Home security company ADT had an offer its website users couldn't refuse: never criticize the company or its products.
Customers accessing the "My ADT" service were challenged to agree to new terms and conditions, among which was "Will not disparage ADT, ADT's products or services, or any of ADT's affiliates or their products of services."
"The answer is NO, and I'm quitting your service and going to a competitor," wrote customer Matt Weeks on Twitter. "If you don't want bad reviews, try better prices and service, not this kind of shady legal garbage."
After the online backlash, the company promised to remove the provision for users…
Thank you for sharing your concerns, we believe we have taken necessary steps to correct this issue. We hope that you continue to be a part of the #ADTfamily, please let us know if you would like to discuss this further and we will give you a call at your earliest convenience. pic.twitter.com/6p5EMFMkzh
— ADT (@ADT) December 3, 2017
…but somehow managed to make it worse, insisting that the disparagement clause still applies when "linking to our website."
Attempting to legally control who can and cannot link to a website (and what they can say about you) is a legal theory with a sad and futile history, and it never seems to accomplish anything but attracting brutal criticism, much of it from lawyers who know better.
Wait a minute @adt. It's your position that we may not link to your website if we disparage it or you?
— 18 Popehat 1001 (@Popehat) December 4, 2017