August 2006 Quick Links (Volume 2)

By Eric Goldman

Some more things that caught my eye in the past month (see Volume 1):

* Wikipedia’s entry on trademarks that have become generic. “Google” isn’t listed…yet—instead, it’s listed as a trademark “often used generically”. HT: Marty. My list of favorite generic terms: Aspirin, Baby Oil, Brassiere, Cellophane, Celluloid, cornflakes, Dry Ice, Escalator, granola, Kerosene, Lanolin, Light Beer, Linoleum, Milk of Magnesia, Murphy Bed, nylon, octane, raisin bran, Shredded Wheat, Thermos, trampoline, Yo-yo, zipper. I would update the Wikipedia entry myself if I thought that those changes would actually stick rather than being reverted by a Wikipedian exercising dominion over the page–a blog post coming on that issue soon.

* Greg Linden has some insight thoughts about lawyers’ role with start-ups that come from the voice of experience.

* Goofy article in the Washington Post romanticizing the sites enabled by AdSense and citing examples of people getting rich through AdSense. Two observations; (1) That’s definitely not me! (2) Only a very quick mention of the splogs, typosquatting sties and junky content-free sites spawned by self-service AdSense programs.

* Fraudsters may have found the perfect technique to game eBay’s feedback. They use robots to build positive eBay reputations through a series of $0.01 buy-it-now transactions. If eBay’s feedback rating system becomes unreliable, what will happen to eBay? This seems like a bet-your-business issue for eBay.

* eBay isn’t a “debt collector” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, nor is eBay’s feedback forum a “consumer report” under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. McCready v. eBay, Nos. 05-2450 and 05-3043 (7th Cir. July 10, 2006).

* “Nike: It’s Not a Shoe, It’s a Community.” Another example of how a marketer has embraced its role as a content publisher.

* WSJ debate on search engines storing user data. Issues about the disposition of search engine data doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon! Big blog post coming on this topic shortly.