Blogger fined for ranking too well in Google
Hey everyone, hope you’ve all had a great week!
I have something a little bit different for you today so I hope you don’t mind me going a little bit off topic but I just thought my fellow bloggers out there might find this interesting. I came across a story yesterday about a blogger who wrote a review of a French restaurant, a review which managed to land her with a hefty fine and a visit to a French court, why? Simply because her post was ranking too well in Google’s search engine results.
From what I can see this lady is a fashion and literacy blogger, so I’m not sure whether she had visited the restaurant with the intention of reviewing it or not. After experiencing poor service and a poor attitude from the restaurant’s owner however, she ended up posting quite a negative review of the restaurant on her blog detailing out the grievances of her visit. In what would initially appear to be a good result her review managed to land itself on the first page of Google (in 4th spot to be exact), a result that most bloggers would be pretty happy with. Sadly for this blogger it hasn’t turned out to be a good result at all and has actually landed her with weeks of stress as well as a £1,200/$2,000 fine because a judge in France ruled that her review had negatively impacted on the restaurant’s business. The Judge then ordered her to change the title of the post so that it wouldn’t appear so high up in Google’s search results.
Should you only be allowed to post positive reviews?
I’ve written a few review posts in the past but they have only tended to be reviews of products or services that I like, so far anyway. I also have to admit that the thought that I might land myself in a bit of trouble if I was to ever post a negative review of a company online has crossed my mind. If you were to find yourself in a position in life where you felt truly aggrieved about an experience you’d had with a company though, if you have made the effort to start a blog, should you then refrain from posting your thoughts on your own personal blog just because people out there might actually agree with you and start sharing it socially or worse yet, link to it?
Of course there is the other side of the coin where you may have one very influential blogger who has a bad experience with a company but where this is completely a one-off event and the company in question usually provides stellar service to their customers. In this case it may seem a little harsh if this one experience and negative review were to completely destroy the reputation of a company, but then I’d like to think that the readers of the blog would feel it only right to jump to that company’s defence in the comments if they felt that the review was overly harsh or incorrect.
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the ruling it has still happened and the offending blog post has now been deleted, an outcome which is likely to anger many bloggers and perhaps even worry some others who have posted negative reviews in the past. One thing is for sure, I don’t think too many bloggers out there are going to be championing the French legal system anytime soon.
What do you think about the ruling?