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:
- If you’re linking to Lowes.com and using our mark(s)/logo(s) on your site, download the general link agreement (in PDF Format).
- If you’re linking to Lowes.com, but not using our mark(s)/logo(s) on your site, download the Version A link agreement (in PDF Format).
- If you’re linking to Lowes.com and we’re using each other’s mark(s)/logo(s) on our separate sites, download the Version B link agreement (in PDF Format).
Please fax completed link agreement applications to:
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.