Ignore, Respond, or Sue? | Online Defamation Law Suits

Posted by admin | July 28th, 2010

Is it smarter for a company to sue anonymous online critics, ignore them, or confront the problem head on by replying to the criticism? This is debate that has raged in online reputation management, online defamation, and business circles for years. There is no definitive answer. This article gives a pretty good view on the question, though.

When an anonymous critic attacks a company’s reputation online, the initial reaction is often to launch an expensive legal offensive to quiet the damaging criticism. However, before jumping headfirst into a costly and potentially risky litigation strategy, companies should consider whether they are using the court system to vindicate their protected legal rights or whether they are turning to litigation in an attempt to stifle unfair, albeit protected, criticism.

A lesson can be learned from a recent case involving USA Technologies, a NASDAQ-listed company that supplies products for devices such as vending machines and photocopiers. The company is in a tough spot, with its stock price having plunged more than 99% during the past decade. Despite this poor performance, the board of directors has continued to compensate company management handsomely.

As a result, the blogosphere has not been kind to USAT. One commentator, writing under the pseudonym “Stokklerk” on the Yahoo! Finance message board, accused USAT’s CEO of having a “worldview” where “humanity exist[ed] to be fleeced,” and stated that USAT had committed “legalized highway robbery” and was operating its business as a “soft Ponzi” scheme. Stokklerk further posted that “two top people at USAT” had “skimmed over $30M” from USAT by promoting a “story to lure investors and then” have the management approve “massive pay packages” that bore no correlation to company performance.

The entire article is worth reading. It gives a very good perspective on the issue without being too biased. This problem is neither easily explained nor solved. It is good to see someone looking into it.

Internet Reputation Management - is the practice of shaping a company or person’s search results. Reputation Hawk has provided this service since 2007.

Landmark Online Defamation Case Starts in Singapore | Online Defamation Law Suits

Posted by admin | July 22nd, 2010

Online defamation isn’t just a problem here in the UK and it can adversely affect individuals and companies all around the globe. The potential problem is highlighted by a growing number of cases with one of the latest proving to be quite a landmark case for a number of reasons.

First, it involves a blog not only showing that individually owned sites can be as liable as company run ones but the fact that it was others that posted the defamatory comments but still the blog owner that’s being sued shows one of the potential problems with online defamation rulings.

Defamation lawsuits involving newspapers and magazines are usually more straightforward. A paper print publication must allow a comment to be published which makes them liable for claims. However, the case between the Global Indian Foundation and a Mr A K Narayanan is quite different.

Narayanan set up and manages the blog but it was other members that posted allegedly defamatory comments about GIF run school Global Indian International School. Mr Narayanan also contests that the comments cannot be considered defamatory because they are true. The court case is being heard this week.

Posting defamatory comments can have serious implications on both the defamed and the defamer. While your own blog may seem like a safe haven where you can say what you like about anything you like, those companies and individuals looking to protect their online reputation may still take offence at anything that they deem to be untrue and offensive.

Negative Publicity online - can immediately hurt a company’s profitability. Reputation Hawk specializes in suppressing unwanted publicity.

Counterproductive Lawsuits | Online Defamation Law Suits

Posted by admin | July 7th, 2010

Dr. Kimberly Henry is a cosmetic surgeon who recently filed a lawsuit to stop online reviewers from bad-mouthing her online. She sought injunctions against a number of reviewers, 12 at last count, from commenting at Yelp.com and DoctorScorecard.com. She sought over $2 million in damages, total.

The reality of the lawsuit is that it will get Dr. Henry lots of bad press on the Internet. More online libel is all that will result because angry bloggers, commenters, and forum lurkers will criticize her, fairly and unfairly.

The solution Dr. Kimberly Henry overlooked, or simply did not know about, was reputation management. Firms in the reputation management industry could have helped her to silently and effectively minimize the importance of the few negative links in Dr. Henry’s search results. Instead, her search results will be littered with negative mentions of this very lawsuit. Quite counterproductive indeed.

Search Engine Reputation Management - is the practice of suppressing unwanted publicity in major search engines. Reputation Hawk is a leader in this field.