A couple of years ago, we raised the problem of e-Commerce persecution by some tile manufacturers. Persuaded by the break-neck growth of online sales (in 2020, we increased the volume of business with the strongest market players several times), the majority of manufacturers turned their face towards the web audience. Obviously, this is an area of priority for the immediate future and a significant sales volume already today.
However, there is a small group of Luddites who strive to turn the clock back and deprive customers of the opportunity to purchase tiles over the Internet.
The game plan is primitive: to invent cases against an e-Commerce business which purportedly causes prejudice to the rights and interests of a manufacturer, to drag in the copyright which protects pieces of art (and the persons involved in the creative process like musicians, filmmakers, web designers) and extend it to merchandising (promotional brochures) used by the websites to present the products they sell to the customers. The top companies unleash their shrewd lawyers against programming engineers who know everything about neuron networks and server structures but have no idea about legal manipulations.
At Tile.Expert, we have no shortage of resources and knowledge to protect ourselves from such unfair competition and take legal recourse. Still, for other startups focused on their technical enhancement and having no substantial operating income, such attacks may lead to bankruptcy.
Therefore, pro bono (from Latin “for the public good”), we invite Iris Ceramica and Diesel Living (the Italian group of brands which pursues legal actions against us (the company headquartered in Malta) in the Court of (who would have thought?)… Estonia) to the open discussion of the issue.
Provocare ad populum (Latin) is a principle of Roman law that allows the party considering the accusation to be unreasonable to appeal to the public. Hopefully, our opponents respect the practices put in place by our ancestors in the 5th century B.C. (long before the Internet era).
This is exactly what we intend to do on our website visited by half a million industry professionals per month (please click here to check the statistics). We hope that this audience is big enough to make Diesel Living / Iris Ceramica express their standpoint and not keep silent.
We do not want to bore the readers with details of the legal action against us. The fact pattern is set forth above. If you would like to receive more information and see the documents, please ask in the comments. We’ll eagerly share everything we have about this case.
We request the representatives of Iris Ceramica and Diesel Living to answer clearly and straightforwardly the core question. Based on the filed claim, in our opinion, it is impossible to do.
HOW CAN SELLING YOUR PRODUCTS VIA AN ONLINE STORE CAUSE ANY LOSS TO YOUR COMPANY?
Let us imagine a client from Estonia who comes across your tiles on our website. He orders a sample and receives it by the regular postal service. He likes the material and places an order. We buy tiles from your authorized dealer (you keep refusing to supply them directly to the online stores, we have tried so many times to arrange this). We ship the tiles to the customer. Happy with the purchase, he leaves positive feedback on Trustpilot about his experience with us and submits a review about your product on our website.
After this, you claim that due to the actions described above your company suffered damages 90 (!) times greater than the revenue we received from this deal.
HOW CAN THIS BE TRUE? Please explain from the mathematical perspective.
And since, owing to such operations, the manufacturer only gains profit (which seems to be beyond controversy, and one needs to be an extremely tricky lawyer to prove the contrary), you might have no objections to the only possible reason for your struggling with online stores.
Now, let us articulate it: you are afraid of transparency that is hypocritically declared as one of the core values in the Code of Ethics of Diesel Living available on their website. You hide the problems of your product behind the curtain of offline sales. You fear that the systems of material selection integrated on websites will show the customers that the tiles you offer are inferior to those proposed by your competitors. We have not analyzed possible weak points. However, this may be, among others, inflated price due to the price-fixing by dealers, negative reviews about your tiles from the customers which are easily accessible over the web, etc. You deprive the customers of their right to choose where and how to get information about your product. You manipulate the customers. You resort to money and right friends in the right places to thwart the progress, rather than to switch to online sale channels which, to your disappointment and horror, are opted by customers with ever-increasing frequency.
Is not this true?
P.S. On February 8, we submitted the requests to Iris Ceramica, Graniti Fiandre S.p.A. (their owner), and Diesel Home, asking them to publicly substantiate the actions which prevent Internet users from purchasing their products online.