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Bible.com Investor Sues Company For Lack Of Profit 181

Posted by samzenpus
from the isn't-it-ironic dept.
The board of Bible.com claims that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than to make money on the domain name, but an angry shareholder disagrees. From the article: "James Solakian filed the lawsuit in Delaware's Chancery Court against the board of Bible.com for breaching their duty by refusing to sell the site or run the company in a profitable way. The lawsuit cites a valuation done by a potential purchaser that estimated bible.com could be worth more than dictionary.com, which recently sold for more than $100 million."

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Bible.com Investor Sues Company For Lack Of Profit

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  • by lwsimon (724555) <lyndsy@lyndsysimon.com> on Friday October 22, 2010 @12:37PM (#33986626) Homepage Journal

    If the company is unprofitable, then buy up a majority of the stock and run it how you want - or sell your own stock and go do something else.

    No one is forcing investors to own this company.

    • If you manage a company for stockholders, you have a fiduciary duty to maximize profit. The article says that the company's founders claim they have a "sacred purpose", but if that's the case, they should have sought out donations, not investments.

      • If you manage a company for stockholders, you have a fiduciary duty to maximize profit.

        Not true at all, you have a duty to reflect on your stockholders desires maybe, but in this case especially I doubt that many of the stockholders' first priority is to make money. Lets pretend that the majority of people bought stock in Google because of their 'Do No Evil' mantra, and that those people made that position clear at stockholders' meetings. Google would then have a responsibility to the stockholders to stay true to that mantra, even at the expense of profits. The default position is that the

        • by Peeteriz (821290)

          Articles of incorporation of pretty much any corporation state that it's out for profit, and the wishes of the stockholders matter only in the belief how to generate the most profit.

          If their articles don't say that 'sacred purpose above profit', then it's not legally allowed to be so.

          Some organizations - say, charities or religious advocacy groups - do have their goals listed differently, but this is not the case, and any shareholder has the right to demand to run the company as a profit maximiser, or the b

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Americano (920576)

        No, directors have a legal obligation to put the company's interests ahead of their own, and a legal obligation to provide 'good faith' governance in accordance with the corporation's charter.

        There is no legal obligation to 'maximize profit' for your shareholders unless the charter specifically says there is, and even then it needs to be balanced against numerous other goals. In addition, you cannot say "maximize profits" without a time context for doing so: if you maximize profits this quarter by hiring

      • If you manage a company for stockholders, you have a fiduciary duty to maximize profit.

        Ever hear of a "not for profit" corporation, a.k.a, a charity?
    • by cgenman (325138) on Friday October 22, 2010 @01:04PM (#33987098) Homepage

      Supposedly, the "investor" was given his shares because of a $400,000 debt that the owners could not pay back. Further, the site hasn't been developed because this shareholder has been fighting with the board about control over the company. So I'm guessing he would like to buy up the majority of the stock, if it were possible. Though I doubt he could dump his shares for the 400k they cost him.

      Of course Bible.com is a bad business idea to begin with. Everyone has a bible, and there are basically billions of searchable bibles online. Religion tends to be face-to-face, or at least televised. Money in religion comes from donations, not advertising. And, of course, a domain name is not a business idea, it is a business asset. Without a real idea, there isn't a real business.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Culture20 (968837)

        Money in religion comes from donations, not advertising.

        I wish you had told my church's finance committee this before they looked into buying a 15ft tall caveman cartoon to advertise tithing. Thankfully they balked at the quote, but they printed tons of fliers and some 6ft standups. :(

        • I wish you had told my church's finance committee this before they looked into buying a 15ft tall caveman cartoon to advertise tithing. Thankfully they balked at the quote, but they printed tons of fliers and some 6ft standups. :(

          So easy, even a caveman could do it?

        • Actually this sounds like a pretty cool church.

        • by _xeno_ (155264)

          It could be worse, the church I go to advertises itself with a runon sentence [ucc.org].

          And if you recognize the UCC as being the church that Obama went to and that preached "God damn America!" you'd be right. Same denomination. And, yes, the church organization as a whole fervently backs Jeremiah White, no matter what the members might think. Mainly because he's black, and the vast majority of the church is white. And we're not racist, 'cause we have a black friend. Er, preacher.

          • by Teun (17872)
            It (almost?) sounds like you mix up three very different subjects; church, religion and trusting in god...
      • by lwsimon (724555)

        I'd love to own bible.com. I'd sell Bibles on it. I'll give them $10,000 for it.

      • by Americano (920576)

        Of course Bible.com is a bad business idea to begin with.

        Only if you short-sightedly presume that it's only business purpose would be "selling bibles" or "publishing the bible on the web."

        There are numerous business ideas which could use 'bible.com' as a domain name - not all of them would be wildly profitable, but I'm sure you could make a go of:
        -- Selling religious texts, music, supplies to churches, church groups, and private parties - Amazon.com with a "christian mission"
        -- Developing some sort of chris

      • by lwsimon (724555)

        You mean, the "investor" voluntarily accepted shares in payment of a debt, in lieu of cash?

    • by Peeteriz (821290)

      If the executives and/or the majority shareholders don't run the company with "due diligence" exploiting it's profit possibilities, then minority shareholders certainly have rights to hold them accountable and financially liable.

      If the 60% holder wants to run the company as a religious charity, then *HE* has to buy the rest of the shares.

  • by Custard Horse (1527495) on Friday October 22, 2010 @12:38PM (#33986638)
    So, there is no prophet?
  • by rekenner (849871) on Friday October 22, 2010 @12:38PM (#33986646) Homepage
    FTFY.
  • by vadim_t (324782) on Friday October 22, 2010 @12:39PM (#33986654) Homepage

    All you need to make a camel pass through a needle's eye is to grind it very finely.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by BrokenHalo (565198)
      The translators of the bible got it wrong. What they were supposed to say is:

      "It is easier for a man to enter a camel if he stands upon a box."
    • by jgagnon (1663075)

      Wood chipper, mortar and pestle, and a lot of patience. Or a freakishly huge needle.

    • by Himring (646324)
      Or find it very grindly....
    • All you need to make a camel pass through a needle's eye is to grind it very finely.

      OR save yourself the mess on the floor and just use a larger needle.

    • All you need to make a camel pass through a needle's eye is to grind it very finely.

      Will it blend?

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      All you need to make a camel pass through a needle's eye is to grind it very finely.

      Or, a really big needle.

    • by selven (1556643)

      Or choose the right needle [wikipedia.org].

  • $100 million? I knew that the dollar was devalueing but dropping to such a low level is really scary.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Friday October 22, 2010 @12:42PM (#33986704) Homepage Journal

    I don't think they teach "sell that thou hast, and give to the poor" to aspiring MBAs these days.

    • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Friday October 22, 2010 @12:49PM (#33986806)
      Chick-fil-a [chick-fil-a.com] does it - they're not open on Sundays, treat their workers well, environmental stewardship, and other things that are branded "liberal" by the Fox News crowd and yet, they make boat loads of money doing things that others would think would eat into profitability and make one uncompetitive.
      • by TheLink (130905)
        But their website requires Flash!

        Evil! :)
      • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Friday October 22, 2010 @01:43PM (#33987696)

        It's not "liberal" when an individual or corporation decides to do these things. It's considered "liberal" when the government forces individuals to do these things, or extracts money from individuals and corporations in order to do these things themselves.

        Many conservatives participate in a lot of charity, I'm not sure why you consider those two things to be mutually exclusive.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          Republican also support everyone paying for what charities they give to. It's called a tax deduction. If the republicans really believe that forcing tax dollar that go to cause is wrong, the would all be repealing tax deductions, and remove all support to religion out of the government.

          • by Americano (920576)

            Wait... so the government saying "You gave some of YOUR HARD-EARNED money away to a group that matches your principles and whose mission you support, so we will take less of your money away in taxes" is somehow... government-sponsorship for religion?

            You realize that the tax money the government would collect is NOT 'their' money to begin with, right?

            • by Dhalka226 (559740)

              It can be. It really all depends on what else they decide not to take your hard-earned money for donating to.

              Tax break for donating to First Baptist Church of Podunk but not ASPCA or ACLU or a non-religious battered women's shelter or something like that? It may not be promotion of a religion but it certainly smacks of promotion of religion. The distinction between "donate money and we'll take less tax dollars" and "we'll take your tax dollars and donate money" is fairly small.

              That said, I suspect th

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Americano (920576)

                It can be. It really all depends on what else they decide not to take your hard-earned money for donating to.

                Yeah, "it can be" - except it ISN'T. If the laws were completely different, murder *could* be legal, too. But it's not, because we don't live in alternate-reality-bizarro-world where up is down, left is right, and the ASPCA and the ACLU and a host of other non-secular charities aren't eligible for tax-deductible status, but religious organizations are.

                Publication 78 from the IRS [irs.gov] is pretty clear on

      • by operagost (62405)

        other things that are branded "liberal" by the Fox News crowd

        What are you smoking? Really? I'm surprised progressives aren't picketing Chick-Fil-A for favoring Christians (except for Seventh-Day Adventists and SD Baptists, of course) by choosing Sunday. I guess a social conservative might complain if the Chick-Fil-A was actually a chain of nudie bars that preferred locations near elementary schools, but other than that most non-leftist people think a company should get to set its own policies as long a

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          most non-leftist people think a company should get to set its own policies as long as they don't break any laws.

          That last bit is kind of redundant. EVERYBODY tends to think a company should set it's own policies *as long as they don't break any laws*. The argument usually revolves around just what those laws should entail ;).

        • by sorak (246725)

          I'm surprised progressives aren't picketing Chick-Fil-A for favoring Christians (except for Seventh-Day Adventists and SD Baptists, of course) by choosing Sunday.

          This would have made perfect sense before the days of the five day work week and part-time labor. But those days are long gone and a chick-fil-A employee has no reasonable expectation that he or she will work six days per week.

      • by Coren22 (1625475)

        They are also a heavily Christian organization. My ex wife works there and asked me not to tell them about the fact that she cheated on me with her now husband who was a Asst. Manager. She was afraid he would get fired for it.

      • Yeah, because they put CRACK in their chicken nuggets. Have you had them? There is certainly SOMETHING highly addicting they add.

      • Strangely, they also seem to require their employees to say, "Have a blessed day." at the end of each purchase. It smacks of moneychangers in the temple to me, but it is the 2nd best chicken sandwich franchise. I've always wondered if there's a lawsuit waiting to happen there.

        What's the best, you ask? A little chain called Big Chick in the dirty south puts them to shame. Amusingly, they require their employees (who are mostly rotund females) to wear shirts featuring the franchise name.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        Not open on Sundays? That seems like a pretty dumb decision to me. They say they do it so their workers can have a day off, etc., but most workers already have days off; the 9-5 crowd gets weekends off, but others get other days off. In a service industry, you need to serve your customers when they want to be served. For most people who work 9-5 jobs, they go to the malls (the typical location for a Chick-fil-a from what I saw in the South when I lived there) on weekends, because those are the days THEY

    • Apparently, they teach "invest thy money in dubious internet businesses, and then sue them".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gravis777 (123605)

      Obviously, you did not get your BBA / MBA from a strict Christian University, and there are quite a few of those around. They teach that its not a sin to make money, what you focus on is conducting your business in a fair and ethical way, and don't engage in practices that hinder your faith.

      In this summery, however, the problem is that the investor is 1) ignorant of what he is investing in, 2) obviously doesn't share their views, and, probably most importantly, 3) is trying to find a way to make money off o

      • by gravis777 (123605)

        Basically, Christian business principals are:

        1) don't screw your customer
        2)don't sabatage your competition or engage in espionage
        3) Don't try to circumvent the law
        4) Treat your employees fairly
        5) Treat your stockholders fairly
        6) Treat your partners fairly

        Overall, not a bad business model. You conduct yourself in that fashion, people will respect you, and will give you repeat business.

        • by Teun (17872)
          Sounds good for the long run but many of today’s hot businesses only (need to) worry about the next quarterly bonuses.
  • It's full of ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by istartedi (132515) on Friday October 22, 2010 @12:43PM (#33986732) Journal

    Every once in a while I'll google around for a quote that I know is Biblical, simply because I want the chapter and verse.

    bible.cc is one site that comes up in Google when you do that. It has multiple translations and languages even!

    Bible.cc has bookstore links and just a few small ads. Bible.com has an interstitial, and comes off as "megachurch Christian" rather than Bible-study oriented.

    That they failed to capitalize seems likely; but if every board that failed to capitalize were liable, it'd be a different world, or would it? I've held a number of stocks where there were shareholder class actions, and have always marveled that anybody would want to essentially sue themselves. The only winners are the lawyers. Suits like this are usually just a sign that the company is circling the drain.

    There's really "nothing to see here. Move on".

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I used to keep an online bible (holy-bible.us), but I let the domain lapse. I had one chapter per HTML page, with anchors at each verse. I still regret letting it lapse.

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday October 22, 2010 @12:46PM (#33986760)
    10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor his website.

    Maybe if it was set up with little or no regard for profit (like Wikipedia, [wikipedia.org]) it would have had God's blessing and succeeded?
  • by x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) on Friday October 22, 2010 @12:46PM (#33986762)
    1 Corinthians 6:7
    Lawsuits among Christians [bible.com] are a no-no in the Bible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TriZz (941893)
      I guess you RTFB?
    • by drawfour (791912)
      Nothing in the article indicates that the shareholder is a Christian. He was given the shares to settle a business debt.
    • by vadim_t (324782)

      Yeah, the problem is that everybody has their own interpretation.

      Just look at the US. Supposedly the vast majority of the people there are christian. But it's so litigious of a place that clearly nobody cares what the bible has to say on that matter.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Few even bother to read the bible. I keep telling my friend Tammy she should quit thumping her bible and read it. This is not a Christian nation no matter what that wolf in sheep's clothing Pat Robertson says. This country's religion is the worship of money. The churches are full of hypocrites.

        Let us pray to the god of mammon:

        Our money, who art in the bank,
        Hallowed be thy name.
        My kingdom come, my will be done on earth as it is in space.
        Give us this day our gourmet foods, our luxury cars, our yachts and our

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Also, "If a man sues you for your coat, give him your cloak as well".

      My God but that's an ugly site, no wonder they're being smited.

  • The Court finds the defendant Jesus Christ guilty of not leveraging your power to make us all rich!
  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday October 22, 2010 @12:54PM (#33986896)
    Why would anyone agree to buy the domain name for 100 million dollars when there is no clear way of monetizing it or making it a profitable venture? It's so 1997 to think that the normal rules of business do not apply to the internet, because it's a magical place where there is profit for all and every 50$ investment yields a billion dollar return.
  • And I'm sure Mr. Solakian would gladly give 10% of his suit winnings to the Church, right?
  • I don't understand how and why they need shareholders if they have no plan to be profitable.

  • I find... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Gattman01 (957859)

    ...your lack of profit disturbing.

  • wouldn't it be "a profit without honor?"

  • Bible.com? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by edremy (36408) on Friday October 22, 2010 @01:44PM (#33987708) Journal
    I admit to finding it amusing that it's a .com address. Shouldn't it be a .org at least? You could make the claim for .edu, perhaps. A lot of political candidates would claim it should be .gov, and reading a bunch of the passages I might even accept .mil, but .com?

    What next- bible.biz?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DriedClexler (814907)

      It should be a .org, and based in Ireland. Bible.org.ie!

    • by AndrewNeo (979708)

      Why are you amused it's a .com if it has shareholders?

      On a side note, an .edu requires it to be an accredited school [educause.edu]. I do not think a bible qualifies as a college.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Probably because he's actually read the bible?

        What's even funnier is a church here in town, berean Baptist Church, has a .biz extension (berean.biz). Needless to say, I don't attend that one.

  • ... as brought to you by Supply Side Jesus [youtube.com]?

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