What To Do When Someone Defames You Online

October 10, 2011

Hiya

It is impossible to be liked by everyone. Believe me as soon as you start
having some success online you'll get little people trying to cut you down,
they used to call it "tall poppy" in Australia.

You can be the greatest guy in the world and someone will resent you for it….
I remember one of my mentors Dr John Demartini telling me that 

"The degree that you can withstand people disliking you is the degree
that you have mastered your life'

and

"With great success comes great challenge"

So I am use to "the haters" jealous little people who seek to make themselves
feel better by trying to make you feel worse… I'm sure you've had one of
those in your life.

Anyway, recently I came across some very nasty stuff written online about Kids 5 a day 

Very nasty and designed to make them and their product look good at the expense
of mine.

So I did what I always do and called in the experts. 

For me that means sparing no expense on the best defamation lawyers in the UK.

It is worth every pound you'll spend to make sure that you hire the best, listen if
you were getting heart surgery you'd want the best you can afford right?

Same for this.

I recommend pursuing them to the full extent of the law, reason being is that when
you take them to court and sue them THEY have to pay the costs.

Nice huh :-) 

So make sure you have the best lawyers as this will ensure you win your case.

Anyway here's the steps to take:

1. E-mail / write them a letter outlining the defamation and what you would like to
be done about it. Keep your cool and simply state facts, the law is no place for your
emotions.

I write - With Prejudice at the top of the e-mail or letter so I can use it in court later.

Be sure to date it too.

Next make a copy of the offending site, the owner of the site can be found with a
simple search here:

http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp

make a copy of this too.

Next you want to find out how many visitors the site gets because you'll nee this
later when you sue them.

You can find that out here: 

http://www.trafficestimate.com/

or

www.alexa.com 

will also tell you :-) 

or some people put the free stat counter on their page that Google analytics
uses and you can see there too.

Anyway here's why you want this information.

Defamation is written and slander is verbal, and they are basically the same
thing, someone talking shit about you.

BUT

Legally they are VERY different.

With defamation it is assumed that there are damages to you or your business.

Slander you have to prove it, there are 4 exceptions but generally speaking
slander is hard to prove as it's your word against theirs.

But defamation is written and there for all to see :-) 

So it's taken as read that it caused damage and loss for you, and get this,
when damages are awarded they are calculated on the number of visitors
to the website!

So you WANT lots of visitors :-) 

You can always subpoena this info if you need to when you go to court and
you will to get the accurate info but it's good to know roughly how much
money you'll make :-) 

Moving on

So once you have written the letter or e-mail and given reasonable time to
have the offending material removed, (always ask for the site to be taken
down as 100% of the hosting companies will take the site down anyway as
they don't want the legal hassle and it's in all their terms and conditions)
Get your lawyers to draft up the letter to sue them.

Now, why not wait for the deadline?

Well 95% of people don't realise how serious defamation is, and they will
either ignore you or not comply. Dumb but true.

So it just makes sense to be ready to go, sure it costs to have the letter
drawn up but you're going to get all your costs back anyway and if you talk
to your lawyer and they know they can win they will defer costs anyway.

I like to go straight to the "lets sue them" part as it's the only thing most
people listen too.

When they get a court summons they quickly start taking notice!

And as soon as they get legal advice (most people wait till they get the court
summons) and their lawyer tells them they're in deep dog poo they get very
talkative real fast!

This is what's called an out of court settlement, basically your lawyer will add
up all their hours they have done and all the hours they anticipate doing and
arrive at a figure. They then add on your damages based on number of visitors
to the site etc

and the negotiations begin :-) 

Generally for out of court you'll get £20,000 - £50,000 depending on the case.

In actual fact if you have a strong case you want to go to court, although if the
defender (the person you are suing) has offered a reasonable out of court the
judge looks harshly on you if you continue, unless there are extraneous circumstances.

So there you have it, using the law is part and parcel of your business so you
want to get savvy with it.

as for who I recommend I have used 2 firms in the past:

http://www.schillings.co.uk/

and

http://www.carter-ruck.com/

Carter Ruck are pitbulls! 

Expensive but they always win :-) 

If you want someone cheaper then I know the guys at 

http://www.bainscohen.com/

and they are great too.

Finally set up a google alert for your name and business name

http://www.google.com/alerts

That way you can jump on anyone who defames you online :-) 

Speak soon!

Neil Asher

This post was written by

Neil Asher – who has written posts on Neil Asher.
Neil Asher - lazy Git Neil Asher my mates call me running businesses in 5 countries, entrepreneur and 3rd worst flamenco guitarist in London, twice customer of week at Starbucks and full time dad to Isabella Asher, I love helping people get their business online

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{ 1 comment }

Wally Esnard January 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I have been checking out a few of your articles and i must say nice stuff. I will make sure to bookmark your site.

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