DCistNOW.com proprietor Aaron Myers says he will change the name of his new website after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from counsel for NewMediaNews, LLC, which used to operate DNAinfo and Gothamist websites, including DCist. Beginning Wednesday, Myers’s site will be known as TheDistrictNOW.com.
Myers, a local jazz musician, felt moved to create DCistNOW.com upon learning that the billionaire owner of NewMediaNews, Joe Ricketts, had suddenly closed DCist at the beginning of November. Washingtonian contacted a spokesperson for Ricketts to inquire whether he might have any issue with the name Myers had chosen for his new site, but did not receive a reply.
Myers received a letter dated November 8 informing him that yes, in fact, Ricketts’s organization was not especially thrilled with Myers’s branding exercise and asked him to stop using the name, transfer DCistNOW to DNAinfo, and remove “DCist” from all publications or face a penalty of $100,000 or more. On November 9 Myers published a defiant blog post: “The audacity of them asking me to turn over my site to their control,” he wrote, “when they just shut down a site that gave a voice to an entire community, they’ve lost their collective mind.”
Myers’ stance has since shifted. “I can’t afford to tango with a Billionaire, but I’m not going to let that stop me from building a platform DC Residents can utilize as a place of consistent news & information,” he tells Washingtonian in an email.