One very popular website in the field of Online Reputation Management is Ripoff Report. The age, size, and popularity of the website make it incredibly powerful; the terms and legal guardians ensure the highest level of protection for contributors under the first amendment as well as the website itself under the Communications Decency Act. Ripoff Report removal is among the most challenging tasks for an Online Reputation Management or SEO company to undertake. It’s not impossible to delete, hide, or otherwise neutralize Ripoff Report posts in search engine results, but it does require effort. There are several factors that make removing posts from Ripoff Report more complicated than removing posts from many other sites.
Ripoff Report is Old
Do you know what Google and RipoffReport.com have in common? They were both founded in 1998. In Internet years, that is an extraordinarily long time. Generally speaking, the more reliable and established your web presence is, the more authoritative you will be in the opinion of Google’s algorithm. This concept makes intrinsic sense, too. If a talented SEO creates a well optimized site intending to remove a Ripoff Report from Google, he needs to outdo 18 years of traffic and backlinks. At the time of this writing, Ripoff Report’s domain authority, according to Moz, is a 75. Ripoff Report removal is difficult because ROR has a head start on the vast majority of websites today.
Ripoff Report is Huge
Ripoff Report has 683,000 pages in Google’s index. That is a massive amount of content. With so much content online, and new reports being submitted every day, it’s not only difficult to remove Ripoff Report posts, it’s also very difficult to hedge against anyone utilizing a site like Ripoff Report to mount an online defamation campaign. Many professionals today consider sites like RoR a persistent threat because even an innocuous post or a post about another business sharing the same name will be associated with a website entitled “Ripoff Report,” and this association is bad for business. It’s very challenging to create new web properties or optimize existing ones as a strategy to remove Ripoff Report links from the first page of search results.
Ripoff Report Knows the Law
The folks behind Ripoff Report are smart. They are also aware that unanimously agreeable information will rarely be posted on their site, and they plan accordingly. Though many companies have filed suit against the website, that’s not the most effective way to remove information from Ripoff Report. Ripoff Report is careful to adhere to all the standards and legal practices to ensure that they are never liable for anything written on their website. Immunity of this kind is actually provided to every website that accepts user generated content by an American law called the Communications Decency Act.
Whoever wrote the post is legally responsible for it unless the website owner alters the meaning of the content, and no court has ever found evidence that Ripoff Report alters user’s posts. Therefore, any legal action for defamation of character would have to be against the original author. Furthermore, under the provisions of the CDA websites hosting third party information cannot be named as responsible parties in a defamation suit and are therefore not required to comply with an injunction resulting from a defamation suit. Therefore, with the exception of violent threats, social security numbers, and other sensitive personal information, Ripoff Report is not under any obligation to remove content that a third party authored, even if a court determines that the content is defamatory and/or the author would like to remove it.
Ripoff Report is Bold
At first glance, disseminating defamatory information when the original author no longer consents to publishing it online seems audacious and perhaps a bit unfair. On the other hand, including provisions to allow anyone to remove content from a site like Ripoff Report could potentially allow the removal of true information. Many websites include provisions in their terms and conditions for extenuating circumstances where the courts are involved. Google is an example of one such website; Bing is not. Removing links from Google after attaining a court order is fairly straightforward. While this policy certainly helps in the event of false, negative information, Forbes published an article outlining the potential for abuse.
Ripoff Report removal looks like it will be somewhat of a holy grail in Online Reputation Management for some time to come. Removing information from Ripoff Report is very difficult for several reasons. The age and size of the site make it very authoritative, so creating content that search engines will find more relevant takes large amounts of time and resources to create and promote. Ripoff Report is and has been involved in quite a few lawsuits and they are very familiar with the legal environment in which they operate. Currently websites may choose to comply with court orders but are ultimately not required to create provisions for removing defamatory content online. That is why Ripoff Report removal is so difficult.
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