Mike Duffy, Nigel Wright, Rob Ford – all men whose reputations have been taking a hit over the past week. Each of these individuals is choosing a different way to protect their reputation, but leaving aside personal reputations, what about your business reputation?

The issue of defamatory remarks by anonymous posters has become a business issue many have had to tackle – when hit with these remarks it is important to evaluate their impact and what, if anything, you intend to do about it.

If someone posts something defamatory about your business in an obscure blog that receives no traffic and does not appear in search results, then pursuing the poster will attract more attention to the false comments than leaving them alone. Before proceeding “on principal” ask yourself if the legal fees will exceed the monetary impact the posting has on your business. If the answer is yes, then you need to consider if you must proceed in any event to prevent yourself from being targeted by others or if it is better to simply let the blog comments die an slow, unviewed death.

Your business reputation extends beyond bad reviews on Yelp or in Blogs, it also extends into your credit relationships with customers. I recall vividly a young dentist we assisted many years ago. The dentist set up practice in a neighborhood and quickly found that many of the cheques for post-dated payments were being returned NSF. The dentist was getting a reputation for doing work without taking immediate payment and many were taking advantage of this. Ultimately, the dentist chose to sue on several accounts and “surprisingly” the dentist was no longer the victim of people seeking services with payment over time. The dentist has gone on to have a thriving practice, dispelling the concerns of many business owners that if they sue on for money that is owed, they will lose customers.

As lawyers we are always taught, you have one reputation, you don’t want to ruin it.

Are you protecting your business reputation from ruin?

Inga B. Andriessen JD
iandressen@andriessen.ca