Tough, Knowledgeable Litigators

Photo of Professionals at Valente Law Firm

How the internet can facilitate unethical competition

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Defamation

Competition is a key element of capitalism. The need to compete with other businesses and professionals drives innovation and helps control prices for consumers. Economic regulations prioritize appropriate competition by preventing monopolies and other scenarios in which a small pool of players dominates an industry or a local economy.

There are also laws that regulate how businesses compete with each other. There are rules against corporate espionage and also laws protecting intellectual property rights that give businesses competitive advantages. Sometimes, one professional or organization crosses the line by engaging in unethical behavior to try to increase their market share or damage a competitor.

Defamation by competitors has always been a concern for those operating successful businesses. The internet has simply made it easier than ever before for another professional or company to try to sway consumers with exaggerated or outright falsified information.

How the internet can facilitate unfair competition

In some ways, widespread internet access has made it easier than ever before for the efforts of one business or professional to harm the reputation of another to spread to consumers. People can leave reviews online or post videos to social media making claims about something a company did or the quality of the goods or services it provided.

That information can gain traction rapidly in some cases, especially when the claims are dramatic. Online defamation can be very dangerous to a business, as it can cause a drastic reduction in reputation in a matter of hours. Even online reputation management services may not be adequate to prevent the negative impact of falsified reviews and viral social media complaints.

That being said, it has never been more feasible to track rumors and defamation back to a specific source. Executives and owners who investigate viral content making negative assertions about their organizations or professional services can potentially connect that content to a competitor by tracking IP addresses and usernames.

Particularly when the claims are patently false or involve substantial exaggeration, the business experiencing reputation damage because of what competitors posted online could take legal action. Pushing back against defamatory online statements could lead to a judge ordering the removal of offending content or possibly even awarding damages when the defamation has a provable impact on a company’s finances.

Responding assertively when questionable reviews and complaints appear online by pursuing business litigation can be a smart move. Companies that actively manage their online reputations proactively can minimize the harm caused by unethical attempts by competitors to skew the perception of the public.