Anyone familiar with online reputation issues is surely aware of Ripoff Report, a site long considered one of the most destructive on the web when it comes to people’s and companies’ reputations. Ripoff Report has a well-established practice of refusing any and all demands to remove defamatory materials from its website. Now it’s going even further, moving content around to different URLs after Google has removed the originals from its index to comply with a court order. The result: the content, though declared defamatory in a court of law, could still be accessible through Google. The business model As I have outlined previously in articles about online defamation, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes some types of websites from responsibility/liability for content posted on them by third parties. Essentially, “distributors” of content provided by others cannot be compelled to remove such content, except when copyright infringement is … [Read more...] about Is Ripoff Report subverting Google take-downs?
Remove ripoff report from google search results
If you’ve been listed on Ripoff Report, you know how frustrating it is and how helpless you feel. You’ve read the fine print and have probably thrown in the towel. There’s just no way to get off of Ripoff Report once you’re on it. Well, I’m here to tell you there’s a proven (and up until now, nearly secret) way around this problem: get the listing removed from Google’s search results. While it doesn’t get rid of the Ripoff Report listing itself, it keeps the average web searcher from finding it, which is the important part. Allow me to back up and explain… In case you’re not familiar with Ripoff Report, it’s a consumer complaint website where anybody can post a “Ripoff Report” about any business or person. The only assurances of truthfulness required by the website are a valid email address and the author’s own verification (via mouse-click). Once posted, the Ripoff Report is there forever — and … [Read more...] about How To Remove Ripoff Reports From Google
Ripoff Report is completely gone from Google’s index and Google says it’s been done at Ripoff Report’s own request. But, the question now is whether that request was made on purpose or an accident. Update: As our postscript below explains, Ripoff Report is now back in Google’s index. As the image above shows, a site:ripoffreport.com search brings up Google’s standard “Your search did not match any documents” message. We learned about this via Jeff Quipp’s tweet this afternoon, but Sean Hakes seems to be the first to notice. A Google spokesperson says the site is not banned, but was removed after Google received a request to do so via Google Webmaster Tools: The owner of this site delegated access in our webmaster console to multiple email accounts, and one of those email accounts submitted a url removal request for the site. We’ve emailed the site owner to check whether the site removal was an intended action, or whether the … [Read more...] about Ripoff Report Not Banned, But Removes Itself From Google’s Index
Yahoo7, the Australian version of Yahoo, has de-indexed Ripoff Report after receiving “significant complaints” about defamatory content showing in its search results. As you see above, a site:ripoffreport.com on Yahoo7 produces no results. A Yahoo7 spokesperson gave us this statement on the decision to de-index that entire domain: Yahoo7 has received significant complaints in regards to defamatory content in our search results which have been generated from links on the website ripoffreport.com. Under Australian law Yahoo7 has an obligation to remove defamatory content from our search results, when notified of it. Given the volume of complaints received in respect of the ripoffreport.com website, Yahoo7 has put in place measures to stop ripoffreport results appearing in Yahoo7 Search while we review our legal position. I’m not a lawyer, but I believe the legal issue that Yahoo7 mentions is that Australia doesn’t have laws that protect online publishers from … [Read more...] about Yahoo7 Australia Drops Ripoff Report From Search Results After Defamation Complaints
A number of attorneys who specialize in online defamation/libel cases have reported to me that Google has recently suspended its longstanding, informal policy of removing URLs from US search results that are specified in duly executed court orders. This poses a major paradigm shift for many victims of online reputation attacks. Beginning around August or September of this year, a number of attorneys from across the US began receiving blanket denials after submitting requests to remove defamatory content from Google’s search results. Since at least 2009, Google has had an informal policy of accepting many removal requests when accompanied by a properly executed court order specifying defamatory/libelous content at specific URLs. I’ve personally seen a number of cases where hundreds and even thousands of URLs have been submitted with court orders, and Google has removed those URLs from search results. But they’ve now stopped. Not for every single request, but for a … [Read more...] about Has Google suspended defamation removals?