CheapAssGamer in Legal Dustup with Circuit City

August 24, 2007 -

Another case of Big Gaming oppressing the little guy?

As reported by Joystiq, CheapyD of CheapAssGamer has been forced to hire a lawyer to deal with Circuit City. The retailer's ire was apparently triggered by leakage of upcoming price reductions posted on CAG.

In particular, Circuit City is pressuring CheapyD to give up the identity of Speedy1961, a user who regularly posts about price drops before they happen. Most recently, Speedy1961 revealed the $100 reduction on the 60GB PS3 ahead of the official E3 announcement.

CheapyD's lawyer has filed a motion to quash Circuit City's subpoena and we certainly hope it is successful.

Beyond that, how clueless is Circuit City management? Websites like CheapAssGamer create buzz and help drive sales.

GP: We encourage you to write to Circuit City and tell them how you feel about their ham-handed legal tactics. Sounds like a clear case of SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation)...


Comments

"Beyond that, how clueless is Circuit City management? Websites like CheapAssGamer create buzz and help drive sales."

This is true. Having your sales that will benefit gamers being revealed on a site that is used by gamers who may be interested is no bad thing for a company, it's free advertising! There is no negative aspect whatsoever to people knowing about a sale before you announce it. The prices are still going to be dropped anyway, only now more people know about it than maybe would have with a regular announcement and some may even start planning to take advantage of the sale and bring their custom to Circuit City.

"GP: We encourage you to write to Circuit City and tell them how you feel about their ham-handed legal tactics."

Not complaining as it really is a good idea, but in the past GP has stated its lack of desire to be directly involved in "activism" (as opposed to reporting on other individuals or organizations that are "activists").

This is the first time I've seen GP actually say that readers TAKE ACTION in some way. Is that because of the joining with the ECA or has GP simply decided "enough is enough" as the saying goes?

Just curious.

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software

From my previous post:
"....GP has stated its lack of desire to be directly involved in “activism”..."

I had trouble thinking of the word "discouraged" so it should read:
"...GP has discouraged "activism" by readers over concern that it would have been claimed that GP encouraged and initiated it..."

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software

the prbolem with this is now no one will buy these items cause they are waiting for them to drop in price

This is the same Circuit City business chain that sheds its employees when they make too much when times are tough, only to rehire them at a lower hourly wage...yeah, I don't typically shop there myself.

Hasn't it been determined in the courts that journalists don't need to reveal their sources? What is CC hoping to accomplish here other than coming off as huge assholes.

I think Circuit City is trying to protect their bottom line. When a sale gets leaked before it is announced, then people who would have bought the item at the more expensive price will wait for the sale and Circuit City will lose a little bit of profit.

But as for them going after CAG, they probably want to find the employee leaking information. Actions like this is grounds for termination and they want to get the right person.

Not saying I agree with their actions, just that I understand them.

Best of luck to CheapAssGamer in this. I bet Circuit City is counting on this is a website/blog and not a real journalist website where they could protect their sources. In the end though I have a feeling the courts will see CAG as any other news source and tell CC to drop the case as CAG doesn't need to reveal its sources to them. And in the long run it will just hurt CC as the news gets out people will stop buying from them. Heck I rather have a sale even at the sale price cause it gets people in the store who knows whatelse they might buy.

So basicly CheapAssGamer is provideing Circuit City with free advertising. I honestly can't understand why they would want to so over people leaking what prices there going to charge. How many millions of dollars do you think they spend every year on ads trying to let people know what their prices are? If any thing they should be thanking CAG.

Even if the sale didn't get leaked, how many people would have gone to CC to buy a PS3?

Well cullarn beat me to the point about people waiting for the cheaper price. What I was going to add to that though, is how many of those people were going to wait anyway? And how many people saw there was going to be a price drop and started saving up the money when they heard?

Besides that, I don't think CC has any real leg to stand on. I didn't see anything that said the source was from within CC when I went through the links, so I don't think they have enough basis. If I missed it, could someone post a direct like or something? Or am I just not versed enough in the law to understand?

@ nightwng2000
Don't forget, besides being affiliated with ECA now, GP has other contributing correspondants. It's not just Dennis's POV anymore, so he can say a little more about his interpretataion of things.

Like others mentioned above, I'm very surprised at not only the one sidedness of this article but at the call for activism too.

The reason Circuit City is mad that the sale was posted ahead of time is that now no one will buy the PS3 at the current price. Everyone who reads that information is going to of course wait for the sale to come into effect before they buy. Robbing Circuit City of some money (granted a small amount, but a lawyer could still spin that as stealing).

As such it should come as no surprise that CheapAssGamer has incurred the wrath of Circuit City. However I am glad to see that CheapyD is fighting to protect the rights of his members. Best wishes to him in his battle ahead.

It's really a simple formula that someone at Circuit City isn't pondering:

Amount of money CC COULD have made from me thanks to leaked sale?
$599 (or whatever the price will be)

Amount of money CC WILL get from me thanks to their tactics?
$0

Isn't this the the pseudo-sale, anyway? Just the discontinuation of the 60GB PS3?

The damn things weren't selling anyway, so the "Circuit City could argue they are losing money" line just isn't straight. They were likely losing money on the PS3's sitting on the shelf. This is CC using their legal muscle to police something that should be done internally. It's NOT illegal to disclose these type of 'secrets,' just grounds for termination. I fail to see how a member of the gaming 'press' is in any way liable to turn over a whistle blower, when that whistle blower has done nothing but risk their job.

Another case of, "We have big lawyers, and the little website will pee their pants when we flex their legal muscles."

And I wouldn't be suprised at GP's response, he has historically come to the defense his fellow press:
http://gamepolitics.com/2006/11/10/esa-sends-threatening-letter-to-kotak...

And also has no love for shady retail:
http://gamepolitics.com/2006/11/11/gamedaily-gamers-are-getting-screwed-...
http://gamepolitics.com/2006/11/28/disappointed-grandmother-files-ftc-co...

So a shady retail move aimed at gamer press? I'd say GP's reaction is dead-nuts on considering his history. And I happen to agree with his assessment.

The real question is, how far in advance did the price drop get leaked?

The comparison that should be made is "how much did we lose in sales, and is it more or less than we will make because of the added advertising?"

They're losing $100 per person who WOULD have bought a PS3 before the sale, but after the leak (I'm guessing this is not a huge number...)

They're GAINING $499 per person who wasn't considering buying a PS3 at all, but now knows because of the advertising on CAG, and the subsequent word-of-mouth.

And then, of course, there is the political factor. They're LOSING $499-599 per person who WOULD HAVE bought a PS3, but now refuses to patronize CC as a result of their choice of legal tactics.

This is just how I see it, and since I'm not a CC exec...

Good luck, CheapyD.

We do indeed need an Edit function for these comments X.x

The above should read "They're losing $100 per person who WOULD have bought a PS3 before the announcement, but after the leak *they are waiting* for the sale".

Also, I wanted to point out that CAG is probably a pretty damn good place to have a leak. You know that it's going to reach the target audience, and that those people TALK. Word of mouth is the best publicity/advertising you can get, and money CAN'T buy it.

I'm not really surprised by this at all. Circuit City's got a reputation for this kind of thing. Heck they've even got a rep for unfair and discriminatory hiring practices. Its one of the reasons I don't shop there.

Good luck to CAG on their suit though.

I'm being moderated!

This sort of thing will become more widespread in the coming years- the world is a very different place now that the internet is so prevalent in everyday life. Eventually, companies will learn that there is almost nothing they can do to prevent leaks like this.

Circuit City is being lame.

well the company has a right to protect itself from leaks like this (basically if this is an employee they are violating their contract)

like it or not every company has a right to keep internal memos to itself (not to mention now the competition knows about the sale and can undercut them further costing them business, which is why these contracts are in place at all)

@gp

not to be rude but dont you think a slapp is a bit much at this point have they even been served with a cease and desist yet?

nah, they're whistling up the lawyers.

i gotta say i can see myself being somewhat sympathetic with both parties here

Well, giving it some thought i might be able to see where circuit city is coming from. I mean, poeple who spread news before the company may not have the full story and thus may send a mix message... take fable for instance; Most of the poeple who followed the hype about the game said they were actually rather disappointed, and it was those who didn't follow the hype that enjoyed it more.

Let's take a look at the fiasco that was the sale and phasing out of 60gb PS3. when word got out about, before E3, everyone thought it was a price drop, not a sale to get rid of the remaining stock. At E3, Sony's president made little effort to hide the fact that the old PS3 was being phased out, as he mentioned that there was only going to be one SKU (if they were trying to decieve poeple, then why not dodge the question?)... question is, had Sony been able to announce the sale at E3 like they orginally intended, instead of letting someone without all the information spread the rumor first, would poeple have still jumped to the conclusion that the sale was a price drop? Would there have been any mix up in what Sony was intending to do? perhaps it would have been handled better if rumors hadn't spread first... we can't ever really be sure...

though i could be reading to much into it... afterall, the complaint is coming from curcuit city not sony... maybe circuit city just thinks it's better to surprise their customers than letting poeple find out themselves, and there is probably a reason why they don't release the info themselves before the catalog... Also, considering how the guy is releasing information before it's available, then it is entirly possible that he either works for curcuit city or knows someone that does; and if the releasing the info is against strict company policy, then it means that someone should be disiplined (or possible fired), for breaking policy. Companies do have a right to enforce policy.

i can clearly see gps side on this but i gotta play devils advocate (i hate that term) this hopefully will just be an isolated incident but none the less the competition now knows all about the sale (plus if they were just throwing around the idea, and not really planning yet . . . what next?)

Ok I can see Circuit City's right to protect internal information from getting out. That is their right, but CAG doesn't need to hand over its source on the matter they have protections as well. Frankly CC just need to find another way to find the leak. One way would be to get half the stores sale information and the other half other information and work it down from there. Who knows it might not even be a internal leak. It might be something else like a newspaper ad guy passing information on.

Speedy1961 is a good guy from what I know and he DOES NOT work for Circuit City so I don't see what they could do about it. Back in October he revealed that Circuit City was going to have FFXII on sale for $29.99 about a week or so before it was released (FFXII was released on Oct. 31st 2006), which is something I came across from being on the CAG forums and spread that information around on other message boards, I'm sure that from just my own posting of this news else where CC probably gained a couple hundred sales.

So, that Sunday my paper and the one I drove ten miles to find, didn't have a Circuit City ad (stupid newspapers here don't include it in their papers that come to this area as I was informed later). I wanted the ad because I was planning on taking it to Wal-Mart to get it price matched since it's the closest place I could go to as the nearest Circuit City is about 50 miles from me and the Wal-Mart is about half that, plus they're open 24 hours so I could pick it up a little after midnight, heh. Though, now without the Sunday ad, my chances of doing that were kind of killed. I informed speedy1961 of the situation and he went through the trouble to stop at CC, pick one up on Monday morning and sent it to me.

But in the mean time, I decided to take a risk in seeing if Wal-Mart would price match a printed copy of the ad page off their website so I went ahead and did that and still drove to Wal-Mart late Monday night after calling ahead and confirming they had it. I figured that even if they didn't accept it I could come back later in the week (as I would have to) and bring the copy of the ad Speedy sent me to do a price match still with just getting the difference back. Well, lucky for me I was able to use the printed copy of the page to get the discount but only because of the "trouble" I had there. When I got there, they didn't have it out still and the guy then told me they didn't have it, he thought they did but they didn't. But then the manager got involved and made some calls to other Wal-Marts around the area to no answer, heh. Well, then she thought that maybe the box for it was misplaced and sure enough that was the case as she found it in another area in the back. So for my trouble there she gave the okay to let me use the printed website page.

Anyway, I did receive a copy of the CC ad from Speedy1961, with his real name and address, which I'm not going to state here, for obvious reasons and the fact that I don't remember it anyway, heh. Oh, I also received a copy of the Circuity City ad from the newspaper I wasted a dollar twenty-five buying their Sunday paper....... They sent a copy of the one from about two weeks the next Monday.

I wonder where CC was when he was doing this a long time ago.. I guess CC didn't mind too much then with the business they'd get from his informing people of what they'd have on sale before. Until there was this price drop, which I'm sure the only reason CC is mad about it is because it wasn't exclusive. Not like it'd matter anyway with price matching policies.

well im believing he doesnt work for them either (ive noticed hes been doing the same things for target)

well on that point ccs motion will no doubt be quashed (unless they can porove "speedy" has some sort of contratc with cc)

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