Skift Take

Bad publicity isn't good for a growing company like Oyo, but the company's plan to file lawsuits against those who post negative comments online about the brand is almost certain to backfire.

Series: Early Check-In

Early Check-In

Editor’s Note: Skift Senior Hospitality Editor Sean O’Neill brings readers exclusive reporting and insights into hotel deals and development, and how those trends are making an impact across the travel industry.

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Oyo plans to combat bad reviews with a tactic that won't likely improve its reputation as a toxic place to do business. The India-based budget hospitality brand officially moved ahead with plans to go public late last week. The $1.2 billion move, seen as a way to provide a financial lift to a company drastically impacted by the pandemic, aims to capitalize on India’s surging stock market. But not even a soaring stock price can overcome the company’s extraordinary fear of bad press — and company leaders signaled in Oyo’s prospectus of an aggressive strategy to fight back against bad reviews and publicity through lawsuits. The filing notes Oyo initiated legal proceedings against a customer who posted “unsubstantiated negative statements about us” on social media platforms. “Many social media platforms immediately publish the content that their subscribers and participants post, often without filters or checks on accuracy of the content posted,” the prospectus reads. “The damage may be immediate without affording us an opportunity for redress or correction. We have been the subject of media reports, social media posts, blogs and other forums that contain allegations about our business or activity on our platform that create negative publicity.” We'll See You In Court: Suing people for bad reviews, unfounded or not, is a case of sour grapes by a company. But it’s also a growing trend companies use to intimidate customers into silence. A Texas man claimed earlie