In hindsight, Southern Stretch Forming marketing director Charles Michie wishes he would have purchased all domain names that could imply a website for his company. But for the time being, he’ll have to settle for cautioning others to not make the same mistake—if you could call it a mistake.

In November, Southern Stretch Forming launched its newly re-designed website, www.southernstretch.com. Upon the launch, Michie discovered another web page under the domain name www.southernstretchforming.com.

The content on the latter website, however, features projects in which Southern Stretch Forming was not involved, and at the bottom of the page, it reads: “For a list of our many projects and more information about stretch forming and metal curving, contact us , 800-767-2884.”

That number, meanwhile, is the phone number of Southern Stretch Forming’s direct competitor, Mid-Am Metal Forming. Per Mid-Am’s website, www.midammetal.com, the aforementioned projects were in fact ones it had completed. The website in question, www.southernstretchforming.com, is titled “Southern Stretch Forming” at the top of the page, though there is no mention of the name “Southern Stretch Forming” in the body of the text on the website. The text references “we” and “our” but makes no reference of “Mid-Am Metal Forming” anywhere on the page. The bottom of the page, meanwhile, reads “© 2009 Southern Stretch Forming. All Rights Reserved”.

The discrepancy regarding the domain name prompted Michie to send out a fax to customers clarifying Southern Stretch Forming’s actual website, and David Arthur, the company’s president, recently released a statement to USGNN.com™ regarding the matter.

“Our revamped website is www.southernstretch.com, and that is the same domain name as it has always been,” Arthur told USGNN.com. “Please note that it is NOT southernstretchforming.com. Although we here at Southern Stretch Forming have been using our name since the early 1990s, a competitor has begun using the southernstretchforming.com domain name, giving no mention in that webpage of their own name and yet listing their phone number as the number to call. We question the honesty and legality of this, but this website has not, as of this date, been taken down.”

Southern Stretch Forming wouldn’t confirm whether it would pursue legal action if it had merit.

Ultimately, Michie wants the situation to serve as a cautionary tale to other businesses to cover their bases, as available domain names could mislead other companies’ potential customers.

“Over the last twenty-four years, Southern Stretch Forming has tried to maintain the highest ethical standards in the way we conduct business with our employees, customers, suppliers, and our competition,” adds Arthur. “We believe that on a fair and level field, competition is good for everyone and results in better products and services for everyone.  However, marketing, in any form, that misleads the customer about who they are dealing with, is underhanded and just plain wrong.”

Mid-Am Metal Forming hadn’t returned a request for comment as of press time.

1 Comment

  1. Good job I need to look in to that

Comments are closed.