In the days before agreements are signed, there is often a period of silence, as the parties involved prepare to issue a joint statement announcing a glorious new day for the business world.
Coincidentally, when a litigation-prone bully goes after critics, a similar chill settles over the public debate, for fear of a costly libel or defamation suit.
Sean Kelly (another b5 media business blogger) reports on the silence that has descended over a franchise dispute about the Java Jo’z coffee chain in the United States, and Cuppy’s Coffee, which emerged after the company sold off its assets.
Negative blog posts have disappeared, or undergone remarkable transformations toward the sunny side. A franchise portal has apparently seen negative posts overshadowed by positive ones.
Sinister? Not necessarily. If the original blog posts (including one that has disappeared from Robert Scoble’s highly-read blog) overstated the case, or made claims of unethical behaviour that can’t be backed up, then the silence is the logical conclusion of the company’s attempt to defend its reputation.
But if the suspicions have any substance — that the sell-off of assets was actually a way to avoid Java Jo’z obligations – then the hush in blogland does seem like a lawyer-driven attempt to squash discussion of a company’s business practices.
Either way, it will be interesting to see where the story goes from here, or if it disappears altogether.