Most small business owners experience severe anguish when they think about the effects of a negative customer review in regard to their internet business reputation. So much so that they are willing to do just about anything, including sending the oft ill-advised demand letter.
Usually, general counsel will tell the business owner that sending such a demand letter is no guarantee that the alleged defamer will agree to retract or remove the objectionable material. But general counsel sends the letter because the business owner insists on it, and typically one of two things occurs: (1) there is no response; or (2) the alleged defamer steps up his or her efforts to impugn the business owner’s reputation.
Then what happens is general counsel will contact an internet defamation expert and ask him if he can assist the company in filing a lawsuit. In many cases (but not all), the expert will advise counsel that filing a lawsuit will expose the company to an anti-SLAPP motion, with potentially devastating consequences.
Faced with no reasonable alternative, and fearing that most prospective clients will believe the alleged defamer’s comments, the business owner instructs general counsel to respond to the defamer’s comments by posting a comment online. Sounds reasonable, right? Tell your side of the story? Big mistake. What very few people know is that by posting a response you have enhanced the visibility of the negative posting in the SERPs.
Instead of responding, you should consider other legal and reputation management methods. Learn from other’s mistakes.