God Yelps Those Who Yelp Themselves

OK, so via an industry email I received today, there are now at least five lawsuits in the state of California alone against people who posted negative reviews about service providers from whom they received sub-par service. The fact these complaints were not dismissed immediately really irks me. Freedom of speech should apply to Internet content – specifically to user reviews.

Filtering of negative opinions renders online reviews useless. If I wanted to see the idealistic perspective of a service provider, product, or website I would simply peruse their marketing collateral. To the plaintiffs in these lawsuits: If you are so concerned with libel and defamation resultant from these negative reviews, why don’t you ask some of your satisfied customers and clients to post retorts on the same sites in response to the allegations of deficient delivery of value? Review sites are generally open forums where each side has an opportunity to defend his or her point of view. If you are unable to settle a dispute amicably then maybe you should take a step back and review your value proposition. In tough economic times, people try to maximize their dollars spent. Take care of your clients/customers and they will take care of you!

My finishing argument: Ultimately, regional judicial systems should not be setting precedents regarding user reviews on the WORLD WIDE Web. Ten years subsequent to the mainstream adoption of the Internet, we still do not have de facto standards by which to model our online behavior.

California Anti-SLAPP Project: http://www.casp.net/

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