Defamed on the Internet? What is your road map?
Often times companies and individuals do not realize the immense problems caused by Internet defamation until it’s too late. Whether anonymous or not, these types of posts can equate to your defamer buying billboard space or television advertising space and filling the air time with dangerous lies. When I field calls from potential clients and clients alike, I am always asked what the road map is to alleviating the issue. Here are some basic tips that may be applicable to your situation:
The first step is to find out who is behind the defamation. It is way too easy to post something on the Internet and for the hours and hours it takes to get something off the Internet, it takes the defamer only 30 seconds to put something new back up. It is always best to pull a weed from its routes than clipping one of its branches off. A new branch will be there a few hours later.
Sometimes the source of defamation on the Internet is not always obvious. The Internet lends itself to anonymity and it is far too easy for someone to hide. When that occurs, sometimes the only way to reveal the defamer is by bring a “John Doe” lawsuit in court and subpoenaing the appropriate internet companies who would have information regarding the identity of the defamer.
The next steps depend on the nature of the defamer – are they an unhappy customer? A competitor? What are their motivations? Are they sane? Depending on the answers to these questions, the appropriate tact may be to try and correct their “poor” experience or reason with them. Maybe a lawsuit is the only way to go. Maybe reputation management can go along way to solving the issue.
No matter the issue, there are things you can do to solve the problem. While defamers usually have the upper hand in the beginning, there are ways you can balance the scales back in your favor and drive yourself back to Internet reputation health.
One simple tip: no matter what else you do this weekend, enter Google Alerts for your name, your company’s name and any other relevant search terms. While it’s not perfect, it’s free and pretty effective in picking up Internet chatter about you.