Published: 21 December 2021
Location: Manchester, UK
TripAdvisor & Google’s powers are extraordinary, but business has turned to the Courts over bad reviews
Why Media is pleased to report a fightback against online trolls and the disbursement of false information on Google reviews and Tripadvisor etc.
The government has outlined a plan to knuckle down on online rip-offs including making it illegal for people to write or host fake reviews. The proposals would see fines for individuals and businesses spreading malicious falsehoods or tricking consumers into spending more than they want online.
16th December 2021 see the @DailyMail report the fine imposed by a Manchester Judge
For many of us it has become almost second nature to check a review site before buying or using a service. Reviews matter, especially now in a digital age where reviews, good, bad or indifferent, reach a much wider audience at a rapid pace.
While most reviews are genuine, the occasional negative review posted out of malice can be untrue and slanderous to a business, but there is little those affected can do to remove the reviews themselves. A recent study found that defamation cases are continuing to increase on social media, with an 18% rise in cases since 2020.
Mr Hoddy, a restaurateur, is one example of many who have recently called for the current “complex legal process” used to bring a malicious falsehood action to be “simplified”. This came after a reviewer posted several negative comments, all with different usernames, which had detrimental effects to his business which he’d been operating for over 44 years.
Hoddy, who studied law at the University of Cambridge, was able to identify the reviewer as a man from Belmont, Martin Potts, and bring a civil case against him.
A ruling against Mr Potts, which was made by Manchester County Court in July, was challenged by the defendant but was upheld at the same court in October. The Court ordered Mr Potts to pay £6,000 in compensation for spreading malicious falsehoods.
Mr Hoddy hopes his victory would make people think twice before posting negative reviews that can “ruin businesses”. He said he was lucky that his business was “robust enough to withstand this” but negative online reviews have put “others out of business very easily”.
Claire White, Marketing Director of design agency, Why Media, also expresses her frustrations with the current system and is happy that regulators and the government are beginning to clamp down and tighten up the rules for fake reviews. White explains "False reviews are a poor piece of sludge on our society, this ruling by a Manchester judge set a precedent, no more can individuals or businesses create false truths". White hopes that new law changes will make it easier for victims to be able to find out the identity of malicious reviewers.
Why Media has grown into one of the most significant marketing agencies in Europe, with 2021 being a record year for the agency on the back of a major technical and project management investment. With offices now in the UK, Spain and Italy as of this year, their client base has expanded rapidly to include both multinational and local brands including ACAI Group, Vestry Group, Savills, O&H Land and BNP.
Why Media does not see business slowing in 2022 and expects another bumper year for digital marketing as COVID-19 creates smart money from businesses.
Why Media is an award-winning design, marketing, digital communications and PR agency offering tailored solutions to companies on a global scale. We have extensive experience in delivering design and marketing services to a spectrum of companies including professional services, property companies, financial institutions and shopping centres. We have offices in London UK, Hertford UK, Finestrat ES & Brescia IT.