Thursday, March 16, 2017

Complaint Review - What the Law Says

Internet Being Wildly Polluted with FAKE Reviews, FAKE Complaints Against Local Businesses

"investigation into large-scale, intentional deceit across the Internet tells us that we should approach online reviews with caution."

"Phony reviews are violations of rules governing advertising and business practices because they are deceptive."


US Lanham Act
15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(A) is often used when false or misleading statements are alleged to have hurt a consumer or business. The claimant must prove that a false or misleading statement was made in commerce and that the statement creates a likelihood of harm to the plaintiff.
15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)(1)(B) is often used when false or misleading statements are alleged to have hurt a business.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Modern Imprint | How to Fight Fake Business Reviews

KO'ing Fake Business Reviews

modern imprint internet marketing

When a business discovers false information online, it may be told that the false reviews cannot be removed from the internet, including search engine results.  In fact, a 2012 article from CBS MoneyWatch even stated “it’s almost impossible to get a negative review removed from the Web once it’s live – even if it’s clearly false.  An unscrupulous competitor or disgruntled employee can say horrible things anonymously, and there's little you can do about it.”

This is not true.

When a competitor publishes a false review about your business online, or a fake review touting their own company, this violates the United States’ Lanham Act.  The Lanham Act prohibits false advertising by competitors and provides that a business can recover significant damages, including treble (triple) damages, disgorgement of the competitors’ profits, costs of corrective advertising, and attorney’s fees if the publication of the false review is willful – which it overwhelmingly is.  15 U.S. Code § 1117(a).

In a recent Pennsylvania case, a marble and granite installation business sued a competitor after it allegedly discovered that several posts on various product review websites were originating from its competitor’s IP address.  The competitor attempted to argue: 1) these false reviews, as a matter of law, did not constitute false advertising, and 2) it was not responsible for its own employees’ online reviews.  But the Court disagreed and held the fake reviews constituted defamation and trademark infringement, violating the Lanham Act.  The Court subsequently denied the competitor’s motion to dismiss the case. NTP Marble, Inc. v. AAA Hellenic Marble, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93856 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 24, 2012).

It is also worth noting that in September 2013, a New York attorney general fined 19 companies a combined $350,000 for posting false reviews.

Legal Solutions for False Review Removal

We have successfully worked with cyber investigators and used the court’s subpoena powers to identify anonymous competitors publishing false online reviews and to hold those competitors responsible for their actions under the Lanham Act.  Once we are able to identify the competitor that has posted false reviews, we can obtain an injunction from the court to submit to both the website hosting the false review and search engines, to facilitate removal of the reviews.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Business Competitor Writing Negative Reviews - What to Do

Competitor is Writing Negative Reviews of My Business!

If you suspect another business in your category is out to trash your online profiles, there’s a good chance they are not going exclusively after you.

Spend a little time doing your homework to see if there is a pattern across several competitors. If you spot similar negative reviews within a tight timeframe, then go ahead and take screenshots; you will need them when escalating to the host site.

You may also want to alert the other businesses affected. The chances of false reviews getting removed are higher if multiple businesses escalate in association with a particular user.


Lanham Act: False Advertising By a Business Competitor

Do I Have a Lanham Claim Against My Competitor for False Advertising? 

If your competitor’s advertising is false or misleading, you are not helpless. You might have a federal claim under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. Although the Lanham Act is often known as a trademark statute, it also protects businesses against the unfair competition of misleading advertising or labeling.

A plaintiff that prevails on a Lanham Act claim can obtain an injunction against the false or misleading advertising, as well as damages and, in certain cases, attorneys’ fees. Importantly, consumers do not have standing under the Lanham Act, only competitors.

The Supreme Court in POM Wonderful LLC v. Coca Cola, recently explained why the Lanham Act utilizes competitors as its enforcement mechanism: “Competitors who manufacturer or distribute products have detailed knowledge regarding how consumers rely upon certain sales and marketing strategies. Their awareness of unfair competition practices may be far more immediate and accurate than that of agency rulemakers and regulators.” Thus, the “Lanham Act draws upon this market expertise by empowering private parties to sue competitors to protect their interests on a case-by-case basis.” 


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Modern Imprint Internet Marketing | Methods, Techniques

4 Online Marketing Techniques That Will Get You the Results You Need

To put it plainly, if you have an online business, you need to run online marketing campaigns. In fact, even if you have an offline business, you still most likely need to run an online campaign. 

However, it is important to know the techniques that you have at your disposal before getting started. 

Choosing the right marketing method is the first step, while the second step is to implement it successfully. In that light, take a look at these top online marketing techniques that will help you generate the kind of traffic that your business needs.