Computeach try to curb free speech

Last night I received an email from Karl Parkinson, the owner of Computeach, wanting to put up a post on my site about his company. He wanted to address comments on this site that exist for Computeach here, and here. I replied, saying it probably wouldn’t help them much as any obviously positive post would stand out as suspect.

I did ask if he had any other suggestions, but he never replied. Then today I received an email from Greg Hartigan, head of HR and Legal at Computeach. He sent me this email.

Dear Sir/Madam
Can I draw your attention to your statements on the following link: http://www.mrdaz.com/computeach-reviews/(entitled “Computeach Reviews?”, Posted on September 28th, 2008).

Your statements imply that Computeach is wrongly trying to pass off the positive reviews contained in www.computeach-reviews.co.uk as independent. In fact the opposite is true: the website is entitled “Welcome to the official Computeach Reviews website” and also states “We have a selection of Computeach reviews from students about their experiences with Computeach…All these reviews are from genuine students and clients”. It also includes Computeach’s logo and branding. So in our opinion any reasonable person would form the impression that the website in question was in fact owned by Computeach. Our website is therefore very clear about the source and purpose of the reviews.

Indeed the 2 responses to your posting (i.e. SirBigWig dated Sep 29, 2008 at 9:44am and JamesW dated Sep 30, 2008 at 7:50pm) make it very clear that the impression created by your posting is that Computeach has acted disingenuously (albeit unsuccessfully).

We think that your statements are unfair to our company. Therefore we respectfully request that you remove these statements from your website with immediate effect and we would appreciate confirmation that you have done so.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Yours faithfully
Greg

So Computeach are trying to say that they weren’t attempting to pass off their site as a reviews website? Why would any company setup a reviews website for their own company? It just doesn’t make any sense. The URL (computeach-reviews.co.uk) was obviously an attempt to rank for ‘computeach reviews‘ in Google, which is what anyone considering taking one of their courses would search for. When you do search for that in Google, you find 8 out of the 10 results on the first page feature hordes of negative comments, and the other two results are computeach.co.uk.

Doesn’t bode well for them does it? It looks very much like Computeach were trying to rank on that page for a search on ‘Computeach Reviews’, but as their computeach-reviews.co.uk website didn’t rank, they paid for it to rank using PPC.

So, what do you think, should I remove the posts or should I leave them as they are and allow people to have their own say on what they think?

Should I remove the Computeach post?

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Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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18 thoughts on “Computeach try to curb free speech”

  1. What good is a review site owned by the same company as the site it is reviewing? That is the sort of review you would get in Nazi Germany.

    If your reviews are so genuine, why are they all positive when the rest of Google is littered with negative reviews.

    In short, this is a woeful attempt at reputation management carried out on the cheap by someone who has no idea how to do it properly.

  2. This is embarrassing for them to say the least.

    It seems that they tried to cut corners in a reputation management exercise that makes them look even more stupid than before the website was live.

    I have no cross to bare with computeach – i dont know much about the company – other than they are pathetic when it comes to the web.

  3. I’ve looked through everything you’ve posted and there’s nothing in your wording that could make you liable for legal action.

    Actually, I’ll re-phrase that: legal action can be taken against you if Computeach really want to invest the money in doing so. However, the likelihood of them winning such a case on the basis of a critique of what you’ve written is laughable.

    They would be just throwing good money after bad and damaging their credibility even further.

    I say keep the posts.

  4. Don’t do it!

    The internet is a public domain and Computeach have no right to ask you to remove what you have wrote.

    Losers

  5. Will G; that’s not necessarily true. There’s case law to back them up if they can prove defamation (Demon v Godfrey).

    I don’t understand why Daz didn’t let the Computeach boss respond on here. You can’t complain about restricting free speech when you don’t extend that courtesy yourself. Let people form their own opinions.

  6. Hi Dave, I never refused to let them respond, I just said I don’t think it would help putting up a post saying how great they are, written by them. They can comment here or send a post through, as this post itself contains their side of things anyway.

  7. Im laughing my head off – they are so concerned that the poor victims of computeach are using the internet to let others know they actually trawl the web trying to remove them – wow – desperate times, ive heard that greg is only a temp employee in for hr they get rid of their staff so often in an attempt to get those sales leads in im amazed he had time to type the letter – but this is probably a word template now as so many people have complained! dont remove it at all!

  8. If Computeach were to take this further it would only attract more (negative) attention. The blogging community love playing batman and robin when it comes to outing deceptive behaviour of well known brands…and it also doesn’t like hearing of those well known brands trying to silence other bloggers!

    I wonder if Greg even thought that by sending you that email it would just give you opportunity to post about the subject again too? If they really knew what they were doing they wouldnt have sent anything from legal, this is a matter for PR. How silly of them.

  9. Everytime I try to post something positive about Computeach on here Mr Daz erases it !!!!. Free speech, Mr Daz needs to practice what he preaches, I suspect Mr Daz is a communist

  10. I’m a communist? Hardly the comments of a PHD. As for erasing comments, I haven’t erased any of your comments… perhaps you’re confused about which page you posted it on?

    Feel free to say anything you like positive about Computeach, we’re all ears.

  11. What is the point of Computeach having their own review site?.
    Anybody who has studied with Computeach will be aware of the fact that they do allow negative comments even on their own forums. It makes sense, no company is perfect, Computeach take the criticism on board & that is how any company becomes more efficient. I am curious as to where Mr Daz learned Web Design. Run the code on this Website through the W3C code validator, see how many errors it generates.

  12. Where did I learn web design? You mean you can ‘teach’ web design? If running code through the W3C validator is your way of judging of good web design, your opinion isn’t worth much. This is a WordPress theme, not a design by me.

    If you’d like to test skills, try running ‘Computeach’ through Google. That’s something you can’t learn on a course.

  13. Anybody who is/was unhappy with the services of Computeach, I would recommend sending them a very stiff letter (on cardboard)

  14. From my experiences with this company, which i might add are not good. this say it all, stay well clear these guy take your money and push you up the river without a paddle.

  15. I’ve appield to be a teacher at Computeach. do if think i should take the job if i got it? pays pretty well but seeing all the bad comments online makes me wonder about my future with them. will i get promoted, will i get demoted, will i have to take a pay cut, will i lose my job if i go with them. all these things playing my mind. i think i did well in the interview so im hoping to hear from them soon. what do you think?

  16. computeach are still ripping people off to this very date and wont let me cancel my course even though i was misled

  17. I’m probably one of the one who has been well and truely shafted by Computeach out of all the people with bad experiences of computeach.

    I was duped into paying 5 and a half grand for A+, MCDST, MCSA, MCSE and CompTIA security and to study and try and pass all of these over a 3 year time period.. I signed up with them in sept 2008 and havent even passed the A+ yet because their study materials are not that great and at times after weeks or months of studying at home Ive needed a break. Since I joined their so called learning institute for these courses, Ive spent hours reading, studying and watching videos, using their material both online and using the less than satisfactory manuals they gave me and other material online and other A+ books on and off for over 2 years now and they only gave me 3 years to do all the courses that they duped me into buyng into…im pretty angry with them. No one on this planet could study and pass all of these courses in 3 years whilst studying at home and I think they knew that before I signed up with them. Little did I know how much there was to learn and how shoddy their learning material was until I signed up with them and handed over my hard earned cash. Unfortunately, I only found this out after a few months of studying and taking their online tests regular and most of all, because of the amount of objectives to learn. Ive been an entertainer for 10 years and now that I’m sick of living by an unpredictable work schedual…travelling up and down the country doing shows and going back home at stupid o clock in the morning on the motorway. I’m desperate to get some qualifications for a real job and they seen me coming. They took advantage of my desperation. I even moved away from my home of Liverpool down to the midlands so I could be near them to take my exams in their test centre. That was also a waste of time because everytime I wanted to take an exam, they would give me study diarys to complete to prove I am competant enough to take the exam…(morelike they wanted to make sure I passed to improve their passrate statistics)

    Computeach have ripped me off! Im now doing a Cisco course at telford college in a CLASSROOM and this is much better of you want to learn properly. I’m seriously conidering seeing a solicitor over this.

  18. Ha! Reading this post bout the ‘Computeach Reviews’ SEO keyword con is just another nail in their coffin! It’s just like the registration on http://www.ihatecomputeach.net which is another clear attempt by them to curb the number of complaining ex-students out there!
    Which ain’t suprising when they have such tricky systems that caught me out! Like the cool off period con!!! If your unlucky enuf to sign up with them, find out how others have been duped and discover you don’t want to hand them your hard earned cash, DO NO ACCESS THEIR STUDENT WEBSITE cuz in their eyes you’ve ‘used their services’.
    My advice – buy some books from Amazon for 20 quid and pay for the £50 exam yourself!!! It’d save you your hard earned!

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