But so what ended up happening was that after we pulled the plug in ads, I looked back at the stats and my stats and my traffic is increasing. Now, imagine that. I pull the plug. Stats are going up. I’m flipping out. I’m thinking I’m spending more money on ads, right?
I call these guys back. Like, dude, what’s going on? Like, it looks like we’re spending more money. I have nothing else you can take. I don’t know how you’re doing it. They’re like, Nick, we haven’t run any ads. This has been done for over a week. I’m like, how is it still going up? And we actually didn’t know.
It sounds kind of funny, but we didn’t know, because the analytics didn’t tell us where it was coming from. Again, it was very basic. And so I called the web guy and I’m like, hey, man, I just don’t understand why the numbers are going up. Is something broken? And he goes, oh, no. It looks like you’re on Google. And your rank’s on Google, right?
And as that’s happening, I go into work and I get a package in the mail. Package in the mail. I open her up. And I’m like, all right. I get a little glimmer of hope. I’m thinking like I can turn this thing around. None of that traffic converting but I’ll figure something out. I’m about to get interviewed by West Hartford news, which is big in West Hartford. I’m super excited.
So I’m still keeping my chin up. A smile on my face. And I have an interview coming up. Within about an hour, I’m going to get to the office. I open up this envelope. Big old mean FedEx envelope. Open her up. And it’s a Cease and Desist. And it’s a Cease and Desist for trademark infringement.
Here I sit at my desk. Like you’ve got to be kidding me? I was trademark infringement? And I’m like this is insane. And trademark infringement. I, you know, I actually went online. Searched the USPTO.gov. I talked to both the advertising company and my attorney and I asked both of them. I said, guys, I don’t want to take any chances. Should I trademark this? They said no.
The attorney said, let me do that name search and make sure you’re in the clear. And then once I say yes, you’re good. Prove the concept then trademark. He said, yes, you’re in the clear. I never paid the guy, because he was a real estate attorney. He did me a favor. So I had no recourse on him because we never had a contract.
Jack:And so this was trademark infringement from what? From somebody that you were ranking for?
Nick:Yeah, so my name was Venue Perks Card. And so basically, there was another company with a very similar name.
Nick:And so, and it was after going through, it was infringement. So I called this company up as soon as I got the package, before I had that interview. And I’m like, guys. I’m speaking to the attorney. I’m like freaking out. And he’s like listen. We need to speak to your legal team.
I’m like, listen. I’m twenty-six years old. I put every little nickel I had into this thing. There’s absolutely nothing you can take. I don’t have a legal team. I’m doing this to build up my brand. I’m doing this to give back to charities. I’m like, this is freaking me out.
And the guy ended up, so I ended up doing my own legal work. And next thing you know, they end up getting me into a corner. They realize how many cards I had in circulation. They threaten a big, huge lawsuit. And trying to sue for damages. And all this crazy stuff. We weren’t even competitive. It was totally ridiculous.
I ended up having to give them my URL. I had to give them the assets. I was forbidden to distribute the cards and all this stuff. And it was just a huge disaster. And when I, and the guy, the attorney felt so bad for me. And he started, it was crazy. He literally felt so bad because there was no reason to squash me like that. I was in West Hartford. They didn’t do anything that was even relatively competitive.
They did employee benefits. I’m doing like consumer frigging coupons. So but they, they wanted to sue the crap out of me, but there was like nothing I could do. So I ended up having to take the site down. Took everything down.
And with me being optimistic, I printed ten thousand cards. So I ended up giving them to churches. I’m like, screw it. I’ll take this risk. I don’t care. I gave them to churches. I want people to use these things.
You know, I said I was going to get foot traffic in these businesses. I’m going to do it. So I was giving the cards away.
And I asked the business owner, or actually the attorney and said, how on earth, and why are you even wasting your time on this? Why are you coming after me like, how the heck did they even know who the heck I was?
And it was because I ranked number one nationally on the first page of Google for basically their name and their keyword and I was taking all the traffic. And what was crazy is after I figured that out, I tried to just, if I could have only just gotten off that first page. But I couldn’t.
Jack:You’re the only guy I know that a Google slap is because you can’t get your site off the first page of Google.
Nick:(laughter) It was unbelievable. I literally was like, can’t I just get off the first page of Google and then I keep my site? You know what I mean? And they’re like, it didn’t work that way. And so Google’s algorithm, for whatever reason, and you know, this was quite a few years back. It was not sophisticated.