The Law Has Still to Catch-Up with Issues Related to Online Reputation

Preserving online reputation is becoming an increasingly important and instrumental step in maintaining reputation on the Internet. However, laws regarding the corrupt practices, such as faking reviews and defaming businesses need to catch-up with the industry.
According to a recent article published in the NYU Journal of Law & Business, DePaul University law professor Max N. Helveston, commented that maintaining online image has become the top priority of businesses, which is also prompting organizations to act inappropriately. For instance, lawmakers caught companies trying to fake reviews by offering monetary incentives to the review websites. In response, law enforcement are slow to react to such practices due to the absence of laws that target such exploitation.

Providing details on a number of recent cases regarding corrupt practices of some large organizations, Max commented that there are a number of recent lawsuits where law enforcement had to settle matters out of the court with various search engine companies. These search engine companies were known to help several large organizations fake online reviews and get away with it. However, lawmakers had to settle matter out of the court because policies and laws on manipulation of reputation are weak, which allows many large firms to get away during court proceedings.

The professor also provided important solutions in tackling such malpractices. He suggested that online review platform should be made responsible for disclosing any business relationship with businesses. Recently, such laws are enacted for relationships between businesses and their affiliates. Besides, he also suggested that consumers or anyone defaming another business without sufficient proof should also be strictly dealt with because disingenuous and deceptive information can cost reputable businesses millions of dollars in brand image. Similarly, there should be laws holding businesses and employees responsible for posting reviews of their own company. Regarding such matters, employees should be stopped from posting reviews of their own company. For instance, websites including GlassDoor allows employees to post reviews of their workplace.

Overall, such rules will empower class-action lawyers to tackle exploitation of online reputation management. As a result, it will also be easier for lawmakers to settle matters inside the court making it easier for the judges to punish culprits by referencing a past case.