Multi-Level Marketing Company Threatens Blogger Who Writes Critical Post

from the just-because-you-don't-like-it,-doesn't-mean-it's-illegal dept

Over and over and over again, we hear stories of companies that simply dislike what others are saying about them online, and send over threatening legal letters with no legal basis. These cease-and-desist letters are mostly designed to scare users into giving in, because there's no law against someone criticizing you or saying something bad about you (assuming it's not untrue). The latest, sent in by Davis Freeberg involves the Everyday Finance blog. The blogger there was approached by a company called "Shop to Earn," which offers a multi-level marketing (MLM) system. The blogger wrote a post about it, which Davis Freeberg describes as "well balanced," though the blogger explained the weaknesses of the system and why he chose not to participate.

So what happens? Yes, of course, Shop to Earn got upset and sent Everyday Finance a legal nasty-gram demanding the posts get taken down. As Everyday Finance notes, it's likely this had something to do with the fact that the posts had made it up the Google search results list. The blogger at Everyday Finance tried to adjust the post, taking out things like the phrase "fatal flaw," but Shop to Earn said that wasn't good enough and Everyday Finance needed to take down the entire site. This is, quite clearly, bullying through cease-and-desist. It's about trying to shut up a negative review of their business model because they didn't like what it said.

And, it appears that Shop to Earn isn't just focused on the blogger at Everyday Finance. The company has also sent cease-and-desist letters to other blogs, which were also extremely critical of Shop to Earn's program (though, that link is also quite well-balanced, pointing out the key flaws to Shop to Earn's program). Apparently, Shop to Earn seems to think that any review of its program that is negative is somehow libelous, and will threaten bloggers with legal action. What it may quickly learn is that (a) someone giving you a negative review and pointing out the obvious flaws of your program is not defamation and (b) trying to threaten bloggers into taking down their site will simply call much more attention to all of those negative reviews.
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Filed Under: cease and desist, defamation, everyday finance, mlm, multi-level marketing, streisand effect
Companies: shop to earn

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2008 @ 12:05pm

    Re: MLM being legal

    There are (or at least used to be) a few legitimate MLM schemes--where most of the income comes from actual sales to customers, and the compensation for recruiting people to work under you is relatively incidental. Those are legal. It's when most of a participant's income comes from recruiting other suckers that it turns into an illegal pyramid scheme.

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