an email contact address and couldn't find one. When I filled in the web form to ask that someone get in touch with me for this story, all I got was a email form letter:

It is our goal to respond to all order-related e-mail within 24 hours. If your e-mail is not order-related, we will do our best to take care of your questions, concerns and suggestions as soon as possible.

It's 72 hours later, so my email must not have been sufficiently order-related.

In the meantime, I can at least have the satisfaction of taking my order-related business elsewhere this holiday season. I'm sure eToys couldn't care less, but it will serve me as a small comfort during the remaining 22 holy shopping days. In a world run by retailers, e-tailers, and lawyers, I need everything I can get to help me make sense of the bizarre orgy of spirituality-soaked commerce that serves as the endcap of each year. Hohoho.

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No EToy for Christmas

Comments Filter:
  • One of these STUPID cases should be taken all the way to the supreme court to set a precident.
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @05:25AM (#1483542)
    This is exactly the kind of timely and relevant news I for one keep readhing slashdot for.

    I have yet to start my Christmas shopping, and intend to do most of it on-line (for my nefew, four nieces aged one to six, and various other relatives). I probably would have wound up using for at least some purchases, but in light of these events I will make a point in not doing so.

    Those of us (in the US at least) conscientious enough vote every couple of years. ALL OF US vote with our money (dollars, yen, euros, whatever) every day. It is my profound pleasure to vote against the fucks at for what they have done this Christmas season.
  • My personal favorite of this argument is that they suggested that they change the domain to ''.

    'Might makes right' is something that should be and can be fought on the digital frontier. Now what can we do about this, instead of just blustering and going 'that's wrong!' Suggestions?

  • Based on the facts as stated in this article, I would say that the people from the etoy site would have the basis for a counter suit against EToys. And since EToys is worth $6 billion, it seems they can afford a multi-million dollar settlement.

    Maybe with that, the etoy people can afford to get themselves a better address... one that won't be confused with a stupid toy company.

    Mike Eckardt []
  • wow that is amazing.

    It is not surprising that etoys sought to remove etoy, it will happen a lot more as the net becomes more commercial. And while some may stand for free speech those that stand for free trade will win everytime. Has happened in the pass and will happen in the future
  • by tweder ( 22759 ) <stwede&gmail,com> on Friday December 03, 1999 @05:29AM (#1483547) Homepage
    It's very sad to live in a day when having a domain name that's similar to another company's can get your site pulled under threat of heavy fines. What's particularly aggrivating is the fact that they were around long before eToys was (especially if we look at internet time). Looks like I'd better hurry and register
  • by Anonymous Coward
    a) Who cares.. b) How stupid would you feel if you wonder into your favorite RadioShack (or Tower Records) only to find yourself in RadioShucks or Tower Ripcords run of the mill crazy place :) We are all very brave when time comes to protect something we do not really care about. O yes, right, if we do not stop that today , tomorrow some big corporation will come and sue you to take away your precious name, Johny:) Wake up and look at REAL problems...
  • by pal ( 16076 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @05:31AM (#1483550)
    how on earth does a us district court impose fines on european citizens (regardless of WHY)? isn't there a jurisdictional problem here? is the machine running the site located in the united states? if not, why would they take it down?

    (ps - i don't know if i would file this under censorship. do you have a section for corporate extortion?)

    - pal
  • by turg ( 19864 ) <<turg> <at> <>> on Friday December 03, 1999 @05:31AM (#1483552) Journal
    Maybe I'm missing something but I don't think the ICANN rules will prevent this type of lawsuit.

    First, national trademark law overrides the agreement -- the agreement can't prevent people from defending their trademark (or it would erode everyone's trademarks -- trademark law is generally 'defend it or lose it').

    Second, the agreement is between ICANN and the current owner of the allegedly infringing domain, not the person/entity doing the suing -- it's even possible the plaintiff has never heard of ICANN. And even if they do own domains, thus having entered into this agreement with ICANN, the agreement applies to domains they already own, not other people's domains that they don't like.

    "I am not trying to prove that I am right... I am only trying to find out whether." -Bertolt Brecht

  • Does anyone remember the good old days? When Gopherspace could get you anything you could think of? When the internet was a place for sharing ideas? Who let big business in here anyway? It's all one big commercial now!
  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @05:32AM (#1483554) Homepage
    Three stories in a row about big business screwing over little people in a globalist setting. Very interesting. Throw in the Co$ story, and ./ is becoming a dangerous, subvertive site that needs to have some government agency shut it down before it causes some civil unrest.
    Hear that FBI/BATF/CIA/WTO/etc? Something needs to be done about this site! Think about the children!


  • How can an US court enforce a $10000 fine on Europeans? Also ... in this kind of cases, I *think* that normally, at least here in France, the ruling court should be the in the defendants' jursidiction. But IANAL.
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @05:33AM (#1483557)
    This has been forwarded to my friends and family not to shop there.

    Now to the heart of the matter - we already know who's going to win this one. The domain dispute policy will be amended to allow etoys to excercise it's unfair domain grab, and in a few months nobody will care. That's how it happened with dozens of other sites, modulo a few featured here on slashdot. The question is, of course, why haven't we forcefully lifted control from the government and InterNIC? We have the authority to reprogram our own, personal DNS servers with whatever information we see fit. People are under the impression that the internet will fall apart if we don't maintain The One True Registry. Well... my vote is for The One True Democratic Registry. We need a digital haven - some place on the planet where politicians can stick a hot poker up their butt if they disagree with the content or purpose of the site (or for that matter, greedy corporations). Freedom of speech taken to it's logical conclusion.

    My vote? Sysadmins of the world, unite! Form a second registry and use it. In the meantime.. anybody know if there's a country around that I can get enough access to kick of a "digital haven" - a country with no laws barring any online conduct and outside WTO and US control?

  • by legoboy ( 39651 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @05:35AM (#1483558)
    First come, first serve? Listen to the money talk.

    Domain Name: ETOY.COM
    Record created on 13-Oct-1995.

    Domain Name: ETOYS.COM
    Record created on 03-Nov-1997.

  • that's good. now say it again with me:
    BOYCOTT (with an s)
    they are not getting any of my hard earned $$.
    this kind of shite gives me the chills.
  • Remember, money controls the government. I'm sure that eventually it will be illegal to register a domain if you don't own the trademark to each of the letters in it. Oh well.

    I'm sure that some slashdot readers could give some legal advice to the guys over at And if you are a corporate lawyer, shame on you. You should not defend the monsters.

  • There are always a few addresses you can use...

    And, of course, they would be more impressed if we snail-mailed them and *gasp* called them or faxed them:

    3100 Ocean Park Blvd., Suite 300
    Santa Monica, CA 90405

    Administrative Contact:
    - Admin, eToys
    - admin@ETOYS.COM
    - (310) 664-8100 Voice
    - (310) 664-8101 Fax
    Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
    - eToys HostMaster
    - hostmaster@ETOYS.COM
    - (310) 664-8100 Voice
    - (310) 664-8101 Fax
    Billing Contact:
    - Admin, eToys
    - admin@ETOYS.COM
    - (310) 664-8100 Voice
    - (310) 664-8101 Fax

    I suppose that those who host their DNS info really don't have anything to do with it, but it might be a reminder for them to know who their customers *really* are if we sent a *very* polite email referencing this article, and asking what their opinion of their customer's actions are...
    DNS Servers:

    PLEASE be nice in any and all communications with anyone! (Man, I wish I didn't have to say that!) We can be nice and still express displeasure in someone's actions.


    "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence" - Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Etoy prolly just doesn't have the massive amounts of money to spend on a lenghty court battle so they just gave up instead. :\
  • by Anonymous Coward
    what if {
    There was a coordinated DoS attack against the rat bastards at ... right before xmas?
    Might these lawyer happy companies realize that the net has it's own rules and they can't just shove whatever they want down our collective throates?
    } end hypothitical situation

    I wouldn't _advocate_ such a thing though -- that'd be illegal :-(
  • The easiest and most obviouse thing to do is to move their site to a server to a country that is lax on copyright enforcement. This would probably meaning changing the .com, but a US judge would have no authority over property in another country which legally owned by some one who is a citizen of another country.

    [Y]our wise men don't know what its like to be thick as a brick - Ian Anderson
  • This makes me mad and sad at the same time. My god, the judge should have thrown the suit out of court in the first place. The judge should not (can not?) even take into consideration the other actions of the organization, which have nothing to do with the trademark! They have nothing to do with the ownership dispute. If a person is mearly accused of slander a judge can't fine him if he drives his car (assuming he hasn't done anything illegal having to do with the car). That's about as rediculous as this is.

    It scares me to think that a judge can be so stupid and willingly ignorant.

  • Be sure to write etoys and (Very Politely) tell them this.
    "I am not trying to prove that I am right... I am only trying to find out whether." -Bertolt Brecht
  • by TheTomcat ( 53158 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @05:38AM (#1483568) Homepage
    Those guys over at better be careful: []
  • I totally agree! Just the other day I was
    browsing, and was very likely going to make several purchases this week.

    After reading this, I can no longer support in any way. I will not be purchasing from them, and I will be sending them a note as to why.

    Sure its only $50 or so, but it doesn't take that many lost purchases to start hurting.
  • Here's a link for contact information [] at
    I'm sure that some people will use this properly, and some will not, but I'm not the babysitter, just the messenger. I plan to get a hold of them and tell them that I refuse to buy anything else from them until they stop this nonsense.
  • The eToys contact page is at nformation.shtml [] They've got a service address (, a VP of communications (, a Director of Investor Relations ( and the most likely addressee:
    Jonathan Cutler, PR Manager (
  • I am tired of hearing news of this again and again, and I only see it increasing in frequency. We are not too far from the point (or perhaps we are there allready) that when starting a new website and choosing a domain, we have to evaluate who we are going to piss off, and how much money they have.

    I understand the difference between a site demonstrating it's right to free speech, trademark infringement, and cyber-squatting. The difference needs to be clearer, and likewise judges need more technical background on the difference between content on a site, and an off-site link. A precident NEEDS to be set! Right now, it is a contest for who has the highest paid lawyers. That makes the artist's counter-suit that much harder as well.

  • I set up an ODP category for etoy and media coverage of the "toywar" at lture_Jamming/etoy/

    If you find sites or news items related to etoy, please submit them there.
  • Click here [] to go the Contact us page for their website. While a message may not go directly to someone in charge of the company, it might get circulated around. Don't we, as consumers, have a right to voice our opinion to the company? Here is a good way to picket the company without leaving the comfort of our homes. If enough of us contact the website, we might be able to do some good. Consumers, unite!!!
  • How completely appalling! I promply fired off an email to telling them that I, nor anyone I could get a hold of, would be shopping at this Christmas season. I can't believe that a judge actually made that ruling....
  • I got the impression that this site was partly owned by an american as well, however federal courts have struck down laws regulating internet content that would hold people who live and run their sites from other states. The same theory should apply here.

    [Y]our wiseman don't know what its like to be thick as a brick - Ian Anderson, "Thick as a Brick"
  • In 24 months when governments start taxing e-commerce there won't be any mom and pop operations to begin with. E-commerce will be more expensive and complex than starting your own brick and morter business in California, so expensive that only the richest will be able to do it. Suddenly the name patenting will dissolve and the issue will be more of who gets to participate in e-commerce in the first place.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have been thinking this for a while.
    add a short domain to the end and it could even coexist nicely

    Someone just has to start it.
    I would at least look at it also
  • Hmmm....maybe, maybe not.

    I wonder if EToy could file a countersuit? I mean, this lawsuit appears to be so silly that it *must* have been brought in bad faith...
  • As I am trying to do as much Christmas Shopping online this year as possible, I have already bought one present from etoys and was planning on a lot more. I chose them mostly because they are running linux, but this crap out weighs that.
  • Here is the comment I sent to

    After reading a disturbing report online about how your company manhandled the artists who RIGHTFULLY OWN the domain, I, as a consumer, have decided that my family will never use your site to order any products. I realize that as a large company you could care less if one person, or even a family, should decide to not spend their money at your establishment. What happens, however, when thousands upon thousands of consumers find out that doesn't play nice in the market? You may draw your own conclusions.

    A concerned and active consumer
  • There is one problem with that, etoy did not violate trademark law since they where not trying to defraud the public into thinking that they where e-toys. Any lawyer who does not see that should be stricken from the bar.

    [Y]our wise men don't know what its like to be thick as a brick - Ian Anderson, "Thick as a Brick"
  • by lar3ry ( 10905 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @05:49AM (#1483590)
    As a father who had been considering one or two online purchases for his children for the coming Christmas season, I can say that my feelings about this is "I'll go anywhere but" Such a thing at least makes me feel good.

    A boycott could only work if it is sufficiently advertised. Hopefully, there are a few news services that monitor Slashdot and may make this case a bit more public. Maybe can be made to withdraw the lawsuit. Who knows.

    Ten years ago, reading USENET only generated smirks from the MBA types, telling me that I was wasting my time and to get a life.

    Now those same MBA's have "discovered" the Internet, and are looking to push us out of "their" sandbox.

    It's not going to work that way, fellas. Sure, you can sue all you want. Lawsuits don't generate good feeling by potential customers, though. The "little guy's" only recourse is to publicize such abuses as much as possible.

    Of course, the next step is to have slime molds like purchase,, etc. and they won't have to worry about people hearing about such abuses.

    So... as I wait to see the 1900's odometer turn, it is heartening to see Slashdot making at least SOME people aware of these types of things.

    I still wonder what kind of Internet such companies are going to end up with. And what kind of Internet replacement that WE will come up with so that we don't need to swim in such soiled refuse-ridden sewage.
  • Response from Netcraft: is running Etoys Web server 1.2 on Linux

    First, what the heck is "Etoys Web server 1.2"?
    Second, they seem to be stomping all over the spirit of the GPL and its encouragment of sharing and technical fellowship. What a shame that the GPL has no 'asshole' exclusionary clauses.
  • etoy should have suggested that move to a .us domain. I bet that would get some laughs.
  • by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @05:52AM (#1483593) Homepage
    recently spotted this [] in LinuxJournal [] and was rofl.

  • i'm sending everyone i know who shops online a link to this story and asking them not to shop @ etoys.

    oh, wait, can they sue me for writing those 5 letters in that order without acknowledging their trademark?

  • by Bogey ( 38323 )
    actually, i think there already is a similar effort: alternic. but they don't seem to be doing well at all and i believe one of the head honchos went to jail for hacking into internic servers.

    i believe you idea is booth a Good Thing(tm) and a Truly Horrible Thing. imagine a world where everyone fights bitterly over not only which OS or browser to use, but which toplevel dns. some sites won't be accessible from some dnses (you can type the ip directly, sure, but in the age of virtual hosting that's not always enough), mail servers will reject mail from entire topdomains. and you can bet your sweet ass that a certain company will embrace and extend the market by launching ActiveTopDNS.

    on the other hand, it's a good idea because it will give the people at internic something to think about.

  • Ahh, but WHOSE _national_ trademark laws apply. Whose jurisdiction applies. Maybe etoy should sue etoys in Switzerland or one of their other resident companies.

    This is only going to become more and more of a problem.

    I recall a related incident in NZ. A small shop in a small town in NZ had a name like Harrads, which was the name of the original owner. Harrods (UK) took exception and tried all sorts of bully boy tactics against the shopcompany. In protest, the whole town renamed all business to Harrads ...... and the town changed its name. Harrods backed off ;-)
  • Here are two pages at which you can leave feedback: The first link is to "report a problem with the site", and the second is to "send feedback." I'd say this qualifies as both.
  • "Wake up and look at REAL problems..."

    I'm sorry, but everybody has priorities. Just because you're not the SAME, doesn't mean it isn't important.

    Alot of people have businesses or offerings that are "close enough" in name that precidents(sp?) like this could really hurt the small man.

    Even if he does run a place called "RadioShucks". He deserves to have it. And, atleast in the real world, a trademark dispute will not only take the conflicting names or symbols into consideration, BUT ALSO THE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES that each offers. (Think Big Red gum, and Big Red drink. Kraft foods, Kraft financial services.)

    If etoy had been a parody site of eToys, you bet your buns no judge would infringe on their first amendment right. If their just doing their own thing.. then is it right for a legal semi-truck to squish em like a bug?!

    "Did somebody say, 'McDougle?'" - overheard from the oval office on a whitehouse tour.

  • Personally I think I'll write up a quick Delphi prog that sits and reloads the page a few million times. Only takes about 30 seconds to make, but my cable modem can eat a lot of bandwidth...

    Heck, if 5 thousand people did that their site would crash and stay crashed.

  • -

    The solution is simple:


    Doing your Christmas shopping at Etoys is a great way to show your support for censorship.

  • by The Other JoshG ( 8333 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @05:59AM (#1483606)
    (a different) AC wrote:

    Nice website you have there... it would be a SHAME if something HAPPENED to it!

    I'm not advocating this... But if all of the people who thought this was unfair would start just ONE ping process pointing at, it would ruin their Christmas, too.

    I was initially replying to this, but it was moderated down by the time I finished writing my post.

    Actually, this seems like a plausible non-violent way to deal with the situation, and doesn't deserve the immediate down-moderation that it got. For all the /.ers who think DOS attacks are automatically wrong, take a look at how slanted this situation is against the little guy, and how the courts seem to be willing to rule for profits and against common sense, and think again.

    If the powers that be had half a brain, we wouldn't have to think about stuff like this. But they don't, so we do.

    Liberal minded moderators... keep an eye out for stuff like this and moderate it back up. We're part of /. too, and I for one don't buy the party line that attacks on computer systems are automatically wrong. is using unjustifiable legal coercion, and they have no right to complain if people retaliate with a different form of coercion.

  • This all sound well and good, but it's like that Trane commercial in the US if you've seen it...

    If they used NT, we could likely crash 'em, but son, they use Linux, it'll take a lot....


    (Netcraft: is running Etoys Web server 1.2 on Linux )
  • by humphrm ( 18130 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @06:00AM (#1483609) Homepage
    This has been forwarded to my friends and family not to shop there

    And, in fact, your friends and family will be much better off. I found that except for ONE item on my son's wish-list, all were cheaper at other toy sites and even at brick-and-mortar sites than at


    • LeapFrog Phonics Bus: $19.98 at Noodle Kidoodle, $29.99 at eToys. $24.99 at ToyTime [].
    • New Bright Power Horse Loader: $19.99 at Noodle Kidoodle, $34.99 at eToys, $21.99 at ToyTime.
    • The popular Elmo's Radio Controlled Roadway was also $60 at eToys up until yesterday, when ToyTime put it on sale at $39 and so eToys matched it. Up to that time, eToys was $10 more than the brick-and-mortar venue.

    In my opinion, eToys is just capitalizing on the growing popularity of e-commerce without actually offering the benefit that e-commerce is supposed to provide: lower prices. They've got their gorilla advertising dollars to spend on T.V. ads to get people shopping there, but an intelligent consumer would soon quickly learn that their prices aren't the best.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, 1999 @06:03AM (#1483612)
    For those of you in the US. Express your view via voice, it will cost them more:

    Customer Service Contact
    If you would like to speak to a customer service representative about your order, please call us at 1-800-GO-ETOYS (1-800-463-8697). We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @06:11AM (#1483620) Homepage

    Its all part of the American Empire. The US is the functional equivalent of a world Empire - courtesy of their economic strength and the US military which backs it.

    Somehow we have let corporations become the law of the world. They have greater rights than the individual - because they have more money than that individual. This case is going to be *very* important - if wins this, then the entire domain name scheme is meaningless. If I register a good name, all that matters is how much money someone has if they want to take it from me. And what about .net and .org? I own a .net and the .com equivalent is registered to a company already, what if they dislike my content, can they have me shut down? I sure as hell can't afford a lawyer for more than a day.

    In an equally meaningless lawsuit, and to show how patently stupid this judgement is, if I were the folks at Etoy I would now turn around and sue Network Solutions for selling them the domain when it was going to violate another company's copyright only a few years after the sale. Surely NS should have seen that, right?
    It would make as much sense as this lawsuit.

    Of course the biggest problem that the folks have is that their not US citizens. Were they US citizens there would be much more of a public and media outcry in the States, but since they are foreigners(sic) they have less attention/importance/rights in the world.

    I suggest we promulgate a complete ban on dealing with - and try to convince as many other folks to boycott it as well. How 'bout a "Why I don't shop at" graphic you can display on your website and link to this story?
    Perhaps a grass roots democratic demonstration of our collective displeasure might garner some results...

  • [] has been around a long time. The problem is, you need to use their nameserver, since your local (ISP) nameserver won't be checking their DNS registry. So other people would have a hard time finding your site.
  • How often do things like this happen? How many companies do we threaten to boycott for bullying the little guy? Can we even keep track of them all? Of course not.

    But we have the power of computers and databases on our side. Why not organize a list of online corporations we have gripes with, and interface it with client-side software that will warn us when we attempt to visit "sanctioned" sites?

    ALERT: is currently filing a lawsuit against Barnes and Noble for violating their patented concept of "one click shopping." Though they do have a legal patent on the technology, this is an obvious non-innovation, and this patent and lawsuit is considered by many to be abusive and frivolous. Visit for more information. Do you wish to proceed?

    We can't personally keep tabs on every corporate bully, but to organize and be a veritable force for companies to be wary of, perhaps we can convince them our voices really do matter.

    One might worry such organization would be forced to make overly subjective decisions, and eventually become political, but the choice would always be left to the user. The software and database would prodive the information (hopefully a link to a [mostly] impartial news story), and the user would choose, based on the information provided, whether to personally avoid the site or not. Personally, I imagine many would opt to support these boycotts.

    Every dollar the monstrous corporations have came from someone's pocket.
  • You've written a great article jamie. Concise and well thought out articles is what slashdot needs more of.

    Keep it up!
  • the problem with Slashdot is that it has no "memory". We gripe and moan and groan, and then the next day we forget all about it and move on to whatever that day's "cause" is.

    I'm sure the government actually likes us posting to SlashDot, because if we're posting here, we're not actually DOING anything.

    Oh: to see what's really happening in Seattle (jack-booted Gestapo thugs tear-gassing and rubber-bulleting peaceful protestors while allowing anarchists to do whatever they want in order to get an excuse to invoke martial law, which they did in a 40 block area of central Seattle), see the links on Salon's "Anti-WTO Activist Web Pages" [] page. Now THAT is subversive. Slashdot? Get real!


  • Though etoys has been spun off, it would be interesting to get a response from the people at their parent company,
    IdeaLab []

    "I am not trying to prove that I am right... I am only trying to find out whether." -Bertolt Brecht
  • These claims are discussed in the Village Voice article [] -- they are pure FUD. "digital hijack" sounds bad but it was the name of a pretty tame demonstration of the innacuracy of search engines. The "shares" were another artistic project which no-one could confuse with etoys stock. They are scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for mud to sling.
    "I am not trying to prove that I am right... I am only trying to find out whether." -Bertolt Brecht
  • Etoys stock has fallen from $70 to $55 [] since Monday, the day this ruling was given.
    "I am not trying to prove that I am right... I am only trying to find out whether." -Bertolt Brecht
  • Is there anywhere that you can find out about what companies are being naughty (like etoys, hasbro, amazon etc...) and why they are on the site, and why we should boycott them, or write them nasty letters telling them off?

    If not, I think there should be.
  • Yes, and they'd say, "See all those nasty hackers, they're bad they are", and would become the victim.

    So no, this was a bad idea.
  • by UncleRoger ( 9456 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @07:10AM (#1483669) Homepage
    I don't know about other webmasters, and I certainly don't run a site as a profit-making enterprise, but I do check (when I have time) my logs. Not only do I want to see what pages people are looking at, I am interested in seeing where they came from.

    I have to laugh at all the perverts who end up at my site after doing a search for the Mitchell Brothers' adult theatre. (I mention them on my page because of the great (G-rated) murals on the outside of their building.)

    What if all the gazillions of Slashdot readers went to the eToys web site [] but didn't buy anything? If their webmaster checked the logs, he/she would see tons of hits, all originating from this story. Presumably they would check out the story and think "Omigod, look at all these people that aren't buying anything, and it's because we screwed eToy!"

    Normally, they might just think, "Oh, the only people that will really care about eToy are a handfull of geeks, so we can go harass eToy," but if they see how many people really do read Slashdot, they might just change their minds.

    Just a thought. In any case, I'm going to slide on over and not buy anything. (Funny thing is, I was going to buy some toys for my niece from them, until now.)

  • Just a thought...

    Want to get eToys where it really hurts? Contact your local media outlets. Local TV affiliates are always looking for cheap news. If they get enough emails/phones calls/etc and it is a quiet news day, they might just run something primetime. Such comsumer news would counter millions of dollars of marketing for those *#@$*$#$% at eToys.

  • by vitaflo ( 20507 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @07:15AM (#1483676) Homepage
    I sent this to Jonathan Cutler, Public Relations Manager ( If you disagree with eToys stance, I suggest you do the same:

    I have read recent reports of a case concerning the forced shutdown of by When I first heard this I thought it was nothing more than a copy cat company trying to steal the thunder from If this were the case I would have backed your decision to take up legal action against However after reading what was about, I became quite surprised that a company such as yours, with so much money in the bank would even care to take action against a site that is little more than people doing experimental design and having fun on the web.

    I think what eToys needs to realize is that the web is a FREE place. Free in the sense of free speach. Unfair business pratice is one thing, but the web has been, and will always be about Open Information for anyone. The fact that was running over two years before and the fact that is has NOTHING to do with eToys nor is it a direct threat to makes me wonder where your best interests are going after and attacking them.

    I'm not void of these problems myself. I work at a company trying to make its name on the web,, and we're doing VERY well on the web. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the domain was a porn site. But did we go after them to try to shut them down? NO. Why? Because that's not fair and that's NOT RIGHT. You cannot sue someone simply because they domain names are "similar".

    I also own a personl domain, is an experimental graphic design and open source information site. Now imagine that in a year from now, someone sets up, starts selling Farm equipment, and gets rich off of it. Then someone goes to my website, sees a swear word or some "unappropriate" material and then tries to shut me down. Would I be pissed? You bet. Would I fight it? Till the day I died. This is exaclty what your company has done to

    It makes me sad to see a company with so much potential throw so much of it down the drain. You can be sure I will never shop at your site ever again, and I have written to everyone I know to tell them the same (as I'm sure many others have done that have heard this news). As the PR Manager, I think it should be your job to keep the companies best interests in mind in how it deals with the public. This is NOT in your best interest. You will lose a lot more money playing the roll of "Bully" than you ever would have by just ignoring I am hopeful this letter, and letters like it, will help to reverse this aweful trend in online lawsuits that has been occuring so much recently. Set the precident, be the one company to actually LISTEN to its customers. We will all thank you if you do.

    Thank you for your time,
    -Brent Gustafson

  • Why are we blaming etoys instead of the judge?
  • I've read that the judge enjoined them from running an website at the domain "". However, that does NOT prevent them from running a web site at "".

    Of course, technically, you could run a domain redirector at, but I don't think the judge would see the distinction as clearly. Heh.

  • eToys CEOs are Mariam Naficy & Varsha Rao -- address your letters to them, so they at least get past the customer service level.

    "I am not trying to prove that I am right... I am only trying to find out whether." -Bertolt Brecht
  • by UncleRoger ( 9456 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @07:22AM (#1483687) Homepage
    And here is what I wrote in it:

    My father had a serious stroke in July. He is now, unfortunately, confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home. (The ongoing story can be found at if you care.)

    So this year I figured he and I could sit down in front of his computer and do his holiday gift shopping on-line. It would be fun and he could be the coolest dude at the home.

    Naturally, we figured that much of our shopping (I plan to do my shopping online as well) would be done at -- It seems easy to use, has good info, etc.

    That was until I spotted the story at telling a tale of corporate greed, censorship, and bullying.

    Needless to say, I will be taking my business (and my father's) elsewhere. (There is, of course,,,, etc.)

    Just so you know, the consensus at Slashdot is pretty clearly negative towards eToys. And you might think that Slashdot is just a few geeks who don't matter, but that would show your own naivite' -- you've obviously never heard of the Slashdot effect. (Check with your tech staff, or do a web search.)

    Remember also, that as more and more of Joe Public turns to online shopping, the people that they will turn to for advice and assistance will be those very same geeks.

    You have an interesting future ahead of you.

    Be sure to be polite, but firm!

  • I was wondering if I was the only one. I get a long email from these people once every couple of weeks, and it's to one of the email addresses I try to keep spam-free. That loses them any sympathy they might have gotten from me.

    Anybody else getting spammed by them?

  • My eyes musta moved up a row when looking at the list of idealab companies []
    "I am not trying to prove that I am right... I am only trying to find out whether." -Bertolt Brecht
  • by Kaa ( 21510 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @07:47AM (#1483701) Homepage
    OK let's say I'm one of the artists at [snip] ... my friends and i accept the stock, sell it, buy ourselves some kick ass SGI boxes and some killer software and keep doing what we do at another domain name.

    PS: I can't get over the way people on slashdot make it seem like a domain name is some necessity of life like food, air, water or shelter. We were not born with them and they'll be gone before we die. So what's the fscking point of all this ruckus.

    In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up becaues I wasn't a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up becaue I was a Protestant.

    Then they came for me - and by that time no one was left to speak up.

    -- Pastor Martin Niemoller

  • This sounds like another case of might is right, but perhaps more so, the saddly North American idea that commerce comes before all. The current WTO protests are as good sign that some people on this contintent at least are wise to this fallacious thinking. I find it tragic and sad that in a supposed democracy, money wins over law in a court, intimidation by Federal law enforcement agencies supercedes the right of free speech (the recent shutdown of the Times Square News Year's video sight....was reported in the village voice...) Alas it appears the internet is being coopted, as we knew it eventually would, in the name of power and money. I have often thought it ironic that a technology, the roots of which are encased firmly in military research, should prove to be so liberating to citizens of the world. I now am beginning to think this hope was short sighted, it seems that even if they let us play with it for a while, now that it is firmly entrenched in popular culture, they want ownership back again.
  • Link [] to send them comments.
  • To:

    How could you go and try and sue a company that had their name before you even existed? They have the legal right, not you. How can you go and squash the rights of other people? I will personally guarantee you that I will never, ever shop at, and that I will inform all my friends, relatives, and any other people I speak with, to not shop at your site. If you were afraid some people would misspell your domain name, and not get to the intended site, you should have worked out a linking policy with, just like how and have a linking policy.
    You disgust me.
  • You make it sound like it's acceptable to make change their name because otherwise might lose some business, and it won't bother as much to make the change. That's utter BS. was around long beforehand, and they shouldn't have to change just because they didn't think about the future and pay attention to similar domain names.

    The law isn't about causing the least trouble. If the president of the US came up and shot you in the head, should the court that he/she shouldn't have to go to jail because it'll cause much more trouble than is we just let him/her go?

    The law is supposed to stand up for what is right, regardless of who's inconvienced. It's the principal of the matter. Big companies don't get to take things from little people just because it might be annoying for them if they don't have it.

    You don't build a huge supermarket in a small lot and then try to force nearby businesses to give you their lots just because otherwise you'd have to go somewhere else or build a smaller market.
  • You're suggesting that we give up on the offending system. Which is sort of the right idea. But we live inside of this system and its very hard to get out of it. The changes that need to be made, need to be made by govenerments, and the UN, etc... and they've been trying... but they're trying to fix things that arent wrong.

    It turns out that the people who make the most noise are generally the people that are disgruntled with the current system... These people have made the polititions think that free speech and free thought are not what we want. Polititians must think by now that we want to be babysat - we dont want to think. We want things organized, we want parents again! And corporations are happy to fill the role. Now, they've gotten the wrong idea. We want freedom to think - we want democracy back! Its of course then our responcibility to make some noise. Changing DNS systems is a nice idea but infeasable to imlement very well. I think what we need is more of an online unity. More of an online union of sorts. of course, without union dues :) Its people who run the internet and run the world. Very few people are actually giving the orders - are actually thinking for themselves, for whats good. We need social disobedience on a large scale to let the people who implement decisions know what we want. Show them what is wrong. It worked for millions of poor indian people against the brittish... and its the same idea... the numerous poor against the few rich. We can do it.

    What do we want to do? I think that we need public protest, stuff that gets on the news. People have been talking about the WTO issue online forever, but now people know more about it now that its on the news. Public protests need to be organized. Massive letter writing campaigns. Elect people who arent so dumb! hehe :) Join the Electronic Frontiers Organizations! We need an organized voice of truth, not of anger or frustration :)
  • I think what we need to do is send a _polite_ letter to etoys explaining why we will no longer purchase their products.

    It might be best to email their Public Relations Manager - this is an issue that should be of some concern to him, considering the implications.

    I found this contact information on their website ( ):

    Company Contact Information

    3100 Ocean Park Blvd.
    Suite 300
    Santa Monica, CA 90405
    (310) 664-8100

    News Media Contact

    Ken Ross
    Vice President of Communications
    (310) 664-8410

    Jonathan Cutler
    Public Relations Manager
    (310) 664-8550

    Investor Relations Contact

    Suki Shattuck
    Director of Investor Relations
    (310) 664-8356

    Customer Service Contact

    If you would like to speak to a customer service representative about your order, please call us at 1-800-GO-ETOYS (1-800-463-8697). We are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    If you are calling from outside the United States, please dial

  • They are not suing over rights to the name, they are suing over losing customers who mistype the name and see profanity. For the first time in one of "these" cases, I think the plaintiff is right. And I don't think it violates anyone's "free speech" rights to insist that they keep the root of their domain "clean", especially when they know full well that there is a potential for lots of young kids to be going there by mistake. Plenty of room on the other pages for breasts, F-words, etc. existed 2 years before, whatever etoy wants to put on their front page is their own business. If Etoys wanted to avoid domain confusion they should have picked a name that wasn't so close to one already in use.

  • Now we need information.

    We'd need a chain of 24/7 DNS servers (perhaps the,, etc, servers). Anyone with a good static IP and Linux should be able to contributed. How will we setup GTLDs? The ".net, .org, .com -- pick one" thing is a bit limited as a global namespace. Once we have our alternate backbone setup, we can use dig and only do business with those who have registered in our database (free if you can prove why you should have the domain, with maybe a 10$ US maintenace fee every few years for server hardware).

    I mean, we'd be cheaper than the Internic, and we've certainly got enough hardware between us to do it. Heck, we could even add a gateway feature to let through domains not found in our DNS servers come from an internic area (thus we only get what we don't have, and don't have to worry about the internic people trying to overlap our domains).

    Am I the only one who thinks this could work?
  • It looks like a placeholder for some domain name prospector. Feh.
  • Actually, the tech team here at eToys all reads Slashdot already.
  • Boy did they pick the wrong state to file in.
    This is a classic example of a Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAAP), meant to force somebody w/ less money and power to shut up.
    California has an anti-SLAAP statute. Look here [] for more details. Any lawyers in the crowd know about success rates in using this sort of statute?
  • An easier way to take care of this would be to tell your DNS server that it is authoritative in the domain. Then, pull a copy of the records from some site like, and tell your DNS server (easy if you're running BIND) that this file contains the records for I mean, an unfortunate mistake like that (maybe you added a porn site to your service in the domain "" and misspelled it completely by accident). Now, if you're a sizable ISP, you've directed a large number of people to a porn site in "" how many of those people (assuming they want toys for their children) will return? Remember the fuss when Zelda 64 came out? Things could get "interesting". And, no, I am not speaking on behalf of my employer in this post. :)
  • Hmmmm....
    Actually, the tech team here at eToys all reads Slashdot already.

    Perhaps then the tech team knows they should be looking around for new positions? 8^)

    But seriously, this isn't something the MIS staff did, it's the legal department. And unfortunately, most such departments don't know any other way to do business besides playing mean and dirty.

    It's really too bad, because eToys is a nice site with some good info. I actually thought they "got it".

  • I had a polite conversation with the operator there. First I confirmed with her that is really sueing Then I confirmed with her that has been in operation longer than She admitted both.

    She claimed that is not trying to shut them down, but trying to get them to move. She claimed that the case is not about trademark infringement, but that children might want toys and type-in "" off of the top of their heads. She mentioned at least three times throughout the conversation how much pornography and cursing were on the web page, and how bad it would be for children to see that. Basically is claiming to be doing a public service, not defending a trademark.

    You can believe that, or you can disbelieve that. I'm just reporting what the customer service department told me.
  • by redelm ( 54142 ) on Friday December 03, 1999 @11:13AM (#1483799) Homepage

    Clearly Etoys has bamboozled the judge. They have deliberately misinformed him over the rules governing Domain Names while scaring him with porno. Judges do not like to be lied to! They can and will charge liars with contempt of court including fines and jailtime.

    The judge issued a preliminary injection in good faith to prevent harm. When it is explained that he was deceived and caused harm instead, some judicial outrage/coverup will occur. IMHO, it is important the the etoy defense team take a friendly stance toward the judge, explain how he was deceived in this admittedly arcane issue, and suggest contempt punishment. They could also countersue. If they don't approach this correctly, the judge will stonewall behind "porno".

    Clearly etoys benefits immeasurably from this unjust preliminary injunction, and ought not be walk away with the loot.

    -- Robert
  • by Brian Knotts ( 855 ) <bknotts&cascadeaccess,com> on Friday December 03, 1999 @11:27AM (#1483804)
    As the eToys people must have known this would generate negative publicity, and the stock value has plummeted recently, couldn't eToys shareholders sue the eToys officers for failure to prudently carry out their fiduciary responsibilities?

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [].
  • (rambles a bit)

    It seems to me that EToy, if they so desire, might be able to return the favor to Etoys - a suit, filed in the EU where they're based, because Etoys is diluting the recognizability of EToy.

    After all, EToy is recognized as a source of cutting-edge art and social commentary, and it provably existed long before Etoys came along and picked up a similar name. Anyone who goes to the Etoys site seeking art is going to be just as confused as someone going to the EToy site looking for toys.

    If the argument that the site is hosted in Switzerland and should be in the .ch top-level domain is allowed to stand, then a counter-argument that Etoys being hosted in California should be in the domain is just as valid. In addition, the precedent that the case would set should bring massive support to EToy from other non-US companies with .com domains.

    The movement from court to court seems remarkably like a case of shopping for a favorable judge, and for an international matter a California state court seems like a particularly inappropriate venue. The requirement that EToy be physically present in order to participate also seems onerous, particularly for a preliminary hearing - it would make sense for the trial itself, but not for the early stages.

    As an interesting thought, can EToy go through discovery and depositions to investigate all records and email from the early days of Etoys in an attempt to determine whether the company was aware of the potential conflict? The depositions in particular would be better handled in a case in the EU - if the creators of EToy must travel to the the site of a US trial, it makes sense that the founders of Etoys be required to travel to the site of a Swiss one.

    Even better, on thought: if in discovery it is found that Etoys was aware that they had no real legal standing, would that open them up to a barratry (abuse of lawsuits for intimidation purposes) suit?

    If nothing else, they should be appealing for emergency permission to put up a page that describes the situation - "This site is down due to a lawsuit between Etoys, Inc. and the EToy artist group. To reach Etoys, the online toy seller, click {here}. To reach EToy, the artist group, click {here}."

    just a little off

  • by jfunk ( 33224 )
    From reading some previous comments, I've thought about starting such a database.

    I was thinking of starting as a simple website, then defining a protocol and writing client and server software, maybe a browser plugin, option in Konqueror and Mozilla, etc.

    I like the idea.
  • > Anyone noticed that IdeaLab owns OpenSales,
    > makers of OpenMerchant (open source e-commerce
    > program). I think it is apporiate to boycott
    > this free software also.

    Or just don't use openmerchant cause it is pretty lame software. Have you looked at the code? ick! I could hardly believe it was coming from such a hyped-up company, with backers like IdeaLab. The distibution is ugly, with tmp files left in by the developers, and the high-level design of the software doesn't look like it had much thought put into it. And they don't use CVS! =P

    - Isaac
  • Is etoy anything like ytok? That would certainly make it time-relevant.

  • 1. IIRC, there were about three arrests, and minimal injuries. This doesn't constitute "Gestapo thugs" beating people up.

    2. In a mob situation, you have to believe in this sort of reaction; otherwise, you are an anti-authoritarian, and therefore a libertarian of some kind (hopefully, a libertarian socialist, AKA anarchist)

    3. Anarchism is the belief that capitalism and authority lead to humans being taken advantage of. The direct result is that no government should exist, but human interrelationships should be the foundation of order in society. Anarchists don't pillage and loot. Morons pillage and loot. Anarchists are interested in a form of equality that is simply not possible with the restraints of government and capitalism. Get your terms right.

  • See subject line, and then notice the following link posted at the bottom of every page on []
  • I suggested we should consider a graphic to display on one's website that links to this story, and one appeared in my email. Matt sent me this image located here [].

    He told me I could "do with it what you will" - well I suggest anyone who feels inclined should post this on their website, and link it back to this story here on /.

    If you have a website and you choose to add this graphic to it, let me know your site URL - you can email me at [mailto]

    If I get a chance and enough folks to this then I will create a site that lists all the ones that display this banner.

  • If any of you decide to send this letter, I would suggest that you spellcheck it first. No offense meant to Brent, but nothing destroys credibility more than poor spelling, poor grammar, or the use of colloquialisms such as 'pissed'.

    Doh! ThreeTee is right, if you do want to use that letter, do spell check it. I was in a bit of a rush (I wrote all that up during work and I'm not the best writer so it took me a bit), and thus forgot that important step. Profesional sounding letters do wonders. But just don't copy me, write your OWN letter and voice YOUR opinions! They do count!
  • Geez. That sounds kinda like something I might have said. Are you sure you aren't a Signal 11-speak perl generator? =)
  • Just a quick explanation of what I meant when I said that "I actually thought they "got it"." -- The eToys site appears to offer in-house written descriptions which, while still designed to sell the product, offer a little better information than the stock package descriptions that ToySmart uses. They also provide their own opinions of the age range a toy is suitable for (toy companies are often clueless on this.) I like their site, it's easy to use, and it's got a lot of information. It's too bad I have to go elsewhere.

Memory fault -- brain fried