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thoughts & musings :: CCC

Friday, 20 February 2004

War with the frogs

Two and a half years ago, I launched a website called IFoundADuck.com -- 500 plastic ducks were left around the capital city in the UK with the URL of the website and a unique ID number. The idea being that members of the public would find them and report the discovery online. They would then leave them somewhere else, with the results being displayed on the website for everyone to trace the progress of the ducks on their travels. The site even had an affiliated music site. Why did I do this? It was a publicity stunt to promote a new book.

Now let me introduce Neesa Hart.

Who is she? Well, according to her website, she is an American author who is 'broadening entertainment horizons through innovation, collaboration and imagination.'

Got that?

Good.

A month ago, she launched a website called IFoundAFrog.com -- 500 plastic frogs were left around the capital city in the US with the URL of the website and a unique ID number. The idea being that members of the public will find them and report the discovery online. They will then leave them somewhere else, with the results being displayed on the website for everyone to trace the progress of the frogs on their travels. The site even has an affiliated music site. Why did she do this? It was a publicity stunt to promote a new book.

Now, I have no problem with ideas inspiring others. I actually encouraged others to do the idea themselves in 2002 and 2003. PlasticDucks carries links to other tracking sites on the web. The difference in this case was that I set up the idea as a publicity stunt for a novel and for another author to poach the idea entirely and use it to promote their own book seemed a little out of order.

Did I really want to enter into a dispute over 500 plastic ducks? Not really, especially as the little yellow gits have become a small flock of plastic albatrosses round my neck. However, there was a creative principle at stake and I was looking for something to take my mind off proof-reading draft six of Nix Ex Machina.

I e-mailed Hart to seek an explanation. Below are a series of responses to three particular statements she gave in defense of her actions:

"I sent several emails in the fall while the frog project was under development and they were not returned."
They were not returned as they never arrived (All e-mails to IFoundADuck are kept and archived). Dozens of e-mails come in to the IfoundADuck e-mail addresses every day (Mostly spam, granted) and test e-mails are passed through all accounts weekly. At the time of writing Hart's sole e-mail address on her offical site is wrong - it bounces all mail sent to it. I had to trawl several other websites before I was able to successfully contact her via another route. On IFoundADuck.com, there is also a clear phone number on the press and media page as an alternative form of contact. Does failure to make contact, wherever the error, lead to automatic permission being granted?

"Because we could find no updated information on your duck site later than 2002... I was forced to assume that you were no longer maintaining the site and it had gone into dormancy."
At the time Hart was looking at the site, Autumn 2003, the latest duck race to launch was clearly listed as 2003 and had been on the home page since March 2003. That link takes you through to the FoundADuck.com site which has featured regular updates throughout 2003. What with the phone number not being found and a clear date of 15.03.03 being missed, I can only assume Hart gave the site a cursory glance at most in seeking information.

"Actually -- if you check the FAQ page -- we did you give you full credit for the idea and linked to your site."
Actually, if Hart had given my e-mails more than a cursory glance, she would have known full well that it was this 'full credit' that I was complaining about in the first place. As I stated to Hart -- I eventually found a credit to me. It was hidden away, on the FAQ page, the heavily reluctant final admission of the truth behind the idea - No text to give proper credit, just the tiny word 'here' linking to my original site.

Whereas, if you check the IFoundAFrog media page, it states that The 3" rubber amphibians are the brainchild of local author Neesa Hart, The 'full credit' that appears only on the FAQ page comes at the end of the third paragraph- In all fairness, we borrowed the idea from here. Hardly a 'full' credit, it comes across as almost reluctant. Anyone merely reading the page without clicking the links will be none the wiser.

I challenged Hart to resend the original e-mails so I could check what address she was using and also to give me full credit on both the media and FAQ pages, if she actually ever intended to give full credit, as she claimed. At the time of writing, neither has occurred.

I then turned my attention to PepFX, the web design agency responsible for putting the site together. I was curious to discover if they would be willing to copy the whole concept all over again if another author approached them asking to poach 'Neesa Hart's idea.'

I e-mailed them and awaited their response. (As the main issue I had was with Hart, I have changed the names of the individuals involved.) What started off as a simple query soon snowballed...

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From: Christian Cook
To: PepFX
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2004 11:22 AM
Subject: Contact


E-mail : christian.cook@btinternet.com
Location : UK
Referral : Recommended by a friend
Website : http://
Comments : I am a writer in the UK and loved the I Found A Frog site.
Could you develop exactly the same thing for me, but with something else,
chickens maybe? as a publicity stunt for a new book of mine.

How much would this cost?

Thanks

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From: PepFX
To: Christian Cook
Sent: Tue Feb 3, 2004 12:20:36 Europe/London
Subject: Re: Contact

Hello Christian,

Of course we can. The price for the site, incl. design, the same number of
pages, and the system for reporting the toys (also includes an admin panel)
would be about $3000.
When are you planning to start your publicity campaign?

Thank you for contacting us,

Trixie Mailer
Creative Director
PepFX

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From: Christian Cook
To: PepFX
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2004 1:39 PM
Subject: Re: Contact

Hi

That sounds great. I'm a little concerned about the copyright issue and intellectual property over the idea itself. Would we need to get Neesa Hart's permission first before we did something so similar?

Thanks

Christian Cook

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From: PepFX
To: Christian Cook
Sent: Tue Feb 3, 2004 13:17:40 Europe/London
Subject: Re: Contact

Hello Christian,

Actually the idea is not her's. We are not quite sure where the idea originated, but there are 2 other sites we know of that have a similar concept.
Neesa even wrote on her site where the idea came from. I believe it's on the FAQ page. You could do the same by naming IfoundaFrog.com as the inspiration.

Trixie

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From: Christian Cook
To: PepFX
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2004 3:07 PM
Subject: Re: Contact

Hi Trixie

Well, that's great news. So, as long as we just put a line about 'inspiration' in there, we can copy anybody's idea at all. I'll start looking around to see if there are any better sites we can be 'inspired' by.

I'm glad the copyright laws are so flexible. I thought you needed permission and all that kind of thing. It reminds me of something dear Father Ted once told me about Catholicism: "You know that's the thing I love about Catholicism, its so vague that nobody really understands anything about it"

I was thinking, if we go with copying IFoundAFrog.com, we could maybe use plastic ducks or something like that, they're cheap for a start.

Do you know how we can check what domains are available?

Many thanks

Christian Cook

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From: PepFX
To: Christian Cook
Sent: Tue Feb 3, 2004 14:25:31 Europe/London
Subject: Re: Contact

Hi Christian,

Someone already used ducks, that's what Neesa got inspired by: http://www.ifoundaduck.com , just that she didn't like the looks.
You can probably look at some toy store, or even an online toy store and see what other toy animal you might like.

You can check domain names here: http://www.register.com but I recommend to then register them here: http://www.bluedomino.com because it costs a lot less.

Happy hunting!

Trixie

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From: Christian Cook
To: PepFX
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2004 5:35 PM
Subject: Re: Contact

Hi Trixie

I have settled on toy toads. I have found a supplier that is quite reasonable and have ordered 1,500 of them. I shall buy IFoundAToad.com as the URL by the end of next week.

Toads should work really well and I have come up with a really imaginative connection between them and my next novel. The novel is called 'Me plus you equals five' and is all about how some people cannot see what is obviously right in front of their face. Prince turns into a frog with a new twist? And it's like looking into a mirror and not recognising who is there. However obvious it might seem, some people just don't spot the blatant truth that is staring back at them.

The book goes on to explore the concept of people's fear of silence and completion. Those situations where a concept comes to a neat ending and someone else suddenly feels the need to add their own opinion or voice. Rather than let the conclusion of an idea rest, they try and tack on their own little spin on the theme as if to claim ownership.

That's why the site will be so relevant as it fits in with that idea so neatly in such a quirky and new way. It's like frogs, but it's not frogs... It's toads! Brilliant, huh?

Also, the idea of people wanting to add to something that is completed will follow through with the toads themselves. People will find them and go to the site, thinking there must be something more, something significant to say about all this. They will have their little 'to add' moment. The 'Toad' will become the 'To add' and the circle will be complete. 'Toad' and 'To add', do you see? They are almost the same thing!

Doesn't it all just seem so obvious now you think about it?

Anyway, I can't believe how far we've come. What would the next stage be in all this?

Before I fully commit to this project, would there be any chance of some rough preliminary sketches being done to show how IFoundAToad.com might end up looking?

I look forward to hearing from you in due course,

Christian Cook

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From: PepFX
To: Christian Cook
Sent: Tue Feb 3, 2004 20:10:04 Europe/London
Subject: The next step

Hello Christian,

Well, that's great news! Everything seems to have worked out rather nicely!
Will the toads be marked in any way, or is one as good as the other?

What's next
First, about the design - We don't create free mockups, but we have a pretty good system, and it always works.
Once you do fully commit to the project, we will start of by creating a few (2-3) designs samples or sketches and present them to you. Then you let us know which one you like best, if there is anything you don't like about it, and so on.
We will then make whatever modifications, if necessary, or complete the design so you can see how the page will look when it's finished. At this point, the design would still be just an image.
Only after we have presented you with a design and you have confirmed it and want us to proceed we will do so.

The next step would be to build the actual page. When we are finished with that step, we will show it to you, so you can see the whole thing in your browser. If any small changes are required, they can again be made.
When you say that the page looks great, and we can proceed, we do exactly that.
After this point there should be no more changes to the design of the site itself, as everything else is being built on it as a base.
I hope that answers your question.

Let me know if you have any other questions, or how you would like to proceed.

Thank you,
Trixie

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From: PepFX
To: Christian Cook
Sent: Wed Feb 4, 2004 11:39:10 Europe/London
Subject: Addendum

Hello Christian,

Of course, before we start with the design process, we would first need to get to know you better, so what you like, what you don't like, etc.
Could you show me some sites that would illustrate that?
2-3 sites that you think are especially well done, and 2-3 sites that represent the opposite.
Additionally, it would help if you could specifically say what you like and what you don't like about the selected web sites.

Thank you,
Trixie

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The idea of sending through a list of websitesI liked/disliked was an intriguing thought (I like www.IFoundADuck.com, www.ChristianCook.com etc. and do not like ww.IFoundAFrog.com), but I refrained, as it would have brought everything to a swift close.

Still, things were moving far too fast for my liking, so we needed to hit a snag...

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From: Christian Cook
To: Pepfx
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2004 9:55 AM
Subject: RE: The next stage

Hi Trixie,

I've a hit a huge problem this end. The order arrived this morning as I paid extra for 48 hour delivery, but the toy company have sent me 1,500 frogs. I rang them up to find out why and they're claim I must have hit the 'buy frogs' button by mistake, but I didn't. You see, there's a frog icon next to the toad one, but I made sure I clicked 'buy toads' as that's what I wanted.

So this guy on the phone says that the frog icon and the toad one look really similar and so it's an easy mistake to make. I told him that they don't look anything like each other as toads and frogs are different, toads are bigger and darker. I know my frogs and toads and I clicked on the toads. They're not having any of it though and refuse to refund me or swap the toys, so I'm stuck with 1,500 frogs.

If I stick with IFoundAToad.com but leave frogs about the place, people might notice and think that this is all some cheap fraud. If I picked up a frog and it had a label claiming toadship, then I'd be suspicious and suspect someone was trying to con me.

I have had some ideas though of how we can get around this and I wanted your opinion on what you think would be the best option:

1) We could set up the site as IFoundSomeOtherFrogs.com just to make sure there was no confusion.

2) Could you send me a quote of how much PepFX would charge to repaint all the frogs slightly darker, so they'd look more toad-like. I know we can't make them any bigger, so we might be forced to go with IFoundABabyToad.com or IFoundASmallToad.com, or maybe if we made the writing really small then people would have to hold them closer to read and then they would look bigger.

Let me know what you think is best and I'll start things moving.

As for the list of sites I like and don't like, I'll try and get a list together and send it through.

Christian Cook

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From: PepFX
To: Christian Cook
Sent: Thu Feb 5, 2004 22:35:59 Europe/London
Subject: Re: The next stage

Hello Christian,

I'm so sorry to hear that....

Can you send me a picture of one of the frogs? If you don't have a digital camera, perhaps there is a picture online, if you ordered them in an online shop?
We will see then what can be done.

Trixie

----------------------------------------------------------------

At this point I was tempted to actually shell out the cash and post them 1,500 toy frogs. The thought of a group of designers sitting there painting them was almost too much of an opportunity to miss.

Instead, I trawled images.google.com and turned up an image of a big frog... a really big frog. I initially intended to state that I had 1,500 frogs, all at about 4 to 5 feet in height. This was probably pushing the plausibility factor to breaking point and so I followed a friend's suggestion of a swap...

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From: PepFX
To: Christian Cook
Sent: On Friday, Feb 6, 2004, at 21:37
Subject: Re: The next stage

Hello Christian,

Have you received my last e-mail in which I asked you about a picture of the frogs you have bought?

Trixie

----------------------------------------------------------------


From: Christian Cook
To: PepFX
Date: Sun Feb 8, 2004 20:23:14 Europe/London
Subject: Re: The next stage
Attachments: There is 1 attachment


Hi Trixie

Yes I got the e-mail. Sorry I didn't get back sooner, but I was very busy and I'll let you know why...

On Friday, I got fed up and rang up the toy company again. I spoke to a nice girl called Deborah and she passed me onto the manager, which the other chap I spoke to wouldn't do. I explained my situation to him and he said that although they couldn't refund me or swap for toads he did have another idea. They have this huge promotional frog that they tried to sell a few years back but couldn't. It's about 4 or 5 feet high and as no one has bought it, he said they would be willing to swap that for the 1,500 frogs.

So I drove up to their place yesterday and did the swap. I have hired a small lock-up in Thames Docklands and will keep the frog there as it's too big for the house. I borrowed a friends digital camera and photographed it outside the lock-up just before I covered it up and locked it in. Photo is attached. (Sorry about the numbers on the side of the image, it put those on there automatically and I couldn't find where to turn them off. I had to turn the camera sideways to fit the whole thing in!)



So now I have one big frog to leave somewhere and here's the new idea...

www.ImInTheBigFrog.com

I'll leave the frog somewhere and people will move it to different locations and photograph themselves in the frog. Where's the big frog today and who is inside? Find out only at ImInTheBigFrog.com

Just a quick question. Now I have a big frog rather than a lot of little ones, will that affect the quote at all?

There will be full instructions on the back of it. We'll have to work out all the insurance and legal issues. We don't want the wrong sort of people using the frog to attract people in for any inappropriate reasons or it could get hi-jacked by spammers who try and sell illegal music through the mouth or something.

Anyway, I've checked the domain and it's available so I got the stationary and press releases ordered yesterday.

I will contact you again, when I am in a position to proceed.

Christian Cook

----------------------------------------------------------------

From: PepFX
To: Christian Cook
Sent: Mon Feb 9, 2004 18:00:27 Europe/London
Subject: Re: The next stage

Hello Christian,

Great, so now it's a completely different story. That's good.
I am not sure how much this would affect the quote. What all should your system be able to do?
When someone finds the frog, there will be instructions on the back, with the web address (By the way, why not www.TheBigFrog.com? Shorter is usually better for domain names.)
Then people can go to the web site, and submit their information, along with a picture, which would be optional. Is that so far correct?
Would the form fields for the report stay the same as on IfoundaFrog.com ?
Is there anything else that we need to know about the site itself or the system?
How many pages would the site have?
Let me know what you expect (in as much detail as possible), and I will give you our quote.

Thanks,
Trixie

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From: "Christian Cook"
To: "PepFX"
Date: Thu Feb 12, 2004 22:24:01 Europe/London
Subject: Re: The next stage

Hi Trixie

I was more just thinking that the big frog rather than little ones might push the price up as it's bigger. Other than that, the site should be the same really. An area for photos of people in the frog, about page, FAQ, a home page, contact page, a philosophy page of thoughts from the frog where I can upload meaningful insights into life through focusing on the effect the big frog has had in uplifting peoples' days.

As for the domain, I have decided to stick with ImInTheBigFrog.com as it's like a proud exclamation. People that get in the big frog will want to shout out and tell the world that they are in the big frog. I think that the feeling of liberation and free thinking that is only achievable within a big plastic frog will make people want to scream, 'I'm in the Big Frog and I feel great!'

One of the things I loved about Neesa's site was the sheer originality of the name, IFoundAFrog.com, brilliant! People would find a frog and think, 'Hey, I found a frog!' suddenly they read on the label and it says 'IFoundAFrog.com.' The person is then thinking, 'This frog has read my mind!'

Also, I've got the stationery back from the printers with ImInTheBigFrog.com on it, so I am committed to that address now anyway. That reminds me, I must register that URL first thing tomorrow. I checked this morning and it was still free.

Once I have everything ready from my end, I will then be able to proceed further and will get back to you.

Christian Cook.

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I was now at a point where I either had to commit to the project and pay up some serious cash or admit the truth. Unless another unforseen freak mishap should befall the project. A quick e-mail to a friend and Johann Greedel was born. The domain name www.ImInTheBigFrog.com has now expired, but all links in this article now point to a mirrored version of the site hosted on thinctanc.co.uk. The images on the site came from a COREL DRAW clip art CD and the words just kind of spilled out of my head. His unique grasp of English was acheived by babelfish.altavista.com (English to French, then the generated French put back through French to English).

----------------------------------------------------------------

From: "Christian Cook"
To: "PepFX"
Date: Fri Feb 13, 2004 19:42:30 Europe/London
Subject: Thieving goat herder!

Trixie

I do not believe it! I have just gone to buy the domain www.iminthebigfrog.com and some thieving goat herder has grabbed it. The cheek of some people!

Has someone leaked it, do you think? I'll ask around with people in the know this end, just in case. It was free when I last checked and I've got all the stationery printed now.

I'm going to have to put things on hold until I can persuade this guy to hand the domain over. Then we can start things up again.

I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Christian Cook

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From: PepFX
To: Christian Cook
Sent: Fri Feb 13, 2004 19:53:53 Europe/London
Subject: RE: Thieving goat herder!

That's..... I don't know what to say.
The same thing happened to us once, about 3 years ago. We went to register a
domain name, it was free. 2 hours later, only 2 hours (!!) it was gone...

I will check when the domain was taken and I'll get back to you.

Trixie

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From: "PepFX"
To: Christian Cook"
Date: Fri Feb 13, 2004 19:56:10 Europe/London
Subject: RE: Thieving goat herder!

Created February 12, so yesterday...
http://www.register.com/whois-results.cgi?[extraneous code removed]
Registrant's e-mail address is [address removed] and his name is [name removed].

Keep me posted!

Thanks,
Trixie

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In order to keep up the pretense of an aggrieved would-be-domain-holder, I needed to find out if there really was a region in Switzerland called The Big Frog. No, I know, of course there isn't, but I wasn't supposed to know that...

----------------------------------------------------------------

From: Christian Cook"
To: info.uk@switzerland.com
Date: Mon Feb 16, 2004 08:45:14 Europe/London
Subject: Region in Switzerland called 'The Big Frog.'

Hi

Sorry to bother you, but you may be able to help settle a dispute. Is there a region in between Lake Lucerne and Lake Zurich known as 'The Big Frog' due to its shape and the rich green of the grass there?

Many thanks for any information you are able to provide.

Christian Cook

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From: Christian Cook"
To: Swiss Embassy, London
Date: Montag, 16. Februar 2004 08:43
Subject: Region in Switzerland called 'The Big Frog.'

Hi

Sorry to bother you, but you may be able to help settle a dispute. Is there a region in between Lake Lucerne and Lake Zurich known as 'The Big Frog' due to its shape and the rich green of the grass there?

Many thanks for any information you are able to provide.

Christian Cook

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The missing word (shown as [not]) in the following e-mail almost had me falling off my chair. It was only when I read on that I realised the error.

----------------------------------------------------------------

From: Paul Scott
To: "'shout@christiancook.com'"
Date: Mon Feb 16, 2004 10:05:53 Europe/London
Subject:

Hi there

Thank you for your email.

Ok I have checked with a few people in the office, who a lot of them are Swiss and they have [not] heard of this name, I myself have sold this region for a few years and also have not come across this, it may be worth searching on Google or something and see what it gives.

Sorry we cant be of anymore help.

Many thanks

FOR FREE INFORMATION ON SWITZERLAND PLEASE FREEPHONE 00800 100 200 30

Kind regards

Paul Scott

Call Centre Team Leader
Switzerland Travel Centre Ltd / Plus Travel
[address removed]
www.myswitzerland.com / www.plustravel.co.uk

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From: Swiss Embassy, London
To: shout@christiancook.com
Date: Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:06:14 Europe/London
Subject: Request

Dear Christian

Thank you for your email. My collegue Mrs Heaper who is dealing with this request is on holiday until Friday 20.2.04.

"The Big Frog" doesn't ring a bell to me but I would suggest to contact the Switzerland Travel Centre - they might have some more information - Tel. 00800 100 200 30 or stc@stlondon.com

With kind regards
Martha Freud

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Now it was time to confront that thieving goat herder, and keep PepFX posted, of course.

----------------------------------------------------------------

From: Christian Cook"
To: JohannGreedel@iminthebigfrog.com
Cc: "PepFX"
Date: Mon Feb 16, 2004 21:26:56 Europe/London
Subject: www.ImInTheBigFrog.com

Dear Mr. Greedel,

I am a writer in the UK and have set up a publicity website involving a big frog. People will appear in the big frog and send in photos of their experiences in the big frog.

I have been in contact with a web design company called PepFX and we were on course to launch a huge campaign with the big frog. This has now had to be put on hold and the entire project may not ever move a step further unless we are able to secure the domain iminthebigfrog.com. I was about to register this domain last week when I discovered that you had beaten me to it by a matter of minutes.

I have contacted both the Swiss Embassy in London and the Switzerland Travel Centre Ltd and neither has ever heard of anywhere called The Big Frog in Switzerland. If you were really that bothered about your roots, why didn't you get a .swiss domain or whatever it is! And, if you had been really sensible, you would have gone for www.thebigfrog.com or something.

How about if I buy that domain and we can swap. I can't use that domain as I already have the press releases printed. Do you have printed stationery saying ImIntheBigFrog.com? I do!

I really need that domain. My entire campaign is now in jeopardy.

I hope we can resolve this as soon as possible.

Christian Cook

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From: JohannGreedel@iminthebigfrog.com
To: Christian Cook"
Cc: "PepFX"
Date: Tue Feb 17, 2004 07:13:50 Europe/London
Subject: www.ImInTheBigFrog.com

Mister Cook

I am sorry that you printed your writings without buying the fields necessary initially, but I live in The Big Frog and I must say people thus they know where I am.

As for the people introducing the photographs of their adventures into The Big Frog, we were in The Big Frog for five generations. My large large father, Huban-Komes Greedel, had many adventures and found the trunk of the drawers local to the top of the tree of monkey, said to be employed to hide the hand-cut out pigeons flowered of Jerome pope during the rising of the fishmongers. It had adventures without end in The Big Frog and I can send his much images to you to show you.

We were here for five generations! Why can't you employ the field www.thebigfrog.com yourself and reprint the writings?

I hope that this is useful for you.

J Greedel


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From: Christian Cook
To: Johann Greedel
Cc: PepFX
Date: Tue Feb 17, 2004 22:51:50 Europe/London
Subject: Re: www.ImInTheBigFrog.com

Dear Mr. Greedel,

Thank you for your reply.

I can't re-print the stationery as I paid extra premium to get gilt-edged paper so it would catch the eye of journalists.

I accept that you may have been in your cottage for five generations, but you've hardly owned the domain for five minutes!

And as for your claim to be in the big frog, you cannot be in the big frog as the big frog is currently sitting in a lock-up in Thames Docklands.

I can't offer you any large cash incentives to surrender the domain, as I have spent everything I have on the big frog and my press releases. I could possibly scrape together a bit each month and maybe sponsor a goat or two, if that would help sway you?

If that proposal meets with your approval then please let me know

Christian Cook


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From: Johann Greedel
To: Christian Cook
Cc: PepFX
Date: Wed Feb 18, 2004 07:06:32 Europe/London
Subject: Re: www.ImInTheBigFrog.com

Dear Mr. Cook

I sought a chart on the World Wide Web any sign of an area in Great Britain called The Big Frog but do not can find a trace simple of it. Because you are not thus in The Big Frog then I cannot allow you to say that you are, as people can approach you to live in troop of the occasions for sheep and goats which you cannot provide a service for.

As for your suggestion concerning my own goat's troop, can I specify that these creatures are there to produce wools and milk. They are not to the eating!

I am sorry that we cannot find the agreement. I offer good day to you and the chance wishes elsewhere you.

J Greedel

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From: PepFX
To: Christian Cook
Date: Wed Feb 18, 2004 17:48:14 Europe/London
Subject: Re: www.ImInTheBigFrog.com

Hi Christian,

I'm sorry about the domain development... Mr. Greedel doesn't seem to want to cooperate.
It also seems that he was a bit upset by your first e-mail, because he felt that you didn't think he had the "right" to have that domain, kind of.

I have stopped writing you, and have written a letter for Mr. Greedel, so I will send both e-mails now, and we'll see..

Trixie

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From: PepFX
To: Johann Greedel
Cc: Christian Cook
Date: Wed Feb 18, 2004 17:56:24 Europe/London
Subject: Re: www.ImInTheBigFrog.com

Hello Mr. Greedel,

My name is Trixie Mailer I am the creative director of PepFX. We are a web design company located in Vienna, Austria, so we are neighbors in a way!

I understand your position completely, and I assure you that nobody thinks that you don't have the right to have your domain.

I know on the other side that Mr. Cook is getting desperate because of the investments he has already made and they are connected to that domain..
I know this is not your problem, and you have every right to say that it simply doesn't interest you.
Despite of that I wanted to write you myself, and see if there is any way at all to change your mind.
You could consider it a good deed towards another man, and as everything in life is in balance, I am sure some time later, when you least expect it, someone else will help you, simply because you need help. And we all need help and understanding sometimes.
Not to mention, you will have more free time, as you won't have to keep replying to e-mails such as this one. :)

By the way, just for your information, www.thebigfrog.com is a better domain. The first rule with domain names is to keep them as short as possible. That's one of the reasons why we are PepFX - only 5 letters.It's a lot easier for people to remember and there are less chances of people making a typo.
I already said that to Mr. Cook before you reserved your domain, so before all this, but he wanted to stay with ImintheBigFrog.com because of the stationary that he had already ordered.
So, if you accept the proposition, or plea, you would actually have a better domain name than Mr. Cook.

Please consider it.

Thank you,
Trixie

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From: Christian Cook
To: Johann Greedel
Cc: PepFX
Date: Wed Feb 18, 2004 22:42:00 Europe/London
Subject: Re: www.ImInTheBigFrog.com

Hi Johann

I am glad that Trixie has made a few things a bit clearer. I hope there was no misunderstanding. If you would like to have the domain www.thebigfrog.com then I will personally arrange it so there will be no problems for you during the transition. I thank you in advance for your consideration in this matter.

I would also like to make another matter clear as I feel that my use of convoluted vocabulary may have obscured our mutual understanding. I believe that the word 'sponsor' may have jeopardised any agreement being reached through your miscomprehension of its true definition.

It was never my intention, nor would it ever be, under any circumstances, to make you an offer whereby two of your goats would be eaten by myself, every month, in exchange for regular cash payments.

If the above offer is agreeable with you, then please let me know

Christian Cook

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From: Johann Greedel
To: Christian Cook
Cc: PepFX
Date: Thu Feb 19, 2004 07:22:08 Europe/London
Subject: Re: www.ImInTheBigFrog.com

Trixie

Thank you of your pleasant E-mail. It was very kind you to write in the name of Mr. Cook's and I understand to them his needs and concern. Unfortunately, I cannot be of assistance, because I do not wish to employ the Domain Name thebigfrog.com.

Although I know that a shorter field can be wiser for the sale, I do not want to propose that my Web site is about The Big Frog. I am simply saying to people that I am in The Big Frog.

I am sorry that I cannot be of more than assistance, but this decision is final. I wish you both good in your future companies.

J Greedel

P.S. - Mr. Cook, you still do not seem to understand. My goats are like brothers and sisters with me. Yes, I employ their wools and milk but I would never dream to eat them, however much you each month would pay me! Not two, not one, not which of my goats. My goats are not to eat!

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From: Christian Cook
To: PepFX
Date: Thu Feb 19, 2004
Subject: The end of the road

Hi Trixie

With the loss of the domain name, I am not able to continue and do not have the resources to move onto another similar project. Although we will not be proceeding any further, I would still like to thank you for all your time and energy in seeing things through thus far.

It has been a huge learning experience. One thing that will stay with me forever is that we are all seeking something, some of us are looking for small plastic ducks, some of us are looking for small plastic frogs and some of us are looking for new paths to herd our goats. I hope, that in some way, what has happened here might help a few people find their own plastic toads in life.

I may not own www.ImInTheBigFrog.com but in some ways I am in it already because we are all in the big frog that is life. I am in that big frog and I feel great!

With that in mind, I will be moving the big plastic frog by lorry tomorrow to the centre of Trafalgar Square in London and I will climb inside it and watch the world pass by. To any that may linger near the mouth, I may share my story or ask them for their own story of how they are in life's big frog. Once I am in the big frog, I will probably no longer have access to the internet so this will probably be farewell.

Thank you again for all your help and efforts and I wish you every success with future projects.

I will probably send one final e-mail just before I get in the frog.

Kind regards,

Christian Cook


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From: "PepFX"
To: shout@christiancook.com
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2004 04:18:09 +0100
Subject: Re: The end of the road

Hi Christian,

I'm sorry to hear that.

I wish you all the best with your endeavors and I hope you will think of us if you need something again (in web or graphic design, or maybe just a game?).

Sincerely,
Trixie


----------------------------------------------------------------

Maybe just a game? I think not... I am tired of games now. It is time to enter The Big Frog...

----------------------------------------------------------------

From: Christian Cook
To: PepFX
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2004 11:03:06 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Last transmission--

The thing's hollow--it goes on forever--and--oh, my Frog!-- it's full of stars!


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