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The Old Switcheroo

Way back in 2004, during the Vice Presidential debate, Dick Cheney urged listeners to go to “factcheck.com” to confirm that the campaign spin-checking organization would back him up on some facts.

Only one problem: the correct site was “factcheck.org.” The domain “factcheck.com” had nothing on it. Overnight, the factcheck.com site got redirected to George Soros’ blog, an unlikely place to find validation of Cheney.

Presumably, Republicans would think this a dirty trick, Democrats would think it clever. Right or wrong, you can’t help grin a bit at the mischievousness.

Well, something similar seems to have happened in EDA-land. And not only in our tiny corner of the world, but on one of the sleepiest cul-de-sacs: design management (DM). I recently blogged about having talked to both Methodics and IC Manage at DAC about their new IP management offerings. Yes, of course they’re competitors, and, of course, they’re both alive and well. But things seem to have taken one of those mischievous turns in the marketing war.

Before I say more, it’s really easy to read into this who did what. Strictly speaking, the facts aren’t all in yet, and the lawyers are getting involved. At least in sending letters. So we need to keep our minds open here.

That said, it would appear that when Methodics set up their website, a so-called cyber-squatter owned the rights to the “methodics” domain, and Methodics didn’t want to pay the price. So they used “methodics-da” instead, and the “methodics” domain remained fallow.

Until someone noticed. And changed it to the following:

 Methodics_Screenshot.gif

Apparently it had had a different look (but similar message) a couple weeks earlier, and was updated again yesterday. As of now, it’s completely dead – 404.

Makes me wonder whether Soros is on the board of IC Manage.

Seriously though, this could have a significant impact on Methodics, since the “-da,” while not unheard of, isn’t at all obvious. Methodics actually says they have some big potential customers doing due diligence, and finding that page wouldn’t be a good thing.

I did check in with IC Manage, and they had the following comment from their CEO Dean Drako:

“I  learned of Methodic’s broadcast email. In it, [Methodics CEO] Simon [Butler] makes claims about a specific webpage that Simon simultaneously states was not even up as he sent out his broadcast email. 

“It is unfortunate that he also made legal threats against IC Manage, as our industry is always better served by focusing on innovation, not litigation. IC Manage’s best evidence of this is our cofounder Shiv Sikand’s cutting edge invention of the cdsp4 Cadence integration with Perforce open source program, which Shiv first released back in 1999, and our GDP IP Central system was just ranked the #1 must-see item at DAC 2011 by John Cooley of Deepchip.”

Which neither confirms nor denies (and actually seems to try to cast doubt on whether it even happened at all).

For a sleepy little industry, things get surprisingly interesting in DM-Land. In a prior article I wrote covering the space, I noted that ,“A couple years ago, Cliosoft [another DM participant] even found itself the victim of a scathing one of those ‘anonymous’ review posts on a website that heavily moderates what gets posted (meaning that a response post may not – and in this case, did not – make it through).” I didn’t go into more detail at Cliosoft’s request; they were trying to take the high ground. (And I’ll say no more on that incident at this point in that spirit.)

Creative marketing? Aggressive marketing? Clever? Underhanded? Subterfuge by proxy? Innocent mistake?  I won’t go out on a limb on that one for now. OK, actually, yeah, I will rule out the innocent mistake one: someone had to buy the site from the squatter. Other than that, the jury is out. But it certainly livens up an otherwise dull day…

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