UPDATE – JANUARY 3, 2012
MTV has backed off its use of “Movie Smackdown” after we made it clear that it was our trademarked name through this post and by official means. They have changed the name of their tournament competition to “Movie Brawl.” Still not sure how they could have let this happen, but at least they’ve done the right thing when their mistake was pointed out to them.
It’s a great idea, if we do say so ourselves: Pitting two movies against each other and picking a winner in a head-to-head competition. We did it on a site called Movie Smackdown® for the very first time on a blog in 2005 and have been growing steadily since into the full-service site you see now.
MTV obviously likes the idea too. They’ve started using this name and concept as if it were their own in one of their latest promotions. We wish we didn’t have to point this out, but there’s a big flag on that play.
Because we’ve been staging these Movie -vs- Movie contests here at Movie Smackdown® for so long, we know a thing or two about how it’s done. And one thing we’ve learned is, in order to compete in the high-stakes, high-visibility, mass media world, it’s important to have the perfect name.
And had it trademarked.
Until we see the execution, we’ll choose to be flattered that our concept is so damn good that you’ve decided to feature it on your website, but we really must insist you immediately pick a different name than Movie Smackdown®. That one’s already taken. By us. And we’re not giving it away.
As you’ll see from the comments below, people that hear about this are pretty shocked that a big company like MTV could make this kind of outrageously bad decision.
Since we’re all supposed to learn from our mistakes, we offer you two crucial lessons for the future:
Lesson One: Check the URL
When you choose your new name, you might want to first enter it as a URL in your browser and see what comes up. Because if you’d done that earlier, we wouldn’t be in this, well, awkward situation. MovieSmackdown.com takes you straight to the site where you’re reading this. Not that hard, right?
Lesson Two: Google the Name
When you’re on your next naming search, make sure you Google the name you choose in order to find out if it already exists. If you had done this before, you’d have seen that our original, first-ever Movie Smackdown® site is all over the search engines, particularly Google. And — as you can see in the screen-capture at the bottom of this post — your use of our trademarked name for internet film competition is gaining you some SEO traction. Google’s already busy measuring the bite you’re taking out of us in the first few days of your big promotion. Hmmm…
Who Wins This Smackdown?
Don’t get us wrong. We still love our MTV and always have, but we love our Movie Smackdown® even more. Maybe with all the industry cutbacks, the suits at Viacom had to farm this clearance job out to an intern who didn’t understand the difference between “sampling” another artist’s song and stealing a trademarked title and concept.
All we know is that one day, without so much as a phone call, we wake up to realize we’ve suddenly been cast as David to your Goliath, and our passion project — one we’ve devoted many thousands of hours and dollars to — is on MTV’s website as if it is your idea and we did not exist. Of course, we do. That much should now be clear.
Face it, MTV: You lose this Smackdown.
And to our readers and supporters, accept no imitations. You have always known where to find the real Movie Smackdown®, and it’s right here, at —
If this makes you as mad and sick as it does us, please express your opinion in the comment section below. Also, please visit us at Facebook and make the same point. This is just wrong and no corporation should be able to take something just because they are bigger or have more lawyers.