After business owners Pam and Tony Sadrian called to cancel their account with local.com – a web development and online marketing firm — they were shocked to discover images of bedbugs superimposed over their listing. What made it worse? The couple’s business, Sundance Interiors, specializes in reupholstering furniture. The Sadrians are hoping to recoup the loss of business the images may have cost their venture via an online defamation lawsuit.
How This Online Marketing Defamation Case Kicked Off
The site in question, sundance-interiors.com, had been running along smoothly for several years. Then one day site owner, Pam Sadrian, called and canceled the service. She recalled that the customer service representative seemed happy and obliging. When she logged on the next day, however, three photographs were across the site, depicting a close-up of a bedbug, a photograph of a woman covered in bites and another of a large blue tote with “infested with bedbugs” emblazoned on it. Pam was horrified.
A Mysterious Facebook Page Also Appears Out Of Nowhere In This Online Marketing Defamation Case
The site sat that way for over six months. In addition, a Facebook account had been created in the company’s name, directing even more traffic to the site. Once local media were involved, the images mysteriously disappeared.
With no way to close down the Facebook account, and fearing her business had been by the images, the Sadrians filed suit against local.com. A spokesperson for the parent site claims an internal system error caused random images to be superimposed on the site, but the Sadrians believe it was malicious revenge meant to harm their business in retaliation for cancelling their website subscription.
While it is absolutely possible that the site was a victim of some strange system error, the body of evidence makes that conclusion circumspect. This type of online libel can do incalculable damage to a small business — not to mention to the entity doing the online defaming. The Sadrians are hoping to recoup some of that loss via their pending suit.
Speak With An Online Marketing Defamation Attorney
If you run a web development or web marketing company, a word of advice:
Never, ever purposefully ruin your clients’ sites or accounts in retaliation for severing their relationship with you!
gh you may, technically, own the domain or hosting account on which the site sits, more often than not you don’t own the company’s trademark or copyrights. Besides, it’s just not good business relations.
If you are a marketing company involved in a defamation lawsuit, and you’re ready to speak with an attorney, get in touch with Kelly / Warner Law today. We know the marketing industry – both online and off – and defamation law is our specialty.