New York State Attorney General Eric T. Shneiderman announced this week that 19 search engine optimization firms and private companies agreed to pay fines exceeding $350,000 (in the aggregate) and cease writing fake reviews online. The year long “Operation Clean Turf” was targeted at cleaning up the growing problem of “astroturfing”, the practice of hiring ostensibly independent third parties to provide favorable reviews that appear to be unbiased and legitimate. Numerous fake reviews were created on popular websites such as Yelp.com, Google Local, InsiderPages.com and Citysearch.com. [Read more…]
Four LinkedIn members filed a stunning complaint in federal court last week, accusing the professional social networking giant of hacking members’ email accounts in an effort to increase membership and revenues. The plaintiffs, seeking class action status, claimed that LinkedIn will surreptitiously harvest email addresses using “open” connections to email accounts such as Yahoo! Mail, Microsoft Mail, Google Gmail, and a number of other web-based email service providers. After doing so, the company will send multiple reminders to the recipients to join, ostensibly on behalf of LinkedIn members.
As was reported earlier in September, first Sean McGinn couldn’t handle rejection at Match.com. Apparently now he can’t handle the humiliation and ridicule as a result of his lawsuit – which he has apparently dropped. The Law Professor blog will have complete documents and an analysis of the Match.com reply to McGinn’s complaint (and amended complaint) as well as the memorandums of law. [Read more…]
In what has to be one of the most unusual and potentially ill-advised twitter related lawsuits, a Chicago landlord sued a former tenant for $50,000 for a practically unseen twitter post – until now. “Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay,” Amanda Bonnen apparently wrote in her Twitter feed May 12 at 9:08 a.m., broadcast to her two dozen followers.
As one would expect, there is history between the parties. Amanda Bonnen filed against Horizon after an incident in March when a contractor caused a roof leak that affected some of units at 4242 N. Sheridan Road. Horizon claimed no mold was found but conceded she experienced leaking into her apartment. According to a Horizon press release, “…all tenant grievances were quickly and amicably resolved, except Ms. Bonnen’s. She moved out of her unit on her own volition June 30, 2009 at which time there was no evidence of mold in her apartment.”
Apparently in the course of due diligence for Bonnen’s action, Horizon’s lawyers discovered the offending tweet. So what did Horizon do – have a conversation with Bonnen and demand its removal? Apparently not. Jeffrey Michael, whose family has run Horizon for more than 25 years, allegedly said: “The statements are obviously false, and it’s our intention to prove that… We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization,” noting that the family manages over 1,500 apartments in Chicago and wants to preserve its good reputation.
One can only wonder whether the repercussions from the negative publicity are greater than the damages sought over this single tweet.
Have you seen the latest onslaught of marketing for these work at home success stories? Hi – my name is Scott and I am originally from <your area> and I recently lost my job. Want to make $5,000 a month just by placing a few Google ads? Here’s a picture of my check. Here’s my wife with me on our honeymoon after I was able to happily support our family again and now a success story. Too good to be true? Absolutely! Hopefully this fascinating exposee of fraudulent marketing practices will save your money or help you recover funds you’ve lost as a victim to this latest scam where Scott, Josh or Adam make cash and your bank account empties. [Read more…]