Eric Barbry

Internet Marketing and Crowdsourcing: What are the Limits?

The Internet marketing industry is exploring various strategies to try to influence the behaviors of Internet users as how they behave has now become integral to the operation of a growing number of services offered by search engines (e.g. Google Suggest) and more generally social networks.

Crowdsourcing is one of the avenues used to achieve their goals: via crowdsourcing platforms, companies can pay Internet users to complete a variety of microtasks ranging from performing image recognition to translating content, clicking on “like” or posting comments.

One can easily imagine how crowdsourcing platforms can be misused to produce fake comments or harm someone’s online reputation. In France, this type of behavior constitutes unfair trade practices and is actionable under Article L 120-1 of the French Consumer Code.

If a website experienced an unexplained drop in traffic or begins to be associated with negative search suggestions or comments, it is worth taking a closer look at these platforms. In France, to record evidence and build a case, companies should have the litigious practices recorded by a competent member of the legal profession (in France a huissier will draft their findings in a report called constat).

Link: Article L 120-1 of the French Consumer Code (in French)