You have reached the former home of the "One and Only Q-tips Homepage." As you can plainly see, that page no longer exists. It has been removed due to the threat of legal action for alleged trademark infringement by Chesebrough-Pond's, the company which makes Q-tips. While I continue to maintain that I was not infringing on their trademark, I do not have the time, energy, or financial resources to litigate against a multi-million dollar corporation. It seems clear that they were counting on this to prevail in their efforts to close down the One and Only Q-tips Homepage. Certainly, they could not rely on the strength of their legal positions.
Please continue reading. I know this may be a little boring to some of you, but it seems relatively important to express the implications of this incident. Anyway, the page gets much, much funnier at the end. And, you'll find the link to the new One and Only Cue-tips Homepage.
As you surf the web in the future, keep the fate of this page in mind. Each and every "fan page" you come across could be subject to this same kind of corporate tyranny. Does the mere mention of the word Q-tip infringe on a trademark? Should all pages devoted to Star Trek, or the X-files, or Coca Cola, or Twinkies be doomed to the same fate as this page? Will the web wind up being just another co-opted arm of corporate America, where no opinions can be expressed regarding anything, lest the big corporate lawyers decend upon people who are unable to defend themselves? Seems to me that this will make the web a very boring place. But it is increasingly the direction that things are taking.
People make websites about things that interest them. And whether they are interested anything from the Simpsons to Smashing Pumpkins, they are bound to employ "trademarked" names in creating their own unique homages to the things they love and care about. And when corporate America comes crashing down on them, demanding that they remove content from their pages, there will be nothing that they can do. Regardless of the legal correctness of their positions, most web authors simply don't have the means to fight the good fight. Even as a lawyer, I can't combat the hired guns of Chesebrough-Pond's singlehandedly. This is truly a sorry state of affairs for the web, and for freedom of speech in general.
The simple fact of the matter is that the One and Only Q-tips Homepage did not, in any way, infringe on the trademark of Chesebrough-Pond's. It was a Constitutionally and legally protected exercise of my right to free speech and to present parody. But at this point, it is apparent that the law is irrelevant to reality. A rather unfortunate, but inevitable conclusion in this instance.
The irony of it all is that Chesebrough-Pond's maintains no web presence whatsoever. No website. No nothing. It seems clear that they do not appreciate the power and versatility of this new medium, nor do they have faith in yourability to distinguish what was clearly a fun and silly homespun website from what would likely be a drab, boring, corporate monolith on the web.
I want to sincerely thank those of you who were unbelievably supportive of my efforts to keep the One and Only Q-tips Homepage alive, the over 200 of you who added a Q-tip to your homepages in the true spirit of fun, and the many people who gave this site some very prestigious and cherished awards. It is with a great deal of sadness that I remove this page from the web. It has meant a lot to me, and to a lot of people, over the past year. I know that some of you will feel that I have let you down. For that I apologize. But alas, the little guy is once again crushed by the big corporate weenies. The only specific corporate weenie that I can identify is:
Quick reference list of other Chesebrough-Pond's products for which you should not attempt to create a website, lest Kenny come knocking at your door (let me know if I've left any out, I wouldn't want anyone else to get into trouble):
Q-tips® Cotton Balls
Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly
Vaseline Intensive Care® Lotion
Vaseline Intensive Care® Hand and Nail Lotion
Vaseline Intensive Care® Moisturizing Body Wash
Vaseline® Lip Therapy (uh-oh, someone already made a page about this. How long do you think it will take Kenny to find it? No link cause I don't want to spoil his fun.)
Mentadent® Toothpaste, Mouthwash, and Toothbrushes
Rave® Hairspray, Shampoo, and Conditioner
Pond's® Cold Cream and related products
Pond's® Age-Defying Complex
To see an example of how a sane, rational company with a sense of humor would have responded to a popular webpage devoted to singing the praises of one of their products, visit 75 Years of Band-Aid. Upon discovery of this page, Johnson & Johnson sent the webmaster a nice letter along with information about Band-Aids that could be used on his site. What a nice company. I suggest that you all purchase Johnson & Johnson cotton swabs from now on to show how much you appreciate good corporate practices.
As I was drafting part of this page, following poem from Kristen arrived in my inbox. It lifted my spirits greatly, and I share it with you as my parting words:
The One & Only Q-tip
Q-tips are often used to clean the ears,
take off make-up or wipe up spilled beer.
The Q in Q-tip stands for quality;
the cotton on the tip makes for good swabability.
But Q-tips can be used for so much more.
So you must stock up, buy two boxes at the store.
Clean that gooky stuff out of the cat's eyes,
Fence with those roaches who start to get wise.
Use it as a toothbrush when yours is at home,
or as a substitute for chopsticks when you are alone.
Make a Q-tip mustache under your nose,
paint it red and pretend it is a rose.
One in each nostril will stop that pesky cold,
torches for dwarves if you are bold.
They are good to stir drinks
and for clogging up sinks.
Swizzle sticks at the bar
or decorations in a jar.
Candles on a Spam cake when you are in a rush
or for putting on some color when you need a little blush.
Q-tips never seem to make it to the trash
they always end up losing you cash.
But there is no need to give up hope
Q-tips will let all lovers elope.
happy and entertained visitors from September 7, 1996 - November 6, 1997.
Credits & Other
The now defunct and most awesome cotton swab counter courtesy of the very nice and talented folks at The Grafx Factory. Thanks millions Doug!
Coffin graphic provided by Caverns of Blood (I added the "cotton swab" to the coffin).
Copyright © 1997-2000 Hey You! Productions, Ltd.
At long last, the One and Only Cue-tips Homepage is open for business! Trust me, you'll love it. Really. You will.
All good things . . .
Flaming "swab" courtesy of Matt.