Blog Battles, the Forbes Way

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 at 04:16 PM

One thing that businesses hate about blogs is their independence--if a blogger takes a dislike to you, your company or your product, they can pretty much say what they want on their blog.  There's no newspaper editorial person to worry about offending advertisers, no television executive to worry about advertisers, etc.

So, companies are now plotting their own strategy for revenge/defense (it can be hard to distinguish).  And business being business, don't expect civility or restraint.  After all, you're messing with the money.  It's gotten to the point that even Forbes magazine has felt the need to weigh in on the subject.

For those who haven't already seen it, here's an excerpt from a recent Forbes sidebar on fighting back against bloggers who attack your company:

BUILD A BLOG SWARM. Reach out to key bloggers and get them on your side. Lavish them with attention. Or cash. Earlier this year Marqui, a tiny Portland, Ore. software shop, began paying 21 bloggers $800 per month to post items about Marqui, while requiring them to disclose the payments. Marqui's listings soared on Google from 2,000 to 250,000 results. Never mind that one blogger took the money and bashed a Marqui marketing strategy anyway.

BASH BACK. If you get attacked, dig up dirt on your assailant and feed it to sympathetic bloggers. Discredit him.

ATTACK THE HOST. Find some copyrighted text that a blogger has lifted from your Web site and threaten to sue his Internet service provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That may prompt the ISP to shut him down. Or threaten to drag the host into a defamation suit against the blogger. The host isn't liable but may skip the hassle and cut off the blogger's access anyway. Also:Subpoena the host company, demanding the blogger's name or Internet address.

SUE THE BLOGGER. If all else fails, you can sue your attacker for defamation, at the risk of getting mocked. You will have to chase him for years to collect damages. Settle for a court order forcing him to take down his material.