Complaint Review: Ripoff Report Founder, Ed Magedson, Responds to David Goehst’s September 23, 2014 HuffPost Blog entitled “Did Ripoff report Steal the Consumer Voice?” - Tempe Arizona
Ripoff Report Founder, Ed Magedson, Responds to David Goehst’s September 23, 2014 HuffPost Blog entitled “Did Ripoff report Steal the Consumer Voice?” ..to those championing anti-bullying efforts while essentially bullying, harassing and/or defaming groves of innocent people and businesses under the guise of a “boycott” ...Hypocrites’ Tempe Arizona
*Consumer Comment: FREEDOM OF SPEECH POEM...
Due to character limitations, I was unable to post my entire response to Mr. Goehst’s initial blog post posted on HuffPost on September 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm EDT. Below you will find my full opinion and response on this matter.
Before I go further to defend and explain the website that I founded, I want to say that I find it interesting that out of all the complaint and review sites out there, a select few critics (including critics that the author of this HuffPost Blog, at least by appearance through what appears to be his personal Facebook account suggesting that this HuffPost Blog article is his “own effort to short down this life ruining mouthpiece”) have chosen to focus solely on Ripoff Report.
While there are certain Russians out there believing they can just take what isn’t theirs; and competing websites, some of which who stole their content from Ripoff Report in order to get their start in the business (who are still being indexed by Google in spite of winning lawsuits for such content theft), everyone wants to focus solely on Ripoff Report and its alleged shortcomings.
Further, what is most ironic about it all is that a majority of these critics claim to be some sort of anti-bullying/defamation activists but yet, their mode of operation is rather hypocritical in that they are championing anti-bullying efforts while essentially bullying, harassing and/or defaming groves of innocent people and businesses under the guise of a “boycott”. Personally I don’t see the logic in that. If any normal human being does even a small bit of research they will understand exactly what I am talking about – thousands of posts, by the same group of people, some of which are believe to be using multiple aliases, talking essentially to each other to make it look like a legitimate conversation. Folks – there are a lot of tricky people out in the world and you should be careful of those who chant the loudest.
Now to the website: Ripoff Report strongly believes in the First Amendment, even when it is about us. We understand that people who have complaints written about them are upset and want to place blame somewhere, especially if they feel the content of the Reports are false. We also understand that individuals want to blame our website rather than where it belongs – on the person who wrote the Reports in the first place, that is, if in fact the information is inaccurate. If the information is true…the individual or business only has themselves to blame and can hopefully learn from the complaint rather than being defensive about it. We all make mistakes…and having an opportunity to learn from a mistake is valuable.
Every user of our website has the opportunity to tell their side of the story, for free. We certainly encourage users to “set the record straight” and tell their side of the story by using the free methods available to them before they consider other paid Ripoff Report programs (such as our VIP Arbitration Program – which is actually a price of $2,000.00 to help cover the costs of our administrator ‘s and professional arbitrator’s time and not $2,500.00 as Mr. Goehst inaccurately suggested in his blog post above - or the Corporate Advocacy Program) or alterative avenues (such as filing a lawsuit against the Author of the report) that cost money. After all, the only thing we know is that the author has affirmed to us, prior to posting, that the information they post is true and, generally speaking of course, we have no clue who the author of a Report is, nor do we know we know the individual or entity that the Report author is posting about. Of course, as we all can likely agree, there are always multiple sides/versions of a story!
This is why we allow Reports, Comments, Rebuttals and Updates, for free, by anyone (including the person/company posted about) who has information to share about the situation. This includes the ability to upload documents that support the position that is being advanced. By doing so, all sides of the story are able to be heard so other users of the site can view the information, conduct other research, and make an educated decision about the situation for themselves. Again, as suggested before, all of our users who sign up for an account with the website must check a box, prior to submission, indicating that the information they report on will be the truth and that the Report will become a permanent record.
ED Magedson – Founder, Ripoff Report
It’s absurd to propose that Ripoff Report, which is an open and interactive website, should not be available for people to make comments about their experiences. With that kind of rationale, one could kiss the internet goodbye. Do you think that this blog on HuffPost or any other mainstream interactive websites, would exist if you told the users that no one could post any comments about anyone, or anything, unless it was first verified? Of course not! To require such action would be to stifle the freedom of speech and the free exchange of information and ideas. For example: Did Mr. Goehst verify the VIP Arbitration price before writing about it here? Obviously not because he got the information incorrect, even though it is clearly listed on our website, but yet he wrote in anyway. Why did he get it wrong? I will leave that your imagination.
To some extent, Mr. Goehst is right in that some people’s way of explaining themselves on an open and public forum like Ripoff Report is akin to writing on a bathroom wall. After all, he himself called Ripoff Report a “life ruining mouthpiece” on a public Page on Facebook. I guess that makes Facebook a public bathroom wall too…which many people can also agree with. As with many posts to every open forum, the information posted to Ripoff Report ss raw, uncensored and often fueled by emotion. This is really no different than life itself. Unlike well written political campaigns or news media pieces that was written by someone who does so for a living, targeted to a certain audience, the Reports found on Ripoff Report are often written by the average Joe/Jane, who may or may not be well educated, and are trying to express their points of view on a particular situation, regardless of who that audience might be.
Ripoff Report will not discriminate against someone who may share a difference of opinion in a way that does not fit the “normal” journalistic style of writing. At the same time, this is precisely why the information is valuable…where else can you find such information? Facebook? Twitter? Maybe but then people who blast garbage there can hide the fact that they did it later – just ask the critics...they are good at that game. How about other review sites? Hmmm, maybe not…many of those sites hide anything negative for a fee or are riddled with positive information posted there by hired PR people or friends/relatives…so they don’t count. What about the famous BBB? Yeah, not sure about that one either – 20/20 did an interesting video on that once suggesting that, at least the one that was investigated, that businesses could buy ratings AND we know of instances where consumers have turned to Ripoff Report because one of the BBB locations prematurely dismissed their claims. So would you rather have; raw data that might be a little over the top sometimes; OR would you rather have hidden negativity and false positive information? Based on the number of government agencies we get contacting us for information about victims or certain situations that are on the website on a regular basis, and the number of scams that have been brought to light because of these raw consumer Reports, we are going to go with raw data.
True, not all complaint/review sites are created equal, but Ripoff Report is “for consumers, by consumers” and, in fact, our Terms of Service say, at paragraph 3, “Opinions, advice, statements, offers or other information or content made available through ROR are those of their respective authors and not of [Ripoff Report] and should not necessarily be relied upon. Such authors are solely responsible for the accuracy of such content. [Ripoff Report] does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information on ROR and neither adopts nor endorses nor is responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any opinion, advice or statement made.” Ripoff Report does not hold out that any information posted by users of the website is accurate or necessarily reliable. We know that, generally speaking, there are individuals who speak the truth; there are individuals that will speak half-truths; and there are individuals who are angry and when they get mad “fly off the handle” later regretting what they said or wrote – because whatever was said was written during a time of anger and contempt and may not accurately reflect the actual situation. Sometimes people are so angry that they will push garbage as if it is the truth – maybe to the point where they start believing their own lies and can convince the naïve of the same. And sometimes even the judicial system can get things wrong or have questionable outcomes. Look at all the death row inmates being exonerated thanks to DNA evidence! Remember – even a court and jury once found OJ Simpson “not guilty”. Don’t be naïve and rely 100% on what someone else has said - that’s like copying the answers from the kid in front of you on a test who actually has the worst grade in the class.
We encourage people to conduct thorough research, through more than one forum/medium, before making final decisions about any particular individual or business. After all, no business can please 100% of their customers 100% of the time. Nor can all individuals please 100% of the people they interact with 100% of the time. That’s just life. Sometimes there are miscommunications. Sometimes a business’s staff member is having a bad day. Sometimes the customer is having a bad day. Warranted or not…all individuals and businesses get complaints. We believe it’s how those people and businesses take care of the complaints that separates good from the rest.
In wrapping up:
Consumers – if a business reaches out to you to try and resolve a problem, whether it be through postings on Ripoff Report or other avenues, we encourage you to work with the business and work through the situation with fairness in mind. Sometimes a resolution just cannot be reached and each party is entitled to his/her opinion about the situation. True, we don’t condone businesses trying to take advantage of consumers – that’s why our website was started in the first place. At the same time, we don’t condone consumers, disgruntled employees, or past business partners or other business competitors, trying to take advantage of businesses either.
To all parties who post on www.RipoffReport.com: Keep it calm, keep it honest, keep it fair. And if there is a resolution made after a posting, we encourage you to update your Report to explain that too. Further, while we are a proponent of Freedom of Speech, this freedom does not extend to information that is false and defamatory and you could be subject to legal action for posting such information.
To those who use Ripoff Report as a source of information: Do your research.
Lastly, if you see something on Ripoff Report (such as bad words, sexual claims where there should be a Police Report to back up those claims, clear personal information or financial information, etc) we encourage you to report it by writing our Customer Support Department at email@example.com . Chances are, it was merely overlooked. To error is human…if we were all machines we would just break down. And, on a similar note, if you think what you see on Ripoff Report is bad, you should see what we don’t post! Think about that for a minute. We are a lot nicer than we get credit for.
Ed Magedson - Founder Ripoff Report
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ED Magedson: Founder, Ripoff Report
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/01/2014 12:47 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff-report-founder-ed-magedson-responds-to-david-goehsts-september-23-2014-huffpost-blog-entitled-did-ripoff-report-steal-the-consumer-voice/tempe-arizona-85280/ripoff-report-founder-ed-magedson-responds-to-david-goehsts-september-23-2014-huffp-1180189. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content
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