Jeremy Schoemaker, an A List blogger who is also known as ShoeMoney, contacted me yesterday and discussed a recent legal document which was served to him by the police.
Jeremy was subpoenaed by the District Court of Saline County, Nebraska in a lawsuit wherein Kristan Yoder of the Quick Connect, Inc. company has accussed Thor Schrock of Schrock Innovations of slander.
In this landmark case, the slander took place not in a newspaper or recorded conversation, but in the comments on Schoemaker’s blog, ShoeMoney.com.
The ShoeMoney blog is ranked by Technorati as being one of the Top 100 most popular blogs (#93) on the Internet and according to Alexa is the 1,373rd most popular web site on the Internet.
Schoemaker first vaguely addressed the possibility of this subpoena in September on his blog:
I am sorry I have to be so vague but it appears that I am going to be deposition and logs from my blog will be subpoena for use in a case where 1 person slandered another on my blog. Anyway it looks like 1 of the people is seeking damages for what the other said on my blog.
But now the subpoena has been served, and Schoemaker will be forced to testify and hand over evidence of the slander on February 7th 2007.
Schoemaker had hired QuickConnect for a web design job and was not happy with their results. He posted his distaste with the company and how he had found a new designer in Henry Warren.
In the comment field on this blog posting, the slanderous comments in question appear to be made by Mr. Schrock:
Just learned something new about Quick Connect today. I watch their site pretty closely, and they have a staff page. At one point we courted their lead designer, Duane Teeters. We offered him a ton to come work for us, but he was loyal to Yoder and to his credit was a good employee. Well, he is GONE from their staff page. Yoder hired two kids to replace this talented guy, and their work is not nearly as good as Duane’s IMO.
Oh, and if you want a nice laugh, one of the kids he hired is named Josh. If you visit Quick Connect’s homepage at http://www.helpmypc.com and view the source, you should do a search on the age for the word “Josh.” It looks like Josh has some hidden links on Yoder’s home page to promote his own art business.
This guy doesn’t seem to be able to keep a reign on his own employees! And also, I received a Dunn and Bradstreet report on him yesterday. He was shifted from a “likely to pay on time” category to a “high credit risk” category. That would explain where you $3,000 went. It is gone just like Duane.
My best guess is that Schoemaker will be forced to testify and hand over records proving that the comment was actually made by Mr. Schrock via proof of IP tracking and other log file tracking methods.
Why is this important to search & blogging? First Schoemaker is an expert on search marketing and arbitrage, and a respected member of the search engine marketing industry.
Second, the fact that a blog owner was subpoenaed to testify in a slander case based around the comments on his blog could bring about a landmark decision.
* Are comments made in blog comments indeed slanderous?
* And can those comments be tracked back to the person who actually made them? And if not, is the blog owner then responible?
* If these comments were made anonymously, could the plantiff in such a case subpoena for records to track down the individual who posted the comment?