The weather is lovely in the U.K. and the cowslips are coming out. I’m up a mountain in France, where I have spent most of my time since Monday in bed (I’ll spare you the unpleasant details, although to look on the bright side – and as my Mum cheerfully pointed out - I have lost a lot of weight). And now, a really splendid piece of cybersquatting.
I don’t know the legal ins and outs of cybersquatting, but it does seem pretty black and white from an ethical perspective.
Before I left I quickly typed the generic email of one of our suppliers (email@example.com) into my Blackberry. Oops – I actually typed firstname.lastname@example.org. Guess what? www.herbiseed.co.uk is owned by a firm called Naturescape who are, by an amazing coincidence, also a seed company specializing in native plants. So when in my drug induced stupor earlier this week I sent Steve a message it went not to him but to a bloke called Mark Scarborough at Naturescape. By an even more amazing coincidence he dropped me a solicitous email out of the blue the very next business day:
Hello, we are a large scale commercial grower of wildflower plants and seeds for over 30 years, just wondering if you would be interested in a price for anything Regards. Mark
It turns out Naturescape did something similar a little while ago with another seed company, Emorsgate.
Whatever the reasons, trying to read emails to your competitors and then seeking to get commercial advantage out of them seems an odd business strategy. As I pointed out to Mark when I called to ask him what he was doing, I’m not exactly likely to develop a business relationship with someone who has effectively intercepted one of my emails to a competitor, quite apart from any ethical concerns I might have.
Perhaps the world of native plants is not so different to the Japanese stock market after all. Right now I’d rather be skiing.
Distant Sunny Uplands