RepDigger.com is an online reputation directory and scoring service. It generates online profiles and user-generated content, including reviews for companies, brands, websites, and individuals. Because anyone can post an anonymous review on RepDigger, and the Website does not check the truth or accuracy of the review, there are many false and defamatory reviews on the site that can damage the reputation for an individual or a business.
What is RepDigger.com?
RepDigger.com is a review website for people to share their experiences with others about using a company or interacting with individual professionals. RepDigger uses reviews, both the good and the bad, to calculate a reputation score on a scale of 0 to 100%. A user can check the reputation of a prospective business partner, contractor, or company by typing its name into the search button and view the individual or company’s reputation score.
On RepDigger’s platform, anyone can make a post to offer their opinion about a company. Some of the companies who score lower in reviews get a “Bad” or “Average” RepScore. If there are fewer reviews that are all negative, that can reflect poorly in the score and on the business.
If your company gets a review and a RepScore on RepDigger.com, keep in mind that this does not necessarily signify your overall reputation online, it is only based on the reviews on the RepDigger site.
What is Online Defamation / Cyber Libel?
Online defamation, or cyber libel, is a way to hold someone legally responsible for the misinformation they spread online. Online Defamation can occur if a user creates fake or exaggerated negative reviews on a site like RepDigger.com to ruin the reputation of an individual or brand intentionally. It is not as uncommon as it sounds.
In order to prove online defamation (or cyber libel), certain legal standards must be met. In order to qualify as online defamation, you must be able to prove that a false statement of fact was made regarding a particular person that tends to harm the person. In other words, the statement must be both false and damaging.
For example, if someone leaves a review about a business and says that the owner is a convicted felon, and he is not a convicted felon, then you have satisfied the first element of a defamation claim. The claim is demonstrably false.
If as a result of your review, there is a decline in business and you are able to attribute this decline in business to the review (rather than to economic conditions), you have satisfied the second element of a defamation claim. Damages are difficult to prove in a defamation claim.
Why is it Difficult to Remove Content from RepDigger.com?
Website hosts, moderators, and Internet Service Providers are protected from liability for content posted by others. In the RepDigger Terms of Service section, the company clearly states that it is “not responsible for the accuracy of such content, and such content should not necessarily be relied upon. [RepDigger] does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such content and does not adopt, endorse, or claim responsibility for same.”
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and the doctrine of Fair Use makes it very difficult to remove content from RepDigger.com
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
In 1996, Congress adopted Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to provide Websites like RepDigger with general immunity from liability with respect to third-party content posted on their site. While section 230 was not originally intended to embolden complaint sites or support cyberbullying or defamation, social media platforms, review sites, news outlets, and even RepDigger.com could not exist if they were responsible for the user-generated content of others.
When you are trying to remove content from a Website due to copyright reasons, a common defense is fair use. The person who contributed the post, and the Website where the post can be found, are able to claim Fair Use and Fair Use allows the use of copyrighted content without authorization from the original owner.
The determination of Fair Use is on a case-by-case basis and requires a detailed analysis, so it is best to consult an attorney or online reputation management company.
How to Use DMCA to Remove Copyright Content from RepDigger.com
A DMCA notice would notify RepDigger.com about a copyright infringement on there Website and they would have to take it down. When you submit a DMCA takedown notification for RepDigger, it needs to go to a designated DMCA agent for the site. RepDigger.com provides a contact email for sending the DMCA notice. If approved, the designated agent will ensure the copyright-infringing material gets taken down.
Your DMCA notice should include the following:
- Your signature (written or electronic)
- Identification of the original content
- Identification of the posted content accused of copyright infringement
- Your contact information for further communication about the copyrighted material
- Statement saying that you have good faith belief that the person did not have permission or authorization to use your copyrighted content in any way
- Statement saying the information in the DMCA is accurate, under penalty of perjury
The owner of the Website where you submit the DMCA takedown request may submit a counter-notification, so pay attention to any further contact from the DMCA agent for the RepDigger.com website.
If you complete the DMCA notification correctly and the information is accurate, then the post should come down right away.
Online Reputation Management and Content Removal
You don’t have to search very long or very hard to find online reputation management companies promising “guaranteed” removal. If it sounds “too good to be true” it probably is. However, there are some websites where it is possible to offer a removal guarantee. The best online reputation management companies creatively use copyright and defamation / cyber libel law, online privacy regulations, the policies and procedures outlined by Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and confidential, direct and indirect negotiations with webmasters and website owners to help many clients remove online search results.
How to Remove a Post on RepDigger.com
Removing a post on RepDigger.com is very difficult, especially since copyright violations are infrequent and “fair use” is interpreted very broadly, even if the content is protected by copyright, such as the unauthorized use of a company logo.
Because of the CDA, it would be nearly impossible to successfully sue RepDigger for online defamation. Instead, the recourse for online defamation is to identify the individual(s) who posted the defamatory content and then upon receipt of a valid court order, compel RepDigger to remove the content.
If you have evidence of copyright infringement, it will be much easier to get a quick response and removal, compared to trying to prove an online defamation case in court. However, “fair use” principles suggest that even if some portion of the review were protected by copyright, the substance of the review itself would be permitted by established law concerning “fair use”.
Online reputation management services can help with content removal on even the most difficult sites.
Reputation Rhino has an experienced team of legal, public relations, marketing, and technology experts and can provide you with fast and affordable solutions to remove a post on RepDigger.com.