Jerk.com Legal Matters: Personal Review Website Under FTC Investigation
Jerk.com, RipOffReport, Yelp, and other niche review sites are now Internet staples. And while review websites can sometimes present a problem for businesses, they can also serve as great advertising tools. Sure, a surly customer could sully your reputation for a stint, but more often than not, happy customers share glowing testimonials, which helps boost business.
A New Type Of Online Review Site (It’s Now Getting Personal)
When social media started to flourish, a new type of “review site” became popular. People grew bored with rating products and services, and moved on to rating each other. In fact, if you believe Aaron Sorkin’s creation myth, a crude “Hot or Not” site birthed Zuckerburg’s now ubiquitous online hangout, Facebook.
The Rise Of Personal Review Websites
Jerk.com is one of the more popular “personal review websites” around. It features user-generated content and ranking functionalities. Some believe the platform also features questionable “automated content.” Jerk.com’s rules about who can post a profile are, shall we say, not strict. As such, it’s easy for users to create unflattering pages about their least favorite people.
In their nascent days, Jerk.com loved free speech so much that, according to Gene Quinn, the company allegedly refused to remove material about a 10-year-old target.
But like Internet laws, Jerk.com has evolved. Most notably, the social media site says they now adhere to DMCA takedown procedures. Moreover, “Remove” is the second item on their website menu – which, if clicked, takes you to a pay for removal portal.
Jerk.com Lawsuits & Detractors
As you’d imagine, since its inception, Jerk.com has had its fair share of detractors. But what recently caught officials’ attention were allegations that Jerk, LLC wasn’t following COPPA regulations. COPPA – The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act – is a strict law that vouchsafes personally identifiable information of minors aged 13 and under. COPPA violation fees are steep and the FTC is always on the hunt for violators.
During the FTC investigation material surfaced that raised the question: Did Jerk.com’s profile generation methods also skirt the law?
This April, the FTC denied Jerk, LLC’s motion to quash a civil investigative demand. As a result, the FTC will continue to investigate the website’s content generation methods.
Contact An Online Defamation Lawyer
Are you dealing with an online defamation issue? A COPPA issue? If yes, get in touch. Kelly Warner is a full service defamation and Internet law legal practice. We’ve helped many others and can do the same for you.