I just got off the phone with John Mugno, a lawyer with Kaplan & Mugno, a firm based in New York City. The conversation started off pleasantly enough, with me apologizing for for the call drop which had occurred earlier when he had called me and I was in a bad reception area (more on this later). Mr. Mugno began the conversation acting like he didn’t know anything about me, or who I was, but this changed quickly. Mr. Mugno wanted to know if I own a number of domain names. I informed him that as a publishing company, we do own numerous domain names. Everything was going well up to this point.
Things started to go down hill when Mr. Mugno brought up the fact that he represents a client who is interested in buying domain or domain names that we have. I informed him that we have no intent of selling domain names, nor are we in the business of selling domain names. He started asking questions, as well as making statements, as to why we buy domain names and what we intend to do with them. That’s when terms such as “cyber-squatting” and “lawsuits” started to pop up. He then proceeded to say things like, “Vincent, I’m giving you friendly advice that you ought to know about cyber-squatting and such…” Somewhere, somehow things escalated to where Mr. Mugno called me a liar, referencing back to my apology for the dropped call.
“You’re a liar, I called you on a landline, how could it have dropped…I know all about you and I know what you do,” said Mr. Mugno. This is when Mr. Mugno stopped being a polite individual, and started raising his voice and generally acting like a street thug. What Mr. Mugno didn’t realized before accusing me of lying was that he had probably called me at my Grand Central number (917-477-xxxx) which is forwarded to my mobile phone. By this point, he was yelling at me, saying “I know you and I know who you are…” So I informed him this conversation is over and then hung up.
So here’s my thought on this. Whoever has hired Mr. Mugno to represent them should be embarrassed and ashamed - as should Mr. Mugno. I am neither a cyber-squatter nor am I a domain broker. My staff, partners and I buy domain names with the full intention of developing them into future sites carried under our network. Mr Mugno and his client should know that this is the same type path Motorola took with us last year, and it didn’t end well for them either. I’m a reasonable guy, but when anyone calls me a liar because I don’t give them the answer they want, or starts accusing me of things I haven’t and won’t do because I am not interested in their offer, or starts yelling at me over the phone because they are unable to have a civilized conversation, I think that it says a lot about the company as well as the type agents they retain.
To Mr. Mugno and the company you represent: raised voices and threats are never the correct way to convince civilized people to take you seriously. What you have done instead is make me less likely to listen to anything you might have had to say.
Voicemail from Mr. Mugno- kaplan_mugno_voicemail_9-may-2008