GOTCHA! POST A NEGATIVE REVIEW AND GET SUED!

 

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

A developing legal and ethical issue in emerging media is whether a business has the right to sue and win in court against a consumer who received what they believe was poor service or a bad product and posted a negative review.

Simply do a Google search with this or a similar phrase and many stories immediately pop up: “businesses sue over negative social media posts.”

“One consumer who was angry over what she thought was poor work on her home logged onto Yelp and posted negative reviews about the firm that did the work, including claims that some of her jewelry was missing.  The contractor filed a $750,000 Internet defamation lawsuit against the consumer saying the postings on Yelp and Angie’s list were false the court for a preliminary injunction to keep her from writing similar reviews.” (outsidethebeltway.com 2014)

“Lawyers say it is one of a growing number of defamation lawsuits over online reviews on sites such as yelp, Angie’s list and Trip-Advisor and over Internet postings in general. They say the freewheeling and acerbic world of web speech is colliding with the ever-growing importance of online reputations for businesses, doctors, restaurants, even teachers. No one keeps track of how many suits are filed over online reviews, and lawyers say the numbers are still small but are getting larger.” (outsidethebeltway.com 2014)

In another case, “Hotel Quebec sued a former guest for $95,000. The reason? The guest wrote a negative review on TripAdvisor exposing the bed bugs in his room and refused to remove the review.”

“Lawyers say such cases are a cautionary tale for a new era: those who feel targeted by defamation on the web are more likely to file suit, and judges and juries are more likely to take such claims seriously than in years past, raising the legal stakes over vitriolic reviews, nasty blog comments and Facebook feuds.” (outsidethebeltway.com 2014)

the following analysis is from (blankrome.com 2014)many dentists, wedding photographers, moving companies, locksmiths and online retailers have each tried to limit negative online customer reviews via nondisparagement clauses in their service agreements.”

Traditionally found in negotiated settlement or employee severance agreements, nondisparagement (or “no review”) clauses are now making their way into non-negotiated service contracts and the oft-ignored terms and conditions of online retailers. So the question becomes: are nondisparagement clauses the wave of the future, or simply the next battleground in the war for online consumer rights?

In its simplest form, a nondisparagement clause seeks to prevent a customer or receiver of goods or services from posting negative reviews about a service provider or vendor by outlining the financial repercussions for any violation.

The impetus behind companies inserting these clauses is the popularity of review sites like Yelp.com, ripoffreport.com, dine.com, tripadvisor.com and amazon.com—coupled with the increasing number of people turning to such sites in choosing which companies to do business with. Because a poor review can be financially devastating, businesses want to prevent clients from bad-mouthing them—even if the criticism is true.

Still, the first issue regarding any non-negotiable, nondisparagement clause is whether it is enforceable. According to University of California, Los Angeles constitutional law professor Eugene Volokh in a Wall Street Journal article titled, “you ruined my wedding—and you’re suing me?” the answer, not surprisingly, is: it depends.

As a general rule, items agreed to in a contract are enforceable. But the “gotcha factor” is critical, Volokh told the wall street journal. If a reasonable consumer would be very surprised by a clause in a vendor contract or a terms of service agreement, that provision may be deemed unenforceable. “you could see some of these [nondisparagement clauses] invalidated,” Volokh said. “this will be decided on a state-by-state level.”

Consumers should be careful when reading a non-negotiable service agreement, so as to be aware of any nondisparagement or similar clauses. This is especially true when dealing with an online retailer’s terms of service—which may be separate from the specific contractual provisions.

Businesses can also take steps to ensure their reputations are protected without impugning free speech. According to one commentator, a more defensible approach is to require a consumer to take their complaint to the company before posting anything online; in exchange, the consumer receives a coupon (or other item of value). This approach would not ban comments indefinitely.

But even setting aside the legal issues, public perception of companies using nondisparagement clauses may also be worth considering. Such clauses may send the message a company does not stand behind its work, or is overly concerned with bad press. While a few negative reviews may be the cost of doing business, the overall impact will be negated by more positive reviews.

As businesses continue to take concerted steps to protect their online reputations, and consumers continue to post online, this area of law is likely to develop. The introduction of pro-consumer legislation will only quicken the pace. But until then, the battle for online consumer rights carries on.(blankrome.com 2014)

 

Why NBC Blew It With the Olympics: What if we put Twitter on taped delay?

Social networks are a BUZZ all over America today because NBC is delaying the Olympic coverage. So why is that different that past Olympics? Social Media.

Today, we are receiving news and sports alerts about Olympic results, pictures and comments on Facebook and Twitter, and by the time the TV broadcasts come on, we already know what has happened. So where does this leave people engaged in social media? Not happy!

Social media has changed everything. The problem is that despite all of the great planning and coverage by NBC, they didn’t anticipate and fully understand the power of real-time social media. We now live in a world where we expect to see and hear what we want, now, live, and in real time. Social media is real time. Therefore we expect to see the Olympic coverage now, in real time, not taped delay as in years past.

It’s time for the broadcast and cable networks to “listen” and understand what social media is truly about. It’s about real time news, real time collaboration, real time community.

My gosh, can you imagine if we put Twitter on taped delay?

(c) Joseph Barnes, www.Digital3000.net

This IS The Future of Books!

This is a must read for several reasons:
1. This book is the new wave of publishing. You need to experience how books should be written.
2. There is good content in this book.
In Do or Die, Razorfish chairman Clark Kokich shares his prescription for more effective marketing: moving from just saying things to your audience to actually doing things people find entertaining, useful, and relevant and relevance is the key.
Do or Die, is the first full-length business book published as an iPad app.
You can read Do or Die, listen to it, and watch video interviews with industry leaders, while looking into 8 case studies from enlightened marketers such as Nike, Coors, Virgin America, VW and others. When Do or Die references a company’s Twitter feed, Facebook page, or website, you can see them live right on the page.

See the demo here.

Infographic: Twitter 2012!!

Infographic Labs is out with a new look at Twitter and the numbers are staggering!

Twitter 2012:

  • 175-million tweets a day!
  • 465-million accounts.
  • The top three users with the most followers: Lady GaGa (19.3-million), Justin Bieber (17.5-million), and Katy Perry (15.1-million)

Here’s the key—When asked, “What makes you retweet?”

  •  92% Interesting content.
  • 84% Personal Connection.
  • 66% Humor

Shocking But True: What The Food Network Uncovered!

I am shocked and dismayed as I sit here watching The Big Waste on The Food Network. And I guarantee you will be too.

“Did you know about 40% of the food produced in the United States is never eaten? For every American, 200 pounds of perfectly edible food ends up in the trash each year — that’s enough waste to fill a football stadium every single day, according to Food Network’s The Big Waste, a food-waste special.

Chefs Bobby Flay and Michael Symon were on one team and Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli on the other. They were given 48 hours to create a gourmet dinner using only food destined for trash. The teams went to various markets and shops to see what they could scrounge up. They were shocked at what they found.  The amount of food discarded by farms, grocery stores, bakeries, butchers, and other shops was completely shocking to see. America’s convenience stores, restaurants and supermarkets throw out about 27 million tons of food every year.

If The Big Waste comes on again I strongly recommend you watch this show. Is it about social media? Yes, because after the show aired Twitter and Facebook were filled with viewer reactions. Is it about the customer experience? Yes, because as a customer you will be shocked.

I applaud The Food Network for this kind of programming that breaks new ground and I challenge the network for follow-ups on this issue. 

The Most Powerful Thing You Can Do In Social Media and It’s Free!

What to make a big difference in social media and stand out from your competitors? 

Respond to every email question, every good and negative tweet, and every good and negative Facebook post within minutes or one hour. Think it’s impossible? Think again. If you don’t, every minute that goes by—especially for a negative post—the customer continues to be angry and continues to tell family and friends.

Don’t have enough staff? You do. There are plenty of businesses and organizations —- large ones —- that have one person handling social media. You just need someone who loves doing social media 24/7. 
Think of it this way: If you were a customer how would you like to be treated? How impressed would you be if you posted a negative comment and received a message from someone at the business asking how they could help? It’s happened to me and it immediately changed my opinion of the company. I applaud Home Depot. I had a big problem that was not solved initially at the store level, tweeted about it and within minutes received a direct tweet back from someone at Home Depot asking how they cold help. Within minutes the store manager was on the phone with me.

Research backs this up: According to research from Conversocial, social media users expect the connection will be two-way.
It’s all about the customer experience, online, in store, and especially with social media.

(c) Joseph Barnes http://www.Digital3000.net

Why Americans Use Social Media—New Report!

From PEW:

“Two-thirds of online adults (66%) use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or LinkedIn. These internet users say that connections with family members and friends (both new and old) are a primary consideration in their adoption of social media tools.

Roughly two thirds of social media users say that staying in touch with current friends and family members is a major reason they use these sites, while half say that connecting with old friends they’ve lost touch with is a major reason behind their use of these technologies.”

“Other factors play a much smaller role—14% of users say that connecting around a shared hobby or interest is a major reason they use social media, and 9% say that making new friends is equally important. Reading comments by public figures and finding potential romantic partners are cited as major factors by just 5% and 3% of social media users, respectively.”

Download the report here.

The True Power of Social Media!

For those of you you follow Erik Qualman, he has a book I highly recommend — “Socialnomics,” which I use in many of the social media marketing classes I teach. And he has produced some amazing videos. Here’s the latest that just goes to prove where people are talking!

The Power and Influence of Social Media!

As many of you know in addition to providing training conferences, workshops and consulting, I am also an educator at The University of Washington, Seattle University and City University of Seattle.

One of the books I use is Erik Qualman’s “Socialnomics.” Erik is bright and gives us plenty to think about in his books, and especially in his videos.

I urge you to buy the book and use this video to demonstrate to others why social media is so powerful. It IS how we communicate today.