What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Wedding Photographer’s Suit Over Social Media Slams

By Karen Robinson-Jacobs
The Dallas Morning News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A Dallas area Wedding photographer recently won a hefty lawsuit after being trashed online. This article takes a look what entrepreneurs can do to protect their reputations before getting into a legal dispute with an unhappy customer/client.

The Dallas Morning News

Before her name went up in flames in a blaze of internet infamy, Dallas wedding photographer Andrea Polito had not invested money in maintaining the integrity of her online identity.

“I honestly didn’t feel I needed to,” said Polito, who last week won $1.08 million at the culmination of a two-year legal campaign to clear her name. She had an established business and “didn’t have upset clients for the most part.”

For Polito, whose business was “destroyed” by a disgruntled couple via online postings and a broadcast report, vindication came in the form of a Dallas County jury verdict last week.

The jury decided newlyweds Neely and Andrew Moldovan had embarked on an extensive effort to slam Polito and her business, Andrea Polito Photography.

Polito’s operation, launched in May 2003, came to abrupt halt in 2015 after the couple made defamatory, disparaging and malicious statements following a dispute about wedding photographs, according to court documents. The Moldovans, who could not be reached for comment, can appeal the ruling.

Andrea Polito Photography, which is not currently operating, is typical of what some online experts described as “sitting ducks.” These are small to medium-sized firms with a thriving business but no one specifically tasked with keeping the company’s online persona pristine.

‘The degree of business that can be lost from devastating things being posted online can be really severe for some types of businesses,” said Chris Silver Smith of Dallas-based Argent Media, an agency that focuses in part on online reputation management.

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