To Whom it May Concern,
My name is Dr XXX XXXXX I am the owner of XXXXX Dental Arts. I was made aware of your blog today and I wanted to know what, exactly, is the purpose of this negativity in your blog? You do not know who I am or what I do in my practice but to say such things is considered defamation of character and is illegal. The way in which I advertise on the internet or increase traffic to my website shouldn't be any concern to yourself. You do not know me, nor do you know anything about me. I ask that you take down your recent post about XXXXXXX Dental Arts. I do not want to escalate this to my attorney but if nothing is done within 24hrs, I will be forced to take legal action.
This happened once before when an attorney for the Alaska International Film Festival sent a longer letter. In that case, I contacted attorney John McKay who wrote a long response letter.
In this case, this was directly from the dentist, not his attorney. And he did say, "thanks" at the end. And he didn't use his title in his signature. Those are good signs to me. So I drafted a response and checked with my attorney and then sent it off Tuesday night:
Dr. XXXXXXXXX,This all happened about a week ago. I'll put this up now and Part 2 which includes the dentist's response and mine.
Let me try to address your questions:
1. “I was made aware of your blog today and I wanted to know what, exactly, is the purpose of this negativity in your blog?”
You mention negativity as though talking about something negative is a bad thing. Surely, when you find that a patient has a cavity, you must raise that negativity with your patient so you can proceed to fix it.
The purpose of the post is to point out the dangers of legitimate businesses hiring SEO firms that use sleazy tactics. Like filling a cavity, I’m trying to help businesses, like your own, protect themselves from sleazy SEO tactics. And like filling a cavity, it might hurt a bit, but I mean you no malice, as you mean your patients no malice.
2. "You do not know who I am or what I do in my practice. . .”
I do not know much about you, nor do you know me. But I do know
something about your marketing practices because an advertisement for your business was posted on my blog. Your SEO came to me, I didn’t go looking for you. My blog has a warning above the comment box that says (in part):
“Comments will be reviewed, not for content (except ads), but for style. . . Ads disguised as comments, unless closely related to the post and of value to readers (my call) will be deleted.”
Despite this warning, a spam advertisement was left as a comment directing my readers to your dental clinic. The comment had absolutely nothing to do with the content of the blog post. In my mind this is tacky, because it pretends to be a comment, but really is an ad. In this case, there was not even an effort made to find a post about dentistry (I have some) or to even pretend to relate to the post at all. (Some SEO people write things like “This is a very interesting post” before leaving their links. And, in fact, another dentist has left another spam comment, but it talks about dentistry at least on this post which mentions 'dentist' though the main topic is SEO and spam.)
I went to the effort to call your office to check if you knew about the ad. Someone who identified herself as YYYYYY said this must be related to your SEO. I posted that on the blog so that my readers (and you) could see that I had checked and that your office was not aware.
3. “but to say such things is considered defamation of character and is
I’m a professor emeritus of public administration at the University of Alaska Anchorage. I write carefully and I try to present different possible interpretations rather than state things as fact. The post speculated different possibilities and provided evidence for the different possibilities. As I review it I see nothing that could be considered defamation.
You have not specifically identified what ‘things’ you consider defamation of character or how it is illegal. If you can do that, I will share your comments with my attorney, and consider any edits he advises.
I was threatened with legal action once before. That ended abruptly when my attorney responded to their threat. My attorney has represented news media and others engaged in exercising their First Amendment rights for over three decades, and has taught a university course dealing with these subjects for almost as long.
In conclusion, please identify the specific parts of the post that you consider defamation of character or illegal so I can consider making edits if my attorney agrees with your assessment.
Here's the resolution in Response Part 2.