When electronics company MediaBridge threatened a customer with legal action who left a negative Amazon review about one of their products, the internet went a bit nuts. Within a few short days Amazon had banned MediaBridge from selling its products directly on Amazon, most MediaBridge products on most big retail sites (mainly Amazon) had been “trashed” with negative reviews from people who hadn’t even bought the products and the brand name of the company had been totally tarnished. If businesses learnt anything from that incident it was not to mess with the power of the consumer: reviews exist for a reason and without negative reviews positive reviews would simply not exist. It appears one business didn’t get the memo to not sue customers who leave negative reviews. In France the restaurant chain Il Giardino took a French blogger to court after she left a negative review which became prominent in Google’s search results. Il Giardino claim that the review was harming business and that it should be removed.
The result of the court case was that Il Giardino won a Pyrrhic victory. The French blogger was forced to pay a €1500 fine and €1360 of court costs. The blogger was also forced to edit the title of the blog post reviewing Il Giardino which had become so popular. In fact the review was not too different to many other Il Giardino reviews except with a humorous spin. However, as expected the internet backlash has been huge. As the above image shows, it is like MediaBridge round two. Hundreds of angry internet users (who have undoubtedly never visited the restaurant in question) have jumped to write negative reviews about the restaurant which is doing a lot more damage than the single negative review that they managed to have edited.
Yet again the decision to sue a customer for a negative reviewer has backfired hugely. In some cases negative reviews left by consumers may indeed be incorrect or based on false information, but it certainly seems that suing the reviewers is not the way forward.
Images courtesy of Google (Maps and Reviews)