Pissed Consumer Exposes New York Luxury Car Dealer's Use Of Bogus Notarized Letters To Remove Critical Reviews [UPDATE]

from the brand-management-yo dept

UPDATE: I spoke to former employee of Luxsport who claims Stephanie Lynch's notary stamp was stolen by Lance Ludkin, the founder of LuxSport. This theft was reported to local law enforcement but Stephanie and this employee were told there was really nothing they could do about it. I am seeking more confirmation on this and other details about Ludkin's self-styled reputation management efforts and will be providing another update once I have more information in hand.

Pissed Consumer has uncovered more fraudulent behavior by companies hoping to scrub critical reviews from its site. The site first uncovered the use of bogus court orders to delist content -- something Eugene Volokh and Paul Levy have turned into a small-time crusade. These fraudulent court documents resulted in some genuine legal action. Questionable reputation management firms are now facing lawsuits from Pissed Consumer and the attorney general of Texas.

The latest twist in reputation management also includes forged legal documents. The stakes are a bit lower because no one's directly defrauding a court or forging a judge's signature. But the underlying tactic is still comparable: the misuse of fake legal documents to remove criticism from the internet.

Every once in a while, people would post a review or a comment here and there about Luxsport Motor Group. From time to time we received notarized letters from the posters who wanted to remove their reviews posted by mistake. Nothing suspicious. Until fraud was discovered.

Fraud involving notarized letters is the subject of this article.

[...]

As stated above, we accepted several notarized letters from the authors of the reviews about Luxsport Motor Group. They looked legitimate at a first glance as they were handled separately at different times and by different managers of our company.

In order to remove a review, the reviewer has to send a notarized letter retracting the review -- one containing a sworn statement the review was inaccurate when it was posted. This helps prevent companies from impersonating users in order to remove their criticism.

By spacing out these bogus letters, Luxsport went undetected for awhile, slowly cleaning up its review history at Pissed Consumer. But things changed last March. Another notarized letter arrived but was missing some of the required statements. Pissed Consumer spoke to the person who had written the review they now wanted removed… only to find out this person hadn't sent a notarized letter.

This happened again in October. Another review was removed with a notarized letter. Shortly thereafter, Pissed Consumer was contacted by the reviewer wondering why their review had been removed. The site dug into the stack of notarized letters it had received targeting negative reviews of Luxsport and discovered a whole mess of suspicious oddities:

4 notarized letters according to which we removed the reviews about Luxsport Motor Group were notarized by one and the same notary public from New York – Stephanie Chrysten Lynch

coincidentally, Luxsport Motor Group is headquartered in New York

interestingly, the posters whose letters were notarized by the same New York notary public, Stephanie Chrysten Lynch, posted their reviews not just from different parts of the US but from different continents

when we checked correspondence we received from, allegedly, the authors of the above-mentioned 4 notarized letters – it turns out that it was their 2nd notarized letter that was accepted in 3 cases; we did not accept the initial notarized letters and wrote them about it, they did not respond and then some time later the second “good” notarized letter came in.

Pissed Consumer confronted Luxsport about the suspicious letters and was treated to a lot of blustery bullshit suggesting the company was completely offended by the mere insinuation it might have engaged in questionable behavior. It claimed Pissed Consumer was trying to damage its brand and destroy its business with these claims. But in all of its defensive statements, it never sounded confused or baffled by the accusations, suggesting it wasn't completely surprised to be hearing about its sketchy reputation management efforts. It may very well be that a representative of Luxsport didn't craft these letters or have them notarized, but it's not unimaginable it's hired a terrible rep management firm to do whatever it takes to clean up its internet presence.

Bogus reputation management efforts rarely pay off. Luxsport only managed to temporarily shore up its questionable reputation before being found out. All of the reviews it wanted gone have been reinstated and Pissed Consumer's blog post has drawn more eyes to its shady behind-the-scenes behavior. The Streisand Effect is nearly 15 years old, but there are entities still discovering the term's definition -- and consequences -- in the year of our lord two thousand nineteen.

Filed Under: bogus letters, critical reviews, notarized letters, reputation management, reviews, takedowns
Companies: luxsport motor group, pissed consumer


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 3:47am

    If that is a real notary, she is gonna have a REALLY bad day shortly.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 4:43am

      Re: Irrelevant

      If nothing. She either is a real notary in which case she broke the laws of her profession or she isn't a real notary and she impersonated one. Either way she is about to have a bad day.

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      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 4:54am

        Re: Re: Irrelevant

        One does wonder if she works for the car dealer...
        Imagine having your book pulled & all the things you notarized reviewed or invalidated.

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      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 5:24am

        Re: Re: Irrelevant

        There is a real notary with this name in New York County, but there aren't any other details in the entry.
        Her commission expires 2021, the term of a notary is 4 years.

        I found all sorts of other things but I can't draw connections to the person so it stays in my head for now.

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 7:10am

        Re: Re: Irrelevant

        Either way she is about to have a bad day.

        How bad? Like, on a scale of 1 to Nuremburg, much trouble is she in?

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        • identicon
          Michael, 28 Feb 2019 @ 9:06am

          Re: Re: Re: Irrelevant

          If it is a real notary, they can be held personally liable for any losses (which seem to be zero here).
          They dealership could be found guilty of criminal fraud (assuming they paid the notary to lie), but I don't see anyone actually prosecuting.

          If they are not a notary, the person who faked the stamp could be found guilty of fraud (again, unlikely to actually be prosecuted).
          The dealership in this case could be found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud - which I think would create personal liability for anyone directly involved.

          So, I think the "bad day" is about a "have to wipe egg off of face" kind of bad day.

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          • icon
            Bamboo Harvester (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 9:32am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Irrelevant

            Misdemeanor with a maximum ... I think it's $150, might be $1500 Fine per count, as there's no Real Property involved.

            In this particular case, Conspiracy charges shouldn't be difficult to prove, and the Notary, her boss, and anyone he fingers will end up with prison time.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 6:54am

      Re:

      ... and if she isn't a real person, she'll still have a bad day, but with a script that's been edited before being sent to the publisher.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 4 Mar 2019 @ 2:52am

      Re: if this is a real notary

      claims Stephanie Lynch's notary stamp was stolen by Lance Ludkin, the founder of LuxSport

      From the article, I think we can presume that it is a real notary. Since she reported the theft of her notary stamp to law enforcement, it is at least possible that her notary stamp was stolen.

      Bad day probably belongs to one Lance Ludkin, who is mentioned in the article as having stolen the notary stamp.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 4 Mar 2019 @ 9:22am

      Re:

      The story has been updated with a claim that her notary stamp was stolen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    someone, 28 Feb 2019 @ 5:25am

    Bad Day

    If the bogus letters were sent in the US mail, they have now committed mail fraud. Call the postal inspector.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 6:40am

    In a world with Section 230, a "reputation history" is nothing more than a "gossip history." Anyone can put up a false or malicious review, and not every business can sue everyone who might be out to harm it so easily. Sometimes these sites are used as weapons in reputation-blackmail schemes where the mere threat of such a malicious review is sufficient to get someone to cough up money.

    All a negative review usually means is that someone doesn't like the target company. Section 230 ensures that the website isn't liable for lies, which means one cannot really rely on what they read.

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    • identicon
      TFG, 28 Feb 2019 @ 6:42am

      Re:

      Cool story, bruh.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 6:42am

      Re:

      And that justifies fraud how?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2019 @ 10:03am

        Re: Re:

        https://www.dictionary.com/browse/fraud#
        Dictionary.com (above) gives us the deets of fraud.

        "
        1 deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.

        2a particular instance of such deceit or trickery:
        mail fraud; election frauds.

        3any deception, trickery, or humbug:
        That diet book is a fraud and a waste of time.

        4a person who makes deceitful pretenses; sham; poseur
        "

        Someone, Say Billy @ Car dealership/rep. company claimed to be P.C. poster, say Eugene in Albany. Billy ascerted to the notary that they were in fact Eugene (deceitful for personal reputational gain) and the notary then certified that billy was in fact Eugene.

        That falsification of identity for the gain of the companys reputation by itself amounts to fraud. Added to the falsification of the claim of an incorrect post amounts to an additional fradulent claim.

        The notary could lose their license/ability and will be added to state lists of persons ineledgible for this task on top of the fines per incident. They'd then need to work on their own personal reputation.

        The certification of multiple claims by Billy and others at the dealership or at the PR management company shows the conspiracy easily enough.

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    • icon
      blademan9999 (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 6:53am

      Re:

      Tell me this, how exactly is a review webstie supposed to determine whether or not a review is true or whether it is defamatory?
      If review websites were liable for the false reveiws given by reviewers, then those website would not be able to exist.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 6:56am

        Re: Re:

        That's the point: If the website can't be sure what's true, neither can the readers. That's the point. Online reviews are inherently worthless, more often than not posted by someone with a hidden agenda or an axe to grind.

        There is no accountability for the speech, and no guarantee of its accuracy. "Sue the original publisher" doesn't work when the vitriol is spread throughout the globe or the posters are judgment-proof.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          TFG, 28 Feb 2019 @ 7:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Online reviews are inherently worthless, more often than not posted by someone with a hidden agenda or an axe to grind.

          Gonna need some evidence of this assertion that the majority of reviews are fraudulent as opposed to an accounting of a true experience.

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          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 7:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            For those with an IQ below 60, who need it spelled out, Section 230 makes this self-evident, as do the number of fake-review scandals.

            Unaccountability is evidence of unreliability, though some might pretend it's not (no need for logic anymore to these folks).

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 7:41am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You seem to have a problem with logic. Mostly with what the word "implication" means.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 7:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Interestingly, the fake review scandals have almost all been about the review target companies trying to game the system, not about the reviewers lying. This would seem to utterly deflate your argument. Perhaps if your IQ was high enough you'd recognize this yourself.

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            • identicon
              TFG, 28 Feb 2019 @ 7:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              For those with an IQ below 60, re-asserting the original assertion is not evidence, and is not convincing.

              If you would like me to take you seriously, please provide some evidence. Otherwise, enjoy your liar label.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 11:20am

                Re: Worse that peanut butter covered shrimp

                Hey that’s mean. We all know Jhon boy goes into anaphylactic shock at the mere mention of the word evidence, he’s that allergic.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Thad (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 8:32am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "People who boast about their IQ are losers."
              - Stephen Hawking

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 12:03pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "People who name drop are insecure."
                -Me.

                Also:
                "An IQ number indicates how well you perform on IQ tests compared to the average person; nothing more"
                -Me.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              John Roddy (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 5:05pm

              For those with an IQ below 60, who need it spelled out, Section 230 makes this self-evident, as do the number of fake-review scandals.

              Even "those with an IQ below 60" could tell that your claims are complete BS.

              Unaccountability is evidence of unreliability, though some might pretend it's not (no need for logic anymore to these folks).

              So, how long have you hated the first amendment? Every single thing you are complaining about it 100% a 1A issue. Section 230 just makes sure it stays a 1A issue.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Michael, 28 Feb 2019 @ 7:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That's a bunch of crap.

          Companies that care about customers manage bad reviews very well in most cases. Responding to the reviewer and addressing their problems quite often gets reviews changed. Posting more information relating to a review can help others understand a situation in which a reviewer is being untruthful or misleading.

          If a few reviews out of hundreds are bad, people take that into account. If few reviews out of hundreds are good, people take that into account.

          Anonymous reviews are worth far more than any kind of endorsement these days. Companies that understand customer service and good products get this. Car dealers that have been scamming people for years don't.

          A dealership that faked notarized letters is going to cheat you. A dealership that hired a firm to fix their online reputation and didn't immediately call them out and fire them for this kind of behavior is going to cheat you. A dealership that does not address it's reputation problems by contacting unhappy customers and trying to make things right is going to cheat you.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 8:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            There is no accountability for fake or malicious reviews. Section 230 immunizes the platform, who says it cannot determine the truth or falsity of reviews. If it can't, neither can anyone else. False-advertising and defamation laws are safeguards which make speech much more credible.

            Now we have decisions that leave up defamatory content on third-party sites that can't be taken down even with a court order.

            The review may or may not be accurate, but there is no punishment for lying, and a lot of known motivations for lying (competitor, disgruntled employee/customer, etc.). Someone who ignores this or claims to put stock in online reviews is essentially just declaring themselves gullible.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              TFG, 28 Feb 2019 @ 8:33am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Once again for the slow class - restating the original assertion is not evidence.

              I'm going to need some evidence of the assertion that most reviews are lies.

              Please note that I have no issue with the idea that reviews can be false. I want support for the idea that the majority are false.

              And again for the slow class - restating the original assertion is not evidence.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Michael, 28 Feb 2019 @ 9:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "There is no accountability for fake or malicious reviews."

              I completely agree. However, the is reasonable redress - which is to respond to a review and get happy customers to write good (and honest) reviews.

              Why do malicious reviewers need to be held accountable? If they are, would you agree that fake or paid "good" reviews should suffer the same penalties?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              OA (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 11:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              There is no accountability for fake or malicious reviews.

              "Malicious reviews" implies a judgment or an assessment. This commentary reads like a made up presumption that is then generalized. Is "accountability" only for reviewers and the platform? What about accountability of the business? Is accountability only of the legal type?...

              Section 230 immunizes the platform, who says it cannot determine the truth or falsity of reviews. If it can't, neither can anyone else.

              Nice fake logic. Subtle.

              1. Pissed Customer provides a platform that allows people to learn from other people's experiences with a business.
              2. If a user behaves badly Section 230 prevents an opportunistic business from attacking Pissed Customer because the site, otherwise, hosts an effective and badly needed counter to poor business practices (for instance).
              3. Without Section 230, a business could, for example, anonymously post a defamatory comment and then bring down the platform for unknowingly hosting it.

              False-advertising and defamation laws are safeguards which make speech much more credible.

              Nice psuedo-reasoning!
              The dominate attribute for speech is being FREE. Being "credible" is a judgment. An irrelevant judgment. A freedom does not require pre-approval. "False-advertising" in not applicable to this situation. "Defamation" is an accusation not self-evident.

              Now we have decisions that leave up defamatory content on third-party sites that can't be taken down even with a court order.

              On a roll!
              Being "defamatory" is a legal issue that a court decides on. This whole comment keeps using "defamatory" as a self-evident starting point. According to the article content can't be taken down with a fake court order.

              ...there is no punishment for lying,

              Is "punishment" (whatever that means) the default response? Who claims a statement is a lie? How much lying matters? Can the business be the liar who is "punished"? Is an inaccurate statement a lie?... A vague 'bogeyman' is not good enough, here. Be more specific or this statement is just a lie.

              ...and a lot of known motivations for lying (competitor, disgruntled employee/customer, etc.).

              And? I, too, can imagine all sorts of scenarios. Ooooh! What about aliens!...

              Someone who ignores this or claims to put stock in online reviews is essentially just declaring themselves gullible.

              Textbook FUD (fear - uncertainty - doubt). A biased stranger's imagination should override all the good and utility in online reviews... and free speech.

              [Note the similar logic used in "law and order" zealotry]

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 5:39pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Without Section 230, a business could, for example, anonymously post a defamatory comment and then bring down the platform for unknowingly hosting it.

                Now look what you've done, you've done gone and revealed John Smith's master plan!

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Toom1275 (profile), 1 Mar 2019 @ 5:19pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                If Jhon is as honest about those his reviews as he is about Techdirt comments, then all of those "defamatory" reviews about him must be 100% true and accurate, which would then be the real obstacle to getting them removed, not 230.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 11:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You are totes right. But hopefully very soon the notery and co-conspirators will be caught and brought to justice... oh that’s not what you ment... how awkward.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 7:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Corporally to you points, a business where the majority of reviews are negative, and which is trying to remove the reviews from public view is trying to hide how bad their business practices or products are.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          MathFox, 28 Feb 2019 @ 7:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If the website can't be sure what's true, neither can the readers. That's the point. Online reviews are inherently worthless,

          A large part of online reviews conveys more information about the poster than about the product or service. Like people downvoting a restaurant because they had to hang their coats themselves. Those are to be largely ignored.

          Where people take the time to write a motivation there is value in their review; knowing the stronger and weaker aspects of a product helps making a choice. It also is useful to be warned about a vendor with a history of handling complaints badly.

          My conclusion is that there is some value in online reviews, but that is only when you read them with a critical eye.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Eldakka (profile), 1 Mar 2019 @ 4:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Online reviews are inherently worthless,

          So worthless that businesses and companies get so desperate to get them removed that they hire reputation management firms who impersonate judges and commit mail fraud and get Notaries to break the law to get them taken down?

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    • identicon
      Agammamon, 28 Feb 2019 @ 11:33am

      Re:

      This is basically a review of reviews - which says that reviews are always just people who have a personal grudge against a company so their reviews can't be trusted.

      So your review of reviews can't be trusted OP.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 6:44am

    So bad reviews from four different continents mean a business which is targeted must file suit in those continents to get the reviews removed.

    Of course, the best way to test these sites' removal policies would be to post negative, but true, reviews of various lawyers, say those who have social-media histories they want buried due to how horrible it would make the lawyers look, but which can be pointed out on a site like this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 6:45am

      Re:

      So Smith - you are saying that all user generated content should be blocked by default? You really hate free speech.

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      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 6:57am

        Re: Re:

        I see I struck the non-Sequitur nerve in someone.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Gary (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 8:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well it does seem that Smith at least is saying that:
          User-generated content may be defamatory.
          It's hard to remove user generated content. (Because: 230)
          Therefore, it should be easier to remove user-content.
          So easy that anyone should be able to do it with a stern letter.
          Failure for the intermediary (Google, TD, Facebook, any blog) to respond should be punished by force of government regulation. Harshly.

          End result - User reviews, user comments, user created content would need to be blocked be default and reviewed before it can hit the web.

          If I'm missing something, feel free to explain. And by explain, I don't want to hear about how hard it is to chase people down on 4 continents as they blackmail someone with bad reviews. That is your problem, not a solution.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 9:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            End result - User reviews, user comments, user created content would need to be blocked be default and reviewed before it can hit the web.

            If I'm missing something, feel free to explain.

            Ok. 24,000 hours of video are uploaded to YT every hour. That's almost 66 years of video each and every day. It would require over 100,000 people to review all of that content without falling behind, watching video non-stop for 8 hours per day (accounting for vacation time and weekends).

            Assuming a wage of $15/hour and no benefits that's a cost to Google of $3.15B annually, just to review all of that content. And we all know there would be employee benefits which drive that cost up significantly.

            And that's just the video content; It doesn't include user comments of which there are millions posted every day.

            Section 230 exists because without it there would be no user-generated content posted to the web, ever, due to the insurmountable costs. There would be no youtube, no facebook, no twitter, not even this comments section on this site where you post your shortsighted comments. No non-self-hosted blogs, no reddit, no pintrest, no photo hosting, only corporate sites and advertising. Is that the net you want?

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            • identicon
              TFG, 28 Feb 2019 @ 9:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Just as a clarification, Gary was responding the AC who dislikes Section 230, and restating what Gary understood to be that AC's position.

              Gary's prior comments indicate Gary comes down in favor of Section 230.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 1:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Once again, all I was saying is that Section 230 eliminates any reliability in what we read, since there is no penalty for lying.

              This makes online reviews and online advertising literally worthless.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 2:59pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                So they're worth the same as they are offline. Got it.

                Still don't see the problem.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 3:51pm

                Re: Dig up stupid!

                You might want to break that news to google, who made literally 116 Billion dollars from online advertising last year alone.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 4:56pm

                  Re: Re: Dig up stupid!

                  That doesn't mean that the ads were worth $116 billion to those who placed them, plus this money is diverted from content creators, except of course the portion created by blogs and YT videos that google also monetizes.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 8:28pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Dig up stupid!

                    “That doesn't mean that the ads were worth $116 billion to those who placed them”

                    Yes actually it was. That’s what they paid for them. Therefore that’s exactly what they are worth.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Rocky, 1 Mar 2019 @ 3:27am

                    Re: Re: Re: Dig up stupid!

                    Please explain the economics of the "diverted" money.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 7:19am

      Re:

      Or ... one could simply post a rebuttal - but that does not address your pet peeve now does it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 7:55am

        Re: Re:

        I love the rebuttals. You can predict what they're going to say before you read them.

        We're sorry you had that experience. Here at Crapco we strive to make every customer's experience pleasant and enjoyable. We will consider your comments and take any necessary action to prevent such an occurrence in the future.

        Blah, blah, blah...

        The rubber-stamp rebuttals only validate the original complaint imo.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 8:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Defamation law does not require people to engage liars.

          Section 230 eliminates any penalty to the website for publishing lies. The sites say they can't determine the truth of the postings. Because they are not vetted, the reviews amount to little more than gossip.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Thad (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 8:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Section 230 eliminates any penalty to the website for publishing lies.

            Which is why you're allowed to lie all the time in the Techdirt comments section.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            TFG, 28 Feb 2019 @ 8:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Please provide evidence that supports your assertions.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 9:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            amount to little more than gossip

            Exactly like your post. See how this works? The internet is electronic conversation. Do you believe everything anyone tells you face to face?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 11:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            “Defamation law does not require people to engage liars.”

            And yet we still talk to you.

            “Section 230 eliminates any penalty to the website for publishing lies.”

            Which is good otherwise we’d have to ban you bro.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 11:24am

      Re:

      Nothing’s stopping you bro.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Not.You, 28 Feb 2019 @ 10:55am

    Streisand lives

    I love when these places make attempts to manage other people's complaints and just wind up drawing more attention to themselves for it. Reminds me of a story. I posted a negative product review on newegg. Newegg deleted it without explanation or notice, it just vanished for no reason like it had never existed. I googled it and discovered that this is normal for newegg although I had no idea before it happened to me. So I went on trustpilot and gave newegg itself a negative review about this. Newegg complained to trustpilot about my negative review on trustpilot, they claimed it did not include anything about customer service. As there was no interaction with customer service this was true but why would that invalidate my review of the fact that they were deleting negative product reviews without notice? At any rate newegg was apparently not just gaming the review system on their site but also the review system on trustpilot. So naturally I post this whole story every chance I get all over the internet including giving trustpilot negative reviews on other review sites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mike, 3 Mar 2019 @ 3:26pm

      Re: Streisand lives

      It is unfortunatel common for product or service providers to delete negative reviews. This is where PissedConsumer originated from.

      Additionally, PissedConsumer will not remove review if complainant is Not a customer. Posters have the right to express opinions even if they have not received a service. Advertisement of the product or service may also trigger desire for a review

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2019 @ 11:53am

    Nothing suspicious?

    From time to time we received notarized letters from the posters who wanted to remove their reviews posted by mistake. Nothing suspicious.

    That takedown process is so involved as to deter basically any legitimate use. What person wants a review they wrote to be taken down so badly they'll find and pay a notary? I'd consider that inherently suspicious. It probably only happens "legitimately" when the company being reviewed hires the notary for the user, and is that really legitimate?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Qwertygiy, 28 Feb 2019 @ 4:30pm

      Re: Nothing suspicious?

      I think you're commenting with the belief that a notary public's services are somehow similar to the services of a lawyer, where there is a complicated process of accepting you as a client and charging hundreds of dollars for many hours of legal research and representation.

      That's not the case. All a notary has to do is make sure you are who you say you are, and literally give you a rubber stamp. They don't have to do any research about the content of what they stamp, or be held responsible for the content, or represent you in any way, or even read it. All they have to do is verify that the person's signature is legitimate. (Which is what the alleged notary in this case clearly failed to do.)

      While it varies by state, a notary public in New York State cannot charge any more than $2 per signature. While 8 states have no set limit, the highest limit established is $10 per signature in 6 states. Unless you're taking up their time by making them drive out to you and spend an hour going over mortgage documents, this is hardly attorney-style spending. You even have a good chance of being able to get it done for free for a simple one-signature document like this.

      As far as finding one, it shouldn't really be hard. On average, there is 1 notary public out of every 72 U.S. citizens. Almost every bank and sherriff's office in America has at least one, and banks will often provide free notary services to their customers. As already mentioned, the notary doesn't have to agree with you or make any judgement that your content is legal, so there's little incentive for one to turn you down.

      And if you really aren't able to find one for some reason, you can become one in New York for one hour of your time and $75. Can't notarize your own documents, but you can pay someone else $75 to become one. Still heck of a lot cheaper than a lawyer.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 4 Mar 2019 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re: Nothing suspicious?

        I would have to drive about 5 minutes and pay maybe 5 dollars to get a notary to notarize something (and I could mail it from that same place), and that is way more trouble and expense than I would ever go to to remove an online review unless I were being compelled or threatened to do so.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 1 Mar 2019 @ 8:01am

    For the record

    Stephanie Lynch did not notarize these documents

    Lance stole her notary stamp book

    She reported it stolen to the local NYPD prescinct

    But they did not do anything about it

    I have called techdirt to update the article. There will be many revisions coming soon.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Max, 1 Mar 2019 @ 3:51pm

    "notarized letters from the posters who wanted to remove their reviews posted by mistake. Nothing suspicious." ...remove... a review... posted by mistake... via a notarized letter... nothing suspicios...? Really...? NOTHING SUSPICIOUS?!? *facepalm* *headdesk* *Picard facepalm* This world is broken. I DEMAND a replacement!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Truth Speaks (profile), 1 Mar 2019 @ 4:06pm

    I've unfortunately been on the receiving end of the wrath of the website www.Pissedconsummers.com. So here's the long and the short, a shady russian guy named Michael Podolsky started the website www.PissedConsumer.com as a platform to extort online businesses. Anyone can create a profile and anomyously post a bad review. The website is designed so unless you file a sworn affidavidt that you posted the review in error and follow their four steps, it can never be removed. Even if a competitor posted it, a disgruntled ex employee or a jealous customer posted it. Another way is to pay Michael Podolsky's website www.PissedConsumer.com per month for a membership which is thousands of dollars per month. If you attempt to sue them for libel, their shady attorney Marc Radnazza gets involved who is in Mr. Podolsky's pocket. In fact whats even shadier is that Mr. Randazza is one of the owners of the website www.PissedConsumers.com. Mr. Randazza has a VERY chequered legal past. Google his name. His Nevada law license is currently suspended for bribery and extortion attempts. He is a well known Anti-Semite Neo Nazi who supports the alt-right, represents Halocaust deniers, and the Gab (the alt-right media platform where the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter radicalized himself). There are website after website blasting Mr. Randazza as well as Mr. Podolsky. If you try to get your review removed through the judicial system, Mr. Randazza will try to shake you down for $75,000 - $500,000.00 and send a demand letter aka an extortion letter. If you fight back legally and know they don't have a case they will then leak their info to this website www.TechDirt.com to try and continue their smear campaign aka extortion attempts. These are BAD BAD people who are all in bed with each other including this website. BEWARE!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2019 @ 9:34pm

      Re:

      lolololololololololol
      THIS was your big bombshell Jhon?

      Digging up old defamations made by Roca labs?

      How fitting. An unoriginal impotent old man parroting impotent old lies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 4 Mar 2019 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      Google his name.

      Indeed, his Wikipedia entry is quite a read.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Randazza

      His Nevada law license is currently suspended for bribery and extortion attempts.

      Not true: "Said suspension was stayed, however, with the requirement that he avoid subsequent ethics complaints for the 18 months following entry of the order, complete 20 hours of CLE classes, and pay the costs associated with the proceedings within 30 days." And I'm not sure exactly what these rules are, but they don't sound like bribery and extortion:

      "violations of Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct 1.4 (Communication), 1.7 (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients), 1.8 (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules), 1.10 (Imputation of Conflicts of Interest), 1.15 (Safekeeping Property), 1.16 (Declining or Terminating Representation), 2.1 (Advisor), 5.6 (Restrictions on Right to Practice), and 8.4 (Misconduct)"

      He is a well known Anti-Semite Neo Nazi

      Known how? If you mean he has legally defended such people, yes. That doesn't mean he agrees with them though. Anyone and everyone is entitled to a vigorous legal defense, even people espousing horrible toxic views. Maybe he is a neo-nazi, and maybe he is not, but we certainly cannot draw that conclusion from his clientele.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 2 Mar 2019 @ 4:37pm

    Wow, a stolen notary stamp and libel against Techdirt in the comments. This story certainly got juicy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 2 Mar 2019 @ 4:43pm

      Re:

      Looking at the nature of the content and the numerous spelling errors (seriously, half the URLs are different from the other half), this looks a lot like a deranged delusion from mister Jhon Smith.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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