Christopher Dietz, because you can’t spell Dietz without ditz.Posted: January 8, 2013
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln. If people would just listen to President Lincoln, they could avoid a lot of embarrassing situations.
Take Christopher Dietz of Dietz Development for instance, he must have been very upset about a review on Yelp so he sued the reviewer and made sure hundreds of thousands of people saw it. It’s one thing to take a licking in private, but it’s entirely another thing for your disgrace to go national news. Already picked up by CNBC, Forbes, Ars Technica, Politico, etc. Dietz has inadvertently triggered what we on the internet call “The Streisand Effect.” The Streisand Effect is named after Barbra Streisand who in the process of trying to get photos of her house off the internet (which had a total of 4 or 5 views beforehand) alerted the general public that those photos were available and suddenly they were viewed millions of times.
Now we have Dietz, who was so unhappy with a review in which Jane Perez said he put her doors on crooked and might have accessed her home inappropriately, that he had to sue her for $750,000. It’s the classic case of a censor trying to make a defendant fold with a sum so large you’d have to be crazy to litigate. What censors don’t realize is that there is another condition other than mental insanity that would make a person fight back, it’s called passion. Passion for what is right, passion for justice, passion for our Constitutional rights. When you pit a person who has served our country in the military (Jane Perez) against a bully and a censor, I know whose side I am going to choose 10 out of 10 times. w
Anyone who uses Yelp knows that you have to take individual bad reviews lightly. Business owners should know that encouraging happy clients to leave positive feedback is the best way to combat negative reviews. Once I left a scathing review of a local business and the manager contacted me personally to assure me the experience was not typical and that if I gave them a second chance I’d see that, which I did, and I promptly updated my review to express my new opinion. What Dietz has effectively done is spread the word about his bad review, not worked to deliver positive impressions to combat the negative, and told all future clients that if they aren’t happy with his work, he’ll just sue them. That is not how you repair your reputation.
Jane Perez now faces an uncertain legal and financial future because she wanted to share her opinion of a contractor on Yelp. Unyielding to the staggering sum she is being sued for, Perez has found legal assistance in the ACLU and Public Citizen with star attorney Paul Levy helping her cause. Even if and when she prevails she can be assured substantial legal costs, for that reason she has setup an Indiegogo fundraiser to help offset these burdens. I have already kicked in, I hope you will to, lets send a message to bullies that our opinions aren’t fodder for their legal escapades. Let’s remind Dietz that sometimes as Lincoln said, it’s best to just roll with the punches.