'Replacement Google' takedown watch: Day 2

NFL has yet to blow its whistle, while Google tries misdirection

Yesterday we chatted with Erik Johnson, sole proprietor of a parody site called Replacement Google, which he designed to make fun of the National Football League for foisting its now former replacement referees upon players and fans.

The site has attracted some 400,000 visitors since debuting Tuesday afternoon, as well as plenty of press attention, including stories in the Los Angeles Times and Huffington Post.

What it hasn't attracted - at least not yet - is a cease and desist letter from either Google or the NFL, Johnson told me this morning. And that's more than a bit surprising, it seems to me, given that Replacement Google makes unabashed, unauthorized use of the logos of two of the most recognizable corporate entities in the land. It even claims that "Google.com is now sponsored by the NFL," which while amusing in context is not true.

More surprising still is that one of these behemoths, Google, has gone out of its way to offer Replacement Google appreciative shout-outs on various social media. As you can see in the screen capture below, Google's message on Google+ reads: "Not a fan of replacement refs? What if other stuff got replaced? See what one user whipped up: replacementgoogle.com."


The same love note appears on Google's official Facebook and Twitter pages.

How sweet.

However, as I told Johnson, there's no reason to believe that Google's social media team and its trademark enforcement lawyers are using the same playbook. In fact, I doubt the lawyers will appreciate the spirit of those shout-outs.

But I could be wrong about Google.

About the NFL, I am not wrong. Its trademark enforcement style is all-out blitz, all of the time. I simply cannot imagine them not picking up on that NFL logo on Replacement Google, or giving it a pass.

Tighten your chin-strap, Erik.

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