Ghostbed Suit Vs. Casper over SEO tactics
Eric Coleman, on behalf of Ghostbed Inc. Filed a suit against Casper
Eric began filing this at the end of November. Casper’s legal team just finished up with preliminary oral arguments in their defense against Serta Simmons Bedding, so they have had a long couple of weeks. Ghostbed is alleging that:
“Casper coerced and strong-armed mattress reviewers to review Casper mattresses more favorably than those of Plaintiff (Ghostbed)”
Silly me, this is a short document which you can read yourself here: ghostbed vs casper
I like to give my take on these lawsuits. To be fair, there isn’t currently a defending position from Casper, so let’s dig into this document:
This is really just a nice way to request some documents from Casper in the case that Ghostbed filed out of Florida 0:15-cv-6257-WP, but it does have some pretty strong accusations in it.
Page 2 item 4: This case involves the Lanham act, which if you follow this site, you know that when Casper sued Sleepopolis, the Lanham act showed up in the court documents frequently.
Page 2 item 5: Here is the crux of the argument:
“When some mattress reviewers refused to post more favorable Casper mattress reviews, Casper and non-parties Terakeet, LLC and Corey Eulas, Casper’s online management team, would strong-arm and coerce the reviewers through the use of various Google search engine techniques such as negative search engine optimization “SEO” attacks to reduce the visibility of the reviewers’ negative reviews of Casper’s mattresses and the reviewers’ more favorable reviews of Casper’s competitors’ mattresses, including Ghostbed’s mattresses, to Casper’s mattresses”
The word on the street is that once Sleepopolis started to use this defense, their case turned from leaning heavily on Casper’s side to leaning towards Derek Hales side. You have to wonder if this enabled him to settle on more favorable terms.
The other thing I find interesting about this item is that: Ghostbed is the one complaining but wouldn’t other mattress retailers have similar complaints? Is this just Ghostbed dipping their toes in the water to see if other companies will join in? Or do they have specific evidence that shows that people were directed away from Ghostbed and into Casper’s sales funnel?
Page 3 Item 6: Mattress Nerd refused to grant Casper favorable reviews (they were later sued by Casper and I believe settled). The owner of Mattress Nerd, Mitcham, states:
“Immediately following my informing Mr. Krim that I was unwilling to rate Casper’s mattress as the best, my Mattress Nerd Website was subject to numerous attacks”
I don’t know how you prove this, but I’ll tell you something about my experience with 2 of Casper’s new products, the Wave and the Essential. First, the Wave gave me back pain and was given the lowest rating of all mattresses I tested in 2017. My Casper Essential sleep experience was better, although I was disappointed by the lack of quality control as there were two chunks of foam missing from the top layer. I really liked the original Casper, was meh on their Casper lounger, loved the Casper pillow. How do my reviews display on Google?
For the Essential, my review shows up 1st and then 6th with the video review. For the Wave, my review shows up 3rd, so after Honest Mattress Reviews (Ghostbed EDIT (through Achieve Agency) previously paid Honest Mattress Reviews (through Social Media Sharks) $10,000 a month for preferential placement of ads, articles, etc. see pages 5-6 of the HMR Injunction 92617). And after Sleepopolis (which Casper funded their buyout…). Casper has all of the incentive in the world to attack my site and drag my Casper Wave review onto the second page, but it hasn’t happened. So the question I have: If Casper allegedly did SEO attack other reviewers did they stop, or is my site just too small for them to care? The other thing that has to be pointed out is that Casper hasn’t sued HMR, Rizknows or NBR. All of the other review sites who have been sued by Casper have, so far, not reviewed the new Casper products. Is it out of fear, or was that a condition of their previous settlements?
Page 4 item 12: Ghostbed is after as many documents as they can get related to their claim:
“Search Engine Optimization performed by Casper or any person on behalf of Casper. The Subpoenas also seek documents relating to any strategic plans or actions taken by Casper or Terakeet, LLC or Corey Eulas (depending on the Subpoena), acting on behalf of Casper, aimed at increasing website traffic to casper.com, naturesleep.com, or any mattress review website, including but not limited to Sleepopolis, Mattress Nerd, Sleep Sherpa, Slumber Sage, and Mattress Clarity (Request 6); and documents relating to any strategic plans or actions taken by Casper or Terakeet, LLC or Corey Eulas, acting on behalf of Casper, aimed at reducing website traffic to any mattress manufacturer review website, including but not limited Sleepopolis, Mattress Nerd, Sleep Sherpa, Slumber Sage, and Mattress Clarity”
Page 5 item 19: Casper has agreed to search for documents as follows:
“Counsel for Corey Eulas agreed, however, to search for and produce documents related to increasing to decreasing website traffic to mattress review websites Sleepopolis,
Mattress Nerd, Sleep Sherpa, Slumber Sage, and Mattress Clarify. As a result, Plaintiffs’ motions to compel does not include these responsive documents.”
I have this gut feeling that an email is going to surface that’s pretty damaging to Casper’s case. It may have already been discovered during their suit against Sleepopolis.
Page 6: It looks like Casper is going to switch counsel for this case. This could be for any number of reasons so there is no reason to speculate on this.
I’ll update you if anything further comes out of this suit, but don’t be in too much of a hurry as the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly.