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Gossip Column

Prize patrol, rumor has it...

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This story appears in the July 1999 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

You've worked hard to build an Internet business or the online component of your business. Suddenly, someone starts spreading a rumor about you on the Internet or creates a Web site filled with lies and misinformation about your company. What can you do?

According to Daniel Jamal, author of Risky Business: Protect Your Company From Being Stalked, Conned or Blackmailed on the Web (John Wiley & Sons, $27.95, 800-225-5945), misinformation regarding companies spreads quickly on the Net. "Many companies are falling victim to activists who have targeted their businesses because of their stance on the environment, animal rights, abortion and political causes. One person is going around telling people that a sugar substitute can cause cancer, although she has no proof. Other companies, like Lexis-Nexis, Tommy Hilfiger and Neiman Marcus, have been victims of rumors that were spread via e-mail by well-intentioned people who simply heard or read lies, then urged a boycott by all their friends and colleagues."

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