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TheInternet LawCentre

What is internet law?

What is Internet Law?

Here are some of the most commonly used terms in the context of internet defamation. You will find this special terminology repeated elsewhere on our website. Understanding this special language will help you understand the problems that you are facing and their causes as well as their solutions.

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Adwords Advertising:
Adwords Advertising is Google's advertising programme, where someone pays rent to Google to secure a prominent position in the search results for their website or blog. The payment to Google is made only when someone clicks on the advert.

In the context of internet defamation, a defamer might carry out an Adwords advertising campaign for the exclusive purpose of sending visitors to a defamatory webpage.


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Alert Service:
An Alert Service in the context of internet defamation is a computer program designed to provide you with early alerts to internet publications that include your name or your company's name. You can use Google Alerts, which is a free service by Google, or a more comprehensive paid program such as My Reputation Alarm. An alert service will normally provide you with the first notification that defamatory web pages about you have appeared on the internet.

Algorithms are the formulas search engines use to decide which internet pages to display in response to a particular search query.

Naturally, these formulas are very secretive and search engine companies such as Google and Bing work hard to constantly change them, with the aim of achieving greater accuracy between the query and the corresponding search results.
The more we know about an algorithm the better we can fix internet defamation problems.

Anchor Text Links:
Anchor Text Links are words or sentences which are programmed to take you to another internet page. For example, Internet Law Expert. In the context of internet defamation, anchor text links are used to associate certain individuals and companies with unpleasant websites. Say John Trustinianski is a headmaster who has fallen out with a poorly performing teacher, Carol Badsinger, who now wants to take revenge by using associative internet defamation. She has created an anchor link or an anonymous forum as follows: John Trustinianski

Associative Internet Defamation:
Associative Internet Defamation is the most difficult form of internet defamation to prove. It involves the creation of presumptions and negative associations, as opposed to straightforward defamation. It also involves the association of individuals and companies with wrongdoings which might have nothing to do with them.

Anonymity on the internet is a concept particularly supported by advocates of unconditional freedom of speech on the internet. Victims of internet defamation argue that anonymity on the internet comes at the cost of social accountability.
Anonymity makes it very difficult for individuals and companies to properly address accusations and allegations against them, and it is believed to be costing UK businesses a great deal of money every year.

Black Hat Search Engine Optimisation:
Black Hat Search Engine Optimisation refers to attempts to improve the ranking of a web page in the search results in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines or that involve deception. One black hat technique uses text that is hidden, often disguised as text in a colour similar to the background. Another method provides the searcher with different pages, depending on whether the page is being requested by a human visitor or a search engine.

Black hat search engine optimisation is often used to create internet defamation and to make it more difficult for the identity of the defamer to be detected.

Internet blackmail

Blackmail (Internet Blackmail):
Blackmail on the internet can take different forms. The most common form consists of demands by web site owners, many of whom are in Eastern Europe, for payments and/or "arbitration fees" in return for the removal of defamatory contents, or for the removal of a private video or a photograph published on the internet. Payment is normally made by PayPal.

Blog Posts:
Blog posts are articles posted on the internet on a blog, which is a mini-website that is very easy to use. You can acquire as many free blogs as you want without having to give away any of your personal details. This makes blogs an attractive forum for internet defamation.

Blog Swarm
Blog Swarm is a technique used to increase the speed and spread of internet defamation. The defamer (or a group of them) commences an internet attack on a company or person who has agitated them. Imagine a swarm of Africanized honeybees (aka killer bees) swarming an unsuspecting victim who has agitated them by entering their territory, thus threatening their safety and way of life. It is possible for one single person to create a blog swarm effect over a fairly short period of time, causing the victim to feel as if they are being attacked by a large mob.

Cease and Desist Letter
A Cease and Desist Letter in the context of internet defamation is a formal letter informing its recipient of the presence of defamatory material on a website which is under their control. The letter must be written in full compliance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation Claims as issued by the Ministry of Justice. The cease and desist letter is significant because it will be used as evidence of knowledge of the presence of defamatory material on the internet.

Copyright Infringement 
Copyright Infringement in the context of internet defamation may take the form of a defamer using the victim's company logos, photographs, unique business name, and content for the purpose of defaming them on the internet. Sometimes it is advisable to facilitate the removal of defamation from the internet by using copyright law rather than defamation law.

Copyspace is a computer programme that helps identify instances of plagiarism on the internet. It lets you see where else your copy appears on the internet. Often this helps to identify instances of internet defamation, as well as breaches of copyright. 

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Cyberbullying is a form of verbal bullying on the internet against an individual or a company. It takes the form of cruel words, threats, and other methods to cause great anxiety to the victim.

Defensive Maniupulation

Defensive Manipulation
Defensive Manipulation is a web page removal technique focused on demoting defamatory web pages. The technique does exactly the opposite of search engine optimisation, as its focus is on the demotion of internet content as opposed to its promotion. This makes defensive manipulation a desirable web page removal technique for those who want to get rid of defamatory web pages but want to keep their identity discreet.

Domain Name
A Domain Name is a series of alphanumeric strings separated by periods, such as Once a domain name is pointed to a website, that website will carry the name of that domain.

In the context of internet defamation, the right domain names are supremely important to create and own, and they and can also help defend against internet defamation. A good domain name will use the most desired search terms to reflect the products or the services that you present on your website.

For example, if you want to make it likely for people who search for an "internet law expert" to find your website, you will use a domain such as

Another example: If the purpose of a website is to highlight a technical issue with a Bradwell IRK television model, the desired domain name will be something like 

Victims of an internet defamation attack can sometimes successfully remove defamatory web pages from the first pages of the search results by creating websites and blogs with similar domain names, which will then populate the search engine results. 

E-Lynching in the context of internet defamation refers to the actions of a group of people against an individual or a company when the actions are intended to ruin the victim's reputation. 

The group will normally gang up on the victim by spreading articles, blog posts and forum comments over the internet, all of which intend to create the false impression that there is a large vocal group of unhappy customers who want to exercise their right of free speech to expose the alleged wrongdoing by the victim.

Normally, as part of e-lynching, the group will set up forums and populate them with defamation and hate. E-lynching may often result in personal and commercial devastation to the victim, as well as increasing their level of stress and anxiety.

Early Warning Systems
Early Warning Systems, in the context of internet defamation and internet reputation management, are systems designed to detect a forthcoming internet defamation attack. 

Most early warning systems, particularly the free ones, use robots to identify new internet content and then send you an email notification about it. 

You will then need to look at each web link to try and identify the emergence of internet defamation. Despite being good basic tools, most automatic early warning systems suffer from a high margin of error in terms of speed and accuracy. 

Google Bomb
Google Bomb is a practice of artificially raising the page rank of a web page so that Google starts considering the page important. There are many variations of Google bombs, in the same way that there are endless types of a real road bomb.

Google Sandbox
Google sandbox is a special index where Google places a newly discovered website until it can verify that the website is legitimate. While websites are in the sandbox, they will not appear in search results for normal search queries. Once Google verifies that a site is legitimate, it will move the site into the regular index. 

In the context of internet defamation, the "sandbox effect" might provide victims of internet defamation with a window of opportunity to facilitate the removal of a defamatory web page before it starts to appear in normal search results.


If you discover through an early warning system the presence of a defamatory web page, you should assume that this web page will start ranking higher in search results once it has been moved out of the Google sandbox and appears in the normal search results.


Impersonation Attack:

An Impression Attack, in the context of internet defamation, happens when an impressionist uses a victim company's goodwill to defraud the public by advertising themselves as the real thing.

The impressionist will normally use a domain name similar to that owned and used by the victim, and they will offer to sell products and services to the public by using the goodwill of the victim. Occasionally the impressionist may post on their website derogatory content about the victim in order to harm the victim's commercial interests and credit.

Early detection is crucial to minimise damage to the victim’s reputation. This can be achieved by using an alert service or by using internet reputation management services. 

Internet Reputation Management

Internet Reputation Management is now an essential element of almost every business, taking priority over marketing and customer acquisition. Because internet defamation can easily undo all the marketing efforts of a company, it makes sense to ensure first that the internet reputation of a company is suitably managed before commencing any marketing campaigns.

ISP stands for Internet Service Provider, an organisation that provides access to the internet.

Keywords are search queries entered by internet users to help them find information. Generally speaking, search engines match a search term with either the most popular web page or with a web page that contains the most relevant information. 
To increase the likelihood of a website's being highly ranked by search engines, the owner of a web page should include in the content of their web page the keywords that they wish their web page to correspond with during an internet search.

Mini Google Bomb
A Mini Google Bomb in the context of internet defamation is a DIY variant of a Google bomb, with the exercise aiming to enhance the popularity of a defamatory website by creating artificial links through emails, social media, websites and blogs. A mini Google bomb will be based on mostly unpopular keywords or search phrases, and it might take only several hundred clicks by internet users to create a substantial impact on the page rank of the defamatory web page.

Page Rank
Page Rank refers to the importance Google gives to each web page. Page rank is calculated by using a secret formula that results in higher-ranked web pages being given higher places in search results. If a defamatory web page contains a link from a high page-rank web site, the defamatory page will automatically have its own page rank improved.  Conversely, you can improve the page rank of a legitimate web page by having other pages with a high page rank link to it.

Posts (Internet or Blog Posts)

A post, in the context of internet defamation, is material published by individuals or organisations on the internet using a website, blog, social networking, or forum. Defamatory forum posts tend to be particularly damaging because of the ease with which they can be created.

Streisand Effect
The Streisand Effect is a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicising the information more widely.

In the context of internet defamation, court proceedings can backfire by supplying daily or periodic information to enhance the Streisand effect.

Website Liability Immunity

Website Liability Immunity Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gives American-based internet service providers immunity from a law suit in relation to defamatory content published on their internet platforms. Some argue that this makes the US a safe heaven for internet defamation. However, this immunity is not complete, and in some cases it can be overcome, either by using local laws or by commencing proceedings in another suitable jurisdiction.

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