Expert Article Library

Clear and Concise Evidence for Online Defamation Damages

by Richart Ruddie

In a typical court case the reconstruction of evidence at the scene of a crime is crucial to a case. In an online defamation case viewing both the current landscape of search results and being able to re-create the past results prior to the damage is of crucial importance.

There is a systematic approach that I have created to help litigants to determine damages that have been caused by the creation of negative unfavorable online reviews that can hurt their image, reputation, brand, and ultimately their business. The last report that was written up consisted of 26 detailed pages and 3,874 words.

In online defamation cases it’s fairly black and white. Did the defendant post defamatory and hurtful information online? Yes or No? Did that lead to negative Google autocomplete results, negative related searches, and which search terms are now showing these unwanted search results.

Having a format to follow is imperative to a systematic approach. The format I developed for online defamation cases have the following:

  • Introduction to the case at hand and overview of the write-up
  • Case information and opinion overview
  • List of search terms where the negative results appear
  • Dates and URL’s of negative postings
  • Dates in which the rankings have historically appeared
  • Number of times the negative results have been viewed
  • The amount of monthly searches conducted for the negative results
  • Showcasing data based on MIT case studies on the percentage of clickthroughs for each SERP (Search Engine Result Placement)
  • Case studies on online defamation issues
  • Methods and costs to remedy the damage

How to remedy the damages is often the focal point of the write up given to the plaintiff. This key information gives the plaintiff and defendant a true understanding of the costs associated with fixing an individual or business that has been defamed online. The federal Communications Decency Act (CDMA for short) allows anybody to post content (including bogus messages) on a website without holding the website owner liable. That is why sites like Ripoff Report and Yelp thrive off of negatives without being held liable for the comments left on their web pages by users.

Another interesting thing that warrants mention: Bing and Yahoo search results are no longer affected by court orders. This means they are no longer removing negative search results even when handed a court order. To resolve the issue the company recommends speaking with its webmaster. Since CDMA immunity protects these website owners, the only option is to engage in an often expensive and far-reaching reputation management campaign where the costs tend to sky rocket for defamed clients.

Since I have a strong background in doing ORM work over the last 8+ years there is nobody more qualified to go over what a reputation management campaign should cost when giving expert advice and consulting on the overall costs associated with repairing a damaged and defamed image on the internet.

Visit my Expert Pages on Online Defamation for a consultation on your defamation case.