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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: cease and desist, defamation, everyday finance, mlm, multi-level marketing, streisand effect
Companies: shop to earn

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Purely Conscious, 12 Aug 2008 @ 2:20pm

    Banned from Post

    Folks...Last week I posted on a Blog site posting info and rebuttal on this company, Shop to Earn. Having no this which way or not, for or against Shop to Earn specifically, I merely shared some insight about making choices. I considered my post harmless to either party, just merely stated how people's choice to make decisions, (just as the host's claims defending free speech) is EXACTLY that! Being 'informed' is definitely beneficial, but not ALWAYS from those who have not had the life experience.

    Words don't teach, life experience does. However, I also can 'accept' someone else's 'opinion' without having to agree or berate someone else. My choices are my choices and just because it either didn't work for someone else, or someone else even had a bad experience, you know what to look for and they educated you further. But the choice remains your own. (If you can effectively think independently)

    I've witnessed comebacks on behalf of the Blog hosts display nothing but crude and prejudicial remarks on whether the poster spells 'correctly' or 'guestimates' their level of education, which to me, amplifies the prejudicial exclusion of more than half the human race. Not being great at typing is hardly a reason for crucifixion. (did I spell that right?)

    In any event, without going off topic... Yes blog hosts can choose which information is appearing on their site, which to me indicates a 'scam ' in itself, as they are refusing the one thing they indeed clarify their reason for their words justified. (Free Speech) As far as this attorney goes, he did simply what is recommended to do to simply interrupt unwanted behavior. You must put it in writing, and that, he did. And according to our US government, it is legal and binding proof of communication. An actual threat? Hardly. Simply documentation of conversation.

    Simply stated, when this blog host deleted my post and posts on questions why it was deleted, they essentially exercised the same thing. If a blog is supposed to 'inform' people, it should present both sides and not be prejudice to the other. Can this be an ego issue?.

    Those that wish to participate in blogs where the host's purpose and mission is to 'inform', they should stick to the facts. Those that throw knives and cut things up without ever having had the 'taste test', can rarely have credibility with what they are talking about. There are many blogs out there that serve different purposes...this one clearly does not offer the chance for 'everyone's' comments, other than the host themselves. It should simply state: "Comments from those I choose"

    For those that are my post that was deleted. And make up your own minds. (fancy that!) Either way, I appreciate criticisms as well as agreement. There is inherent value in both. If not, that's ok too...I won't lose any sleep over it. My intentions get out there everyday without the help of others.

    Perception is everything...but don't take my word for it.

    MY POST:

    >Hi there...

    I came upon your site because I Googled shoptoearn to find a friend's STE site. I think it was the word 'sucks' in the title of this blog that caught my attention. Quite good psychological advertising on the part of the blog host! Naturally, as most, we are conditioned to fix on the negative.
    So I'd just like to share some insight. There are a lot of opinions and perspectives here, both for and against STE and MLMs in general. I don't judge either way. Such as the world turns. Without the duality and diversity, we would cease to be. Its just the way contrast serves us all.

    Without the negative, there could be no birth of the positive. But what I have experienced in reading these posts and being an 'informed' Universal Law Expert, (goes beyond MLMs I'm afraid, but inclusive), is that some people here are attracting exactly what they are focused on. If you look for the negative in something, you will no doubt find it. Same goes for the positive.

    And whatever direction you are focused, expands. That's why I find sites like these and statistics so amusing, yet useful. You get exactly what you are looking for. If you think about it, typical decision making is taking pros and cons, weighing them out and hopefully, choosing the right direction. Trouble is, most of us spend our time still focused on the negative, even when we find something positive. We start to scrutinize every little detail until we've lost the bigger picture.

    Our biggest detriment to ourselves is how we most often rely on the opinions of others, taking away from our own natural guidance. The most important part is that it should come from yourself, not a consensus of what everyone thinks. So many of us live our lives thinking we have to live up to some set of rules or standards outside ourselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have an internal guidance system of our own that can steer our own direction, if we only listened to it.

    So much time spent looking for more validation for each cause. So much judgment thrashing about. If we could just take a moment, take a breath and realize the energy expended on being righteous, wanting to be right, reacting, judging and defending could be far more useful if we'd just pay attention to where we want to go. If you just followed your own voice, you'd all be much happier in your experiences. Realize that there is tremendous value in diversity, but another's point of view is irrelevant if you focus in the direction you, yourself want to go.

    Some think it is their duty to warn people of the dangers and all the things that could go wrong. (Much like our western medicine, mass media, education, politics, etc.), and their intentions can be well meaning and in some cases it serves us well. But to remain there is in one's own insecurity that fosters the negativity, while they try to get others to join them. But what they don't realize is that in focusing in all that negativity, they'll remain there.

    Some seem like they have thumbs down, then turn them up and down again because a negative thought has infiltrated them from something they heard from somewhere else., but still look for validation because they find it difficult to listen and trust themselves to do anything without some outside validation. Give me a reason this, give me a reason that....until eventually, they talk themselves out of something they truly wanted or wanted to experience. Yes, it is all part of the learning process. But words and opinions don't teach. Its life experience that teaches. And each life is free to choose its direction.

    Others move ahead and find all the positives they can reach for, despite the seeming obstacles that lay in front of them. Who is more powerful? The ones that feel good while doing what they do. Because nothing matters more than the way they feel.

    I have been in several MLMs over the past 30 years; each of them held tremendous value for me and others. Both the good and the bad. No one could judge those experiences other than ourselves having lived through them. I appreciate every step I took and every fall I had. The positives far outweighed the negatives just in the experiences I lived...and sometimes I made decent money, other times not. But I received far more than that, I learned a lot, enjoyed my life and was surrounded by people that enjoyed theirs.

    So, If you choose to join an MLM or join a corporate structure, do so because you are aligned with what makes you feel good. If others think what you do is not a good thing, it is their problem, not yours. You were not born to serve them, nor them to serve you. If something doesn't feel right to you, make sure it is you that is feeling it, and not someone else that put it there.

    Each of us has an inherent gifted talent and it is up to no one but each of us to decide to use it. No one is holding you accountable for using it or not . You're inner being won't join you in one negative thought, what makes you think that you were put here to prove anything to anyone?

    Nothing stays the same forever, so live your lives the way you intend. Jump in with both feet and enjoy the ride, if you so wish to live your lives to the fullest, OR stay stagnant in the negativity that will bring you down each and every time. Its Universal Law.

    And for you positive folks out there...this site serves its purpose and is valuable. Negativity can only make you stronger in your positivity because the minute you touch it, you've created a stronger, better reason to breed more positivity. And it will serve you to breed more and live it.

    Tracy - if you love what you do, continue...there will always be an audience you are serving and attracting for wherever people choose to be. Everyone else, realize no one can deter you from where you are determined to go. Prosperity has many different meanings for many different people. But there is more than enough to go around for everyone.

    In closing, I want to say I appreciated reading these posts and have expanded as a human being just by being here in the moment with you folks.

    Thank you each and every one of you.

    P.S. I wanted to check out STE for my cousin who has had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 5. He is now 32 and nearly crippled. But he is looking for an opportunity to help them focus on their strengths and talents to be the best they can be, and to excel and live prosperous lives. He loves talking to people and using the computer. He's on the right track and suffers not. But like each one of us, he wants to make a difference. One known benefit about STE; They will not judge him based on his condition or seeming limitations. I would never tell him STE wasn't the way to go. He is focused on what he wants, he will look for alignment there, find it, or not. But I assure you, he will make up his own mind. That's the best gift anyone could have given me.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.