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Food Blogger Fined $3400 for Negative Restaurant Review and Prominent Search Ranking

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If you happen to be passing through the Southwest region of France and are looking for a restaurant, you may want to skip Il Giardino in Cap-Ferret if you can’t find anything nice to say about it.

The restaurant sued food blogger Caroline Doudet, who wrote a review titled “The Place to Avoid in Cap-Ferret : Il Giardino” (translated), because her review showed up too prominently in Google searches and was alleged to be hurting business.

French courts demanded Doudet pay 1500 euros ($2,040 USD) for writing a negative review of Il Giardino, an Italian restaurant in Cap-Ferret, France in August of 2013. In the review (cached and translated) she wrote that the restaurant should be avoided and that the boss is a “diva.”

Along with the 1500 euros, Doudet was also charged an additional 1000 euros ($1,360 USD) to cover the costs of the proceedings, making her grand total $3400. {Eater}

The decision of the court was that Doudet had to remove the negative aspect of the headline, but the blogger found it easier to remove the post in its entirety, saying “I don’t see the point of criticism if it’s only positive.”

Though neither the judge nor the restaurant seem to understand how the internet works, several reviewers on Google+ have stepped in with one-star reviews to indicate to the owner that lawsuits against customers aren’t the best way of handling negative reviews, even if a less than tech-savvy judge finds in your favor.

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A search for Il Giardino on Google.fr currently returns a cumulative  1.2 star Google+ rating as the top listing, a cumulative 1.5 star Trip Advisor rating as the 2nd result, and a cumulative 3-star rating from French news site L’Internaute.

The 5th result (last visible result before scrolling) belongs to a blog questioning the judgment; it is one place lower than the review which resulted in Doudet being sued.






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