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Thread: Bad Online Reviews

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    Bad Online Reviews

    Does anyone know what duty of care an online forum host has to ensure that negative reviews (that will be damaging to a business) are real and not made up maliciously to drive customers to another similar business? Plus if they are alerted to possible fraudulent postings what are they obliged to do by law?
    Cheers Laura

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    Diamond Member HR Solutions's Avatar
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    Yes online bad reviews are not good for a business, but how can you stop it. Hellopeter is another site where you can place a false report about someone and there is not much you can do about it if you are not a registered paying member of their site. Havent really had this problem here on this site.
    Your best bet is to offer a good service to prevent this happening from any unhappy clients, don't mess with the competition and they wont mess with you. At least if a person does say something bad about you on a site like this you have the opportunity to defend yourself.
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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    I heard Peter from Hellopeter on the radio, the other day. He said there is a comment box below the comments now and you can use that to put your side of the complaint if your business doesn't join Hellopeter. I just checked and it is there.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    AndyD (18-Sep-13), Vanash Naick (18-Sep-13)

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    Diamond Member HR Solutions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanF View Post
    I heard Peter from Hellopeter on the radio, the other day. He said there is a comment box below the comments now and you can use that to put your side of the complaint if your business doesn't join Hellopeter. I just checked and it is there.
    Oh that is good to hear, because in the past it has been unfair. You could post a really BS story about someone and you had no recourse whatsoever.
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    What about positive reviews, shouldn't they then also be vetted for legitimacy. Nothing stops the owner of a business gstting all his budddies to post glowing reviews....like most things in life this sword cuts both ways...
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I think in the case of a forum where you have the right to freely reply I would deal with bad publicity on a case by case basis and engage directly with the complainant. Follow the link in my signature for a textbook case of how not to address an internet complaint

    In the case of Helicopter (damn you spellchecker) it would eventually get to the point where the bad publicity without any right to free reply would eventually shoot itself in the foot because you type in the name of just about any medium-large business and there's millions of complaints. You then type in a competitors name and there's also millions of complaints....so what's the value?
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    Don’t discriminate or make public statements that will anger people potential customers or victimise groups. This is a sure fire way to get bad reviews and you may end up getting a lot of “bad” attention. Rather consider your stand point, be crystal clear of your intention so that people are aware of your intentions.
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    What's wrong with bad reviews, if a company is crap then it is crap and you are free to say so in public.

    Here is my review of the new over the top, programmer's wet dream First National Bank ATMs - THEY ARE BEYONG $H1T. I complained bitterly to the staff at the bank and they agreed that some functionality got lost in translation. I wrote to FNB and told them exactly why their new machines are ultra $h1t. Their ATM main banana phoned me and I explained to him why I think the machines are $h1t.

    So here is my totally discriminatory public statement and I don't give rats a$$ whether FNB gets annoyed by my view: FNB - YOUR NEW ATMS SUCK AND SHOULD BE BANISHED TO THE BIG SCRAPYARD OF BAD DESIGN!
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacks in Betty's Bay View Post
    Does anyone know what duty of care an online forum host has to ensure that negative reviews (that will be damaging to a business) are real and not made up maliciously to drive customers to another similar business?
    In terms of the ECA, my understanding is we are obliged to record the IP address from which the post was made and that's about it (researched it quite carefully some years ago). If that sounds crazy, bear in mind it's the poster that is the publisher - the host is just... the host.

    Plus if they are alerted to possible fraudulent postings what are they obliged to do by law?
    The short answer is there is no legal obligation to investigate an allegation and make a determination. (The emphasised words are critical to this interpretation).

    There is a pretty common practice of considering "content take-down requests" though.
    If the complainant submits a well argued case with irrefutable supporting evidence, and the right to reply wouldn't adequately balance the content for some reason, it's possible the content might be taken down voluntarily.

    The legal option would be to obtain a court order - which is far easier said than done, I'm afraid.

    Some related reading:
    Years ago I was critical of the HelloPeter model - good to see he has finally made a change.

    Defamation, naming and shaming, bad boy lists on websites - page 1 sets the scene, the meat is on page 2.

    As indicated in previous posts, probably the best strategy in nearly all instances is to get good at using your right to reply. You could even turn a PR nightmare into a coup.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.
    There you go... problem solved. The reality is that FNB is not that bad when you look at banks because ABSA is beyond help... MTN is the worst provider ever and the biggest mistake I ever made. Android sucks because there language support is limited and you can’t close an application without another application. Seriously how do you write software without a log out or close button? Because they want to remove your ability to close their applications!!! But that is just me... so Considering you are not me and I am not you my findings may well be fictional and yours the real deal.
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

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