One of my clients recently came to me with a sticky situation that involved negative personal attacks against him from someone he knows. I hate to see ANYONE go through online attacks, but since it happened to one of my clients I felt even more compelled to write about online reputation management again -- one of my favorite topics. In my PR 101 days in college, it was hammered into our brains to always have a contingency plan no matter what.
How PREPARED are you for negative attacks online? Do you have a plan?
You can't control what people say about you, but you can stay on top of your online reputation. Unfortunately, there are negative people out there who like to stir the pot. Even if the negative comments they post are false, you need to be alert and prepared.
A word of caution: DO NOT engage in online 'debates' or fire back with personal attacks in retaliation against that person. You just open yourself up for further retaliation and you come across as unprofessional. Also, you never know people's mental status online and it's easy to track down personal information about you and your company. Play it safe.
As I mentioned in previous posts, if the negative comments cross the line and you aren't sure how to handle the comments, please seek legal counsel. A lawyer can help you further clarify your situation and give you proper legal advice. Refer to the definition of libel below:
"Libel is defined as the defamation of a person, business, group, product, government, or nation that is made in written or printed words or pictures. In order to be libel, the claim must be in writing, it must be false and the person making it must state or imply that it is factual. In other words, libel means printing or implying something negative as if it were true, when it is not. The publication where the libel occurs is assumed to be read by persons other than the person defamed."