Zut alors! SEO outlawed in France (so avoid Il Giardino in Cap-Ferret)


Il Giardino in Cap-Ferret gags French blogger Caroline Doudet.

A French bar got fed up of its lousy reviews, so it fixed its food and service. No, wait, the other thing: It took a food blogger to court, to shut her up. Classy.

Why did the "diva" restaurant owner pick on this particular blogger? Because her review ranked highest, that's why. Yes, your L33T SEO-skills can now get you fined in France. C'est conneries!

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers affect the Streisand effect.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.


Kevin Rawlinson masticates:

A French judge has ruled against a blogger because her scathing restaurant review was too prominent in Google. ... The judge ordered that the post's title be amended and told the blogger...to pay [$3,400 in fines and] damages.

[The blogger] said the decision made it a crime to be highly ranked. [But] the restaurant owners said the article's prominence was unfairly hurting their business.  MORE


Tim Cushing eats it up:

Here's yet another business that, when confronted with a negative review, thought to itself, "Why not deter EVEN MORE potential patrons from...setting foot in our establishment?"

Rather than address the issues, or simply disregard the single voice complaining about the three waitpersons apparently needed to acquire a single round of beverages (not to mention quality issues with the food and service)...Il Giardino decided to make its mégot mal a full-blown legal affair.

[Now] Il Giardino's decision to sue is hurting it far more than Doudet's post did...its reputation has gone completely south, something that wouldn't have happened if it had just accepted the fact that bad reviews happen.  MORE


But Greg Sterling regurgitates his SEO angle:

The restaurant, Il Giardino, complained...that the critical review had hurt its business. The blogger, Caroline Doudet, had something of a following (3,000) for her blog.

The original title of the review was “The place to avoid in Cap-Ferret: Il Giardino.” The court in Bordeaux ordered the title of the review changed. ... In the U.S., there would be no claim against the blogger because the review would fall squarely within First Amendment protection...the judge’s actions and decision appear to me to be pretty outrageous. I could perhaps understand...if the review were totally defamatory.

The only “crime” here, then, was ranking too high in search results.  MORE


À partir de la bouche du cheval, Caroline Doudet spoke to Hillary Dixler:

I regret not having left the restaurant from the beginning and therefore never having written the article. That would have been easier. [But] I stand by the review.

Recently several writers in France were sentenced in similar proceedings for defamation, invasion of privacy, and so on. And I find it really serious if we no longer have the freedom to write. ... I don't see the point of criticism if it's only positive. It's clear that online, people are suspicious of places that only get positive reviews.  MORE


Meanwhile, Joy Harpy harps on, Streisand-stylee:

If I could give less than 1 star I would, it's hard to believe there's anything about this place that's worse than the food but the atmosphere takes that prize, it feels like you're an extra in an Orwellian world nothing can be less than double-plus good or the owner comes out and throws a hissy fit before taking you to court.  MORE

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