New York, NY, December 08, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- Could a poster be sued for a negative review on Yelp? That could be the future if a case in Virginia goes forward, sending a shock wave through free speech and consumer advocates.
Steven W. Giovinco, from Recover Repudiation, an online reputation management boutique firm, worries about the outcome. “If you can be sued for posting a one-star review, what’s next? Being sued for stating your opinion in a blog post?” states Giovinco.
In a December 4, 2012 controversial ruling, a judge stated that a woman must remove parts of her review on Yelp and Angie’s List and that she cannot post the barred information on others sites. She was sued for $750,000 as a result of the negative posting, according the Washington Post.
Free speech advocates are concerned this could be a trend, and Steven W. Giovinco agrees. “It’s important for a business to protect their online reputation but banning opinion could be going too far. The implications of this are wide ranging and could ripple throughout the internet on sites like Yelp and beyond.”
The judge ruled that someone cannot post libelous comments that damage a businesses reputation. As a result, part of Jane Perez’s Yelp review about a Washington, D.C., building contractor, Christopher Dietz, must be removed and cannot be posted on other sites.
Giovinco notes that reviews on sites such as Yelp are becoming more important to professionals such as lawyers, physicians, financial planners, and others. “So too are legal actions over online reputations,” he says.
Some free speech advocates view these suits as attempts to stifle freedom of speech; customers see online reviews the as the only option to fight back against bad businesses. Business owners say they are being forced to fight back because a false online review or post can cause serious damage to their online reputation and businesses.
Either way, this ruling could impact online reputations and free speech for nearly everyone.
Recover Reputation is an online reputation management and repair firm. Steven W. Giovinco, owner, helps professionals and companies protect and promote their online reputation and builds their online brand. We protect your online name, control your business identity and provide the best—and true–image of your company online. You always work with founder Steven W. Giovinco, who offers a customized and effective approach to online reputation management, online reputation repair and online brand building. Call Steven at 347-421-7598 for a free evaluation and visit www.recoverreputation.com for additional information.