Threatened Lawsuit Against TripAdvisor Sounds More Like PR Campaign For 'Reputation Manager'

from the reading-between-the-lines dept

A bunch of folks have sent in variations on this story of the guy who runs an online “reputation management” company and is very publicly threatening to sue travel review site TripAdvisor under the legal theory of “group defamation.” No lawsuit has actually been filed, and any such lawsuit would be a total dead end and waste of time and money for the “reputation management” firm. That’s because TripAdvisor is a US company, and thus it is clearly protected from defamation lawsuits on the content written by its users by Section 230. And while this reputation management firm is in the UK, thanks to the US’s new libel tourism law, any judgment in the UK would be unenforceable.

In other words, the legal threats are completely bogus. Having read through the various articles covering it, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is really just a PR campaign for the “reputation management” company, who I won’t even bother to name, as it doesn’t deserve any additional press coverage for threatening such a useless lawsuit.

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Companies: tripadvisor

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Comments on “Threatened Lawsuit Against TripAdvisor Sounds More Like PR Campaign For 'Reputation Manager'”

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Bien and Robinson (user link) says:

This is why...

“TripAdvisor claims that they are not responsible for user generated content – but claims ownership of all posts.”

“TripAdvisor has singled out businesses and directly advised consumers not to trust them – even when the majority of their own posters recommend these businesses.”

“TripAdvisor overstates the level of trust that can be placed in an individual review on their site. They are thus directly seeking to influence consumer opinion.”

“TripAdvisor has failed to take appropriate action when offered evidence of falsehoods – thus removing their blanket disclaimer defense.”

I really don’t know that the companies have a basis to sue on the above claims. To a great degree–the magnanimity that comes with the internet tends to protect entities from comments that are made from external users. I don’t see this lawsuit actually happening. But it’s an interesting flip-side to see this–possibly–being used as a marketing tool.

Phil (profile) says:

Why TripAdvisor is at Fault

TA recently sent out an email to members with a list of hotels and some well-chosen stinky reviews (not all representative of the hotels in question) with the headline “Don’t go there. Hotel Horror Stories!?. It is this endorsement of the reviews and the recommendation by TA that people should not go to the hotels that has opened the way to a possible suit.

The KwikChex case against TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor has long taken a high-handed attitude when dealing with owners who have legitimate complaints. Here’s another current example:

TripAdvisor FINALLY comes clean over disappearing reviews.

It’s about time TripAdvisor were taken down a peg or two. Once they have been told that a review contains false information then they SHOULD take down the offending part or face the consequences – the law as it stands is loaded too heavily in the favour of hosting sites.

This may not come to court, by the way – as I understand it, KwikChex and the owners would rather they simply reform their ways and play fair when unfair – and especially fake – complaints are made against hotels etc.

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