Avvo Ruling Reinforces First Amendment Rights for Anonymous Reviewers

Washington appeals court has denied a lawyer who received a negative review on the website access to the identity of the poster.

, Legaltech News


Washington appeals court has denied a lawyer who received a negative review on the website access to the identity of the poster.

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What's being said

  • Richard

    There are legitimate interests on both sides which is why this is a difficult case. I believe a compromise decision would have been better. Specifically, Avvo might have been required to determine if the commentator was a client of the lawyer, someone in contact with a dissatisfied client, or a third person / competitor. If the first, then nothing need be done except Avvo should be allowed to note "verified client" next to the review. If the second, then the review should be taken down unless the client chooses to repost it as his/her own. In the third situation the identity should be revealed because the poster has libeled the lawyer and should not be able to hide behind his/her anonymity. The posting of "verified client" or "verified customer" next to negative reviews should discourage fishing expeditions to enable SLAPP lawsuits while knowing one ‘s identity will be revealed if one has not received the service being criticized should discourage disparagement by competitors or personal vendettas.

  • Terry Dodds

    Well, I may cancel my Avvo advertising since both the company and their general counsel believes the rights of anonymous posters trumps the attorneys who pay them. I‘ve had employees of another attorney leave a negative review of myself and several other attorneys here locally on Google, so I have no doubt that anonymous posters are sometimes completely defamous. Bye bye Avvo. I‘ll find somewhere else to spend my advertising dollars.

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