Great article Sarah. As the scourge of Defamation/Slander/ Complaint sites like Ripoff, and several others, still exist. Here are 5 TIPS on what people can do:
1)WRITE POLITICIANS, SEARCH ENGINES, ADVERTISERS, and the FTC.
A long time ago right after the internet was invented, American politicians flubbed, and passed the now outdated, law:
Because of this law, websites, to this day, have been able to commit the equivalent of economic terrorism against individuals and small businesses. Write politicians. If they don’t reply or help, then write a few scathing complaints about them on ripoff and elsewhere, and show them the unedited unexamined complaint they now have. This may get their attention.
Also, in addition to adjusting the botched 230, NEW laws about hosting internet defamation need to be created, on both the state and federal levels. The minute these new laws pass, (locally and nationally), these sites will collapse.
Ditto for the major search engines. The slander/ defamation sites get all their power from the links they derive from the search engines. Without the search results, their visibility would end instantly. The search engines are why there is so much grief is passed along.
Contact people at the search engines and ask them to delink results from such abusive websites. Get the names of the people you speak to. If they don’t help, write a complaint about them too.Also, make a database of all the companies advertising on these sites. Websites that allow anonymous people to post whatever they want about anyone, and do not investigate the accusation and verify for accuracy, and then do not remove posts, deserve to be shut down.
There needs to be extreme public pressure on "Do No Evil" Google to stop linking to these particular sites.And someone, hopefully, will put together a successful class action, Federal RICO charges (for serial extortion) Also be sure ask the search engines to implement the de-link policy that has been recently adopted by Europe:
Here is the link to complain to the FTC
2)DON’T’ PAY AND DON’T RESPOND
Again, follow the money. If the website uses the extortion model to make money, create a large database of people victimized by these sites presently or in the past, and email blast them not to pay. Follow up. If the web site uses the advertising model to make money, then start a campaign and/ or petition against all their advertisers.
Write each advertiser politely that they are advertising with an evil website that harms people’s reputations and does not remove posts. If you get no response, then complain on 5-6 websites about them. See how they like it. They are just as vulnerable as you are. People will get the message. Shut off the money spigot to these sites.
Why people are gullible enough to pay protection money and subsidize these sites is beyond comprehension.The funding has to stop. Also, email your list of victims not to respond to the posts, and give them tips on how to fight back. When you respond on these sites, a flame war starts and that is good for the defamation site and it’s search engine value. If everyone refused to pay and post, these sites would cease to exist.
3)SUE, SUE, AND SUE AGAIN. Sure you may lose, but if you lose you still win. These sites don’t want you to sue, because it takes up huge amounts of their time and energy. But they need to be spending their time in court and on lawyers, not devising new schemes to torment and defame people like you. Imagine if the lawsuits to Ripoff quadrupled next year? Even a psychopath has to decide if it’s worth it to terrorize the public. You may also want to consider organizing a class action lawsuit using your database of those victimized.
4)HACK & SPAM. This is not legal, so we cannot recommend hacking or spamming these sites. But if you personally know a hacker or spammer, let him know your story, he may sympathize with you. A website that is hacked or spammed massively, would experience acute downtimes and a loss of time and money.
5)CREATE NEW IDEAS AND LET EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT THEM.
You are not helpless. If just a few dozen people take strong action, these sites will only exits for a few months until they are sued to bankruptcy. The government does not put up with internet bullying, terrorizing children, or copyright infringement, but for some reason they have dropped the ball with adult individuals and small businesses who are slandered online. You can help change that.
How a website sadists and bullies, can stay alive and thrive even in Osama bin Laden style hide outs remains perplexing. We cannot advocate violence, but it is amazing that no crazy person has yet tracked down these evil folks.If I were them, I would quit while ahead, take a long vacation of ones choice. If anyone knows people who work for and help these companies, you may want educate them about the evil they are working for, and the danger they put themselves by working there.
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