Company That Threatened to Sue Negative Reviewer Just Lost Its Amazon Account

While the reviewer took down his Amazon and Reddit posts, Mediabridge might have lost its livelihood.

National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
May 9, 2014, 8:40 a.m.

The con­sequences of one neg­at­ive Amazon re­view might have just cost a com­pany its busi­ness.

Earli­er this week, a man took to Red­dit ask­ing for leg­al ad­vice, say­ing a law firm was threat­en­ing to sue him for writ­ing a neg­at­ive re­view about an In­ter­net router.

The com­pany that sold that router, New Jer­sey-based Me­di­abridge, through the law firm, claimed that the re­view con­tained sev­er­al as­ser­tions that were “false, de­fam­at­ory, li­belous, and slan­der­ous.” The re­view­er claimed the com­pany faked pos­it­ive re­views and stole the design of their product from an­oth­er com­pany.

Com­pan­ies have been able to suc­cess­fully sue over false on­line re­views in the past.

In the days after the law firm made its threat, the man who wrote the Amazon re­view has taken down his ori­gin­al re­view and his post on Red­dit. But that’s not the end of this for the com­pany.

Lead­ers at Me­di­abridge now say that Amazon has re­voked the com­pany’s seller ac­count, pre­vent­ing the sale of Me­di­abridge products on Amazon.com — the only site through which it cur­rently sells its products. That might mean the loss of jobs for many of the com­pany’s em­ploy­ees, the com­pany claims.

“All of this is due to mis­in­form­a­tion which was blown out of pro­por­tion by in­di­vidu­als on a so­cial me­dia site who ac­ted first, be­fore ques­tion­ing wheth­er the in­form­a­tion they had was ac­cur­ate or not,” rep­res­ent­at­ives of the com­pany said in a state­ment. “This is the real­ity of this situ­ation. Re­mem­ber that there is a hu­man as­pect to this story.”

Me­di­abridge still de­fends the ac­tions it took against the Amazon user, who had ori­gin­ally claimed the com­pany was bul­ly­ing him and threat­en­ing to sue for a simple neg­at­ive re­view.

The Amazon user has not ac­tu­ally been sued. Not yet, at least. He has been warned and asked to cor­rect what Me­di­abridge and its law­yers called “un­true and dam­aging state­ments.” And the com­pany is not threat­en­ing to sue just over a neg­at­ive re­view, rep­res­ent­at­ives say. Com­pan­ies re­ceive many neg­at­ive re­views for their products, and to sue over them would be “silly,” Me­di­abridge ad­mits. The com­pany just took is­sue with per­ceived false­hoods in the re­view it­self.

“This was done in the most pub­lic for­um, and in the very spot where our products are dis­played,” the com­pany con­tin­ued in a state­ment. “It would be like see­ing a sign at a Ford deal­er­ship, right next to a Mus­tang that says, ‘This car was made with child labor.’ “

Ap­par­ently, Me­di­abridge has had to deal with these sort of state­ments in the past, the com­pany says, and spent two years de­fend­ing pre­vi­ous al­leg­a­tions in sep­ar­ate re­views. For Me­di­abridge, it is “with­in our rights to take steps to pro­tect our repu­ta­tion” when “an army at­tacks us on the In­ter­net.”

But that “army” might have just cost Me­di­abridge its fu­ture.

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