The Basics: What is PissedConsumer.com?

PissedConsumer.com, also referred to as Pissed Consumer, is an online consumer advocacy website for consumers to write and share thoughts, opinions, and experiences about products and services. Boasting over 1 million reviews, 3.5 million monthly visitors, 26,000 Facebook likes, and 6,300 Twitter followers, Pissed Consumer is up there in terms of authority, with the likes of RipoffReport, ComplaintsBoard, and ConsumerAffairs.com. As a user-generated content platform, the bulk of content posted on their website is written, photographed, and otherwise, created by users of the site, and their homepage addresses three core services they offer to consumers:

  • Compare companies,
  • Call businesses and keep track of all past communications, and
  • Ask questions and get answers.

While most users use the site in its intended way, and provide legitimate, unbiased, and helpful reviews in order to promote transparency and fair business, some use Pissed Consumer as a vehicle to push their own, defamatory, and malicious agendas. And, with over 127 review categories, ranging from insurance, to education, all the way to health and beauty, posters are at no shortage of ammo for launching an online attack. Malicious users who post false, unmerited lies and accusations, stand to harm your business’s reputation and future. Reviews should be honest and fair, not made with the purpose to deceive humiliate, and embarrass, especially when the business or individual has in fact done nothing wrong.

Defamation Law Fact: Character assassination is a form of defamation, and is defined as the calculated and continued attempt to destroy a person’s credibility and reputation through spreading rumors, innuendos, and deliberate dissemination of misinformation.

If you’ve been the target of online defamation on PissedConsumer.com, or other consumer advocacy websites, the Internet Defamation Removal Attorneys of Minc Law will fight and work strategically to secure its permanent removal. At Minc Law, we have a storied history of review removals, with a nearly 100% success rate, and all for a flat, reasonable fee. To schedule a free and confidential removal consultation, call us at (216) 373-7706, or contact us online today.

We want to fight for your reputation.

Online Reputation Management Tip: A simple way for businesses to craft their own online narrative is to reach out to consumers. Most consumers are passive, and are not often taking to review and rating sites to write good reviews, so you need to steer them in the right direction. You can include gentle reminders on receipts, web pages, or even on the sign at your business. Additionally, you should be creating original and positive content, which could take the form of blogs, newsletters, or even monthly columns in the local newspaper. Doing so allows you to tell your story and protect your brand.

Why Is Pissed Consumer’s Website at High-Risk of Defamatory Online Content?

Founded in 1996, PissedConsumer has ingrained itself in the online fabric of consumer advocacy, making it a dangerous platform for your reputation and business’s future. As an established user-generated content platform, defamatory and malicious reviews on Pissed Consumer carry more weight, and stand to affect your reputation in a more substantial way. After all, this is a website with a clean user interface, active user base, and growing social media presence.

4 Key Reasons Why Pissed Consumer is at High-Risk of Online Defamation

Below are four key reasons why PissedConsumer.com’s is a high-risk website for defamation and online attacks:

  • High-volume traffic: At its simplest, Pissed Consumer sees a high amount of traffic, so statistically, there’s a higher chance of some “bad egg” posters. As noted above, PissedConsumer has reviewed over 64,000 companies, has 3.5 million monthly visitors, and 11 million reviews, all of which aren’t paltry numbers.
  • Lack of identifying information: Reputable websites require users to provide basic identifying information, including one’s email address, name, physical address, phone number, and other important identifying details. Unfortunately, Pissed Consumer doesn’t require users to provide ANY identifying information at all. In fact, it doesn’t even require users to create an account. A consumer advocacy website should strive to connect consumers and businesses, opening up channels of constructive communication and transparency, and should therefore require important identifying information in order to resolve disputes and misunderstandings. But, how can a consumer seek to resolve an issue in good faith, or negotiate, if they are anonymous and the lines of communication are nonexistent? Due to Pissed Consumer’s lack of identification procedures, it will never be anything more than a website for users to vent, rant, and complain, offering no real resolution that is even remotely attainable.
  • Anonymous posting: A subsequent consequence of Pissed Consumer not having a proper and verifiable registration system is the increased likelihood of user and poster abuse, due to the security of knowing legal recourse is minimal, or at least difficult. Think about it, anonymity allows users to hide behind an invincible shield while writing things they otherwise would be ashamed and embarrassed to say in public. The allowance of anonymous posting is a poor model for accountability, and is a key weakness in most user-generated content platforms and a serious contributor to their increasing toxicity.
  • Strict no-removal policy: Furthering the likelihood of online abuses and attacks is Pissed Consumer’s strict no-removal policy, which absent a few special circumstances and conditions, all posts and reviews will stay up. For example, Pissed Consumer’s Terms of Use (TOU) requires a notarized letter, court order, or participation in their “Legitimacy Verification Program.” Like most user-generated content platforms, they also acknowledge their blanket immunity granted under a key piece of Internet legislation titled “The Communications Decency Act of 1996.”

PissedConsumer is a perfect storm of registration, verification, and other regulatory vulnerabilities and failings, making it a serious threat to you, and your business’s, reputation and livelihood. Proactivity is the answer to combating such pernicious online platforms, so reaching out to an experienced defamation lawyer as soon as possible is recommended.

Defamation Law Fact: The highest ever defamation verdict was rendered in 1997, awarding over $220 million to MMAR Group Inc., against Dow Jones. However, the suit was later dismissed in 1999 after allegations MMAR Group failed to disclose employee audiotapes.

PissedConsumer Fights Back

What makes PissedConsumer.com a force to be reckoned with in the defamation arena is that they are so well-versed on their legal rights and protections. Such legal prowess makes it a near-impossible task for an injured party to go after them by themselves. There have been several instances where PissedConsumer fought back against improper and falsified court orders attempting to remove online criticisms, most notably, when Nevada Corporate Headquarters, an all-encompassing resource for Nevada corporations and LLCs, went to extreme and illegal lengths to suppress online posts.

Nevada Corporate Headquarters & Improper Google Deindexing

To preface, “deindexing” is when search engines remove a website and its information from their “index,” and search results, due to illegal activity or improper and “black-hat” SEO practices.

In late 2016, PissedConsumer lawyers filed suit against Nevada Corporate Headquarters (NCH) alleging they knowingly misused and misled courts in order to deindex online criticisms and negative reviews. The complaint alleged NCH, and several other companies, conspired to perpetrate a scam where they filed “sham lawsuits” against parties who weren’t the actual publishers of the online content in question.

How the scam worked

NCH directly manipulated courts by creating falsified defendants, who didn’t actually publish the negative reviews or criticisms. They would immediately push for injunctive relief, allowing for a swiftly issued court order to deindex the content.

NCH’s deceit ran deep, involving not one, but four perpetrators;

  • The entities that file and benefit from the outcome of the suit,
  • The unethical attorneys who knowingly file such fraudulent suits,
  • The “plant,” or falsified defendants, who didn’t actually author the online criticisms or content, and
  • The reputation management companies who calculated and executed such scams.

PissedConsumer knows their rights and isn’t afraid to go to battle to protect them. When removing defamatory online content, it’s highly recommended you don’t attempt to do so by yourself, as PissedConsumer is a multi-million dollar company, with sufficient financial resources, and legal counsel, to defend themselves. Aaron Minc and his team of Northeast Ohio-based lawyers know how to work with consumer advocacy sites, content managers, and other site administrators, in order to effectively and expeditiously remove defamatory online content. Reach out today by calling us at (216) 373-7706, or schedule a meeting online.

Holding a Poster Liable for Defamatory Online Posts

As already mentioned above, Pissed Consumer is aware of their immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). So, you’re probably wondering, who can I hold liable for defamatory online posts?

You can hold the individual poster liable.

Although Section 230 of the CDA makes it seem as if removing defamatory online content and holding someone liable is near impossible, this is far for the truth. Section 230 does grant broad protection to user-generated content platforms, but does not cover individual posters. Users still retain liability for anything they’ve said, written, or recorded online. However, sometimes this is not always a simple process.

Identifying an individual poster can be a stressful and arduous process, as sometimes websites won’t budge, and reveal the necessary information needed to locate them. Aaron and his team know that individuals can be identified through the use of a court subpoena, and will work with site administrators, content managers, and third-party arbitration services, to increase your chances of a swift and permanent removal. Additionally, the lawyers of Minc Law will explore all options when seeking to remove content, including filing a DMCA takedown to remove copyrighted material.

Ohio Defamation Law Fact: In 1996, Ohio passed what is known as a “food libel law,” also known as a “food disparagement” or “veggie libel law,” in order to protect food producers and manufacturers. Food libel laws exist as a deterrent to persons making false statements, or statements not supported by reasonable and reliable data about perishable food products and impose lower standards of civil liability than in traditional defamation cases. As of January, 2018, food libel laws only exist in thirteen states.

Work With Experienced Online Defamation Removal Attorneys Today!

While sites like PissedConsumer, and other consumer advocacy websites and forums, have their place and purpose in today’s society, they should still be approached with caution. PissedConsumer.com’s overall message is one of transparency and in the furtherance of fair business practices, but the form in which it executes it may not be the most constructive. 

Furthermore, PissedConsumer’s removal options are sparse, unclear, and likely to require legal filings, certifications, and significant time. Aaron Minc, an experienced and top Ohio defamation removal attorney based out of Cleveland, and his team of reputation lawyers, will provide step-by-step guidance through the removal process. The lawyers of Minc, LLC, have a nearly 100% removal rate, and all for a reasonable, flat fee.

To discuss your options and get started on formulating an effective take-down strategy, call us for a free, no-obligation, initial consultation at  (216) 373-7706, or schedule a meeting online today.

Reputation Lawyer Tip: When confronting cyber-bullying and online defamers, it’s highly recommended you document everything. The more evidence, the stronger you claim. Screenshot all defamatory and malicious posts, and store them in electronic form. Additionally, having an independent third-party document such evidence is an effective way to prove you didn’t tamper with any evidence, further solidifying your claim.