LOS ANGELES, Calif. — In less time than it took its URL to propagate across the world wide web, internet startup www.freeoverstock.com operated by New Venture Company was flat-lining by Monday morning and pronounced dead (i.e. offline) by late Tuesday. Possibly one of the shortest-lived internet startups in history, considering it was launched only the Thursday before.
Initially, owner and founder of the promising new venture, Sarkis Chakarian, was elated by the sudden and enthusiastic response. “We had over a thousand unique visitors right off the bat ordering free products,” said Sarkis. But joy soon turned to dread when he received official word from a certain online retail giant that demanded he shut down his site and surrender the freeoverstock.com name immediately.
“I was horrified because I’d invested so much time and energy into this site, not to mention money… and then to have the rug pulled out from under me was unthinkable.”
But the unthinkable did happen. Threatened with a lawsuit from a company worth hundreds of millions “makes you think twice about taking them on.”
Why this reaction? What danger could a tiny startup pose to a global leader in online retail? As one might guess, the problem lay in the name Freeoverstock sounding a lot like another popular website with much more money and power. Only Freeoverstock’s business model is entirely different: they give away free stuff to visitors while The Huge O exacts payment from the net-surfing masses.
Nevertheless, the fear of serious repercussions was enough for Sarkis to re-launch his site under a new name: www.CostsZero.com. CostsZero will offer, as its name aptly suggests, a wide range of free merchandize.
“There was no way I could defend against these guys. They only gave me the weekend to make up my mind. Basically they told me to shut down my site and hand over my domain name or they were going to take me to court,” Sarkis explained. Even if he decided to fight, was it worth hiring a lawyer and spending tens (if not hundreds) of thousands defending against an internet powerhouse ranked in the top thousand sites on the web? Sarkis didn’t think so.
That’s why if one were to visit www.freeoverstock.com today only an empty shell exists. Just another casualty of “Big Business Intimidation.”
Sarkis has less than one day left to turn over his Freeoverstock domain name or face the full wrath of Corporate America. But he isn’t worried: “I have a feeling CostsZero will have a longer life expectancy.”
CostsZero will continue to offer free products to anyone who visits the site.
[tags]New Venture Company, FreeOverstock, free overstock products online, CostsZero online shopping site, Sarkis Chakarian[/tags]