It starts out innocent. The idea of starting a blog to post up rants about personal experiences or critiquing service providers and products. Seems harmless, but many are learning the hard way and paying the price.
While it typically costs nothing to set up a blogger account and develop
an audience of readers, there have been many changes over the last
several years that might encourage you to pause before clicking the
Seasoned and new take note as the numbers of blogger defamation lawsuits, city fees and insurance costs are on the rise. Where might you end up incurring fees?
Freedom of speech isn't so cheap for Philadelphia blog owners these day. The city recently asked those with blogs to pay a $300 business privilege fee. While the City Council is offering some leniency and not taxing them until they make the first $100k.
According to the Citizen Media Law Project, there has been a 70% jump in U.S. lawsuits since 2006. Most home insurance policies now offer a supplemental coverage, but at a
cost of $500 or more annually. This might be ideal for those who earn money and want peace of mind at the end of the day.
"Some bloggers may be covered for online lawsuits under the personal
liability coverage of their homeowners or renters insurance policies.
MetLife Auto & Home, a unit of New York- based MetLife Inc., and
Chubb Corp. in Warren, New Jersey, include coverage for damages caused
Filing a complaint through the BBB might be a less risky way to be heard when expressing opinions about services. Better Business Bureau statistics
show an increase of about 40% for the number of complaints filed. 70% of those complaints were resolved.
Anonymous inflammatory comments about people or companies can be used and site owners are
expected to relinquish your personal data to prosecutors upon request, as stated in an L.A. Times article: "'A lot of people don't know how easy it is to track them down' once a
lawsuit is filed, said Sara J. Rose, an American Civil Liberties Union
lawyer in Pittsburgh."