On March 23rd, 2011, a Reddit user suggested a new holiday centered around making sure your data is all backed up. Despite being created by the Reddit community, this holiday apparently cannot be mentioned unless you pay a significant fee to the agency Reddit hired to sell sponsorships. This blog post explains how we got in trouble by mistakenly assuming that a holiday was for everyone, not just sponsors, and how we are attempting to remedy the situation with our own holiday - Saint Backup Day.
A few weeks ago we decided that, as a cloud to cloud backup company, we should embrace this backup-related holiday (that we cannot mention). So we reached out to this site and asked them about becoming a sponsor. Their top tier sponsorship was $400K. I thought I read that wrong at first, but no, it was $400,000 - for a new holiday with relatively little awareness. (By comparison, $500K will get you one of the top spots at Dreamforce) So we went down the list until we hit the lowest level sponsorship of $40,000. That was still a lot of money when the agency really couldn’t give us a detailed plan of what they were going to do for this particular holiday.
We decided not to be a sponsor, but we erroneously assumed that the fee was just for sponsorship of the website. We didn’t realize that the holiday itself had been trademarked and that we couldn’t even mention it without paying a fee. So when we launched our ecards, and I offered to do an AMA on Reddit, we didn’t expect that anyone would complain. But complain they did.
Yesterday we received this email:
Thank you for having an interest in World Backup Day!
We have detected unauthorized use and claimed association with World Backup Day for business purposes.
We request that you take down any unauthorized reference to World Backup Day, it’s trademarks, and/or intellectual property and immediately refrain from claiming an association, a partnership or any other type of endorsement from World Backup Day.
Our records do not show that Backupify has a license to use our trademarks, intellectual properties, and/or has a partnership agreement with World Backup Day.
Below are a few detected actions:
Claiming association with World Backup Day for an “IAmA” interview: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA
Numerous “channel blog” posts that are sponsored by Backupify
It is unfortunate that it has to come to this; however, due to prior events we must enforce our legal rights to ensure a high quality event. Contact email@example.com for more information on World Backup Day sponsorship.
We expect your confirmation of the above actions by Tuesday, March 26th, 2013.
Thank you and looking forward,
World Backup Day Legal
Why they wouldn’t want our help promoting this holiday (even if we aren’t a sponsor) is unclear to me, but of course we are complying. But what then should we do with all the ideas we had to help promote this holiday that we can’t name? Well, we decided to start a new holiday - Saint Backup Day. This new holiday will be open to the entire community. However you want to participate, whatever you want to do to celebrate. This is not our holiday; Saint Backup Day is your holiday.
I think the Reddit community might be surprised at the path their previous holiday has taken, and I hope they embrace Saint Backup Day as an alternative if so inclined. If not, maybe Slashdot, Digg, Hacker News, or some other online tech community can take this holiday and run with it. We decided our holiday should be on April Fool’s Day, to highlight the absurdity of this whole situation. But hey, maybe this will work out… maybe holidays are the new infographics and soon every marketer will create their own.
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