Some companies rely on their online reputation more than others. Even a couple of libelous comments could lead to a downturn in business, loss of customers or clients, and reputational harm. With so much at risk, it is important for companies to be vigilant when it comes to serious defamatory statements.
What takes only minutes to post to the internet or social media can cause significant harm to a company, a brand, or an individual. Defamatory statements can be especially harmful when they are in blogs, consumer reviews, or employee reviews of the company that appear as top search engine results.
Less serious complaints may include general dissatisfaction with the company's products and services. Even if the statement is not entirely true, many online readers take these individual claims as evidence of a single, unhappy customer. However, vigilant defamers may go to extreme efforts to create dozens of false reviews and claims that can be much more harmful.
It takes little time and even less money to create a defamatory website or a disparaging review that quickly ranks high on search engines. Kronenberger Rosenfeld is experienced in utilizing a variety of federal and state laws to vindicate the rights of commercial clients who are the victims of online defamation. Whether the perpetrator is a rogue or former employee or a disgruntled customer, we act quickly and aggressively to root them out and to put an end to their defamatory practices.
Typically, Kronenberger Rosenfeld's primary objective is getting the offending material removed from websites on which it appears and from search engine caches. Where appropriate, however, Kronenberger Rosenfeld also takes legal action, including through civil litigation geared toward recovering damages and other fees.
We have handled cases where defendants used bogus “gripe sites” to post defamatory reviews and redirect internet traffic to competitors; disgruntled customers using negative reviews to extort refunds out of a company; nonconsensual pornography (aka "revenge porn"); and former employees using bogus customer reviews to extort higher severance or simply to spite a company.
Serious defamation may involve accusing the company, owners, or family members of criminal activities, including theft, embezzlement, sexual abuse, domestic violence, or other serious accusations. This can go beyond harm to business and can harm an individual's reputation in the community, or even subject someone to threats of harm.
Anyone can be responsible for making defamatory statements online. However, most libel and slander are related to personal grudges, either related to business or a personal interaction.
This can include:
Former business partners,
Former intimate partners,
Disgruntled former employees,
Angry customers, or
The first step in protecting a company's online reputation may involve removing the defamatory comments. A company can take immediate action upon learning about online statements that could qualify as slander or libel. Taking quick action to remove defamatory comments and alert the individual responsible to the potential civil and criminal penalties involved may quickly resolve the issue without any serious harm.Our Internet defamation attorneys can help you pursue libel or slander on the internet which attacks your name, your business name or your brands. Defamation is the publication of a statement of fact that is false or that tends to damage your reputation .
If someone makes a defamatory statement about you on the Internet, you may be able to recover monetary damages. If the defamatory statement is posted on a web site, you need to have it removed. A qualified internet law attorney can help. Defamation on the internet can not only affect your reputation and good name when others come in contact with the defamatory statements, but defamatory Internet postings can follow you for a long time when they are indexed by search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, or Bing. That is why it is important to work with an internet law attorney to have the defamatory statements removed immediately from the website and from the search engine cache. An internet attorney will know what proven strategies work, depending on what web site the defamatory statement is posted. If you have been the victim of a defamatory statement that has hurt your good name or business, contact one of our expert Internet defamation attorneys today. Your reputation is important. We’ll help you protect it from the internet.
If the company is aware of who made the statements, issuing a statement from an attorney who understands internet defamation may result in the individual taking down any offending statements. This may also lead the individual to take down similar statements from other outlets or social media platforms that the business owner was not aware of.
If the individual responsible is unknown or does not respond to the notice of a possible lawsuit, the company or company's lawyer should contact the platform or website involved. The website may have policies to handle potentially libelous statements which can quickly resolve defamatory online comments even where the offender remains unknown.
The damages available in an internet defamation claim may depend on the type of harm suffered. Generally, the plaintiff has to show actual harm to maintain a claim for defamation. Damages may include general money damages for the loss of business, harm to reputation, and other compensatory damages. Damages may also include punitive damages and an award for legal fees. If the online defamation is especially harmful, it can result in millions of dollars in damages.
For some businesses, an award against the individual or company making defamatory statements may also provide satisfaction and public recognition and redeem the individual or company's reputation.