So next time a company is thinking about suing a Forum or blog over comments made by users, maybe it should take a good look at the 2Clix versus Whirlpool case, first.
News has just broken that 2Clix has dropped the case against the Australian broadband community site and forum. In fact, according to the SMH.com.au report it did so last Thursday, only days after it initially filed the action.
Interestingly, Whirlpool hasn’t updated its website or told its users that the action has been dropped. Perhaps, letting 2Clix stew in its own legal juices for as long as possible?
As reporter Asher Moses points out: “Ironically, the negative word of mouth and worldwide media coverage criticising 2Clix for trying to silence its critics seems to have damaged the firm’s reputation far more than the forum threads that were the subject of the lawsuit.”
Unfortunately for 2Clix, the case won’t be dropped from Google or any of the web’s various search engines. In fact, seven of the first ten results related to 2Clix now reference the original Whirlpool post and the subsequent legal action. 2Clix’s reputation on the web will for a long-time be defined by this action and the Forum complaints that prompted the whole thing in the first place.
In circumstances like this, the only way to fight information you believe is defamatory is to fight-fire-with-fire. Respond to comments, write your own blog response, take your story to the press and other bloggers. Getting lawyers involved will only ever make you look like a bad guy and they’re almost impossible cases to get up anyway.