Bad Review, Really Bad Response
In the 4th century B.C., Aristotle referenced the “wisdom of the crowds.” This was the idea that the opinions of many were more likely to lead to the right result than the judgment of a few. NPR’s Planet Money did an excellent show on the wisdom of the crowds. Our modern consumerist society relies on the wisdom of the crowds all the time. Specifically, online reviews.
My family, and I’m sure lots others, use sites like Amazon to buy products. And what products we buy, or don’t buy, are affected in no small part by online reviews. Of course there are online reviews for all kinds of businesses and products. This office has a Yelp page and an Avvo page that host online reviews. I’m always happy when I client I’ve worked hard for takes the time out of their day to post something on a website for others to see. While it’s not why I do my work, it is gratifying to pour yourself into something and get that positive feedback. The flip side is also true. Pouring yourself into something and then being told you did a bad job can’t feel good, even though it does come up.
“How to Handle Bad Online Reviews” comes back with over 55 million hits on Google. A cottage industry has sprung up for businesses to pay people to manage the feedback. Among lawyers, how to respond, or whether to respond at all, to bad online reviews is frequently debated.
Within this debate, however, no one has ever suggested an aggrieved writer drive to Scotland and attack a teenager who posted a critical review of a book.
Unfortunately that is what author Richard Brittain decided to do. Unhappy with a one-star review of his “epic fairytale romance,” Mr. Brittan used Facebook to find out where critic Paige Rolland worked. He drove 500 miles to Scotland, waited until her back was turned, and then smashed a wine bottle over her head. Mr. Brittain was arrested, charged, and pleaded guilty to the assault. I’m happy to report Ms. Rolland has recovered from her grape depression.
If you or someone you know weren’t able to bottle up their feelings and made a big mistake, feel free to give me a call.