Section 230 Helps Yahoo Defeat Lawsuit Over Online Harassment Campaign–Hall v. Yahoo 0

[It’s impossible to blog about Section 230 without reminding you that Congress is on the cusp of gutting it.]

Thomas Hall is a lawyer and author. He claims he was targeted for email harassment by several individuals. He further claims that Yahoo published defamatory material from his harassers using Yahoo and Hotmail accounts. Yahoo submitted a declaration that it hadn’t operated the accounts that Hall claims harassed him. Yahoo made an anti-SLAPP motion predicated in part on Section 230, and the court concludes Hall did not make the requisite showing of success.

Hall tries to overcome Section 230 by arguing that Yahoo failed to disclose identifying information for the Yahoo/Hotmail accountholders and therefore takes legal responsibility for their actions. The court flatly rejects the argument, saying the “CDA contains no such requirement.” The court adds “there was undisputed evidence that Yahoo was not responsible, in whole or in part, for the content of the emails and posts that are the subject of Hall’s claims.”

Hall’s argument is a variation of an argument that Section 230 doesn’t apply to anonymous or pseudonymous accounts. Stated that way, this case differs from a ruling like Huon v. Denton, where the plaintiff got a remarkably indulgent appellate panel to believe that the site operator could have been behind pseudonymous accounts. In contrast, this court’s opinion seemed to indicate Hall never tried that argument, and (because of California’s good anti-SLAPP law) he would have had to introduce some evidence to rebut Yahoo’s declaration–evidence Hall likely didn’t have. So future plaintiffs need not try working around Section 230 for not revealing the identity of pseudonymous accounts. It won’t work. Cf. Obado v. Magedson, Price v. Gannett, Hadley v. Gatehouse Media.

Note how UK law would reach a different conclusion on these facts.

Case citation: Hall v. Yahoo! Inc., 2017 WL 3305935 (Cal. App. Ct. Aug. 3, 2017)


Source: Eric Goldman Legal

Online Reputation Management for Direct Selling Companies 0

Here’s something that comes up in executive meetings all the time: “Why are people saying bad things about us on the Internet, and what can we do about it?”

This can be especially troubling to the CEO who founded the company and who has spent long years working hard to build the brand. He wakes up one day and finds defamatory remarks online about his company—not constructive criticism, but outrageous accusations and almost slanderous comments.

Worse, the negative reviews are on websites that rank high on search engine results pages, so that anyone doing a search on the company will see them. And it’s not just one negative review website, but several, causing the company’s online reputation to suffer.

As an executive, you need to be aware of your online reputation and know that you can take steps to manage it. You shouldn’t just leave it up to fate, or simply hope that people won’t post negative comments about your company. Your online reputation can have a dramatic effect on not only your brand perception, but also your company’s revenues.

A couple of years ago I met with a company that had a severe online reputation problem. When potential customers searched their company name, seven out of the top 10 Google rankings were negative. After a careful review of their rankings, and prior-year revenues, I determined that they were probably losing more than $1.5 million a year in sales due to negative search engine results. The company confirmed the fact that my estimates were indeed accurate—but low.

Direct selling companies face a unique challenge in protecting their online reputation. And because your success or failure depends on how potential customers perceive you, I want to cover the basics of managing and improving your online reputation.

1) What we mean by “online reputation”

Your online reputation is determined by the top Google rankings a prospect sees when they do a search on your company name. A prospect can quickly glance down the page of results and look for anything of interest that pops out at them. If a lot of those websites have negative reviews and complaints about your company, it will automatically diminish your reputation in their eyes. But if they see a list of websites with positive comments and testimonials, they’re more likely to sign up without further hesitation.

Because most people rarely look past the first page or two of search engine results, your online reputation is determined by the top 10 or 20 search results.

2) Where negative postings come from

Some websites specialize in letting anyone post a complaint. That makes it extremely easy for a dissatisfied customer to go online and share his or her experience with the world. And the complaint will still appear years later, even if it was a customer service issue that was quickly handled.

Websites like scam.com, ripoffreport.com and complaintsboard.com will pretty much accept postings from anyone. However, they rarely check for accuracy and are not likely to remove a posting if you request it.

These websites also tend to rank high in the search engines, so if your company is named in a complaint on one of these websites, expect it to show up on a search about you.

3) How a few complaints can hurt your online reputation

You might think that if you have thousands of happy customers and distributors, a few online complaints shouldn’t matter. But the math doesn’t work out that way.

Consider that a Google search returns 10 results on the first page. If just three of those are websites with complaints or criticisms, it means nearly a third of the search results are for negative websites. They may still be in the minority, but when a curious prospect sees a link that promises to reveal the “dirt” on a company, it’s hard to resist clicking through. After all, isn’t that what you’d do?

Even one review on a website like scam.com can have an impact if it shows up near the top of the page. Sometimes a single complaint, valid or not, is enough to scare away a prospect.

I know this sounds dire, but basic human psychology is at work here. All it takes is one negative review to give them a reason to say no to the opportunity.

4) What it takes to have a good online reputation

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to manage your online reputation so you are not at the mercy of your company’s critics. Start out right by following these three steps:

Step No. 1: Accept the fact of online reviews.

Short of outright slander or libel by the reviewers online, you really don’t have much legal recourse to make the negative postings go away. People have a right to complain, and these days it’s all too easy for unhappy customers to vent their frustrations and share their opinions with the whole world.

When you see a negative review about your company the instinctive reaction is to post a response to set the record straight. I understand the human need to respond, but you have to consider Google’s point of view. Here’s why.
Search engines rank various websites high for a few reasons, one of which is relevant content, especially when that content is updated on a regular basis.

When you post a comment on a website, you are in effect giving it new content. And if you get into a back-and-forth discussion with someone on a review website about your company, Google thinks “Ah, there’s a lot about this company here, so we’ll rank this website high for searches on their company name.”

Now when someone does a search on your company, they are even more likely to see the negative review. You want to avoid that. In fact, you want the websites with negative comments to slip further down the Google rankings so they don’t appear on the first page or two of a search. The next two steps help you with that.

Step No. 2: Focus on getting positive content.

A major part of online reputation management involves pushing the negative websites off of the first page or two of a Google search. How? By posting positive content and getting those pages to rank higher than the negative websites.

You need to direct your marketing or PR department to make online reputation management part of their regular duties. That means they should always be looking for, gathering or creating positive content that can be used to continually update your websites. Don’t put everything onto one corporate website. Instead, set up different websites for different purposes.

For example, you can have a website for new distributors, a website about your charitable giving, a website about conferences and meetings, a website for photos and perhaps individual product line websites. This gives you a nice stable of websites that you have control over.

Step No. 3: Push positive websites higher.

In the online world, your reputation is all about who owns the top-ranking results in a search for your company name. You want that space to belong to you—or at least be shared only with websites that have good things to say about you.

If you can do that, then the negative websites will be pushed off the first page of a Google search. And since very few people look past the first page of a search, those negative websites may as well not exist.

The best way to accomplish this is by performing search engine optimization on the positive websites to make them rank higher. Carefully review your websites’ content and the meta title tags to be sure they contain your company name. And most important, you’ll need to create plenty of back links to your positive websites so they are seen as more popular by Google. The magic of ranking higher in Google is relevant content and gathering a substantial number of links from other websites that point to your websites. These links are anchored by your company name.

The goal of getting all the positive websites to rank higher than the negative websites can be a hard one to reach. But considering how important your online reputation is, achieving this goal is well worth the effort. This is not always easy, and it can take many months of steady effort to achieve. Still, consider that the alternative is to let the complaints and negative reviews dominate the search results and trash your online reputation.

Of course, there are even more details to managing your online reputation, but the above steps give you the basic outline of what needs to be done. Just keep in mind that these days your company’s online reputation is one of the most important factors in determining its success.

Contact Me Today

If you’d like a free review of your company’s online reputation please send an email to: don@bigbluerobot.com or call 917-727-5756

The post Online Reputation Management for Direct Selling Companies appeared first on Big Blue Robot – Online Reputation Management.


Source: Big Blue Robot

Hubsters Makin’ Moves: Olivia Brown, Sales Recruiting Coordinator 0

When Sales Recruiting Coordinator Olivia Brown joined the Main Street Hub Team two years ago, she was thrilled to have the opportunity to help local business owners on a large scale after years of working in mom-and-pop shops.

She first joined our ATX Sales Office as a Sales Rep, and in April 2017, she transitioned to being the Recruiting Coordinator for our ATX Sales Team.

Get to know Olivia:

Tell us about yourself!

“My name is Olivia, and I was born in England! I lived in England for seven years and then moved to South Florida. After living there for 10 years, I moved to Middleburg, Virginia. I attended Furman University in South Carolina and graduated with a degree in sociology. I moved to Austin on a whim and have loved every minute of my two years here! I love trying new restaurants, and my favorite place to be in Austin is Barton Springs Pool!

What drew you to Main Street Hub?

“Every summer job I had in college was with small, local businesses, and I was always the one in charge of social media. I loved watching people engage with the businesses pages I was managing and watching our social engagement grow online.

“I read about Main Street Hub online, and I got so excited at the thought of impacting more than one small business every summer. That’s what drew me in: the opportunity to make a difference for a lot of small businesses and so more people in the local community could support them.”

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What was your favorite thing about each role you’ve had here?

“As a Sales Rep, my favorite thing was learning about different businesses and how they could use social media to grow their business. I loved explaining to business owners how we could help them grow their business in the direction they wanted it to go. I thrived on knowing I was able to have a business owner trust his entire online image with me.

“In the Recruiting Coordinator role, I have enjoyed bringing my sales experience to the Recruiting Team!”

What’s one thing you’ve learned that’s applied to all of your roles?

“Be resilient.”

Is there anything that surprised you when you transitioned into a different role?

“I was surprised at how easy my transition was! The Recruiting Team and People Team did such an amazing job of bringing me in and making me feel comfortable in my new role.”

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to transfer internally?

Speak Up! The best way to explore new opportunity at Main Street Hub is to Speak Up to the people and team you want to be on. Ask to meet with managers in departments that you are interested in — don’t be afraid!”

What is your favorite small business and why?

“Lick Ice Cream. Hands down, it is the most delicious and unique ice cream I have ever had in my life. I love how they source their ingredients from local Texas farmers. I recommend a scoop of the Goat Cheese, Thyme, and Honey with a scoop of the Dark Chocolate, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt!”

Want to take the next step in your career? Check out our current job openings, and apply!

We love helping Hubsters grow their careers! Get to know Will Harrington and learn how he transitioned from being a Platform Specialist to an Account Manager here.

Don’t miss Main Street Hub’s next move — follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram!



Hubsters Makin’ Moves: Olivia Brown, Sales Recruiting Coordinator was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Source: Main Street Hub

11 Lessons Learned from Failed Link Building Campaigns 0

Posted by kerryjones

We’ve created more than 800 content campaigns at Fractl over the years, and we’d be lying if we told you every single one was a hit.

The Internet is a finicky place. You can’t predict with 100% accuracy if your content will perform well. Sometimes what we think is going to do OK ends up being a massive hit. And there have been a few instances where we’d expect a campaign to be a huge success but it went on to garner lackluster results.

While you can’t control the whims of the Internet, you can avoid or include certain things in your content to help your chances of success. Through careful analysis we’ve pinpointed which factors tend to create high-performing content. Similarly, we’ve identified trends among our content that didn’t quite hit the mark.

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In this this post, I’ll share our most valuable lessons we learned from content flops. Bear in mind this advice applies if you’re using content to earn links and press pickups, which is what the majority of the content we create at Fractl aims to do.

1. There’s such a thing as too much data.

For content involving a lot of data, it can be tempting to publish every single data point you collect.

A good example of this is surveying. We’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of not only sharing all of the data we’ve collected in a survey, but also segmenting the data out by demographics — regardless of whether or not all of that data is super compelling. While this can give publishers a large volume of potential angles to choose from, the result is often unfocused content lacking a cohesive narrative.

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Only include the most insightful, interesting data points in your content, even if that means tossing aside most of the data you’ve gathered.

One example of this was a survey we did for a home security client where we asked people about stalker-ish behaviors they’d committed. The juiciest survey data (like 1 in 5 respondents had created a fake social account to spy on someone — yikes!) ended up getting buried because we included every data point from the survey, some of which wasn’t so interesting. Had we trimmed down the content to only the most shocking findings, it probably would have performed far better.

Furthermore, the more data you include, the more time it takes for a publisher to wade through it. As one journalist told us after we sent over an epic amount of data: “Long story short, this will take too much time.”

Consider this: It shouldn’t take a publisher more than 10 seconds of looking at your project to grasp the most meaningful data points. If they can’t quickly understand that, how will their readers?

2. Turning published data into something cool doesn’t always yield links.

If you’re going to use data that’s already been reported on, you better have a new spin or finding to present. Journalists don’t want to cover the same stats they have already covered.

A great example of this is a project we created about the reasons startups fail. The majority of the data we used came from CB Insights’ startup post mortems list, which had performed really well for them. (As of the time I’m writing this, according to Open Site Explorer it has 197 linking root domains from sites including BBC, Business Insider, Fortune, Vox, CNBC, and Entrepreneur — impressive!)

It worked well once, so it should work again if we repackage it into a new format, right?

We used the startups featured on the CB Insights list, added in a handful of additional startups, and created a sexy-looking interactive node map that grouped together startups according to the primary reasons they went under.

While the content didn’t end up being a failure (we got it picked up by Quartz, woo!), it definitely didn’t live up to the expectations we had for it.

Two problems with this project:

  1. We weren’t saying anything new about the data.
  2. The original data had gotten so much coverage that many relevant publishers had already seen it and/or published it.

But of course, there are exceptions. If you’re using existing data that hasn’t gotten a ton of coverage, but is interesting, then this can be a smart approach. The key is avoiding data that has already been widely reported in the vertical you want to get coverage in.

3. It’s difficult to build links with videos.

Video content can be extremely effective for viral sharing, which is fantastic for brand awareness. But are videos great for earning links? Not so much.

When you think of viral content, videos probably come to mind — which is exactly why you may assume awesome videos can attract a ton of backlinks. The problem is, publishers rarely give proper attribution to videos. Instead of linking to the video’s creator, they just embed the video from YouTube or link to YouTube. While a mention/link to the content creator often happens organically with a piece of static visual content, this is often not the case with videos.

Of course, you can reach out to anyone who embeds your video without linking to you and ask for a link. But this can add a time-consuming extra step to the already time-intensive process of video creation and promotion.

4. Political ideas are tough to pull off.

Most brands don’t want to touch political topics with a ten-foot pole. But to others, creating political content is appealing since it has strong potential to evoke an emotional reaction and get a lot of attention.

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We’ve had several amazing political ideas fail despite solid executions and promotional efforts. It’s hard for us to say why this is, but our assumption has been publishers don’t care about political content that isn’t breaking (because it’s always breaking). For this reason, we believe it’s nearly impossible to compete with the constant cycle of breaking political news.

5. Don’t make content for a specific publisher.

We’ve reached out to publishers to collaborate during content production, assuming that if the publisher feels ownership over the content and it’s created to their specifications, they will definitely publish it.

In general, we’ve found this approach doesn’t work because it tends to be a drain on the publishers (they don’t want to take on the extra work of collaborating with you) and it locks you into an end result that may only work for their site and no other publishers.

Remember: Publishers care about getting views and engagement on their site, not link generation for you or your client.

6. Hyperlocal content is a big risk.

If you focus on one city, even with an amazing piece of content featuring newsworthy information, you’re limited in how many publishers you can pitch it to. And then, you’re out of luck if none of those local publishers pick it up.

On the flip side, we’ve had a lot of success with content that features multiple cities/states/regions. This allows us to target a range of local and national publishers.

Note: This advice applies to campaigns where links/press mentions are the main goal – I’m not saying to never create content for a certain locality.

7. Always make more than one visual asset.

And one of those assets should always be a simple, static image.

Why?

Many websites have limits to the type of media they can publish. Every publisher is able to publish a static graphic, but not everyone can embed more complex content formats (fortunately, Moz can handle GIFs).

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In most cases, we’ve found publishers prefer the simplest visualizations. One classic example of this is a project where we compared reading levels and IQ across different states based on a analysis of half a million tweets. Our Director of Creative, Ryan Sammy, spent a painstaking amount of time (and money) creating an interactive map of the results.

What did most publishers end up featuring? A screenshot of a Tableau dashboard we had sent as a preview during outreach…

8. Be realistic about newsjacking.

Newsjacking content needs to go live within 24 to 48 hours of the news event to be timely. Can you really produce something in time to newsjack?

We’ve found newsjacking is hard to pull off in an agency setting since you have to account for production timelines and getting client feedback and approval. In-house brands have a more feasible shot at newsjacking if they don’t have to worry about a long internal approval process.

9. Watch out for shiny new tools and content formats.

Just because you are using cool, new technology doesn’t automatically make the content interesting. We’ve gotten caught up in the “cool factor” of the format or method only to end up with boring (but pretty) content.

10. Avoid super niche topics.

You greatly increase your risk of no return when you go super niche. The more you drill down a topic, the smaller your potential audience becomes (and potential sites that will link become fewer, too).

There are a ton of people interested in music, there are fewer people interested in rap music, there are even fewer people interested in folk rap music, and finally, there are so few people interested in ’90s folk rap. Creating content around ’90s folk rap will probably yield few to no links.

Some questions to ask to ensure your topic isn’t too niche:

  • Is there a large volume of published content about this topic? Do a Google search for a few niche keywords to see how many results come up compared to broader top-level topics.
  • If there is a lot of content, does that content get high engagement? Do a search in Buzzsumo for keywords related to the niche topic. Is the top content getting thousands of shares?
  • Are people curious about this topic? Search on BloomBerry to see how many questions people are asking about it.
  • Are there online communities dedicated to the topic? Do a quick search for “niche keyword + forum” to turn up communities.
  • Are there more than 5 publishers that focus exclusively on the niche topic?

11. Don’t make content on a topic you can’t be credible in.

When we produced a hard-hitting project about murder in the U.S. for a gambling client, the publishers we pitched didn’t take it seriously because the client wasn’t an authority on the subject.

From that point on, we stuck to creating more light-hearted content around gambling, partying, and entertainment, which is highly relevant to our client and goes over extremely well with publishers.

It’s OK to create content that is tangentially related to your brand (we do this very often), but the connection between the content topic and your industry should be obvious. Don’t leave publishers wondering, why is this company making this content?”

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Learning from failure is crucial for improvement.

Failure is inevitable, especially when you’re pushing boundaries or experimenting with something new (two things we try to do often at Fractl). The good news is that with failure you tend to have the greatest “a-ha!” moments. This is why having a post-campaign review of what did and didn’t work is so important.

Getting to the heart of why your content is rejected by publishers can be extremely helpful — we collect this information, and it’s invaluable for spotting things we can tweak during content production to increase our success rate. When a publisher tells you “no,” many times they will give a brief explanation why (and if they don’t, you can ask nicely for their feedback). Collect and review all of this publisher feedback and review it every few months. Like us, you may notice trends as to why publishers are passing up your content. Use these insights to correct your course instead of continuing to make the same mistakes.

And one last note for anyone creating content for clients: What should you do when your client’s campaign is a flop? To mitigate the risk to our clients, we replace a campaign if it fails to get any publisher coverage. While we’ve rarely had to do this, putting this assurance in place can give both you and your client peace of mind that a low-performing campaign doesn’t mean their investment has gone to waste.

What have you observed about your content that didn’t perform well? Does your experience contradict or mirror any of the lessons I shared?

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Source: Moz

How to Remove Court Records from the Internet 0

Privacy protection and reputation management have become major challenges for both individuals and businesses in the digital world. Among the greatest threats to one’s personal or professional reputation are old court records. Previously, anyone who wanted to find public court records would have to physically go to a local office and request a clerk to […]

The post How to Remove Court Records from the Internet appeared first on Reputation Resolutions.


Source: Reputation Resolutions