I read this article in this month’s Inc Magazine.
Basically, a small business woman in North Carolina decided to write about her experiences with what she felt was a one-step-below-a-scam service that offered to create a documentary-like advertorial for her business for some $20+K (a significant amount for a small business, or for anyone for that matter).
Her honesty (from her perspective) and sharing of her experiences in her blog may cost her far more than that — far more. We’re talking in the neighborhood of a $20 million lawsuit by the media company. (By the way, her namei s Leslie Richard and the company, based in North Carolina, is The Oko Box.)
One of the lawyers interviewed for the story explained that “Anything posted on a CEO’s blog — including reader comments — can be construed as carrying the weight of a company’s endorsement” — meaning that the company is liable for comments (from the writer, or from readers for that matter) that could be detrimental to another business.
I am so not getting into the legal aspect here — suffice it to say this story, no matter what the end result or the fine details — worries me greatly. It also illustrates the fine and not yet defined lines between what’s OK and what’s not OK in today’s media.
I’m not sure what this means for all of us — we can’t speak our mind or retell our stories on our terms? (Or, we can and risk a $20 million lawsuit?)