Lowes

Lowe’s can kiss my big fat ass.

I used to be a pretty big fan of Lowe’s despite not being the sort of person who spends a lot of time in hardware stores. A good percentage of my Christmas lights and decorations have been purchased from Lowe’s over the years and on those rare occasions when I did need something hardware related they were often the first thought that popped into my head.

Then they started doing stupid shit that simply pisses me off. It started with their decision to cave into Right Wing Nutcase pressure to pull their ads from the reality TV show All-American Muslim back in December. Not that I don’t think companies have a right to advertise on whatever shows they want, but the reasoning behind the decision. That annoyed the shit out of me and gave me pause to consider whether I wanted to support such a cowardly company.

Then I read over at ArsTechnica.com about how they have a Linking Policy with forms you’re supposed to fill out, sign and send to them prior to linking to their website or using their logos. Apparently because they think they have any control over such things:

Please fax completed link agreement applications to:
(302) 995-6906

You see that Lowe’s logo over there to the right? I haven’t asked permission to use it in this post. Same goes for the link I put in that very first paragraph. That’s OK, though, because both fall under the Fair Use clause in part because I am engaging in criticism of the company in question. Specifically the criticism that the company can go fuck itself.

The folks at Ars were equally confused by this policy and contacted the company in regards to it:

It all seemed so odd that I contacted Lowe’s public relations department and asked if it was the company’s position that people need to obtain such a license in order to link to Lowes.com. And if so, what legal basis stood behind this position?

“Managing link agreements is part of protecting our brand,” is the polite reply I received. “The process we have in place to handle links to lowes.com is a business decision.”

Obviously they have no legal leg to stand on and are just hoping people are stupid enough to think they have to have permission before linking to their site. While technically harmless, this sort of bullshit just gets my dander up in a major way. You can take brand protection to ridiculous extremes and in the process end up alienating otherwise loyal customers. Customers like me that will avoid Lowe’s from now on. Not because either thing they did is wrong per se, just stupid and cowardly. Sometimes that’s enough.

9 comments

  1. Susan G. Koman did that a few years ago when I was looking to link to their website when my aunt was dying from BC. It actually got me started hating them for their arrogance.

    I guess Lowe’s is just taking it one step farther to hopefully keep people from criticizing them.

  2. The whole thing doesn’t really make any sense, even from a business standpoint. Why would you want to limit the number of ways people could find your website, or advertise your store – especially when the first is free and the second essentially so?

    I’m going agree with bdoserror – this sounds like they tried to solve some problem and gave the solution to some people who haven’t really a clue exactly what they were doing.

  3. OK, My Lowe’s story… I used to have a commercial account with them. At one point I had a balance of something like $6.00. So, I went to their web site to pay it. Hmmm.. It says here you can not enter an amount larger than your balance… Then it also says here that the minimum payment amount is $10.00. So, I just waited it out until I shopped there again, but before I could, they canceled my card for non-payment.

    Fuckers.

    I guess they’re not too familiar with the technical.

    Oh, and I just realized that clicking on my name above is NSFW.

  4. Trademark law affirmatively requires them to at least make an effort to protect and police the use of their Lowe’s trademark. If they didn’t create and announce policies such as the ones to which you’re objecting, Les, the Lowe’s trademark would be exposed to the possibility of trademark cancellation due to abandonment.

  5. Brendon, I’m aware of the requirements of trademark law, but the method Lowe’s used is just stupid. Best Buy, a company not known for being particularly bright, actually gets it right:

    Proprietary Rights
    All content included on or comprising the Best Buy Web site including information, data, software, photographs, graphs, videos, typefaces, graphics, music, sounds and other material (collectively “Content”) is protected by copyright, trademark, patent or other proprietary rights, and these rights are valid and protected in all forms, media and technologies existing now or developed in the future. All Content is copyrighted as a collective work under the U.S. and international copyright laws, and Best Buy owns, to the fullest extent allowed by such laws, the copyright in the selection, coordination, arrangement, and enhancement of all Content.

    Except as expressly authorized or licensed, you may not copy, modify, remove, delete, augment, add to, publish, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale, lease or rental of, create derivative works from or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part.

    The Best Buy logos and other trademarks on the site are the property of their respective owners and are owned by, licensed to, or, where required, used with permission by Best Buy and may not be reproduced, copied, or manipulated in any manner without the express, written approval of the trademark owner.

    By using the Best Buy Web site, you agree that any information (except for purchase information), materials, suggestions, ideas or comments you send to Best Buy or any other third party using the Best Buy Web site is non-confidential. By submitting any solicited or unsolicited information using the Best Buy Web site, you grant Best Buy an irrevocable and unrestricted license to use, modify, reproduce, transmit, display and distribute such materials, information, suggestions, ideas or comments for any purpose whatsoever to the extent permitted by law.

    You’ll note the absence of any links pointing to forms they expect you to fill out. Ironically enough, that cut and paste up above is a violation according to the text, but it also falls under fair use.

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