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[Reputation Management / Takedown Notice Guide] Removing Defamatory Content, DMCA Notices, and Other

Discussion in 'Online Reputation Management (ORM)' started by MatthewGraham, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. MatthewGraham

    MatthewGraham Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Hello BHW,

    Recently had to deal with a few competitors posting fake defamatory reviews about one of my services, which were successfully taken down through filing abuse reports.

    I put together a brief guide to removing this type of slanderous content to share with some of my administrators and a few partners/colleagues in the same niche who were facing the same problem. Am dropping a generalized version of this here. Hope it helps some of you.

    The text below refers to a Cease and Desist Template and a DMCA takedown notice template. I didn't attach those here since they contain some personally identifying informaiton. If anyone's interested in or needs that type of template, feel free to PM me.

    Anyway, the guide is below.

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Filing Abuse Reports
    Finding Abuse Email Addresses to Contact

    There are three types parties that you should email when filing abuse reports. Using an example of BlackHatWorld here.

    1. The actual website owner.
      1. Do a WHOIS loopup:
        1. https://whois.icann.org/en
        2. https://whois.icann.org/en/lookup?name=blackhatworld.com
          1. [email protected]
      2. You can also/alternatively look around on the actual website to find public contact information, although some sites (especially the kinds of sites that post fake defamatory content) do not have such email addresses listed publicly.
    2. The domain registrar's abuse email address:
      1. Using that same WHOIS lookup from #1, this turns up:
        1. Abuse Contact Email: [email protected]
    3. The owner of the IP address (a company, generally a massive company).
      1. This is the party that is generally the most responsive to these types of abuse complains. Mildly trickier to find and easy to overlook even though it's generally going to have the best success rate.
        1. Look up the IP address of the website that is hosting the abusive content:
          1. https://www.site24x7.com/find-ip-address-of-web-site.html
            1. Turns up 104.25.214.49 for BlackHatWorld
        2. Look up the owner of the IP address:
          1. https://www.ultratools.com/tools/ipWhoisLookup
            1. For BHW, this is "Cloudflare, Inc."
        3. Search for the abuse contact information for the organization. Exact way to find this can vary between organization. Cloudflare's is here.
          1. https://www.cloudflare.com/abuse.
          2. There's usually an email to contact. Cloudflare doesn't seem to have one., but I didn't look very hard. The form above serves the same purpose. Examples of emails:
            1. Amazon Web Services' gives an email here: (https://aws.amazon.com/premiumsupport/knowledge-center/report-aws-abuse/)
    Now that you have the emails of all three parties, you can file reports in the next step.

    Types of Reports to File
    **Filing an Abuse Complaint with Domain Registrars and Hosting Services**
    You can file such a complaint in seconds. Download the attached template "Cease-and-Desist-Template--Defamation-and-False-Advertising.docx", fill in the relevant details, and forward the document to all of the email addresses for the three parties.

    Additionally, you can file a complaint with the Public Domain Registery regarding this abuse: https://publicdomainregistry.com/report-abuse-complain/

    **Filing a DMCA Complaint**
    If the offending websites have violated your intellectual property rights, you may also or alternatively have legal grounds to have the content removed through the filing of a DMCA complaint. A template for such a complaint is attached.

    You can file such a complaint in seconds. Download the attached template "DMCA-Copyright-Infringement-Takedown-Notification.docx", fill in the relevant details, and forward the document to all of the following email addresses.

    **Rich Snippets Spam**
    This is easy to file, but has a low success rate. Might be more successful if you got a bunch of super legit Google accounts / IPs to flag the content. I didn't have a chance to test that, since it seemed like a huge inefficient hassle.

    Using Rich Snippets / Schema markup to highlight falsified information, such as what the offending websites have done, is a violation of the Google terms of use. In under five seconds, you can report this abuse to Google to request that the defamatory markup on these fraudulent search results be removed:

    https://support.google.com/webmasters/contact/rich_snippets_spam?hl=en

    **Right to Legal Action**
    In the unlikely case that the defamatory content remains online after completing the previous easy steps, it can be removed through legal action.

    Your company has the right to file a legal complaint against the offending websites. Upon the entry of a court order against the parties responsible, you may enforce such a court order by:

    1. Sending copies of the court order to the websites who posted the defamatory statements directing those services to take down those statements; and
    2. Sending the court order to the website and internet service provider which host the defamatory material, and the search engines (for example, Google), and request that they remove the defamatory content.
     
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  2. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The last section about the court order doesn't actually talk about the legal process or the need for an attorney. You go straight from legal action to having a court order.

    Personally, I always hire an attorney who is competent with online matters and defamation rather than do it myself.
     
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  3. coloredhatnew

    coloredhatnew Registered Member

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    Just adding here contacting an attorney to send out a Cease and Desist letter can often result in positive action being taken.
     
  4. Dayclone

    Dayclone Registered Member

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    Am I missing something but I don' see a attachment?
     
  5. MatthewGraham

    MatthewGraham Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Mentioned in the original post: "The text below refers to a Cease and Desist Template and a DMCA takedown notice template. I didn't attach those here since they contain some personally identifying information. If anyone's interested in or needs that type of template, feel free to PM me."


    Yes, having an attorney can certainly increase the success rate. Another thing they can do is, in addition to sending a cease and desist, prepare a legal complaint (the actual document that you would submit to a court when filing a lawsuit) and state that they have intent to file the complaint if the issue is not resolved within a given timeframe.

    Yes, that part could certainly use more information. As you mention, you would generally want to consult with a lawyer about your specific case.
     
  6. InnovativeSEO

    InnovativeSEO Senior Member

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    Great share, very helpful. Wish I had this available years back when I worked my first ORM case.
     
  7. MatthewGraham

    MatthewGraham Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Update - This still works. Just used the same process and templates to remove another two false and defamatory webpages.
     
  8. ElectricHead

    ElectricHead Junior Member

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    Bookmarked for reference, thank you for sharing your experiences with us!
     
  9. Zombie Pop

    Zombie Pop Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thank you for this post. PM sent about the letters.
     
  10. Zombie Pop

    Zombie Pop Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Haven't heard anything back on the letters. No worries, I got some, but thank you. Just wondering before I do all this - do you send a cease and desist to the hosting company or where you are going to send abuse complaints? Or do you just politely notify them that the defamatory information is being hosted on their servers, and copy the hosting company etc on the cease and desist that you sent the website owners that have published the defamatory information?

    Thanks
     
  11. pm_money

    pm_money Junior Member

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    Received the docx today and they rock. Thanks a lot man :D
     
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  12. youtalk

    youtalk Regular Member

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    Nice article. But I have a client with a similar case, but Glassdoor won’t remove the review. Anyone have experience with them?
     
  13. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Suppression. You can contact some people who deal with that or if you want specific help from the forum, you might want to post your own new thread, that will get more attention that it will in this thread.
     
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