In this blog post, we’re going to walk you through what InComplaint.com is, why it poses a threat to your online reputation, and how to remove online libel, defamation, information, and posts from it.
To remove online posts and libel from InComplaint.com, there are several viable and effective options persons may utilize. Specifically, to remove defamation from InComplaint, a user may:
- Contact InComplaint.com if a post or content violates their ‘Site Rules’,
- File a DMCA takedown for unauthorized and consented photographs, or
- Work with an experienced online defamation removal attorney.
U.S. Defamation Law Fact: United States defamation law chooses to distinguish between private and public plaintiff for purposes of rights and remedies. Specifically, in order for a private person/figure to succeed in a defamation claim, they must prove a defendant acted with ordinary negligence, while public persons/figures must prove a defendant acted with actual malice or reckless disregard. Such distinctions are to preserve our democracy’s right to discuss public persons and issues, and the rights of privacy persons who have never availed themselves to the public light.
If you or your business has been falsely posted about our attacked on InComplaint.com, or other user-generated content platforms and websites, contact the experienced online libel and defamation removal lawyers of Minc Law now!
At Minc Law, we’re here to do everything in our power to secure an effective and swift removal of unsavory and false online content. In our tenure as experienced defamation removal lawyers, we’ve removed over 25,000 pieces of false and defamatory online content, litigated in over 22 states and 3 countries, and boast a nearly 100% online defamation removal rate. Additionally, we know who to work with to secure swift and effective removals, and how to work with them, as we’ve worked with countless website administrators, online content managers, and third-party arbitration firms. You’re in good hands when choosing Minc Law.
Let’s Put an End to the Online Abuse Today!
Table of Contents
The Facts: What is InComplaint.com
Touting itself as a consumer complaints and reviews website, InComplaint.com is a popular online website and user-generated content platform for much much more. Specifically, InComplaint.com is a forum for complaints, reviews, scams, and fraud reports for consumers, and boasts over 35 unique categories for consumers to post their reviews – covering everything from advertising, to animals and birds, all the way to electronics and household applications.
When brushing up on their ‘General rules of the site,’ InComplaint.com’s header reads: “InComplaint.com is a virtual board of shame, a board of complaints, feedbacks, claims and reviews of the United States.” Such platform is for consumers and persons who want to report:
- Dissatisfaction with a company,
- Nonobservance of a liability,
- Breach of confidentiality or copyright violation,
- Impairment of one’s honor and dignity,
- Spamming, and…
It is worth noting that InComplaint.com specifically states they exist for persons who would like to report defamation, when the nature of their website (as a user-generated content platform), at the same time makes them a platform for potential libel and defamation (false posts).
Finally, InComplaint.com has garnered nearly 30,000 backlinks, where one website links to another. Backlinks help give a “vote of confidence” from one website to another, meaning they are essentially a signal or communication to search engines, that your content is good and worth ranking for. Simply put, the more backlinks a website has, the higher likelihood their search visibility and ranking position will increase – this is especially dangerous for victims of online defamation.
Online Reputation & Brand Monitoring Tip: For businesses and companies that want to stay proactive about their online reputation and brand, we recommend establishing an online reputation and monitoring budget. Setting one up is a great way to gauge the public’s opinion of your product or service, and an effective tool for combating intellectual property infringers.
Now, let’s get into three core reasons why InComplaint.com and other consumer advocacy websites could potentially pose a threat to your business’s online reputation and bottom line.
3 Reasons Why InComplaint.com May Pose a Threat to Your Business’s Online Reputation
While InComplaint isn’t as big of a threat to your reputation as some other consumer advocacy and scam reporting websites, there’s still several core features which make it susceptible to defamatory and libelous posts/attacks.
First, let’s get into a few reasons why InComplaints.com is not as bad as some other user-generated content platforms and consumer complaints/reviews websites:
- Acknowledgment of Defamation: Specifically, InComplaint’s ‘Site Rules’ read: “By submitting a complaint or commenting on it, the author confirms that only he/she, and not the site administration of InComplaints.com, is responsible for the content of the complaints published. The complainant understands that if his complaint contains slander, false information or insult, it could result in liability under the applicable law.” While InComplaint.com has actually incorrectly defined online defamatory posts as ‘slander’ (the correct term is libel), they still acknowledge that it may give rise to liability under the applicable law.
- Required Registration: While InComplaint.com’s registration is not all-encompassing and does not enable a victim or user to easily identify the poster in question, it still does require the use of an email. Some consumer advocacy and complaints/reviews websites merely provide a complaint box for users to submit posts.
- Recommendations: Furthermore, InComplaint’s ‘Site Rules’ has several recommendations for posters, which could be considered a deterrent (of sorts) to malicious and libelous posts. It reads: “The complaints posted on the site must meet specific requirements: minimum of emotion and maximum of facts. If, for example, someone gave you a light weight in a shop, do not write that “This shop is stealing! They are cheaters!,” you must give a specific example. Or, instead of writing “All the saleswomen are stupid and always rude!” you should describe the situation in detail.
While not a perfect solution to online defamation and false posts, InComplaint.com is far from the worst when it comes to baseless online attacks and accusations due to some semblance of structure and order. Now, let’s turn to why InComplaint.com still poses a threat to your online, personal, and professional reputation.
InComplaint.com Allows Photographs
InComplaint’s ‘Submit a Complaint’ box authorizes users to ‘add photos to a complaint’, which opens up the doors for not only online defamation and libel, but copyright infringement as well. Most posters and commenters who are posting pictures on user-generated content platforms are not the copyright holders of the photograph that they are posting. Understand that unless the poster or commenter took the picture themselves, then the copyright likely belongs with the person in the photograph – and thus, is in violation of their intellectual property rights.
As an owner of a copyright, the holder enjoys the following exclusive rights; reproduction, distribution, display, performance, and right to prepare derivative works. Copyright infringement and intellectual property infringement is an exception to the comprehensive immunity granted to websites and ISPs under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and will require websites/ISPs with offending and copyrighted material to remove it immediately.
Finally, it’s also worth noting that user-generated content platforms that allow the posting of photographs, have also had instances where those pictures were more private – ex. Nonconsensual pornography (revenge porn).
Lacking Registration Procedures
As we mentioned above, InComplaint.com does have registration procedures in effect, however, they are still comparatively lackluster to websites like Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter. For example, InComplaint’s registration procedures may be circumvented with a “throwaway email,” meaning it could be difficult to trace a party who posts malicious and defamatory posts even should you uncover their email.
Users who have their names and actual identities tied to their accounts are less likely to engage in malicious attacks and online defamation, as the chances of legal recourse and repercussions is not so remote (or perceivably remote). Think about it, if you’re 99% sure you’re never going to be discovered after posting a scathing review or complaint, why wouldn’t a malicious or disgruntled user do so in an unsavory way?
Coupled with our next point, third-party publishing, and InComplaint isn’t as immune from libel as one might first think.
“By submitting a complaint or commenting on it, the author confirms that only he/she, and not the site administration of InComplaint.com, is responsible for the content of the complaints published.” Effectively, InComplaint.com acknowledges it’s near blanket immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which relieves websites and ISPs from defamation liability in cases where the content was curated and posted by a third-party publisher.
InComplaint.com is well aware of their rights, and as such, takes relatively hands off approach to content posted, as they aren’t the actual author. Third-party publishing under Section 230 of the CDA often leads to websites and ISPs completely abstaining from content review and vetting, which ultimately means the likelihood of defamation and libel slipping through the cracks is greater than on an ordinary website.
Defamation Law Fact: ‘Libel tourism’ is the act of seeking a legal jurisdiction that is most likely to rule in favor of a party’s side. To curb the issue of libel tourism, Congress passed the SPEECH Act in 2010 (which was subsequently signed into law by then President Barack Obama). The SPEECH Act makes foreign libel and defamation judgments unenforceable in U.S. courts, unless they are compliant with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
If you’ve been posted about on InComplaint.com or other websites/forums which have the above features, reach out to an experienced defamation removal attorney today!
Just remember, online libel and defamation is like a wildfire, and the longer you let it sit and embed itself in the Internet, the more damage to your reputation it’s going to do. Don’t let it get to the point where it’s almost irreversible. Stay proactive and call us today at (216) 373-7706.
User-Generated Content Platforms: Hotbeds for Online Defamation
Also known as “user-created content (UCC),” user-generated content (UGC) refers to a wide range of mediums for information, including applications, websites, newspapers, and more. Specifically, user-generated content platforms refer to the process in which the actual site users are the ones driving its content and creation. Effectively, the users of a website or application are the “gatekeepers” of content.
User-created content platforms only really gained attraction and mainstream usage in the mid-2000s, with the rise of social media websites and adoption of user-generated content by the BBC (2005). The most popular user-created content platforms, applications, and websites that you’re probably familiar with include:
- Instagram, and
User-generated content platforms also commonly manifest themselves in the form of review websites, with Yelp supporting over 148 million reviews as of Q4, 2017. While user-generated content websites and mediums have grown exponentially since the mid-2000s, they have still received their fair share of criticism and been at the heart of several major controversies.
Most notably, criticism of UGCs to date include those concerning privacy, quality, and fairness. Furthermore, such content produced for UGC platforms is heavily criticized for being inaccurate and misleading.
Finally, posts on UGC websites make the possibility of legal recourse rather difficult, as it’s often extremely difficult to locate the poster in question and requires a victim utilize/employ legal counsel. In fact, most of our clients are persons who have been falsely defamed or posted about on user-generated content websites; from scam reporting websites, to cheater-outing forums, all the way to consumer advocacy bulletin boards – all are UGCs.
Online Libel & Post Removal Tip: When confronting online libel and defamation, there’s several steps you should first take: (1) Identify the scope of the defamation, (2) Consider its overall effect on your reputation, (3) Act quickly, (4) Preserve and document all relevant evidence. Remember, online defamation and libel stands to affect not only your personal reputation, but your professional one as well, so it’s imperative you are proactive and act as quickly as possible!
If you’re unsure whether a post or content posted about you online constitutes online libel and defamation, we strongly recommend you reach out to an experienced defamation removal lawyer. Doing so will not only save you time and stress, but future hassle.
The Online Abuse Stops Now!
How to Remove Online Libel & Posts From InComplaint.com
When confronting online defamation and libelous posts on InComplaint.com and other UCC platforms and websites, there’s several ways one can remove it. This section will address several informative ways for parties to remove such content, along with alternatives of suppression in Internet search results.
Keep in mind that staying proactive when it comes to your online reputation is extremely important. A little foresight now, could save potential headache and hassle in the future.
- Contact InComplaints.com: While it’s generally not the best idea to message a website or ISP about removing false and libelous information, InComplaint.com does have a ‘Contact Us’ option for users. And, mixed in with their site rules, which prohibits the posting of unverified information without stating its sources, there may be a chance the post in question is removed if you can prove otherwise.
- DMCA Takedown: As we noted above, InComplaint.com sanctions users to post pictures to accompany their complaint, which opens up the door for potential intellectual property infringement. Filing a DMCA takedown is an effective way to remove copyrighted material which is posted in a review. However, it’s not exactly as easy as one might think, so we recommend reaching out to an experienced defamation attorney.
- Work with an Experienced Defamation Attorney: Should you seek to identify an anonymous poster or commenter who defamed and libeled you online, we recommend reaching out to an experienced online defamation removal attorney. Doing so will not only save you time, but headache. An experienced defamation removal attorney will be able to assist you in the identification and subpoena of an anonymous poster’s identity, and may be able to help secure a court ordered removal in extreme cases.
Let’s take a look at some free alternatives to the above, which may accomplish the goal of reducing the overall visibility of libelous and false posts on InComplaint.com and other scam reporting/consumer advocacy websites:
- Learn Simple SEO: Familiarizing yourself with some basic SEO techniques is an effective way to combat online defamation and libel. Most Internet users are not browsing past the first two pages of Internet search results, so utilizing basic SEO techniques may be a free and easy way to decrease overall visibility without having to break the bank.
- Start a Blog: Starting a blog goes hand in hand with basic SEO techniques, as it enables you to craft your online narrative. Google’s search results and algorithm rewards good and positive content, so creating a blog with consistent posting is an effective way to push positive content/posts to the top – ultimately suppressing negative results at the same time.
- Increase Social Media Presence: Making your social media accounts public and openly commenting on popular pages and websites is an effective way to gain online visibility. If you Google a person’s name, you’ll likely find their LinkedIn or other social media profiles at the top. Furthermore, linking between all your various social media profiles and personas is an effective way to create a giant “spider web” of public and positive content!
Online Defamation Law Fact: When it comes to modern day defamation and practice, a good portion of the libel defendants in question are newspapers and other content publishers. In the pursuit of publishing eye-catching and viral content, some publishers toe the line between legal comment and criticism, and libel and defamation.
Work With Experienced Defamation Removal Attorneys Today!
If you or your business/company has been the victim of false posts and libel on InComplaint.com (or a similar website), contact the online defamation removal attorneys of Minc Law today! At Minc Law, we know defamation law, and have removed over 25,000 pieces of defamatory and false online content in our storied tenure. Additionally, we’ve litigated in over 22 states and 3 countries, serving over 1300 clients. And that’s not all. We support a nearly 100% online defamation takedown and removal rate – and we do it all for a flat, reasonable fee.
Let’s put an end to the online abuse and attacks now!
Here’s what you can expect when working with the Cleveland-based defamation attorneys of Minc Law:
- Open Communication & Dialogue: We understand how important it is to be updated and informed about the details of your defamation removal, so rest assured we are here to keep you in the loop.
- Courtesy & Respect: We pride ourselves on treating all clients with the utmost courtesy and respect. Know that we aren’t happy unless you’re happy, and that your goals are our goals.
- Websites & Businesses Respond to Us: As we’ve mentioned above, we’ve secured the removal of over 25,000 pieces of false and defamatory online content. We know who to work with and how to work with them in order to secure a swift and effective defamation takedown.