The Scout Association of New Zealand is seeking legal advice after members raised concerns a similarly-named website might tarnish the organisation's good name.
Scouts NZ officials visited MediaWorks headquarters in Auckland last Thursday, to discuss a potential breach of the Scout Association of New Zealand Amendment Act by the then- unlaunched entertainment website, Scout.co.nz.
Head of development and capability Mark Long said he and national development manager Mike Loulanting were advised to deal with MediaWorks' legal team.
The site, fronted by former New Zealand Herald gossip columnist Rachel Glucina, is touted as New Zealand's answer to American entertainment websites E! and TMZ.
Long said he first heard of Glucina's site on the radio.
"Within five minutes, I started having the first people come forward asking if it was ours," he said.
"It obviously doesn't align with our values."
Long said since the site went live on Monday, ScoutsNZ received more than 30 enquiries from members showing "genuine concern" about a perceived affiliation between the group and the site, which promised "sex, scandal and gossip".
Long used a comment on Scout.co.nz – "Woggle of the week? I don't think so" – as an example of linkages already being made by members of the public. (A woggle is the Scouts' neckerchief fastener.)
Long said ScoutsNZ's chief executive and board were taking legal advice regarding use of the Scouts name, which was registered with the Charities Register.
ScoutsNZ hoped to finalise its course of action within 10 working days, Long said.
In a post on its Facebook page on Tuesday morning, ScoutsNZ stressed it had no affiliation with the MediaWorks venture.
"SCOUTS New Zealand would like to advise our 21,000 active members, their families and all other persons associated with SCOUTS New Zealand, that the website scout.co.nz is not connected, associated, nor authorised in any way with our positive youth empowerment organisation," the post read.
"We wish to distance ourselves and our strong, established brand from that site. Any perceived links between SCOUTS New Zealand and it are not accurate and should not be pursued."
The post went on to say the group was working to ensure its members were not "negatively affected or impacted" by the site.
Members were asked to refrain from publicly commenting on news stories or social media about the site, and were reminded them of the group's values – "have respect, do what is right, and be positive".
Sebastien Aymeric, an associate with James & Wells patent attorneys, said he was not familiar with the Scouts Association of New Zealand Act, but section five appeared to restrict other associations from including the word "scout" in their names.
"If you want to use 'scout' as a trademark regarding goods or service, and you're not using it to refer to charities, it looks like it would be fine," Aymeric said.
He said the two parties' goods and services were unlikely to be confused by the general public.
"Personally, I don't see that happening. 'Scout' is a pretty common word in the English language, and then there's the nature of the websites," Aymeric said.
"[Scout.co.nz] is pretty much as far as you can go from the image you have of scouts."
ScoutsNZ's post is one of a series of less-than-warm social media reactions to Glucina's site.
Scout's inaugural "exclusives" included MediaWorks broadcaster Mike Hosking vacuuming his car, and All Black Zac Guildford's upcoming boxing match with New Zealand Bachelor Art Green.
Mediaworks own staff took to Twitter to ridicule the new venture.Newsreader Hilary Barry was first into the fray, mocking the Hosking story with a photo of herself vacuuming her own car, with the hashtag #stalkingisnotok
Barry's colleague David Farrier tweeted a scathing post reading: "Exclusive: David Farrier Sits at Desk:http://tinyurl.com/DaveAtDesk".
Farrier posted further tweets saying he would not be working for Scout, and if they doorstopped him, he would set his parrot Keith on them.
MediaWorks did not immediately respond for comment.
This article was written by and posted on Stuff.co.nz