The Brass Tacks: What is ReviewsTalk.com?

ReviewsTalk.com is a user-generated content platform for consumer reviews of businesses, contractors, and professionals. Like most user-generated bulletin board platforms, users are able to post about any topic they please, including the good and bad. When combined with anonymous reviews and insufficient verification and vetting procedures, such sites expose individuals to libelous and malicious abuse, posing a serious threat to you or your business’s reputation.

If you or your business has been, or is being, maliciously attacked or defamed on ReviewsTalk.com, your professional livelihood may be in jeopardy. Unfortunately, customers and potential clients can be swayed even by a meritless review, causing them to seek out other businesses.

Oftentimes, malicious and false reviews in question have been written by competing businesses or disgruntled customers, looking to sabotage your business or extort you. In an already highly-competitive business environment, don’t let fake reviews or reports severely damage you or your business’s bottom line, reputation, customer base, or future.

If you or your business has been attacked and defamed online, the Northeast Ohio-based Internet defamation removal lawyers of Minc, LLC will fight for you. At Minc, LLC, we are confident in our ability to permanently remove defamatory and false posts, and boast a high success rate (all for a flat fee). To schedule a free confidential consultation, give us a call at (216) 373-7706, or make an appointment online. We want to restore your reputation.

Defamation Law Fact: A 2014 infographic by MineWhat.com found that roughly 81% of consumers conduct online research before purchasing goods or entering into a business relationship.

Issues With ReviewsTalk.com’s User-Generated Content and Reviews

Online review platforms are often created with good intentions, providing a valuable service to consumers and clients. With the evolution of technology and expansion of the digital world, it was inevitable that at some point, such platforms would be used as a voice and tool for malicious users.

Lofty website ideals, purposes, and messages are rarely realized on Internet review platforms, due to a combination of several factors, including the inherent nature of the Internet, coupled with inadequate site policies and regulations.

To combat malicious users and content, most online review platforms prohibit malicious use and posts in their Terms of Use.

But, what happens when a review site’s terms of use offers little protection for parties injured and attacked by online trolls?

ReviewsTalk.com’s Bare and Inadequate Terms of Use

On its face, ReviewsTalk.com’s terms of use may appear adequate and noble, by advocating consumers have a “positive intent when writing their message, in helping themselves, in helping other consumers, and in helping the subject business provide a better product or service.”

However, ideals can often fall short, producing a reality that is far different than what was originally envisioned, offering little protection for injured and defamed parties.

  • Contradictory message: ReviewsTalk.com’s front page is littered with reviews which are clear and direct attacks on businesses and individuals, accusing them of fraud or outright theft. Such attacks and accusations blatantly contradict their terms of use policy which prohibits members from publishing, distributing, or disseminating “any inappropriate, profane, defamatory, infringing, obscene, racist, indecent or unlawful material or information.
  • Anonymous reviews: Anonymous reviews lead to a higher likelihood of abuse and malicious postings, due to the difficult and arduous channels of legal recourse for injured parties. A 2012 research paper by David M. Wasielski found college students who were provided more online resources and IT productivity features, had higher instances of misconduct. Just as U.S. college students are more likely to cheat or behave inappropriately with increased technological options, anonymous online reviewers have a higher propensity towards posting malicious material due to the minimal threat of legal recourse. Additionally, reviewers are less likely to feel bad about posting something false or defamatory when they are on the other side of the country.
  • No formal verification or fact-checking: ReviewsTalk.com’s TOU clearly states, “No conclusions are drawn by ReviewsTalk.com, as to the content validity. ReviewsTalk.com does not edit or censor posted messaged or investigate them for accuracy.” With no formal verification of the content of their business reviews, there’s no stopping a poster from completely fabricating a story or encounter.
  • Non-existent enforcement policy: Terms of use policies are important, but meaningless if they aren’t enforced. ReviewsTalk.com provides they “are not responsible for helping consumers resolve their complaints,” leaving victims to fend for themselves. Additionally, ReviewsTalk.com states,“We reserve the right, but are not obligated, to delete or remove profanity, obscenities, threats of physical violence or damage to property, and private financial information such as social security numbers and credit card information.” Websites with discretionary removal procedures offer no security or assurances for defamed parties, making removal all the more difficult, especially without the help of a defamation removal lawyer.

Defamation Law Fact: Unlike most states, which limit defamation per se to three or four categories of statements, Ohio defines defamation per se as any statement that “reflects upon the character of [the plaintiff] by bringing him into ridicule, hatred, or contempt, or affects him injuriously in his trade or profession.”

What to Look For in a Online Review Website’s Terms of Use

Comprehensive and effective website terms of use policies, rules, and features are important tools for mitigating issues surrounding anonymous users and malicious posters. Although ReviewsTalk.com’s Terms of Use encourages users to post about personal, first-hand experiences, and warns against unlawful conduct and the creation of false identities, over the years, the site has evolved into a hot-zone for defamation and false reviews.

Unfortunately, the utility of the site is overshadowed by anonymous and malicious postings of Internet trolls, disgruntled customers, or other malicious individuals, making it a dangerous place for you and your business.

Not only should online review platforms have comprehensive terms of use policies and regulations, but it should have a functional enforcement policy. When determining whether an online review website has a comprehensive and protective terms of use policy, Termly.io, an online privacy policy and terms and conditions generator, advises when looking to the trustworthiness of a website, users should keep an eye out for the following clauses:

  • Contact Information: At its simplest, a user-generated content website should have clear and explicit contact information, allowing users to contact them in case of policy questions, or content removal.
  • Prohibited Activity Policy: Most user-generated content platforms have a prohibited activity policy, but it’s usually minimal and lacking a clear framework of what is and isn’t allowed. Trustworthy sites will have a comprehensive policy, listing (in detail) all unlawful behavior and illegal activity.
  • Termination Clause: With no clear termination clause, user-generated content platform users have a heightened sense of invincibility. A clearly defined termination clause leaves little room for users to stray from the purpose and message of the website, making for a safer environment. 

If at bare minimum, the website you are accessing doesn’t have the above clauses in their terms of use, proceed with caution. Reach out to an experienced Internet defamation removal attorney to best interpret the terms of use, and strategize a game-plan to remove any offending content. Aaron Minc and his team of attorneys at Minc, LLC, a law firm based out of Cleveland, Ohio, want to fight for your reputation.

Defamation Law Fact: Websites without a proper terms of use should be avoided at all costs. Terms of use are intended to instill confidence in users by providing a transparent resource that can be consulted if any questions about the “fine print” arise. Not only do thorough terms of use pages add to the authority of a website, it adds to their legitimacy.

What Can I Do if My Business Has Been Defamed on ReviewsTalk.com?

Business closed due to defamatory reviews

Upon finding libelous and defamatory reviews of you or your business on ReviewsTalk.com, it’s important to respond with measured and strategic takedown game-plan. Approaching defamation takedowns and removal in the wrong way could lead to a PR nightmare for you or your company, so proceed with caution.

Removing defamatory content from ReviewsTalk.com and similar sites can be difficult and stressful, as online interactive service providers are granted broad immunity under a 1996 piece of legislation titled “The Communications Decency Act (CDA).” Hailed as one of the biggest threats to an individual’s reputation and online privacy, Section 230 of the CDA protects internet service providers who aren’t original publishers or speakers of defamatory or objectionable content.

Simply put, because of the protections granted under Section 230 of the CDA, bringing a suit against ReviewsTalk or other online review sites will likely be dismissed.

Bringing a claim against the website where the offending content is posted could open you up to a counterclaim and expensive defense costs. Consulting an experienced defamation removal attorney is important for determining which parties you can file a lawsuit against and how to find them. Although malicious users hide behind the anonymity of the Internet, there is still a chance of tracking them down and holding them liable.

Locating Internet trolls and other malicious posters can take time and know-how, therefore, trying to do so by yourself could be futile, resulting in further stress and frustration. Aaron and his team at Minc, LLC have handled countless defamation removal cases, and know the proper and most effective channels of recourse when contacting and finding the offending parties. Reach out today by calling Aaron and his team at (216) 373-7706, or schedule an online appointment.

Defamation Law Fact: Section 230 of The Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) is the primary source of legislation governing online service providers who publish user-generated content, affirming their legal immunity in cases where they aren’t the original publishers or creators of objectionable content.

Consequences of Failing to Remove Defamatory Reviews From ReviewsTalk.com

Defamatory and malicious reviews that are left unremoved on ReviewsTalk.com stand to negatively impact you or your business’s reputation, and follow you for years to come. Not only can false reviews have a significant financial impact on you or your business, but they can also bring about emotional distress and other non-economic damages.

Proactivity and immediate action is important when dealing with defamatory posts online, otherwise, you may risk opening yourself up to the following consequences:

Economic Consequences Other Consequences
Loss of business, customers, and competitive edge in the marketplaceSocietal ostracism and loss of standing in one’s community or workplace
Diminished earning capacity, termination from one’s job, or denial of future employment opportunities Mental anguish, pain and suffering, insomnia, and paranoia
Loss of professional and employment benefitsSexual dysfunction, mood swings, and declining self-confidence

Just remember, “even the smallest stone makes a ripple in the water.” Don’t let one seemingly inconsequential post from an unreliable website ruin your reputation and livelihood.

Defamation Law Fact: The Ohio State Bar Association provides for two forms of recovery for damages in the case of defamation; monetary damages or an injunction. As explained above, damages can range from financial damages, such as statements tarnishing a person’s professional reputation, to non-economic damages, including mental anguish and emotional distress.

Work with Aggressive and Strategic Internet Defamation Removal Lawyers

Confronting online defamation and other false posts head-on is the most effective way to minimize dissemination and damage to you or your business’s reputation. Aaron Minc, and his team of Ohio lawyers at Minc, LLC are seasoned Internet defamation removal attorneys, with a documented past of permanent removal and results.

To schedule a free confidential defamation removal consultation, contact Aaron and his team at Minc, LLC to discuss your removal options. Call us at (216) 373-7706, or schedule a meeting online today.