Rate My Official

Find a official... and then rate them

Can I remove a page from this site?

We publish official reviews so that consumers can share their experiences about local officials, and because the information is typically a matter of public record and public concern. Therefore, we don’t remove such information from the site.

While we understand that some officials might prefer to keep a low profile, it’s important (and a legal right) for consumers to be able to find and share helpful information about great officers.

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1-1) You are infringing the copyright on my name!

Nope:  Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases.
This quote from the the government’s copyright FAQ

1-2) Why were some of my ratings removed?

We remove ratings for a number of reasons, but it usually boils down to one of our automated spam filters thinking there were multiple ratings coming from the same source. When we detect this, our system will usually automatically remove the duplicate ratings. Also, if our system detects multiple ratings coming from the same source, it may require new raters to before rating for some period of time.

1-3) Can I display your ratings on my own website?

Probably yes. You can iFrame them in, we are working on a system to make this easy for you to do.

1-4a) How do I get a rating removed from your site?

We generally do not remove ratings. This site is for people to report on their experiences with you. People rate you every day in their conversations and referrals, whether or not you are listed here. Having said that, if it contains profanity or threats of violence, we will handle it. If the rating does not contain profanity or threats of violence, we generally approve it again. If you are convinced you have been libeled, you might ask an attorney about filing a Doe subpoena.

1-4b) But one of these ratings is false and it’s hurting my business! I want to send you a letter demanding that it be removed.

We do not accept demand letters because it is not our role to determine whether a review is true or false. You might dispute the truth of a review, but your disputing it does not make it false.

1-4c) If you won’t accept a demand letter, I have no choice but to sue you!

Think twice. The Communications Decency Act (the “CDA”) is a complete bar to our liability for the statements of others on this website: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” 47 U.S.C. § 230. Federal courts have applied this standard on its terms: “By its plain language, Section 230 creates a federal immunity to any cause of action that would make service providers liable for information originating with a third-party user of the service.” Zeran v. AOL, 129 F.3d 327, 330 (4th Cir. 1997). The ratings on this site are written by our users, not by our company. Thus, under the CDA, we are not the “publisher or speaker” of the ratings, even if they contain false information and we are not liable for defamation, libel, fraud or any other tort claim you might bring.
And finally, read the summary of legal protections for rating and review sites, and the organizations that assist in defending against baseless lawsuits, at:
RARPA Legal Information

1-4d) I think my demand letter would put you on notice that the review is false and defamatory. That makes you liable.

No, it doesn’t. Zeran, 129 F.3d at 227, and the cases following it uniformly hold that it is not up to us to determine whether your demand letter is correct or the review is correct. The CDA gives us complete immunity for the statements that others make on this site.

1-4d2) But you lost your CDA immunity by aggregating the user ratings into an average!

Nope. The most instructive case on aggregate ratings is the Court of Appeals’ decision in Gentry v. eBay, which squarely held that such ratings do not transform a publisher into an information content provider. 99 Cal.App.4th 816, 834 (Cal. App. 2002).

1-4d3) But you lost your CDA immunity by editing the rater’s original comments!

Nope. Under 230(c)(2)(A), “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of (A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected”

1-4e) I’m going to sue you anyway. Taking down the review is cheaper than paying a lawyer.

Sounds like a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP)! 28 states, have passed strict anti-SLAPP laws, authorizing expedited motions to dismiss and giving rise to counterclaims seeking attorneys’ fees and liquidated damages.
If you want to drag us into court, bring your checkbook with you, because you’ll be paying our attorneys to defend us.

A few more links you should probably check out before trying to sue:

Anti-SLAPP Law 

Court punishes school for punishing student

Profs get hit with anti-SLAPP payments for suing website

1-4f) I’m not in the United States, and I’m going to sue you in my own jurisdiction.

The United States has enacted strict laws protecting US companies from lawsuits brought in foreign jurisdictions. Even if you win a judgment under your local laws, it will not be enforceable in the United States. See, e.g.SPEECH Act of 2010.

1-5) I’m planning to pose as a client and rate myself to increase my overall rating.

You may want to think twice about that. We use automated algorithms and human moderators to detect and delete false reviews.
Also, posing as a student – or hiring a firm to post positive ratings – is a practice known as “astroturfing” , and it is illegal. If you are caught, you may end up paying $300,000 like this doctor.

1-5a) Why do you allow people to post anonymously?

The Supreme Court has held that anonymity of speech is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution (see McIntyre v. Ohio, 514 U.S. at 337; Talley v. State of California, 362 U.S. 60), also see:
The courts have consistently recognized that the right to speak anonymously extends to speech on the Internet (see Doe v. 2theMart.com and Doe v. Cahill ).

1-6) Why were some of my ratings removed?

As mentioned above, we use automated algorithms and human moderators to combat “astroturfing.”

1-7) How can I identify the writer of a libelous rating?

If you are convinced you have been libeled, you might ask an attorney about filing a Doe subpoena. Subpoenas or other legal process should be obtained from a court with the appropriate jurisdiction. Our service of process address can be found at the Maryland Secretary of State website
Subpoenas issued to us pursuant to a state court other than Maryland (where RMT Acquisition, LLC. is incorporated and has its primary place of business) are generally not enforceable. More info on this third-party website: