Citing irreparable injury to its brand and business reputation, as well as loss of revenue, Ascentive, LLC, a global developer and retailer of computer software products and a leader in the personal computer software industry, on November 23rd, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against Opinion Corp., doing business as ”PissedConsumer.com,” an online “consumer advocacy group.” This is the first time racketeering, conspiracy and extortion charges have been brought against PissedConsumer.com.
The suit claims that not only did PissedConsumer.com encourage the posting of false, misleading and untrue consumer comments relating to Ascentive’s products on its website but also demanded substantial sums of money to remove the complaints via its “custom reputation management” services.
Abbe F. Fletman and Alexis Arena of Philadelphia’s Flaster Greenberg PC, counsel for plaintiff Ascentive, predict this case most likely will not be the last of its kind.
“We have been hearing from other companies and individuals who also are complaining about unfair treatment at the hands of PissedConsumer,” Fletman stated.
The numerous charges alleged by Ascentive against Opinion Corp., owner of the website www.PissedConsumer.com, include that Opinion Corp. holds itself out as an “unbiased” consumer review site but accepts payments in exchange for removing false consumer complaints on the www.PissedConsumer.com website. The suit further states that PissedConsumer.com encourages and creates the most negative postings it can, and displays those postings as prominently on the internet as possible, to induce Ascentive to pay PissedConsumer substantial sums of money to “remove, recategorize, hide and filter existing and new complaints.” In addition, Ascentive alleges that the “complaints” posted on the PissedConsumer website may not be made by actual consumers of the product, but are often completely false and defamatory, routinely authored by parties such as competitors of the target company that seek to harm its reputation to increase their own sales. The complaint also alleges that the tactics utilized by PissedConsumer include deceptive “black hat SEO” practices or search engine optimization techniques to artificially inflate its rankings in search results on Google, Bing and Yahoo!.
The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of New York. Plaintiffs are requesting a preliminary injunction compelling PissedConsumer to remove certain content from its website in anticipation of a jury trial.
Editor’s Note: A PDF of the initial Complaint can be downloaded here.
ABOUT ASCENTIVE, LLC: Ascentive, LLC is a global developer and retailer of computer software products and a leader in the personal computer software industry. Ascentive offers a broad variety of software and services solutions for the home and has received accolades from media organizations such as Tech TV and NBC. We are especially proud of our child protection software, BeAware, which has been featured in Forbes, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal. In addition, our Software is available in six languages including German, French, and Italian.
ABOUT FLASTER GREENBERG P.C.:Flaster Greenberg, attorneys at law, has been providing legal services to individuals, entrepreneurs, privately held and family-owned businesses and publicly traded corporations throughout the Delaware Valley for nearly four decades. A regional business law firm of 75 attorneys with offices in Pennsylvania (PA), New Jersey (NJ) and Delaware (DE), Flaster Greenberg serves clients in dozens of industries and practice areas including bankruptcy, business & corporate, litigation, construction, environmental, health care and intellectual property law.