Is a Fungus Among Us?
Grolier’s business at the time was selling Dr. Seuss books to kids. The competition was Weekly Reader Book Club and Scholastic’s paperback book clubs. All sold books to students in classrooms through the teacher.
Using the Scholastic paperback model, a guy named Joe Archie started the Willie Whale Book Club. Elsworth Howell watched it grow and told Archie he was interested in buying Willie Whale. They signed confidentiality agreements, and, stupidly, Archie laid out his entire business plan, MO and results for Grolier to see. Whereupon Howell told Joe Archie that he had decided not to buy Willie Whale and started the Peter Possum Book Club offering children’s paperback books in direct competition with Archie and Scholastic.
Archie sued and lost.
If history repeats, my bet is that both Mattel and Craigslist will lose.