As bloggers, one of the most beautiful things about doing this is the ability of expressing ourselves without restrain. After all, the press is free and each individual has the freedom of expression. On the other hand, as readers, we love how bloggers get to the bottom of things without being influenced by a company, an editor or a conflict of interests.
However, something happened these days in France. Something that makes us question all the above. Here’s the story:
A French blogger called Caroline Doudet has a blog with about 3,000 followers. She visited a restaurant called Il Giordano and, after receiving poor service, she posted a critical (but polite, in our opinion) review. The article rocketed in SERPS so the restaurant management decided to sue the blogger over being… too prominent on Google. Apparently, the article ranked fourth when searching the restaurant’s name.
Of course, this review, which was called “The place to avoid in Cap-Ferret: Il Giardino”, had an effect on the restaurant’s business. Now, in our PR-istic opinion, the restaurant should have posted an apologetic official answer. Well, no, they went to court.
What comes more as a surprise, is that the judge ruled in the restaurant’s favor, compelling the blogger to change the title and pay 1500 euros damages.
“This decision creates a new crime of ‘being too highly ranked [on a search engine], or of having too great an influence,” (Caroline Doudet told BBC)
“Maybe there were some errors in the service, that happens sometimes in the middle of August – I recognise that,” said the restaurateur. Although they admitted there may have been errors, they don’t seem to know that their actions have consequences.
Until then, yeah, apparently it is a crime to have good SEO. If this is not odd, we don’t know what else is…