Industry veteran Casper sues well-known mattress reviewer Sleepopolis to silence their opinion.
You’re probably familiar with Casper by now.
They’ve created a cool culture that’s semi-tech, semi-commercial, and semi-furniture corporation.
Casper has grown quickly due to their active fundraising campaigns from venture capital companies and celebrities.
A-List celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher led the high valued Series A round of venture funding.
With the birth and popularity of the direct to consumer mattress marketing becoming more mainstream many independent mattress reviewers have surfaced.
As commerce online is driven strongly by reviews – the voice of mattress reviewers is louder and stronger than ever.
What do these reviewers have to gain?
- Free product
- Affiliate commissions
- Website traffic
- Potential opportunities for additional income opportunities (Google’s Adsense)
Sounds like a perfect relationship right?
Companies can have well-known reviewers provide real feedback about new products.
Consumers have the ability to research products from the comfort of their homes before making purchase decisions.
Reviewers have the opportunity to share their opinion and make some affiliate money along the way.
(Transparency Note: Honest Mattress Reviews does not have any affiliate relationships with any mattress companies. Our opinions are based on fact, value and industry experience.)
So what went wrong?
Derek Hales, founder, and sole proprietor Sleepopolis published “Casper filed the lawsuit against me in April, 2016, on the same day that it sued two other websites that review mattresses. The suit makes a number of different allegations, but they are primarily focused on my Casper mattress reviews and how I inform my readers about referral links. I am currently fighting the lawsuit and pushing for it to be dismissed with prejudice.
It is my opinion that this lawsuit is nothing more than an attempt to silence my voice and infringe my first amendment right. When my lawyer asked Casper what it would take to resolve the case, Casper’s settlement demand was that I take down my reviews of Casper’s mattress and never write about Casper again. I don’t think Casper is concerned about my referral link disclosures at all – they just don’t like criticism of their product.”
- Casper’s original complaint – filed 4/29/16
- Casper’s amended complaint – filed 6/10/16
- Sleepopolis’ motion to dismiss – filed 7/7/16
- Casper’s opposition to the motion to dismiss – filed 8/5/16
- Sleepopolis’ reply brief in support of the motion to dismiss – filed 8/12/16
(Transparency Note: we have not directly contacted Casper or Sleepopolis regarding this post. We are simply sharing our opinion of the post published on Sleepopolis. We do not have any further details regarding these claims or this lawsuit other than what is published above. We invite both Casper and Sleepopolis to provide any further information that we will include in it’s entirety on this post by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org)
Final Thought – we don’t know the intricate details of the relationship between Sleepopolis and Casper. We don’t know if they had a financial affiliate relationship in the past. But we do know that any company that tries to bully a small independent reviewer in an attempt to silence a first amendment right is simply – wrong.
If Hales’ claims are true, that industry veteran Casper is trying leveraging their corporate size, deep pockets, and celebrity influence to bully an independent single reviewers into silence – we would pose these question?
Is Casper really the company we know and love and who specifically from the executive team has approved such malicious behavior?
personal note from our editorial team
we believe in the right to share our opinions. you may not agree with all of our opinions. and we respect that. we are a collection of industry veterans, single moms, retired grandpas. we are the same as you. and we respect everyone’s opinions. we feel that in any industry when a company is strong enough to silence the opinions of a few – the ability to trust anything said post-action is tainted. we take pride in conducting long-term honest mattress reviews. we test mattresses amongst a large pool of different people. some tall, some short, some heavy, some lighter, some veterans missing a limb from iraq, some extremely wealthy entrepreneurs, and some everyday folks just like us. we take all of this data to create one complete review. we believe in the editorial protections of freedom of speech and hope to report a follow-up publication that this lawsuit is not what it seems.