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Don’t Open Your Business Up To Online Lawsuit Possibilities

You have worked years to position your business to succeed and then you get served paperwork.

While having a top-notch Web site, you failed to monitor your forum and someone posted a disparaging remark about a competitor. That competitor, in turn, has decided to sue for defamation and it could cost you plenty in more ways than one.

Hopefully your business never gets to that point. Not only is the potential monetary loss to losing a lawsuit and attorney fees a threat to your survival, but your company’s name could be dragged through the mud.

Make It Your Business to Monitor Site

As someone who for several years monitored an insurance Web site forum, I can speak first-hand about the potential pitfalls of a business site forum. First, however, let me point out a positive aspect or two on such a venue.

A business Web site forum is a great means by which to communicate with both current and potential customers. The forum can serve as a setting for an exchange of thoughts and ideas, along with offering customer feedback.

Now, the most obvious pitfall is having someone post negative comments on the forum page.

The best way to avoid such a situation is by constantly monitoring the forum. Checking in on forum content once every few days is not the answer, as it just takes one comment to slip in there and cause you and your business a major headache.

Where I previously worked we monitored the forum during business hours Monday through Friday, with off and on attention on the overnight hours and weekends.

So, can you guess when the most dangerous posts found their way onto our forum? Yes, the overnight hours and especially on the weekends.

As this became the case more and more often, extra attention was given to the non-working hours to view what individuals were posting.

The majority of negative comments were not in turn directed at our company, but at insurance agents who people felt had not served their best interests. It just takes one true or false comment to potentially lead to a decrease in business or worse, so you can understand why businesses are very worried on getting tagged on an online forum.

Screening Content Proves Important

For Web site owners who offer a forum for their readers, take several steps to protect your product.

First, be sure to screen what goes on your pages, using common sense as to what can stay and what should go. If a post even hints of being potentially negative, don’t hesitate to review it with company officials and/or key employees and come to a consensus on whether or not it could land your business in hot water.

It is also advisable to put a disclaimer on your site that the comments are being monitored and can at any time be removed if they purposely attempt to slander someone or something. With a strong legal disclaimer clause, you have everything covered from liability limits of your company’s site to what is expected of the guests coming to your site.

It is not uncommon for many companies to hire in-house or freelance legal counsel to deal with issues just like Web site matters. If you have even the slightest doubt about whether or not your disclaimer language is appropriate, pass it along to someone who deals with such issues so you’re company and its employees are protected.

You’ve worked hard to put your business together and to make it successful; don’t let one forum comment potentially bring everything crashing down.

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With 23 years of experience as a writer, Dave covers a wide array of financial topics, including discussing SafeAuto and its auto insurance offerings, along with internet reputation management and payroll companies.

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  • Hi Dave, Thanks for raising this as I’m sure many businesses are not aware of the pitfalls.

  • I heard a man on the radio a couple of months ago tell the presenter that his popular (Irish) forum got an average of three requests a week from solicitors to provide the proper name and other details of the poster ofu00a0 comments on the site that had been considered either slanderous or defamitory. nnIt is something that certainly does need to be taken seriously and like Niall says I don’t think a lot of people have considered it properly.

  • It’s veryu00a0naiveu00a0to think that user generated content can be monitored by site operators and it’s dangerous to give lawmakers the false impression that such monitoring is viable. Monitoring becomes impossible at scale and laws must equally apply to both small and large sites.nnYou would do better to encourage site operators to create policies for dealing with such instances and ensure that the site provides adequate channels for people to make their complaints.nnMarcus

  • Hey,nice post.Well written article.I appreciate your writing skills.Its great.You have done a great job by sharing this post with us.I like this article.Keep sharing with us.

  • Christina Giliberti

    Hi Dawn….technology is so progressive and its exciting the watch ideas unfurl into reality. Really looking forward to Ire/UK working with Augumented reality and more on location-based marketing. We’re a bit behind at the mo. Mobiles are fast becoming the most valuable tool for businesses and to consumers….I’d like to see a bit more security around them though.
    Great post….made me v.happy today (I love tech!!).

  • Niall,

    Great share and thanks for that. For me, (if I got to choose one), I will go with #2. Nowadays, SEO is already a part of us regardless if it is leisure blog or corporate website. You need to know at least a little.

    Nonetheless, thanks for the full list. Gonna keep me occupied this weekend 😀

  • Hi Reginald, Thank you for the comment & yes, SEO is now critical for each and every business.

  • Emad Rahim

    What an honor to be listed with all of these talented bloggers. I am flattered to be included twice (technically)….lol

  • Yes you are and it’s well deserved! 🙂

  • Thank you so much for an informative article…I find finance a difficult topic to tackle but your article really made sense to me. It made me think about my future strategies in a different light.

  • essam elmasry

    these are really good fiance suggestions, and i loved to add that people could also invest some money as alternative finance in the new auto trader software Neo2. and in this review Neo2 scam or legit?.it explain everything about it. and how it works

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