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As more people share, will more companies sue?

June 3, 2010

A couple of years ago, a chiropractor sued a guy who wrote a negative comment on Yelp.

At the time, I opined that it didn’t seem like a smart business move. The chiropractor has people as customers, and suing them doesn’t seem to be a smart long term strategy. “I’ll fix you up, but I might sue you down the road.”

The reality is this: we’ve always bitched about bad experiences. Heck, my wife and I had a truly crappy experience with a contractor in our city. This is the kind of experience that would have been limited to the occasional party, or chat over the neighbor fence. But we both posted on Facebook, hitting approximately 500 or so people with a message about his shortcomings.

People have always been able to vent. They will always vent.

According to #18 of the rules of the internet, “Everything that can be labeled can be hated”, haters aren’t going away.

They will be out there. And there might even be an emerging trend where they get all satirical on brands.

SLAPP

From Wikipedia:

“A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.”

Suing is an option. But it’s a short-term solution. If people know what they are doing, they can ignore bad press, or simply respond with a polite thank you, knowing that all the people who love the brand will carry on going. It’s the people who don’t really know what they are doing who are so argumentative about what they do.

What do you think?

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