It appears the feud between Gander Mountain and Cabela’s, both a couple of behemoth outdoors retailers often competing head to head against each other, won’t be ending any time soon. And while there have been other lawsuits between these two companies in the past, perhaps the most recent lawsuit filed cuts to the heart of this ongoing difficult relationship.
Gander Mountain has filed suit against Cabela’s in what allegedly Gander is calling a violation of the federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, trademark infringement and possible trademark dilution. In other words, Gander is accusing Cabela’s of actions deemed—at least to them—as being detrimental to their business activity.
So, what did Cabela’s do that was so dastardly? Well, back in 1999 Whois.net records show that two domains gandermountaincatalog.com and gandercatalog.com were created by Cabela’s and subsequently such registration is due to expire in just a few months. What’s worse, Gander Mountain claims, is that if customers click on either of the two URLs they are immediately re-directed to the Cabela’s website.
In today’s world of SEO (search engine optimization) and content marketing those key words contained in a web address can potentially be critical in driving commerce to a website. Moreover, to have variations of your company name owned by a staunch competitor does not give one an easy feeling, hence the reason government regulations may play a determining part in the eventual outcome.
But all legal issues aside, the bigger question that begs to be asked by consumers, who may or may not have at least some fundamental curiosity in how this gets resolved, is Cabela’s playing fair and ethical? Granted, there may be much more to the facts behind this matter than most of us care to take the time to learn, but at least on a cursory level does Cabela’s in your mind have the right to play the retail game in this manner?
Having spent the better portion of 25 years in the sometimes cutthroat trenches of retail selling, I know businesses can be rather ruthless. Retail selling is often the notion you either find ways to eat or be prepared to be eaten. That’s why retail is not for everyone.
Personally, I think matters like this should not be bogging down the court system. Oh, sure, the legal process is often times just a bunch of posturing to get your way…and in the end perhaps Gander Mountain will get Cabela’s to relinquish these web addresses, but I have to wonder if all of this is really necessary. After all, is Cabela’s going to experience a substantial loss in business because these two websites are no longer functioning for them? Moreover, is Gander Mountain going to spike their business levels because they get Cabela’s to quit using their name in their online marketing efforts? Doubtful either will benefit.
In the long run it is the consumer who must choose and feel good about their online shopping experience. Honestly, when Gander Mountain and Cabela’s have such petty battles playing out in the public’s eye they both walk away with a tarnished image, in my opinion.
Blogger’s Note: It appears Cabela’s is no longer re-directing traffic to their website from these two links. Could this mean a settlement is underway and they’ve come to their senses?
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