Trying To Sue Someone Who Criticizes You Isn't The Best Way To Boost Your Reputation

from the apparently-the-streisand-effect-isn't-known-in-the-michigan-vc-community dept

And here we go again. Less than a year after a venture capital firm tried to sue the VC ratings site, TheFunded.com, another VC firm, EDF Ventures in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has sent a subpoena to the site to try to identify a critical commenter.

This is, of course, the exact wrong response.

First off, TheFunded doesn't keep records of who its anonymous commenters are, so the subpoena won't help much. But, much more importantly, in filing the subpoena, EDF has now broadcast to the world this anonymous review on TheFunded.com:
Worked with these people on several deals and they are to be avoided unless you are desparate. Beaus Laskey, the only honest straightforward person in the bunch, has left the firm.
That's pretty clearly the opinion of one anonymous commenter, and most readers of TheFunded.com would take it as such -- an anonymous ranting from someone who had a bad experience. Look at the listings on TheFunded.com and you'll see that almost every VC firm has a few such comments from an angry entrepreneur. People looking over the site understand that and take that into account. It's hard to see what's actually libelous about the statement, as it's pretty clearly just this guy's opinion.

But, of course, beyond drawing a LOT more attention to this one silly angry post than it ever would have received otherwise, EDF has also shown the world how it handles a little bit of criticism. If entrepreneurs didn't have a reason to avoid the firm before (even after reading the reviews on TheFunded.com), I'd imagined this thin-skinned guaranteed-to-backfire response that shows little understanding of how to respond to internet criticism will probably convince many other entrepreneurs to stay away. Which, of course, is exactly the opposite of what the firm probably wants.

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  1. identicon
    Franssu, 15 Aug 2008 @ 7:44am

    "Which, of course, is exactly the opposite of what the firm probably wants. "

    How do you know that for sure ? Firing in one's foot, pissing off just everyone and committing ritual suicide seems to be the new trend in business models these days.

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