First, let me say, I don’t know Nick Denton at all. I also only know Noel Jackson through email (though we’ve emailed a bit for two complete strangers) and I’ve only read some of Joe Clark’s stuff online, here and there.
But, when I read this post by Noel, and then more here on the same topic by Joe, I couldn’t help but feel like Noel and Joe obviously got the royal Denton for Christmas this year. The big question for me is “what can Nick and/or Joe do about what’s happened?”
The best answer I can come up with is “pretty much, nothing.”
Sure, they could likely sue Nick and/or Gawker Media, but that would most likely cost more than it was worth, and they did submit an unsolicited idea to a company… those unsolicited ideas are generally not something an individual can claim much of a pay-off for after giving them to a company, unless those ideas really pay off in the long term for the company that ‘steals’ those ideas.
So, is there a lesson here for the rest of us? I think so:
Don’t give away unsolicited (or solicited) ideas to companies that you may want to work for in the future… It doesn’t pay you enough and not all companies follow “honourable business practices”.
Another lesson (this one for Denton) is that if you are a company that “can’t afford” to compensate someone for their ideas and work properly, don’t use those ideas and/or work… bad PR is worse than no PR.