Martin here.

This week, the gang’s together again…and we start by talking about a business that charges customers a penalty for negative online reviews.


In case you missed it, a hotel in upstate New York said it would levy a fine of $500 for bad reviews written by guests.

The company has since recanted the story claiming it was a joke that harkened back to a long-past wedding and they never removed the policy. Gini likens this to businesses that pay for positive reviews and says you can’t dictate what people say about you online good or bad. You just have to provide the best experience and customer service you can, listen and address issues. Here’s a link to the story for details.

We switch gears and discuss a study on online privacy by Craig Newmark and others that offers some insightful results. One of the main findings is that two-thirds of us either skim or don’t bother to read the terms of service. Which means we don’t know what we’re agreeing to or what rights we’re signing away.

Gini, Joe and I did a straw poll and it turns out the three of us all fall in that 66 per cent majority.

That’s not a good thing…

Joe links this to news that when Google receives a request under Europe’s right to be forgotten legislation, it has been informing webmasters about it before it takes down the links-in-question.

According to the WSJ, Google claims that alerting publishers to impending removals is the only way they can respond with their side of the story.

Joe’s concern is that we’re giving a private company the ability to make decisions about our privacy and rights based on its commercial self-interests.

I think the situation is similar to one we’ve always had with media: they have their own agendas, yet we trust them to filter stories and news.

It’s certainly a complex issue.

What do you think? About penalizing or paying for reviews? About reading terms of service, about the right to be forgotten…


We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the FIR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Google+ Community, join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoseph Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Thank you to the people behind Inside PR

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea LeCompte.



  1. Hi Inside PR team!

    Remember me? An old time friend and previous producer for Inside PR. I miss your voices, so I periodically check-in and catch up on episodes.

    I really liked the topic of this week’s episode and I wanted to share my opinions on privacy. Maybe it is my generation, or my personality, but because I feel like I have nothing to hide, I have always been more than happy to share private information.

    I have a belief, maybe more of a hope, that the more information I provide in this digital age, the better my customer experience will be. If I give up my email, my interests and my address, I want to receive tailored communications that speaks to ME.

    Unfortunately, I find that a lot of organizations nowadays collect a ton of information and only use it internally without passing off the benefits to their customers and audiences. Why would anyone want to give away all their personal information… for a generic email blast?

    Now I know this goes off on a little bit of a tangent to the right to be forgotten, but I thought I would share it anyway.

    Keep up the good work!

    Your number one fan!


  2. Martin Author

    Kristine? Kristine? Yes, that name does ring a bell :).

    Seriously, Kristine – thanks so much for your kind words and comments! Great to hear from you!

    I’m a bit like you when it comes to privacy (and unlike many in my generation), which is to say I’m happy to be transparent. That said, I am starting to get a bit concerned about all the digital following going on – and I don’t mean by people. Because in the wrong hands – all that data is potentially harmful. So I give away cautiously – but probably not as cautiously as I should (i.e. reading terms of service).

    And just so you know – we miss you and maybe you could jump on as a guest one of these weeks soon.

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