Bryan Goldberg, CEBro of Bustle, at right, lecturing someone about something. Just pretend that person is us.
By now we know you’ve heard: Bustle took the B-Hive name from us and reappropriated it for their own data-mining program.
We called them out.
Then Bustle told us they’d stop using the name of our nearly decade-old program—but only if we remove our “unnecessary” and “damaging” post.
The message containing this generous offer came from a corporate law office, with two lawyers copied on the email. Was this a way to intimidate us—like, hey little ladies, did you know that WE HAVE MANY, MANY LAWYERS? Maybe. Probably! But we’re not going to be scared off that easily. We believe that we’re in the right. And we’re not going to be quiet.
Being able to resist and persist when corporate media puffs out its chest and attempts to silence its smaller, lower-profile, and less moneyed competition is exactly why we’ve worked so hard, for so long, to fund our work independently. When it matters the most, we want to be able to speak out unhindered by ownership.
And this BHive–vs.–B-Hive debacle may just be another tiny blip on the radar for a multimillion-dollar, venture-backed site like Bustle—a PR problem to be quashed quickly and quietly—but it really, really matters to us.
The Bitch B-Hive (the original B-Hive!) is the reason this independent feminist media organization is around. We don’t accept advertising dollars. We don’t have a parent company that foots the bills. We don’t have investors waiting to see if they get a good return. We’re not in the business of empowertising. We’re in the business of making feminist media that helps change the world.
And largely because of these values, we also don’t just have readers whom we sell out for clicks. We have a living, breathing, evolving community, and this is what it looks like.
On Monday our executive director, Julie Falk, replied to the gaggle of corporate attorneys to let them know that we absolutely, definitely, 100 percent would not be removing the post, and we don’t know what’s going to happen next. Judging by the response from our community, calling out Bustle for their corporate media shenanigans was more necessary than ever:
k just one more because Prince…
Bustle is still promoting its BHive, and probably won’t stop unless we make them. In fact, it’s been suggested to us that they may attempt to trademark the name and then sue us for infringement. Honestly, we wouldn’t be surprised.
These are the kind of fights that we have to win if we’re going to be the bold, fierce, witty-as-fucking-fuck feminist community that we say we are. These are the kinds of little things that add up to be big things.
So… let’s make Bustle stop using our B-Hive name! Who’s ready to take on corporate media with us? Are you? Cause it’s going to take some money. (No, we have no idea how much. If we had to estimate, though, we’d say “a lot.”)
Join the real B-Hive. Make a real, tax-deductible donation (because we’re a real nonprofit) of whatever size matches your desire to show Bustle that they can’t push us around just because Bryan Goldberg has a zillion dollars and DGAF about ripping off independent feminist media.
Let’s go all out to protect the very thing that makes Bitch Media independent: Our B-Hive.
Just as we don’t want to see vital, still-necessary feminist movements watered down by consumer feminism, we don’t want to let the feminist community we’ve helped build be confused with soulless, cynical data mining. Or worse, ended altogether.
We’ll keep our integrity. We’ll keep our post. We MIGHT be able to keep our B-Hive with your help.