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Request from Retailers

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I have a request from the many retailers out there who work very hard in an industry (retail) that is very difficult to make successful. Myself, and other retailers, read these message boards frequently to find out what is going on in the marketplace, and often find valuable information. Many times we see posts like "they may not make it", or "I wonder how their doing" on these very message boards. I can only hope that those posting anything like this don't realize how incredibally damaging this is to a business, and how "I wonder if" quickly becomes "they are", with one or two conversations.

Month after month for the past 8 years, I have had rumors spread about my business closing. Sometimes, we are able to trace the rumors back to message boards like this one, other times, to competitors. In fact, I had a good customer call the other day, was sad to hear that my store was closing, and when I explained to her that it wasn't, she was relieved. When asked where she got the information, she replied that it came off this message board, and that a lot of people were talking about it. I found the post, and it was exactly that, people on this message board saying things like "I bet they don't make it".

My request is this from retailers, please don't post rumors or your opinions about whether a business is going to make it or not. These seemingly innocent posts cost us a great deal of money, and can cause a great deal of damage.

Thank you

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My request is this from retailers, please don't post rumors or your opinions about whether a business is going to make it or not. These seemingly innocent posts cost us a great deal of money, and can cause a great deal of damage.

Thank you

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Thanks for your reply. When we first started hearing rumors 8 years ago (and we have heard the rumor 100's of times over the years), we tried to refute them, and quickly discovered that only fueled the fire. So, long ago, we decided it was best to keep going.

Second, certainly there is nothing illegal about expressing your opinion about whether or not a company is going to make it - it's a free country. However, maybe the question you should ask is not "can I", but "should I".

On your comment about the company whose credit rating was downgraded, you asked what would be wrong with giving your opinion that you think they are going out of business. Why not just say the fact that their credit rating was downgraded, or why if you got bad service, or didn't like a companies business plan, just state the facts. This would be good, constructive criticism. I cannot imagine why you would then give your opinion that you don't think a company will make it. That, for business owners like us, is playing with our lives, our families lives and the lives of the many employees and their families that work for us and pay taxes in our communities. Why would someone want to hurt their community by giving their opinions? How about expressing your criticisms to the manager or owner of a business to help them, rather than speculating on a message board.

I would certainly take issue with your comment about a message board is being the same "as if we were sitting around the kitchen table". These conversations are nothing like sitting around a kitchen table, they can be read by everyone, and require a much higher degree of responsibility. Putting something in writing, versus saying something, always carries a much higher degree of responsibility.

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As one of the administrators of this site, I will remind everyone that when they joined UrbanPlanet, you had to agree to read and abide by our Terms of Service, Posted Rules, and any other request made by a member of the staff here. Staff = Moderator, Super Moderator, and Admin.

If someone is making untrue, slanderous, or any other kind of inappropriate statement, then send a private message (PM) to one of us or email to [email protected] and we will handle it. There is no need to start an entire topic about it. We would rather not have an argument break out between retailers in a topic on this site. This isn't due to the legal reasons as I believe we are more than covered there, but because it makes for a dull use of UrbanPlanet's resources. Many of us spend a lot of time, money and effort to make UP available to communities such as Grand Rapids and want it used for positive purposes.

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Did anyone ever think that the rumor started elsewhere and was just regurgitated here?

A lot of the "rumors" I read here ended up being true.

Sometimes if there is a buzz like "I bet they don't make it" there's a reason for that. Tell us what business it is and the persons that posted it will surely be glad to explain why they thought this. That sounds like pure opinion and conjecture, which last time I was aware is covered in the first amendment pretty well.

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Did anyone ever think that the rumor started elsewhere and was just regurgitated here?

A lot of the "rumors" I read here ended up being true.

Sometimes if there is a buzz like "I bet they don't make it" there's a reason for that. Tell us what business it is and the persons that posted it will surely be glad to explain why they thought this. That sounds like pure opinion and conjecture, which last time I was aware is covered in the first amendment pretty well.

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Opinion about whether a business seems to be doing well is just that, opinion. Rumors clearly labeled as such are just that, rumors.

There's no defamation there and nothing wrong at all with that sort of banter. Remove that from these boards and they are far less interesting places.

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I have a request from the many retailers out there who work very hard in an industry (retail) that is very difficult to make successful. Myself, and other retailers, read these message boards frequently to find out what is going on in the marketplace, and often find valuable information. Many times we see posts like "they may not make it", or "I wonder how their doing" on these very message boards. I can only hope that those posting anything like this don't realize how incredibally damaging this is to a business, and how "I wonder if" quickly becomes "they are", with one or two conversations.

Month after month for the past 8 years, I have had rumors spread about my business closing. Sometimes, we are able to trace the rumors back to message boards like this one, other times, to competitors. In fact, I had a good customer call the other day, was sad to hear that my store was closing, and when I explained to her that it wasn't, she was relieved. When asked where she got the information, she replied that it came off this message board, and that a lot of people were talking about it. I found the post, and it was exactly that, people on this message board saying things like "I bet they don't make it".

My request is this from retailers, please don't post rumors or your opinions about whether a business is going to make it or not. These seemingly innocent posts cost us a great deal of money, and can cause a great deal of damage.

Thank you

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I don't think the OP was threatening legal action but rather asking that people think before they post. Seems like a reasonable request.

And I think you're confusing the free speech clause with a defamation claim. They can be related, but it doesn't seem applicable in this situation.

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... the fact that they were evidently not willing to clear the air with their specific concerns undermined their credibility - to me anyway.

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I hardly think speculation about the viability of any business comes close to defamation. The purpose of these forums are to talk about urban development and enterprise, and naturally the viability of projects or businesses is a part of the dialog.

That being said, certainly the original poster has every right to express his opinion and state his request. But the fact that they were evidently not willing to clear the air with their specific concerns undermined their credibility - to me anyway.

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That's hardly an outrageous request, and I'm a little surprised at the response.

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Like I said, again, the original poster has every right to express his opinion and state his request. But it seems disingenuous to claim how "damaging" this is, yet not bother to correct the matter at hand, no?

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