WELCOME ABOARD the Neverending Ocean Cruise!

Welcome to the deep end,
Glad To Have You Here
...where we find shorter spaces between us.
-- Bobby Ocean

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Wants To Know Why Rival Has A Facebook Page They Thought Was Theirs
It's an enormous world. Although we may continue watching in earnest, everyone is bound to miss something. Maybe that's why there are so many of us.

You know how you start noticing specific names, things, and trends only after they are brought to your attention? You may have gone a lifetime without discovering the value of Acid Stained Concrete Floors, or Pomegranate Jelly, but once someone you know raves about it, you give it a try, you begin to notice it wherever it is. And it has been there in the open all along.

That happens to me all the time, especially since I enjoy reading. After Victor Hugo, I have a whole new POV regarding Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. Before, it was only a lyric in a pop tune.

And so it is with my Attention Span falling upon the Merck Chemical Companies of Germany and the U.S.

Never heard of them, or really payed any attention, until I read the rock autobiography of Rolling Stones co-founder, Keith Richards, The book is simply entitled "Life," and contains the surprisingly well documented recollections of the guitarist, songwriter, performer and conciousness alterer, Richards, among which include mention of this distinctive drug maker's honorific monitor.
  Now I seem to notice that name more often, and when I do, a flicker of recognition lights up inside whenever I see it.

‘If you wanna get down, down on the ground, cocaine..."

Piracy On The High Seize 
The webpage, www.facebook.com/merck, was established over a year and a half ago by Merck KGaA in Germany, but, inexplicably, is has been seized and is being utilized by it's US rival, Merck & Co. in New Jersey, and now proclaims, "...This site is intended ONLY for residents of the United States and its territories..."

The German drug making firm, Merck KGaA, established nearly three-and-a-half centuries hence by a pharmacy owner in the city of Darmstad, in 1668, has begun legal action against social networking site, Facebook, after discovering the apparent takeover of its Business Page by American rival of the same name and origin, Merck and Company of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. The Germans believe the Facebook page is owned by them and that the American-based chemical manufacturer is, in fact, poaching.

The two drug makers both originated from the one commercial enterprise set up by a pharmacy owner in the German city of Darmstadt in 1668. After World War I, as part of the Reparations Package imposed on Germany, the business was split into two separate entities.

Lack Of Either Understanding Or Fair Play 
Merck KGaA's lawyer, reportedly stated that he had sent a letter and a series of emails to various Facebook staff asking to discuss what had happened to the webpage.

Simple enough: "please explain to your customer what happened to our web page." I understand that last sentence and I think you do, too. But, Merck KGaA  says the Facebook crowd "either did not understand the problem... [or were] intentionally giving unresponsive answers".

Merck's attorney said that when he had requested a telephone conversation, one of Facebook's staff "incredibly replied that 'no-one is available for a call at this time....' Later, Facebook limply recited, "We are looking into it."

I don't think this could EVER make a good reality TV movie with overused lines like that, long since cooked lifeless and limp.

"Don't forget this fact, you can't get it back, Cocaine..."

Are Legal Steps Taken Even On The Path Of Justice? 
Merck KGaA has documentation: these materials prove it had entered into an agreement with Facebook for the exclusive rights to www.facebook.com/merck in March of 2010. The German firm added that a number of its employees had been subsequently assigned administrative rights to the page, something that can only take place during the originating process, not afterward.

However, Merck KGaA said that when it had checked the site on 11 October this year it had discovered it had lost control of the page, and that content on the site now belonged to the American Merck. Of course they were surprised. A petition was filed immediately with the Supreme Court of the State of New York by Merck KGaA for the purpose of obtaining information as to why a website believed in good faith to be owned by the German firm suddenly is not anymore.

Covering Their Assets And Eating Them, Too 
Merck KGaA filed in New York rather than courts in California because that is Facebook’s headquarters state, and doesn’t allow pre-action disclosure to identify defendants.

"We are just trying to learn what happened,"a spokesman for Merck KGaA, Dr Gangolf Schrimpf, told the BBC.“We took action against Facebook and not against Merck & Co.

Someone's In Trouble
However, while Merck KGaA stressed that it had not taken any further action than requesting information, against its US counterpart at this stage, the court filing states that: "Merck is considering causes of action for breach of conduct, tortious interference with contract, tortious interference with prospective business advantage, and/or conversion."

Merck KGaA said Facebook “had not been cooperative” in attempts to seek information about the change. E-mails to Palo Alto, California-based Facebook’s press department didn’t receive a response. Facebook was unwilling to make a comment beyond saying that it was looking into the case.

Check That Cloud Lining: 

The good new for online marketers is found in between the lines. The "asides," comments seemingly thrown away or used in garnishing these statements, present a bright belief that, for commerce, Social Networks offer a much better way.

Branding experts say the Merck vs Merck Case reflects a growing realization that Social Networks can offer firms a better way of reaching their customers than through their own websites.

"Company communication departments have realised that many of the people they want to reach and influence are already on Facebook," said Simon Myers, speaking for the consultancy Figtree Network.

"As corporate content becomes more tailored and engaging, social media sites such as Facebook represent a brighter future of greater customer dialogue and interaction than the current corporate website with static content and pictures of people shaking hands."

That's an A-plus for Social Media marketing overall, and lesser grades all around for a few of it's manifold, confused players and users.

This is still a story with more questions than answers. 
Is Facebook playing favorites, being purchased under the table like a polititian or just plain stumbling through stupid missteps on its Way? Is Merck USA cutting a line?

None of the above? All of the above? Let's keep watching.

No comments: